I’ve changed the commenting system on my WordPress blog again, and this time I’ve chosen IntenseDebate. In the end the niggles in JS-Kit Echo proved too much, though I still think it has a lot of potential. So, after a couple of weeks with ID, how does it stack up? Let’s start at the beginning.
First of all, here’s a quick roundup of the main features of IntenseDebate:
- It works with WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and Tumblr
- It allows people to comment using IDs from different social services
- It allows you to follow other users and keep up with the comments they make
Getting IntenseDebate installed on my blog was a breeze compared with Echo. I went through the quick signup process, added my blog to my account and downloaded the plugin. Once the plugin was installed, my comments were imported. Though I got a warning that it might take some time (I have a couple of thousand comments on the blog), the process was quite quick and, unlike Echo, required no manual intervention. There was no messing about over the issue of who was blog administrator either.
IntenseDebate For Commenters
IntenseDebate works well if you want to comment on a blog. You have the option of the traditional name, email,Website or you can use your Twitter, Facebook, OpenID or IntenseDebate credentials. If you have a gravatar, this is automatically included with your comment (which is no surprise as ID comes from the same company, Automattic.
IntenseDebate For Administrators
ID has a number of settings which you can use to tweak the user experience on your blog. You can:
- choose whether or not to moderate all comments
- pre-approve some comments based on reputation score or previous comment approvals
- use both Aksimet and ID spam filtering (with blacklists for words, IP addresses and email addresses)
- change the layout, location, language and style of the comment section, including threading, comment voting, custom CSS and more
- allow users to post images
Moderation is a breeze. You get moderation emails from ID and approve comments in your ID or WordPress dashboard. For me, this was the trickiest part of the process. A couple of times I approved comments in WordPress but found them still waiting for approval when I logged into ID. However, for the most part, the system works very well.
Things I Particularly Like
IntenseDebate has more features than I can possibly cover here, but here are some of the killer features:
- It keeps a general comment history and I can also click on recent posts to see a history for each post
- It provided comment statistics (though still not as good as the WP-Stats program)
- I see less spam
- It allows users to tweet their comments so they can be shared more widely
This last is a biggie. One of the questions I asked on Twitter before installing ID was about integration with WordPress. I got a quick response that all comments remain in your WordPress database, so if you ever uninstall ID, you won’t lose them. I was pleased to see that when loading my site on a slow connection, all comments appeared in the right order, threaded and with Gravatars.
IntenseDebate is a robust comment system which integrates well with WordPress and other blogging platforms. While it doesn’t integrate comments from other social services like Echo did (the one place where Echo wins out), you don’t have to do anything special to get it to work – and that makes it a winner for me.