31 Jul 2013

Flagging and Blocking Trolls

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.

(more…)

Posted by Cheri Rowlands in community,features

27 Feb 2013

Comment Moderation 101

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

3 Feb 2012

Re-check approved comments for spam

Let’s face it, spam happens. While we’ve made a lot of improvements to our Akismet integration to catch future spam from sullying your comments with links to cheap prescription drugs, it’s possible that some spam might have slipped through in the past.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

There’s a nifty new option in your moderation page to re-check all of your approved comments for spam with the click of a button.

Just click on the “Re-check For Spam” button and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you, and run all of the comments on your site through Akismet again.

Think of all of the time that will save you. While we do that, you can take some time away from your computer and slow things down. Go relax with a beverage and rest your eyes for a bit. You can read an old-fashioned newspaper (you know, the kind that you can tear), or catch-up with a long-lost friend – after all, IntenseDebate is all about connecting people. 😉

When you get back, head over to your moderation page again. If we’ve found any spam, there will be a notification waiting for you. If there isn’t one, then your site is spam free.

Keep in mind that the more comments you have, the longer it will take for us to re-check them all. If you return to your moderation page while we’re still checking, then the “Re-check For Spam” button will be greyed-out and inactive.

You can learn more about the rest of our moderation tools at support.intensedebate.com/moderation and read our past posts on our moderation options here.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

20 Jul 2011

Styling Tip: Hide Guest Commenting

It’s been way too long since we last updated our blog – our apologies for the radio silence. I wanted to share a handy bit of CSS to help you further customize the way your readers can post comments to your site. While we offer a couple of different ways to comment – as a guest or using their Facebook, Twitter, WordPress.com, or IntenseDebate account – there wasn’t a way to disable guest commenting while still enabling Facebook Connect and Twitter Sign-in.

But, as you may know, we offer a super-easy way to add custom CSS to bring your own personal style to IntenseDebate through your Custom CSS page. By adding a handy snippet of CSS, you can hide the guest commenter information fields (Name, Email, URL), which will effectively remove the option to post comments as a guest.

Why is this cool?

I’m glad you asked. Currently commenters that post using Facebook Connect and Twitter Sign-in are considered guest commenters since they aren’t posting with an IntenseDebate or WordPress.com account. The issue is that if you disable guest commenting in your moderation settings by requiring readers to have an IntenseDebate or WordPress.com account, you would remove the options to post using Facebook Connect and Twitter Sign-in, which isn’t ideal.

So without further ado, here’s the CSS you can add to your Custom CSS page to get rid of guest commenting:

#idc-container-parent #idc-container .idc-postnav-label,
#idc-container-parent #idc-container .idc-c-m.idc-signup {
display: none !important;
}
#idc-container-parent #idc-container
.idc-postnav-list {
margin: 5px 0 8px;
}

That last little bit adjusts the margin to make up for the hidden fields so there isn’t a gaping space where the guest commenter fields used to be. Feel free to tweak that as you’d like.

Make sure you check out our CSS documentation, along with the rest of our guides to change the font size; text, background, and link colors; width of the comment section; and move the comment box to the top of the comment section.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

24 Jan 2011

CommentLuv Plugin Upgrade

Update 1-31-11: Upgrade complete! If you were running CommentLuv on your blog, then the plugin will automatically be reactivated. Thanks for your patience!

Update 1-28-11: You can add a URL field for Guest commenters in the comment form by enabling the option in your Comment Settings. Make sure you disable CommentLuv in your Plugins page to ensure that the URL field shows up properly.

We will have this updated and back in action soon! We appreciate your patience.

Howdy! It’s time for an upgrade to the IntenseDebate CommentLuv plugin.

We have temporarily deactivated CommentLuv on IntenseDebate while we change the tapes and switch over to the new version.

We will post a status update once the new version is installed. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features,News

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