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There seems to be very little consistency across most sites when it comes to placing the comment form.

Which do you think is the most usable, above the comments list or below?

Above the list:

  • Disqus
  • YouTube

Below the list:

  • Digg v4
  • Wordpress default template
  • StackOverflow
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5  
Why are there only two options? You can also place the comment box in both places, which is a service to all your users as opposed to just some of them (of course, you'd need to engineer around the awkward situation of having two boxes too close together if you have only a few comments). –  Rahul Aug 30 '10 at 8:25
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I think having 2 forms is confusing to the user, and adds unnecessary complexity to the page. I like the idea of having an anchor link either above or below taking the user to the form. –  Pepper Aug 30 '10 at 16:34
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This really depends on the use case. Asking what is best should be done on a site by site basis. If you're looking for comment add it above. If you're looking for a discussion create a forum 'like' solution. If you're not looking for comment add it to the bottom of the list. –  Barfieldmv May 14 '12 at 8:49

10 Answers 10

up vote 47 down vote accepted

I always prefer to think about the use-case I want to encourage, or that is forced by the nature of the site/audience.

If most of your audience will read the content and immediately want to comment, put it on top. If on the other hand you want to encourage people to actually read what others have commented before them and only the respond, it makes more sense to put it on the bottom.

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Makes sense.... –  Ryan Shripat Aug 30 '10 at 3:11
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YouTube should move the comment form below all the other comments, so that you have to read the list of mindles babble and insults, before you decide to write yet another mindless insult to the list. ;) –  Stein G. Strindhaug Mar 29 '11 at 11:31
    
+1 for cool answer ! –  Soner Gönül Aug 7 '11 at 14:51
    
Heh I never looked at it that way –  Earlz Mar 15 '12 at 6:52
    
I liked your answer alot, good and clear explanation! –  Samuel M Feb 6 '13 at 17:47
  • What is the purpose of the page? The post or comments?
  • If comments are so much what is the consequences?

Obviously no one is more interested in comments, so putting it on the bottom would be better.

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The question was were to put the "add comments" relative to the existing comments. –  Danny Varod Jun 8 '12 at 22:53

If the comments are ordered chronologically, the comment form should be place under the last comment. This will make the "random thoughts from people" a "discussion". + the user goes through the other comments

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I'd offer a variation on Ryan's comment. Instead of a collapsible form at the top, I think placing an anchor link to the form is the best option. I wouldn't put two forms on the page as that's just confusing and clutter. I think you want to give users the opportunity to go right to the comment form or to read what others have said first.

My preferred implementation is as follows:

  • a clear link to the comment form in the post meta data (usually at the top of the page by the title)
  • another link to the form at the bottom of the story (thus providing two options for readers to click directly to it)
  • the actual form at the bottom of all the other comments
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IMO there are activity streams/status casting like Facebook/Twitter's "What's on your mind"/"What’s happening?" where the entries are usually ordered in reverse chronological order to show the most recent items first. The input for this type of entries is put on top. The user enters the text and the entry is places right under it.

Comments on the other hand are in chronological order, the most recent item/reply last. IMO the comment form should be placed after the list of comments, because there where the user writes and where the comment will be displayed.

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Agreed with @Ryan up to some extent. And in fact providing comment link next each entry and when the user click that link or icon should open up as modal window.

Reason for putting modal window is that user is in mind-set of entering the comments so he is focused. Even if the main content get shaded does not matter much. That way it is not necessary to go down to the page to fill the comments.

Regards

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In long entry fields like this, I tend to put input fields where they're going to show up. If my comments list shows comments in order by date, descending. I'll put the Comment box above the others. Otherwise, I put it at the bottom of others.

I almost never duplicate fields though, I'll just put in an anchor at the top that says something like "Add a comment" that takes them down to the form.

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How about a collapsible Add Comment link (which unfolds an Add Comment form) at the top, with the full (expanded, uncollapsed) Add Comment form at the bottom?

This way you won't distract the user who wants to read the comments first, and you also provide a way for the determined commenter to do so quickly.

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It can be helpful to consider the page's semantic structure, or basically how it would render with the stylesheet disabled.

Does it make sense to prompt the User for comments before they read the post? In most circumstances, I would guess not.

If you're considering the accessibility of the page, then having the comment form above the post might make it difficult for a screenreader user to find the actual content.

r.

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I find that putting it on the top is often distracting. on the other hand a site with a lot of comments forces a lot of scrolling if the form is on the bottom.

I like @Dan's idea of considering the audience but would add an idea.

If you do put it on the top make sure it is clean and simple so as not to distract from the comments below. If you put it at the bottom put a "click here to add your comment" (or something similar) link that skips to the comment form.

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+1 to having a "comment" link on the top, putting the form on the bottom, and using an anchor so they can click the link on top if they want to comment right away. –  LoganGoesPlaces Aug 30 '10 at 11:30

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