How to Evaluate Your Comment System Needs

We’re always looking for ways to improve your comments and help make your site more social.  If you run an active site, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of commenting challenges: moderating large queues, filtering spam, and most importantly keeping your community engaged.  These days, there are several commenting solutions available to publishers.  Here’s our perspective on how to choose the one that’s best for you.

How easy is it to use?

Find the good stuff. There are tons of insightful comments that get lost in a sea of white-noise. You can help your readers find valuable comments with a rating mechanism like comment voting to sort the good stuff to the top. Anything that can help you determine the commenter’s reputation and credibility will help you get a quick overview of which comments are worth your time.

Stay organized and involved. Organization makes for better debates. With comment threading your replies will appear in just the right spot instead of at the bottom of a long, long list of comments. Email notifications for new comments and the ability to respond to comments via email, keep your commenters involved and they won’t miss a beat.

Are your comments social?

Know who you’re talking with. When your readers know their fellow commenters, they will automatically become more engaged.  Profiles, avatars, user descriptions, comment history, and Twitter integration makes it easy to get to know one-another.  Here’s an excellent example of a commenter profile.

Lower the barrier to participation. Tie in their existing profiles from WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook, so all they have to do is type their comment and hit submit. And it’s all about sharing, so you should also give your commenters a way to share their comments on Twitter and Facebook.

How easy is it to manage?

Moderation, moderation, moderation! A commenting solution with hardcore spam and moderation filters will help you manage your comments easily and keep it all in good order. Different admin privileges are helpful for assigning additional moderators to help manage your account.

Crowdsource it! Give your readers the ability to report abusive comments. Having the option to set filters to automatically remove problematic posts will let your readers help you keep the conversation classy.

Performance is key! Managing high comment volume can be a burden on your servers, especially if your traffic and comments are just starting to take off.  Hosted commenting solutions are a great way to alleviate the pain, so you can focus on more important things like your next post.

We offer a super-charged comment system called IntenseDebate that can be used on any website. We’ve identified and developed loads of features to increase comment activity, along with new ways to efficiently manage your comments. As a hosted commenting solution, IntenseDebate can help you optimize your site’s performance so your servers don’t have to do any heavy lifting when it comes to your comments. The features described above are just a few of the ways IntenseDebate can improve the discussion on your site, and we’re constantly working to bring more features into the mix.

To learn more about IntenseDebate have a look at the video below, check out IntenseDebate.com, or email me at michael@intensedebate.com.

14 thoughts on “How to Evaluate Your Comment System Needs

  1. IntenseDebate for sure has a lot to offer, especially for the WordPress blogs and I would love to have some of those features “built in” and drop some of my Plugins. But at the same time I’m still hesitant about trying it out.

    • Is there anything in particular that you're hesitant about?

      Our WordPress plugin features full data sync between IntenseDebate and WordPress – every comment submitted via IntenseDebate is automatically synced to your database so you'll always have all of your comments. If you ever change your mind, you can deactivate the plugin and it will be like nothing ever happened.

  2. Anyone else find it odd that Intense Debate isn’t being used on the Automattic blog?

  3. How do I find out more about tying in/integrating existing profiles from Facebook etc. so folks can comment more easily?

  4. What about comments posted *before* ID? Will all those commenters lose their avatars/gravatars or connection if they've already connected through Facebook, etc. on our site? Currently using ECHO and I'm not digging it.

    • IntenseDebate imports all of your WordPress comments when you install. That includes the comment data, so if the commenter has a Gravatar, then we'll display it. We don't have a way to import Facebook Connect profiles since that's a separate service and that data isn't available for us to do. But Facebook Connect and Twitter Sign-in are available through IntenseDebate so your readers will be able to use those authentication methods when they post their next comment.

      If you're able to export your Echo comments back to WordPress then we'll be able to import those comments into ID. We'd love it if you gave ID a try! Please let me know if you have any questions – email is generally the easiest way to get in contact, so feel free to give me a shout at support@intensedebate.com.

  5. Hi Michael,

    I wholeheartedly agree that user interaction is critical, and would love an effective way to moderate comments for value (and spam). Do you offer instructions on how to integrate this into a php website? I'm not a coder but would be happy to pay someone to integrate intensedebate to a site I am building where I really want to encourage visitor participation.

    Thanks,

    Gavin

  6. I'm a hobbyist blogger, and I have a couple personal blogs. It's amazing the amount of spam I have to deal with on a regular basis. I currently use Akismet, but it has severe limitations. I would definitely be interested in ID, weeding out spam has really become a chore. The crowdsourcing option is probably the best feature

  7. I have tried Intense Debate on one of my other blogs that I have and it does help with the spam a heck of a lot more, and actually makes it more fun for the readers and commenting if a good subject gets going :)

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