Explorations in math and programming
David Lowry-Duda

I am on the fourth iteration of a comment system for this site.

Comment Graveyard

Initially I used Wordpress default, which is okay-ish. But there are problems with formatting and writing mathjax-able math in comments.1 1More generally, post-rendering Wordpress content with javascript is a security nightmare and is often hard. This is one reason why this site is no longer using Wordpress.

Then I used Disqus. Disqus works by running externally hosted javascript.2 2Also a security nightmare. As one might worry, they began to inject ads into comment sections. I do not run ads and that was unacceptable. I've learned a lesson about external dependencies.

Then I used a comment system built on top of Wordpress. This was slightly better, but written in PHP.

Simple Comments

The new comment system is email-based. Plain email. I drew inspiration from tdarb and lowtechmagazine (who have precisely the same comment "system").

I know that requiring an email adds a small amount of friction in the comment process. I don't know how this will affect comment spam,3 3which was wildly common in previous iterations. but I think it might balance out.

Currently, I enable a significant amount of markup in comments. The comments are processed with markdown and allow mathjax (assuming that mathjax is enabled on the page). This is because I use the same preprocessing on comments as I do on pages for this site.

Leave a comment

Info on how to comment

To make a comment, please send an email using the button below. Your email address won't be shared (unless you include it in the body of your comment). If you don't want your real name to be used next to your comment, please specify the name you would like to use. If you want your name to link to a particular url, include that as well.

bold, italics, and plain text are allowed in comments. A reasonable subset of markdown is supported, including lists, links, and fenced code blocks. In addition, math can be formatted using $(inline math)$ or $$(your display equation)$$.

Please use plaintext email when commenting. See Plaintext Email and Comments on this site for more. Note also that comments are expected to be open, considerate, and respectful.

Comment via email

Comments (2)
  1. 2023-11-13 Sarah

    What email do you use? Gmail doesn't support plain email? Did this comment go through?

  2. 2023-11-15 DLD

    Yes, your message came through just fine. For a typical message, it's easy to extract plain messages from email. If someone were to try to send formatted content inside an HTML email, that might be a problem.

    I use a couple of different email programs depending on context. See useplaintext.email for more precise software recommendations that I also generically support.