Tiny Utterances

This page demonstrates Tiny Utterances, a minimalistic alternative to utterances. Utterances is a comment system powered by Github Issues, and so is Tiny Utterances. It uses GitHub's REST API to fetch the comments on an issue of your choice and displays them on your webpage. You can see it in action at the bottom of this page.

Why not utterances?

I think the idea behind utterances is brilliant. However, there are two reasons why I decided to look for something else. First, utterances doesn't seem to be actively developed anymore. It could be that it's mostly "done", so this in itself is not the most compelling reason to dismiss it. Second, and most importantly, I didn't feel good about the permissions it requests.

Utterances needs to be able to comment on issues on my behalf and read comments on issues. However, I can't tell from the permissions screen above what actions I'm allowing it to perform in my name. I don't know who's to blame for this. Maybe it's not possible to request fine-grained permissions. Maybe utterances only requests the permissions I just mentioned, but GitHub's permissions screen is not detailed enough to reflect that. Either way, I didn't feel good about this, and I didn't want to dive into its source code to see what exactly was going on.

Why not giscus?

Giscus is a comment system powered by Github Discussions. It is inspired by utterances. The permissions it requests are again the reason for me to look elsewhere.

Why not X?

There are quite a few comments systems. Some of them are paid, and I'd like to avoid spending money. Some of them set the type of cookies that require me to put up a cookie banner, which I'd like to avoid. Some of them require hosting, which I'd also like to avoid. Some of them have dubious reputations when it comes to respecting privacy, which I don't like.

How to use Tiny Utterances?

Using Tiny Utterances requires the following things:

  1. A CSS file
  2. A small JavaScript script
  3. A snippet of HTML that you include on the page that you want to enable comments for
  4. A GitHub Issue
Follow these steps to set up Tiny Utterances:
  1. Visit the GitHub repository for Tiny Utterances for the CSS and JavaScript. Include them on the page on which you want to display comments. Set the "defer" attribute on the HTML tag for the script.
  2. Create a public GitHub repository if you don't already have one. Create a new issue and remember its number. You can find the number of an issue in the URL for that issue.
  3. Include the following snippet of HTML on the page on which you want to display comments, and replace the placeholders with appropriate values:
    <div class="tiny-utterances"
        <a class="tu-button"
            Discuss this page on Github

That's all you need to get started. After performing these steps, you'll have a comment section like the one below.


Discuss this page on Github