3 Dec 2012

Commenting 101: Get the Most Out of IntenseDebate

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 Lucas Rowlands in community

16 Jan 2010

Moderation Whitelist and User Profile Update

Nothing ruins a vibrant comment thread faster than a link to buy cheap Xanax and play online poker at a porn site. Even worse is the friendly spam that can sometimes slip through – you know, it says “great site, I’ll be subscribing to your blog” but it’s really a link to a spammy website.  With that in mind, we’re doing some major work on our backend to improve the IntenseDebate spam filters and Akismet integration.

While there’s still work to be done, the good news is that we’re making excellent progress to improve the effectiveness of our filters. The not-so-good news is that our filters are sometimes too strict, and legitimate commenters are flagged as spam. This is happening because either the user’s past comments have been marked as spam, or their comments are confused as friendly spam. While we’re working to correct this issue, we’ve added a User Whitelist to serve as an immediate fix.  Adding a user to your whitelist will automatically approve all of their comments.

Your User Whitelist is located in your Moderation Settings Page at http://intensedebate.com/edit-site-moderation. To add a user to the whitelist, just type in their username and select the “Whitelist” button. Then make sure to click the save button at the bottom of the page.

User Profile Update
We’ve also made a minor change to the display name links in the comment section.  If you have added a blog or website to your IntenseDebate profile, your display name will now link to that instead of to your IntenseDebate profile page. If you haven’t added your blog or website to your profile, you can add it at http://intensedebate.com/editprofile.

Don’t have a blog or website? Don’t worry! Your display name will link to your IntenseDebate profile. You can still access IntenseDebate profiles by selecting “View IntenseDebate Profile” when you hover over an avatar. This was a popular request so we’re happy to provide this update!

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

18 Sep 2009

IntenseDebate.com Redesign Update

Our last blog post announced our redesign of the Edit Profile pages where you manage your IntenseDebate user account. We’ve continued to make our way across other pages in your IntenseDebate.com account, and we’re pleased to introduce our latest redesigns of your account Dashboard and Following pages.

Your Dashboard has had an overhaul and a bit of a face lift to match the new design style, while the Following page has been reorganized and is now easier to maintain.

One of the most noticeable changes to the layout is the sidebar. We’ve added additional tabs to the sidebar for your Dashboard and Following pages, which we think drastically improves ease of navigation. This is a theme that you will continue to see as we set our sights on your blog admin pages.

The coolest part about our redesign is that this is giving us a chance to cleanup and update our CSS and other background code, which fits in with our future plans for localizing IntenseDebate.com. We have just begun our localization project for the comment section interface, so localizing IntenseDebate.com is a longer-term project. Keep an eye out for another localization progress update coming soon.

We’re rolling this out slowly to minimize shell-shock that normally accompanies major interface changes. We’re always interested in feedback, so let us know what you think about the redesign.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

11 Sep 2009

Slick New User Account Pages

One of our ongoing projects has been revamping all of the useful pages in your account at IntenseDebate.com.  We’ll be the first to admit it, there’s a ton of awesome features in your profile but they need to be better organized so you can find them all!  We don’t want you to be overwhelmed with too many sudden changes, so we’ve been rolling out small changes over the past several weeks, some of which have likely gone unnoticed, until now…

We have released two major changes. The first is our stylish new home page at IntenseDebate.com. Since you have to be logged out of your IntenseDebate account in order to see the front page (click here to logout), you might not have noticed that one. But, the next change you will undoubtedly notice when you’re logged into your account, and that’s your shiny new Edit Profile page.

So what’s new?
It’s all about the layout. On our old profile pages we just crammed in as much as we could. We would release new features like our Twitter integration (tweet this & latest tweets) or our Gravatar support and we would squeeze it into the old page. Now we’ve organized it a bit more sensibly.  In your Profile Panel you’ll find the following:

  • Account Page: here you can manage your basic account settings like your username, email address, OpenID, password, and email notification options.
  • User Profile Page: your display name, profile description, and your personal websites (linked to in your profile) are all located here.
  • User Picture: manage your Gravatar or IntenseDebate avatar.
  • Services: this is where you can manage all of your 3rd party services that you link to in your profile, as well as your Twitter account integration.

We think you’ll agree that this is a major improvement.  Hats off to Isaac and Jon for their work!  Keep an eye for more changes as we continue to make our way across IntenseDebate.com. 🙂

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

14 May 2009

The IntenseDebate Avatar Is Dead. Long Live The Gravatar!

Gravatar logo png jpg pdf ai eps balloons glass glossyBig news! We’re migrating our avatar system over to Gravatar! We’re all part of the Automattic family and Gravatar has it down, so as the saying goes, “why recreate the wheel?” This is going to be a gradual process so don’t panic.

What is a gravatar?

A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

We’ve rolled out the first steps of this process. We now check to see if you have a gravatar and if you do, we’ll automatically use it. If you are using an IntenseDebate avatar instead of your gravatar then you’ll notice a change (unless your gravatar and IntenseDebate avatar are the same!). Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Next up, you might have noticed the blue message in your IntenseDebate account prompting you to verify your email address. This is to make sure you are who you say you are. 😉 If you haven’t verified your email address yet, please go ahead and do so.

We’ll keep you posted on the next phases of this project. If you haven’t discovered Gravatar yet, check it out and create your own!

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

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