1 Sep 2009

Navigating Your Comments

We’d like to share some thoughts and get your feedback.

Our goal with IntenseDebate is to make your comments better.  We offer a system that encourages conversation, and improves your ability to have meaningful dialogue with your readers and fellow commenters.  Comments are the icing on your content cake, and there’s real value and insight in comment sections (the icing is the best part!).  That’s why being able to find valuable comments is key.

We think it can be cool to bring in comments and social media from around the web.  That’s why we offer FriendFeed integration (where comments made in FriendFeed are pulled back to your blog), and trackback / pingback support with our WordPress Plugin.   Aggregating constructive and relevant content benefits your comment section (which is why we are checking out aggregation services like BackType and uberVU).

But there can be too much of a good thing — you wouldn’t want a cake that was all icing. Check out Matt Mullenweg’s recent post “6 Steps to Kill Your Community” (especially step 5).   Too many external scraps of “conversation” flood comment sections with retweets, and even tweets about comments on that post.  Adding in every single mention buries your comments and destroys the debate.

A real-time “conversation” aggregation system also introduces a whole new beast to deal with. Pulling in bits of “conversation” in real-time with no moderation would allow belligerent people to dominate a comment section simply by tweeting out curse words (or worse) over and over embarrassing your readers, and drowning out meaningful discussion.

Nicolas Holzapfel wrote an interesting TechCrunch post recently.  He touches on something that we’ve been fixated on for a while: there’s a limit to the number of comments that you’ll read on a post before you move on.  Let’s face it, few of us have time to read through hundreds of comments let alone Tweets, and comments from FriendFeed and Digg.

How can we make it easier to navigate through all of the comments so that you can find what you’re interested in?  We think IntenseDebate strikes the right balance: our user reputation scores, comment voting, comment sorting (by ranking), and comment/user following, are some of the ways we help bring good comments to the forefront.  We also auto-collapse comment threads (once there are 25 threads on a single post), to help navigate. There are a number of great ideas in the comment section of Nicolas’ post:

  • Add headers and topics
  • Show comments made by people within your social network (ID users)
  • Filter comments by keyword
  • Tag clouds

We keep an eye on everything and good ideas can come from anywhere. If you see something killer that we should do, let us know and if there’s enough demand or just if it’s super-cool we’ll get it on the roadmap.

What do you think?

Posted by Michael Koenig in feedback

18 Jun 2008

FriendFeed Comment Retrieval, Gravatar Enhancement, Optional Profanity Filter, & Email Notification Update

FriendFeed Comment Retrieval
ScreenshotKudos to Jon and Austin on this week’s feature release. We’re really stoked to announce our improved FriendFeed support. At IntenseDebate we strive to keep your content on your blog. As your content gets more and more fragmented across other 3rd party services, our goal is to bring your blog content back to you. With this in mind, we’re really pleased to roll out our latest FriendFeed integration, FriendFeed Comment Retrieval. Now when comments are made in the context of your blog on FriendFeed, IntenseDebate will republish them back on your blog! All you need to do is enter in your FriendFeed URL and select the option in your IntenseDebate profile.

Please keep in mind that this is the first step and there is one immediate limitation – FriendFeed does not support threaded comments which prevents comments made in FriendFeed from being threaded on your blog. Also, comments made in FriendFeed that are posted in IntenseDebate are tied to your FriendFeed account instead of your IntenseDebate account. We’re continuing to make this as seamless as possible and are hoping to have these comments tied to your IntenseDebate account.

Enhanced Gravatar Support
Last week we introduced our Gravatar support and last night we rolled out an improvement that we’re calling Auto-Grab Gravatar support. Now we will automatically upload your Gravatar (if you use the service). Just one less step in pimping your IntenseDebate profile. You can choose to use your Gravatar or upload a different profile pic.

Optional Profanity Filter
ScreenshotWe’ve also added an optional profanity filter for blog publishers. Words entered on your profanity list will be replaced with “****.” This option can be enabled in your “Settings” page (select the tab named after your blog followed by the “Settings” sub-tab). Please note that we have not populated the profanity filter – certain words are obvious (shit, fuck, etc.), but we didn’t want to make a decision on the borderline words (ass, asshole, etc.). So we leave it up to you. Love to hear your thoughts about these borderline words, please leave us a fucking comment.

Email Notification Update
An update on our top priority, stabilizing our email notifications. Currently we’ve put a band-aid on it and have we’ve been sending and receiving email notifications consistently. We are switching our outbound mail system to prevent any future email glitches. If you find that you are still not receiving emails, please contact us at support@intensedebate.com. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we get this all sorted out.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

11 Jun 2008

IntenseDebate & FriendFeed

One of our most requested features has been FriendFeed integration with IntenseDebate. We’re really pleased to announce that the team over at FriendFeed hooked us up and integrated IntenseDebate. If you’re into FriendFeed and want to pull your IntenseDebate comments into your feed, feel free to add your IntenseDebate account to your list of services and your comments will be aggregated. We look at this as the next step in bringing your comments into the light (check out our past progress here & here)!

Many thanks to the team at FriendFeed for aggregating IntenseDebate comments!


Posted by Michael Koenig in features

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | IntenseDebate – Official Blog