As some of you might know, IntenseDebate is part of a bigger family of services on the web, brought to you by Automattic. We work on many projects on the internet, from supporting bloggers around the world at WordPress.com to supercharging self-hosted websites at Jetpack to fighting spam at Akismet — and much more.
If you’re interested in getting involved and joining a team dedicated to making the web a better place, consider joining us — we’re currently hiring. Take a look at the available positions, including developers, engineers, designers, and other wranglers. Maybe you will be next to join us — and contribute to awesome projects like IntenseDebate!
So, don’t be shy — come work with us.
Posted by Cheri Rowlands in community,News
For as long as there have been blogs and discussion forums, there have been trolls. A troll is a commenter who hangs around your site primarily to annoy and aggravate you and your readers. Trolling is different from simply being critical. Not all of your readers will agree with everything you write — in fact, we bet your favorite readers are the ones who swing by for a healthy intellectual debate! But a troll’s comments rarely have anything to do with the topic at hand — they’re there to anger and intimidate others, and derail your discussion.
Posted by Cheri Rowlands in community,features
We’ve recently launched updates that may affect the way you log in to IntenseDebate. We’ve now switched over to using WordPress.com Connect for IntenseDebate, which allows you to securely use your WordPress.com credentials to log into IntenseDebate.com and IntenseDebate-powered commenting areas.
What does this mean?
If you previously used a WordPress.com account to log in to IntenseDebate, you’ll now do this using WordPress.com Connect. Once you’ve connected your account once, you should be all set. If you used an original IntenseDebate account to log in, you can continue to do so using those details.
When prompted, authorize IntenseDebate to access your WordPress.com account:
The benefit of switching to WordPress.com Connect is that it means your account information is managed in one, super-secure place (WordPress.com) and ultimately streamlines your online experience — for example, you can use this same account to log into other products, including VaultPress, Akismet, Polldaddy, and Gravatar. It also means you can take advantage of additional security features on WordPress.com, like the recently-launched Two Step Authentication.
Note: We also fixed a bug with Twitter authorization, so if you or your commenters were having any trouble logging in to comment using a Twitter account, that should be working now. If you have feedback or questions on any of these updates, please contact us. Thanks!
Posted by Cheri Rowlands in Uncategorized
In our last post, we focused on commenting etiquette, so this time, let’s move across the table and talk about moderating your comments.
Your moderation options
IntenseDebate offers some powerful moderation options. On your Moderation Settings page, you can customize your settings to filter and moderate by keywords, the number of links in a comment, and commenters’ email addresses or IP addresses.
You can also enable a profanity filter, ban specific usernames, and automatically approve comments from users who meet a minimum reputation score, which you can specify in your settings.
Comment moderation 101
Sure, you’ve set up your moderation options, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. Comment moderation is a regular part of the blogging process. The discussion you generate is just as important as your content. Here are some moderating tips:
- Reply to comments. Your job doesn’t end when you hit the “publish” button, right? When readers leave comments, keep the conversation going in real time. Use the Reply-By-Email feature to respond swiftly to comments via email — especially when you’re on the go — before your thoughts slip your mind.
- But don’t reply to every comment. If you receive a lot of comments and you reply to each with a simple “thanks,” your discussion will suffer. These comments, while friendly, are terse and ultimately meaningless. Where’s the debate? Your replies should always add something substantial that builds on the conversation, so avoid stagnant, dead-end comments.
- Keep it error-free. Carefully read every comment you approve and edit if needed. While these are other people’s words and thoughts, this is ultimately your site, so treat it like a newspaper or publication. Ensure the copy, whether in your own posts or in the discussion threads, is clean and free of mistakes and misspellings. Trust us — errors looks bad. Period.
- Police, but do so politely. We know you love lively debates, but don’t encourage nasty and abusive comments. They intimidate new readers, derail conversations, and distract you from good blogging. It’s your site — set your rules! Give people polite warnings, but if they continue on with offensive comments, ban them. Your commenters also have the ability to report abusive comments with the “Report” button.
- Post commenting guidelines. If you feel like a sheriff on your own blog — how not fun, right? — consider posting commenting guidelines. It’s a transparent way to let readers know what comments you approve and delete and helps to deter unwanted behavior. (Check out the WordPress.com News blog’s guidelines as an example.)
- Play around with the keyword filter. The keyword filter tool on your Moderation Settings page is handy. Entering a keyword will flag any instance of that particular word, including partial matches, so be careful when adding two or three letter keywords — “the,” for example, includes words like “theme,” “theory,” etc. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, this filter tool becomes quite powerful.
- Knock on your neighbors’ doors, too. Networking and developing intellectual and professional connections with your readers is one of the best parts of blogging. If you have loyal commenters, visit and comment thoughtfully on their sites as well, keeping in mind the commenting tips you’ve learned.
For more details on moderating comments, visit the moderation support page.
As for IntenseDebate updates, we’ve upgraded servers to PHP5.4 to improve performance, removed OpenID, and fixed a bug with Facebook Connect that prevented you from logging in using Facebook if you were already logged into Facebook.
If you have questions or comments about IntenseDebate, send us a note.
Posted by Cheri Rowlands in features
In the past, we’ve used this blog to post news and updates about our commenting software. We hope IntenseDebate has improved your overall experience on different sites — including your own.
This time around we thought it’d be helpful to offer tips on commenting in general. What’s the point of setting up and using IntenseDebate’s features if you make comments in the blogosphere but no one engages with you? We’re all for an intense debate, but your comments must always help to generate a lively, healthy, and constructive discussion.
Here are some tips on how to be a more thoughtful and effective commenter:
- Read entire posts and responses. With IntenseDebate, you can respond to and moderate comments on-the-go with the help of email notifications and the handy reply-by-email feature. But be careful, as other commenters can tell if your comment is made in haste. Always read a post in its entirety before leaving a comment. Use the option to subscribe to all comments so you can read all other comments before adding your own.
- Contribute something new. A post often acts as the springboard for a new conversation. Instead of a simple “great post” or “thanks for writing this” or “I really enjoyed your take,” add something substantial and new to move the discussion forward — add another point to the original post, respond to a question posed by another commenter, or ask your own follow-up question to which the original poster or anyone else can respond. Remember: your reputation score is based not just on the quantity, but the quality of the comments you make across all sites with IntenseDebate.
- Get to the point. A comment is exactly that — a comment. Succinctness is important, and a comment should never be the length of a blog post. If you have a lot to say on a particular subject, leave a teaser in the comment section that summarizes your stance, and then link to a relevant post on your own site that expands on the topic. You not only express what you have to say, but also draw readers to your own site.
- Avoid blatant self-promotion. This type of comment is easy to spot — a quick, thoughtless comment saying “thanks” or “check out my site” with a link to your own site or blog. Don’t do this — moderators may delete your comment, and if you leave shameless plugs like this on a regular basis, you may be banned from leaving comments on other sites.
- Ensure your account settings are up-to-date. Users want to learn more about you — with whom they’re interacting, and who they’re challenging! Make sure your commenter profile is updated with your display name and description, correct links to your blogs/sites and external services (social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and a current picture (Gravatar).
Posted by Cheri Rowlands in community