Comments on all notebooks

We just deployed a new feature: any user can now comment on any notebook.

We’re looking forward to learning from any feedback you can give us. Let us know what you think, here or by leaving a comment on that notebook!


This is an awesome and much needed addition - thanks!

It might be worth describing the type of input that one can place into a comment. I just left a comment on one of Mike’s notebooks and tried to leave a link Markdown style, which evidently doesn’t work.


I may have found a minor issue, but it could also be something about my browser setup: after leaving a comment on @Fil’s notebook on the moving average blur (see link below) he replied with a url to a local cell. Clicking it opens a new tab instead of jumping to that cell however

It seems hard to find comments in long notebooks. For example, here’s what the preview image for Melody’s notebook describing the Observable team looks like when viewed the the current list of trending notebooks:

Note that this indicates that there are 4 comments, but I can’t seem to find them.

1 Like

I think they were ‘hidden’ by the team somehow (I was one of the commentators - if that’s the right word).

There’s a related ‘bug’ / change request that I recall (but would have to work too hard to find) about making the ‘fork’ icon disappear if one trashes the parent notebook. This I guess is quasi related. Probably either the comments were deleted or hidden in some fashion, but the lingering notification tag remains.

That had a occurred to me.

Another indicator is, after clicking into the notebook, there is no longer a comment icon or tally.

Here’s that discussion. Essentially, it’s a difference between what appears in the notebook and what appear in the notebook icon / preview:

Potentially the same underlying issues as pointed out by @mootari on a recent thread.

They’re not hidden per se, but they’re on a cell that was deleted and replaced with a new cell and so the comments are now “detached”. We’ve talked about showing detached comments somewhere, such as at the bottom of the notebook or in a comments pane, but we haven’t quite figured out how they should work yet. (And arguably we should only count attached comments in notebook listings to avoid this discrepancy, but that’s not trivial to do quickly for queries.)


It would be great if notifcation mails could add some context by including the preceding comment. Recently I received a comment notification and assumed that it was in reply to a comment that I left on a notebook. What I didn’t realize: the reply was referring to another comment that had already been there when I commented, but which I hadn’t noticed before.


I’m sure this would be some work but, at some point, you might consider driving the Observable comment system via Discourse. Then, comment based discussion on Observable notebooks would be as robust and full-featured as the discussion we see in this forum.

1 Like

I just noticed that there are no comments on the safe page of notebooks - that’s actually a little impractical when I want to tell a notebook’s author that their code freezes my browser! Or, in reverse, if I’m the author of a broken notebook and need to see someone else’s feedback while I’m fixing it in safe mode.