Anne van Kesteren


Not very interesting, but I think I need one. A small guideline for comments. Since I'm not that evil as you might think, here are some allowed elements:

The idea is that you must use a block level element and can't start typing without adding a P element to name a simple example. This isn't a bug, it is a feature. And if you think I don't care about usability, this is a personal site. Eventually it will get more usable I hope.

Another idea is that you use BLOCKQUOTE or Q instead of quotation marks (I can't require it unfortunately).

I will add a link to this entry from the comment form, maybe you can add some suggestions here to make the post more interesting (they don't have to be related to my ridiculous commenting system).


  1. Anne, good you added the guidelines for writing comments.

    You would be surprised, but I did very same mistake before and I couldn't understood what is the thing with 'tag all - raw data' about. And I can count myself as power user and web standards follower.

    Also, you should check who reads your blog. If it is only web standards community, it's OK, they know how to write XHTML. If there are also some other people, who are not coders necessarily, your comment system becomes a problem. Actually, I can imagine case when somebody wants to comment on, but system won't allow him. This is bad from usability perspective.

    BTW: Your system is bad, now I know it. I have written some text and then remebered I had to enclose it into <p> tags for example... A quite user unfriendly.

    Posted by dusoft at

  2. You still need to specify the rest of your comment rules, Anne. List what elements are allowed (or not allowed), and also what elements are required.

    By the way, thank you for the ternary operator tip!

    Posted by Simon Jessey at

  3. I've found out that it's impossible to post advanced comments with Opera. I haven't tested what the hidden input from the preview page contains, but it should work without any magic done by the user. Now I'm forced to posting in Internet Explorer, and that kind of sucks. Bigtime.

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  4. Also, the comment system doesn't like localized characters. In the textarea, I need to use XML encoded characters, and in the 'Name' field, I can use HTML encoded ones (e.g. &oslash;).

    Posted by Asbjørn Ulsberg at

  5. Taking the content and purpose of this weblog into consideration, I think it is not too much to ask to require people who post comments to write valid XHTML. If you cannot even mark up paragraphs correctly, what are you doing posting on this weblog?

    One thing I would like to say though, is that Tag all may not contain raw character data is not exactly a very clear and descriptive error message. Something like All text must be inside block-level elements like P, BLOCKQUOTE, etc. would be must better for usability.

    Also, a list of allowed elements and a rough guide to what they can/should be used for here would be a nice reference. :-)

    Posted by Charl van Niekerk at

  6. I keep running into the same problems ast mentioned above on my own website (which uses the same WordPress hacks as this one does). When I have the restored (no newline-to-paragraph convertion, unfriendly validation errors) I'll send Anne the files too.

    Posted by Mark Wubben at

  7. I must say that I didn't understand it at all until you told me (as you may remember), but I really think it's unfriendly to have to type those elements all the time, just because you don't want to attract people who don't understand what correct XHTML is doesn't mean you have to be user-unfriendly (which this is, for sure).

    Posted by Frenzie at

  8. This is retarded.

    instead of your comment pretext saying "Read the guidelines if you don't get it. (In short: write complete, well-formed XHTML.)" it should say "my comment system is completley stupid (in short: put <p> tags around your comment".

    i'm sorry, but you guys are the standards nazis, not me. what is the purpose for all this XML crap? so peopel can use your page with their palm pilots? u should fix your usability then get to the standards-compliance later.

    Posted by Matt at