Zach’s ugly mug (his face) Zach Leatherman

Render Snarky Comments in Comic Sans

June 07, 2019

I had the pleasure of attending an IndieWebCamp before the amazing Beyond Tellerrand conference a few weeks back and I’m still buzzing from the experience.

I can’t really express how meaningful this experience was to me. An antithesis to the rat race of social media, IndieWebCamp was a roomful of kindred spirits that care about the web and their own websites and hosting their own content. It felt like the Google Reader days again, when everyone was blogging and writing on their own sites. I dunno if you can tell but I loved it. If you get the chance to attend one of these events, jump on it (I really want to run one in Omaha 👀).

Webmentions, Disqus, Wordpress

At the event I got a working example of webmentions going on my personal web site. I already had a static copy of my old Disqus comments that I’d exported (which included copies of old Wordpress comments that I’d imported into Disqus 😎).

Webmentions are made possible for static web sites when you use, a service to log incoming entries. Another service, Bridgy, crawls social networking sites for mentions of my site and sends those over to automatically.

If I’ve already lost you, luckily Max Böck wrote up a lovely tutorial on how to do this using Eleventy (his site is amazing, too). Max also created an eleventy-webmentions starter project which has all the code for this. Hopefully we can get some form of this merged back into the upstream eleventy-base-blog too.

You can see an example of how the webmentions look on my site at one of my recent blog posts: Google Fonts is Adding font-display.

Sentiment Analysis

Hosting my own content and comments allows me to be a bit more creative with it. So I decided to take this a step further and have a little fun with negative comments.

First, how do we find out if a comment is negative? Let’s try to use Natural, a plugin on npm. I added a Liquid filter to my Eleventy configuration file to analyze text and spit out a sentiment value. 0 is neutral, < 0 is negative, and > 0 is positive. Note that this natural language processing isn’t 100% (sometimes I’ll get a false positive) but this is just a fun demo on my site.

const Natural = require('natural');
const analyze = new Natural.SentimentAnalyzer("English", Natural.PorterStemmer, "afinn");

module.exports = function(eleventyConfig) {
    eleventyConfig.addLiquidFilter("getSentimentValue", function(content) {
        if( content ) {
            const tokenizer = new Natural.WordTokenizer();
            return analyze.getSentiment(tokenizer.tokenize(content));

        return 0;

And then in my Liquid template, I use this integer value to add a static-comments-reply-salty class:

{% assign sentiment = webmention.content.text | getSentimentValue %}
<li class="static-comments-reply{% if sentiment < 0 %} static-comments-reply-salty{% endif %}">

And then in my stylesheet, I use this class to opt-into a lovely stack of Comic Sans, Chalkboard, and of course a fantasy fallback for kicks:

.static-comments-reply-salty {
    font-family: Comic Sans MS, Chalkboard SE, fantasy;

As extra credit, I also used the random-case plugin to mODifY tHe TeXt (at David Darnes excellent recommendation).

How does it look?

This was taken from a real comment on my site.


  1. Jeez Louise Disqus

    22 Feb 2015 at 12:03PM

    Hey man, you need to fix this or take it down. Don't you see how many people are complaining that it doesn't work?


  1. Jeez Louise Disqus

    22 Feb 2015 at 12:03PM

    heY mAN, yOu nEEd TO fix ThIs Or TaKE IT Down. don'T YoU SeE hOw MAnY PeOplE arE cOmPlaIning thAt iT DOEsN't WorK?

This isn’t intended to be a hot-take on Comic Sans. Instead it’s meant to change the tone of the negativity to make it sound like a clown is yelling at a kid’s birthday party.

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Zach Leatherman IndieWeb Avatar for a builder for the web at IndieWeb Avatar for He is the creator and maintainer of IndieWeb Avatar for https://www.11ty.devEleventy (11ty), an award-winning open source site generator. At one point he became entirely too fixated on web fonts. He has given 79 talks in nine different countries at events like Beyond Tellerrand, Smashing Conference, Jamstack Conf, CSSConf, and The White House. Formerly part of Netlify, Filament Group, NEJS CONF, and NebraskaJS. Learn more about Zach »


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IndieWeb Avatar for IndieWeb Avatar for
  1. James Peters



  2. chaddattilio


    The random capitalization makes it look like a Trump tweet.

  3. Zach Leatherman


    Who? (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  4. Evan Plaice


  5. Tyler Sticka


    For some reason I want the default avatar to be Ralph Wiggum…

  6. cthos


    ZACH. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏🎉

  7. Jeremy Swinnen


    totALLY GONNA STeal thIS fOR My blOg 😉

  8. Horlaes


    Can I use this on WordPress?

  9. Zach Leatherman


    Sorry—no! Someone would have to adapt the approach to work as a WordPress plugin

  10. nystudio107


    Hope you don't mind I nicked some of your CSS?… (scroll down)

  11. Zach Leatherman


    nAw nOT AT ALL—lOOKS GreAt! ONE tHING i also do Is AdD anOthER CLaSs to sET a FixED siZE TO ThAt LABeL whEN EiTHeR lIST WrAps so tHe FIRsT LiNe AlIGnS wITh THe REsT:

  12. Phil Hawksworth



  13. Dave 🧱


    I mean half of the code is right here

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