Our great new comments feature

Wikis are wonderful for sending things around for review. First, because they keep all your corrections and revisions in one place, even when you have multiple reviewers. And second, because the History tab means that every edit is saved, in one place, where they are easy to find and recover.

I like those features. A lot. I use them every day. But what do you do when a reviewer has a question, instead of a correction? In the past, I’d sometimes relied on tricky inline commentary in brackets, or even email. But from now on, I’ll be using comments.

What do you mean by “comments”?
Comments let you apply notes, questions, or observations to a passage on a wiki page — it’s kind of like slapping a Post-it note onto the wiki page. Because they’re linked to a specific part of the page, comments show you exactly which words they’re about (unlike with an email or discussion post). And because the comments can be revealed or collapsed, they let you look at a page as either an appreciative audience or a critical editor, depending on your needs.

OK, I’m sold. How do I leave a comment?

  1. Edit a page.
  2. Highlight the word, phrase, or paragraph that you want to comment on. Now the comment icon in the editor toolbar will be live. It looks like a cartoon conversation bubble.
  3. Click the comments icon to open a new comment box.
  4. Type your comment into the box.
  5. Make any additional edits or add any additional comments to the page.
  6. When you’re done, hit Save. (There’s no need to save comments individually.)

How can I find comments that have already been left?
As soon as a page has at least one saved comment, you will see a small, yellow conversation bubble to the right of the page contents. The number on this bubble indicates the number of saved comments. You can click on this bubble to hide or reveal comments on that page.

Comments are also recorded on the Discussion tab for that page. If you have only one Discussion page for the whole wiki, you can find the comments there. Either way, discussion posts that originated as comments will have “Comment Added” subjects, so you always know what you’re looking at.

What if I want to respond to a posted comment?
Nothing could be simpler:

  1. Edit the page.
  2. Click Reply in the appropriate comment box.
  3. Type your reply.
  4. Save the page.

I’m a little more visual. Can I add images or files to comments?
Sure. Just remember that comment box isn’t very big so, for best results, use smaller images. Just keep on using the editor toolbar, as if you were editing any other part of the page.

I, personally, am already a huge fan of comments. And I’ve only just started using them. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love them, too.

 

Update: Special thanks to some of our long-time customers — and friends — who helped us out with input and feedback on this feature: Dan Beeby and Jonah Bossewitch from Columbia University, Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay of the Flat Classroom project, and Christian deTorres from University of Massachusetts Boston. Thanks for all your help!

You can find more information about this feature on our Comments help page.

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35 Comments

  1. Chris
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I can not seem to get the comment feature to work on any of my wikispaces. I have followed the directions above however I do not get a bubble in which to type my comment. Help!

  2. Posted May 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    @Chris – Can you click the “Support” link at the bottom of the page you’re having trouble with? This will let us know your browser version and other details so we can see what’s going wrong. Thanks!

  3. Nik
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous addition – since it comes close to ideal by showing the comment in the (close to) original context. The remaining constraint is the size of the “comment box” and the matching reply box, as the comment is often more verbose than what I can cram in the current containers. Can I stuff a reference to a page in the comment box to solve this constraint (read: is wikitext editor processing the text typed into the comment box?

  4. Posted May 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    @Nik – yes! You can use wikitext or the editor toolbar to enhance comments with anything that can go in a wiki page. Try clicking the link button while text is highlighted inside a comment.

  5. Posted May 4, 2011 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Great addition! These are fourth graders and we are just getting into peer editing. This is a wonderful tool and I know the students will love it. Nice that the whole class can see the comments. Keeps the peer comments relevant and thoughtful. So easy to use!

  6. Posted May 4, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    When I try to edit the page and post then add a file I get only a red X. I have Adobe Flash Palyer 10 Active X installed on my computer. What could be the problem?

  7. yana
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    How can you edit a comment after you’ve posted it? I can’t see a place to edit my comment, either in the comment bubble or discussions.

  8. Posted May 5, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    @yana – At the moment you can only delete or reply to comments, but not edit them.

  9. yana
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    @James – I cannot see how to delete the comment, either. Can you please post information about how to do this? When I click to Edit the page, I can only see a way to reply to or monitor a comment, but not delete it. When I look in Discussions, I can’t see a way to delete my comment from there, either. Thanks!

  10. Posted May 6, 2011 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Great idea, but when I try tried it my comments icon was ghosted. What am I doing wrong?

  11. Posted May 6, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    This is some graet idea

  12. Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Hi, Joann. The icon is ghosted until you select a passage of text. Once you’ve highlighted some text to comment on, it should pop into color.

  13. Posted June 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    This is a great new feature and I’m loving it! Just highlighted a particular recording of an online classroom session on my wiki and nominated individual people in a comments box to view it. Could also be used to nominate people for various jobs – can probably think of lots of other uses but that will do for a start. Thanks wikispaces team!

  14. Posted June 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The highlighting within the text does not show up if I have already chosen a darker background color. Could it be tweaked so that the comment highlighting will override background colors?

  15. Posted June 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kathryn — good catch! We’ll put that on our list.

  16. Posted June 4, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I like your comments feature, but after adding two, I cannot add a third. It keeps freezing my computer when I try to save.

  17. Dave
    Posted June 4, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    This was working great at first, but for some reason now I can’t Save a page after adding or editing comments.

  18. Posted June 4, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hi Dave, please drop us a note at help@wikispaces.com with the address of the page that’s not working. Thanks!

    Update: never mind — I believe we’ve fixed it. See comment below.

  19. Posted June 4, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Bob, Dave — sorry about that. We found and fixed a bug moments ago that started last night. You should be able to edit comments normally now.

  20. Posted June 5, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t have the comment balloon in my toolbar even when i hightlight text. Looking at your photos, my toolbars do not look like yours at all! I’ve tried to submit a ticket, but I don’t see anywhere on any of my pages to do so. I’d really like to use this function, it seems like a much easier way for me to help my students revise content.

    Thanks,
    Chad

  21. Posted June 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    1. What are the permissions relating to comments? In particular, can comments be left without having edit permission?
    2. How do comments integrate with printing?

  22. Posted June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chad — based on your URL, it looks like you’re using a different wiki service. If you’d like to try out Wikispaces comments, come on over to http://wikispaces.com and make a new wiki to see how it works.

  23. Posted June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Graham — comments follow discussion permissions. We don’t yet print them, but it’s on our list.

  24. Pamela
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Are comments visible to anyone viewing the page, or can their visibility be restricted to only those people with editing privileges?

  25. Posted June 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this. I was trying to figure out a way to comment that didn’t abstruct.

  26. Posted June 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I’ve been using the comment tool and have a suggestion. I teach ESL students and they make lots of little mistakes. Is there a way to make the comment box smaller, but able to grow if needed? I also find the comment numbers in the word program helpful.

    Thanks.

  27. Emma Sands
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    I like this in principle, but I edit this as a type of Intranet, and I don’t really want people to have to ‘edit’ the page to make a comment!

  28. Kelly
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I am having trouble using comments with links embedded in my wikispace. How can I fix this issue?

  29. Rineke
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to allow vistors/wikispace-users to leave comments even when you will not allow them to edit your wikispace?

    Thank you for your time and continuous efforts to better wikispaces.

  30. Posted June 7, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    @Kelly – Can you send us the address of a page where this is happening along with details about what you’re doing when you see the problem? Thanks!

  31. Lizzy
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    It looks a great tool. i will give it a try.

  32. Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way to limit the length of comments?

  33. Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Hi, Grace. We have no plans to limit the length of comments at this time. Is there a particular reason that you’d want that feature?

  34. Terry
    Posted June 19, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Just want to strongly echo others’ expressed desires for the ability of readers of the wiki to comment without their having permission to edit. Reasons? I don’t want to confront occasional users with the apparent added complexity of the editor. Also, I don’t want it to be easy to vandalize the content (I assume it can be reverted, but still…). If and when you can make this capability possible, I’ll sign right up! Thanks.

  35. Posted July 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Kathryn – we can’t always force our comment highlighting to overwrite text highlight colors, but we’ve done some work to make it better. Thanks!

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