5 May 2010

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Happy May 5th everyone. To celebrate we’ve released two updates: bit.ly URL’s for tweeted comments, and comment voting for everyone.

We used to use tinyurl.com for link shortening when you sent a simultaneous tweet when commenting. Now we’ve switched to bit.ly and you can track real-time click data for your tweets.

And in the spirit of freedom, we have enabled comment voting for everyone: IntenseDebate, WordPress.com, Facebook Connect, and Twitter Sign-in users, along with Guest commenters.

Both of these updates have been requested frequently so we’re happy to deliver. Enjoy! 🙂

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

16 Dec 2009

Blog Tweets: New Plugin Pulls Tweets into IntenseDebate

Our Plugins API is seeing a lot of activity now, and we’re pleased to announce the release of the new Blog Tweets plugin.  Developed by Vivek Puri, the Blog Tweets plugin uses LinksAlpha to aggregate Tweets linking to your blog post in your IntenseDebate comments section.  Blog Tweets will show up to 20 Tweets in your comments section – pretty cool!

Aggregating Tweets linking to your blog can help provide a more holistic view of the conversation going on about your posts.  This has been a popular feature request, and we’re really excited about Vivek’s work.

About the plugin:

When you activate the plugin, LinksAlpha.com indexes your blog feed and scours Twitter for related Tweets that link back to your post. This includes Tweets that link to your post using URL shortening services like bit.ly.

There is a 5-10 minute period for your post to be indexed by LinksAlpha, which means there will be a slight delay for Tweets to start showing up in your comments section.

Also, when the plugin hits the Twitter API it is likely that Twitter will only return results for recent posts, so Tweets about your older posts won’t necessarily show up.

All Tweets are displayed just below the comment section under the header, “Social Trackbacks,” so Tweets won’t interrupt the comment stream.

Like all IntenseDebate plugins, adding advanced features to your comment section is a piece of cake: just visit your Plugins Page at http://intensedebate.com/plugins, and select “Activate” next to the plugin. That’s all! There’s no additional code for you to manually install, so there’s no need to get your hands dirty messing around with your template.

Please keep in mind that activating plugins for your IntenseDebate comments means that additional code will be loading in your comments section, which may impact load times (especially if you’re running loads of our cool plugins 😉 ).

Interested in flexing your own coding muscles and developing a super-slick plugin? Check out our Plugin Resources and documentation. You can also check out our Plugins blog post for more information.

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

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

19 Aug 2009

New IntenseDebate Plugin – TweetMeme!

We’re excited to introduce a new IntenseDebate Plugin: TweetMeme retweet button for your posts!

What’s TweetMeme?TweetMeme retweet button

The TweetMeme retweet button is for website and blog publishers who want to encourage their audience to tweet their content on twitter.

The button shows a live count of the number of times your webpage or blog post has been tweeted.

Now you can install the TweetMeme retweet button with one click through your IntenseDebate Plugins page.

We’re pumped to offer new ways to enrich your blog with additional third party services, with just a simple click of your mouse.  As is the case with other IntenseDebate plugins, like AddToAny Share Buttons, there’s no need to mess around with any code in your template.  We do it for you.  All you have to do is activate it!

Make sure you check out our other Plugins: PollDaddy polls, Seesmic video comments, YouTube, and Smileys.  Learn more about our Plugins and Plugins API.

Many kudos to Dog Lover for their excellent work on the TweetMeme Plugin!  Thank you for your contribution.

Learn more about TweetMeme.

Posted by Michael Koenig in features

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