Out of Context Endorsements

At the risk of alienating my commenters, I perused my comment database for phrases that sound like endorsements (but aren’t) — the more out of context, the better.

  • “I love this guy!” –”Gary Walter
  • “Wow, what a treat!” –”Jmartens
  • “It’s musical, it’s funny, it wears well, and it really hits a raw spot.” –”Roy Gardner
  • “Best joke in the book!” –”Alan in Belfast

For now, these are also in the sidebar. Enjoy!

IntenseDebate Allows Comments to be Edited

I’ve held off implementing Disqus or IntenseDebate commenting systems because they don’t let me edit comments left here. IntenseDebate has changed. According to Michael Koenig:

You can edit comments within the WordPress moderation panel the same way you used to before having IntenseDebate installed. Your changes will be synced back into IntenseDebate. To do this you will need to disable IntenseDebate Enhanced Moderation in the plugin settings page. (Source.)

This is great news!

Update. I have added IntenseDebate comments to blogan. If you see any funkiness, please let me know.

WordPress Comments Done Right

I like commenting on blogs. Unfortunately, plain vanilla WordPress blogs don’t make it easy to join and stay in the conversation. You can use two plugins to fix that problem on your blog.

Filosofo Comments Preview. Nothing’s worse than typing an intelligent and articulate comment on a blog, complete with HTML codes for links and formatting, and then having all that work stripped out. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s worse when I make a mistake and some HTML codes appear in the comment as text. Even “worser” still is that with most WordPress blogs it’s a crap shoot: I have no idea what will happen before I click “Post” and then it’s too late — the comment is now live and I can’t edit it.

Filosofo Comments Preview allows your commenters to preview their comments before posting. They can write their comments, preview them, and then edit them before clicking the “Post” button. I don’t understand why this capability isn’t part of the WordPress core.

Subscribe to Comments. Once I leave a comment, I like to see how others respond. But I read blogs in an RSS reader and wouldn’t see anyone else’s comments. Sure, I could grab the post’s comment feed, but I often forget.

Subscribe to Comments makes it easy for your commenters. A check box by the comment form lets commenter choose to be e-mailed whenever another comment is posted. Who knows — they might come back and post again.

I’m sure there are other plugins that provide essentially the same features, but these are two plugins I know work because I use them. Do you?

Update. I received a question how to make the”Post” and “Preview” buttons sit next to each other. I use the following CSS with the K2 theme:

#commentform #submit, #commentform #preview {

Update 2. I had three (!) mistakes in the first selector for my sample style; it is now correct. I should have used Firebug to inspect my “Post” and “Preview” buttons before posting the first update…

Intense Debate Doesn’t Allow Blog Owners to Edit Comments

I asked Intense Debate whether blog owners have the ability to edit comments using their commenting system and received the following response:

While I completely understand your interest in being able to delete profanity, shorten a URL extending into the margin, or fix a link, this would be an extremely controversial feature to add in. This feature would jeopardize a commenter’s trust that their comments would not be tampered with or distorted, and would potentially destroy the credibility of Intense Debate.

With that in mind, we cannot give blog owners this ability.

The search for improved commenting continues.

The Disqus Experiment

Blogan.net is more an experiment than a platform for expressing my ideas. At least that’s the way it’s played out. It works for me. I have fun trying new cool things. If I have anything important (or not) to say, I have a place to say it.

It’s time to try a new comment system. I’ve chosen Disqus. Features I like:

  • Threaded comments. You can respond to a specific comment.
  • E-mail notification. I’ll know when you leave a comment and I’ll be able to respond via e-mail and have it posted here. As a commenter, you’ll have the same benefits.
  • Gravatar support. Pretty pictures of us. I don’t know whether I can control the ratings or get wavatars or identicons.
  • Comments can be edited. At least if you have a Disqus account.

Issues about Disqus that concern me:

  • No import feature. To keep all the old comments visible, I end up with two different commenting systems on Blogan.net. Supposed, this will be fixed “real soon now.”
  • No useful export feature. Yeah, I can export the comments into XML or RSS. That doesn’t do me much good unless I can also the import that into WordPress’ standard comment database. If I decide I don’t like Disqus, I may end up walking away from the comments that get posted using Disqus.
  • Spam filtering. I have had good luck with Akismet and Spam Karma 2. I hope this is just fear of the unknown instead of a real problem.
  • No control over no-follow, at least not easily. I know of only one commenter that knew and cared that Blogan.net has (had?) no-follow turned off.
  • Comments can be edited. (Yeah, I know — I listed that as a feature I like.) After a certain time period, I’d like the comments to stick.
  • Less ability to edit. I don’t have the same ability to edit my comments I have as the administrator of Blogan.net. How do I easily upload pictures, what HTML works, what doesn’t? I guess some experimentation is in order.

In short, I’m (temporarily?) leaving an underutilized commenting system that works to experiment with an unknown that might increase comments here on Blogan.net.

What do you think? Try leaving a comment. Can you edit it? Do you have a Disqus account?

Update. Okay. I’ve spent a little more time with Disqus. Time to update my lists. Pros:

  • Daniel Ha, who trolls the Disqus support forums and writes the Disqus blog, also watches Twitter and responds quickly. He also has a new follower on Twitter.
  • Comment consolidation. All the comments I leave on Disqus-enable blogs appear on my Disqus community page. It will be easier to follow the conversations I’ve joined.


  • Strange markup. The Disqus editor does not do markup like WordPress. Disqus puts an entire comment in a single <p> tag. Attempting to create paragraphs by hitting the return key twice result in <br><br> instead of closing the paragraph and starting another one. This prevents me from easily styling my comment’s line and paragraph spacing to match the rest of my blog.
  • Documentation. Disqus’ documentation isn’t there, yet. I haven’t found a way to search the forums, either.

The experiment continues…

Update. Not anymore.

Don’t Miss the Comments

If you’re not reading the comments on this blog, you’re missing out. Unfortunately, the comments have been easy to miss. I just changed that; the sidebar on the right now lists the more recently posted comments with brief excerpts.

“Anon” posted a lengthy comment today applying chaos theory, capitalism v. socialism, jurisprudence, and parenting to helping the homeless. Click here to read (or try out the new comment sidebar).