March 27, 2012
It looks like a new commenting system has found a way to do an end run around publishers, and put the boot to offensive comments along the way.
Talkino allows you to click on a bookmarklet that pops up a window where you can leave a comment on any web page — regardless of whether it has its own commenting system. You can set it up so that if you like someone’s comment, they become a “guide.” This means that the combination of your likes and your guides’ likes make it so you never have to see comments you find irritating or disagreeable. Before you balk at the idea of self-censorship, keep in mind that this is just an option. If you prefer, you can see every comment.
A system like this could be quite attractive to commenters. First, you can comment wherever you like — even on sites that don’t allow comments in the traditional way. Second, you can filter out the static from other commenters.
On the other hand, it could be a bane for publishers. First, they would have no control over comments being left at their site. Second, comments left in a separate popup would lead to fewer onsite clicks and possibly hurt the metrics for advertising revenue.
Of course, the biggest obstacle to Talkino is the fact that it is not widely known or used. It can feel awfully lonely leaving a comment at a site knowing that no one will ever read it. Also, I would advise the Talkino people to hire themselves a copy editor — their site is rife with embarrassing English that hurts their credibility.