Since March of this year, HeroPress has published inspirational essays from people all over the world. Instead of allowing comments on the site itself, Topher DeRosia, founder of HeroPress, partnered with WPChat to host conversations for each essay. Unfortunately, many of the articles received little feedback.
Starting this week, DeRosia is allowing contributing writers to decide whether they want comments enabled on their essay or not. “I made the decision to have no comments because I wanted the essays to stand alone, with one voice, that being the voice of the contributor.” DeRosia told the Tavern.
Directing people to a third-party site is an odd way to generate a conversation around an article. DeRosia explains why he chose to host comments on WPChat, “I chose to attach WPChat to the project because it seemed like a good way for readers to express themselves without marring the surface of the essay itself.”
Isolated and intrigued as well as Finding stability in WordPress are two examples where great conversations took place on WPChat. However, these conversations are few and far between. “That leads me to believe there could be more quality input out there and people are simply not interested in making an extra account to comment,” said DeRosia.
Contributors who choose to enable comments don’t need to worry about moderation. DeRosia will heavily moderate comments with a zero tolerance policy for trolls. As for WPChat hosting future conversations, DeRosia says, “I like WPChat but in this case, I simply don’t think it’s the tool for the job.”
Comments connect authors to readers and are an important part of the internet. Sometimes, the feedback is better than the post itself. However, requiring readers to register to a forum to comment on articles hosted on a different site is too high of a roadblock. The commenting process should be as smooth and simple as possible. Enabling comments on HeroPress is a step in the right direction.
I like WP Chat as well, but another barrier is that WP Chat isn’t exactly buzzing with activity.