That seems to be the question for many readers. What makes people leave a comment? Or, more importantly, what keeps them from leaving comments? Well, that's what I've been thinking about lately.
If you've popped in here in the past day or so, you might have noticed something strange going on with the comments on this blog.
No, it's not your imagination, and it's not because of any funny mushrooms you may have consumed lately (if you've been seeing unicorns or fairies you might want to start worrying, though).
It was just me, experimenting with the Disqus and Intense Debate commenting systems. I'm not really happy with the default Blogger comment system, although I do like the new threaded comments. But threaded comments just aren't good enough. Blogger doesn't allow people to comment using their Facebook or Twitter accounts, which is a big problem, because, let's face it, these days everyone is on Facebook and Twitter.
Okay, so you can leave anonymous comments, or even comment with any name you choose, but you have to go through the trouble of inputting that information, which a lot of people just don't want to do. And if you're perpetually signed into Facebook or Twitter, like me, and half the people on the planet, then nothing beats the ease of posting comments with just one click.
Okay, so we agree that having Facebook and Twitter functionality is important, but what's the best way?
If you use the Facebook comment plugin, you lose your Blogger comments, and it doesn't allow you to post with Google, Wordpress or Twitter. Or you could always have both, but then one set of comments sits on top of the other, and that's just awkward.
What to do?
At first, I thought of trying out a tabbed system, that would allow readers to choose between Blogger, Facebook, and Twitter comments, as explained on J.S. Blog Stop. I really liked the idea of being able to keep my Blogger comments, because a lot of my readers use Blogger, as well as adding the Facebook and Twitter options. But, after trying for several hours to set it up, there was no way I could get this working on my blog. This is not an easy system to use, because it involves tinkering with the blog template, and while I have done my share of that, I'm not a programmer, and even though I followed all the instructions, the tabs were just not showing up. When I get some more time, I may give it another try...because I'm stubborn like that.
So, I turned to Disqus. It seemed like a pretty good system, that allows you to import your old comments, so you won't lose the ones that are already on your blog. It also keeps Disqus comments synced with Blogger, so if you decide you want to switch back, you'll be able to take your Disqus comments with you. It's easy to install, all you need is to add the code they give you in a widget and you're done. So, I tried it, and it worked fine, except that Blogger's new threaded comments didn't import well, and replies to comments were just added as comments, so the whole thread structure is lost. It also doesn't have the Comment Luv plugin, which is something I really like. On the plus side, you can leave comments with your Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and it also has the option of posting as a guest. I probably would have left it up, but I found it to be a little slow in loading, probably because the code is in a widget instead of being installed directly into the template.
Finally, I decided to try Intense Debate, to see if it was faster than Disqus. And I also wanted to try out the Comment Luv option. One thing that I really liked about Intense Debate was that it gave me the option to install it either by widget, or directly into my template for faster loading. The installation is just as easy as with Disqus, but with the second option, the comments load much faster. What I didn't like, and this is the reason I have removed it for now, was the fact that it doesn't allow you to sync your comments with Blogger, so if in the future I want to return to the Blogger commenting system, I would lose all the comments that were made while using the Intense Debate system. This is pretty much a deal breaker, because I don't want to be tied to a particular system, without having the option to change in the future.
So, to sum up...
Both Disqus and Intense Debate work fairly well, and they both allow commenting with Facebook and Twitter. But each has it's downside. For Disqus, it's loading time, and for Intense Debate, it's the lack of a Blogger import/export feature. And the tabbed system looks great, but the installation is a major pain. If I had to choose one of these systems right this minute, I'd probably go with Disqus, mostly because it's very easy to install, and most importantly, it's reversible.
What do you guys think? Which do you like better as a blogger and as a commenter? Disqus, Intense Debate, or the default Blogger system? Are there blogs you avoid commenting on because they have a comment system you just don't like?
Oh, and don't forget, commenting on this blog will make you sexier! Trust me, it works.