I’ve invented the perfect comment system. Mine.

When discussing the quality and quantity of blog comments, the system makes a difference.

First: Major hat tip to Judy Gombita, we’ve had some wonderful exchanges on this subject. Second: The choice of a commenting system is a personal decision every blogger must make themselves, right up there with which platform is right for their blog.

Let’s compare the usual comment system suspects

  1. WordPress has about a gagillion plugins to prettify the nesting replies, CommentLuv for links, spam zapping. Plenty of ways to go native and build a tremendous blog community.
  2. Disqus. I like that it saves my comments, that I can reply to replies from that site if I want. Has ‘Like’ Button. Has added the @mention, following the competition. One thing I like: EDIT button, helps me fix typos and make sense of my rambles.
  3. Livefyre. Game changing upstart with its real-time posting, social mentions and notifications. Has ‘Like’ Button. Started the @mention, a way to Tweet at someone when you’re talking about them behind their backs.. a way to make it more ‘social.’ One thing I DO like about it, the @group reply: Person A comments, B replies, so on; if there are 5 people in a thread, I can post just one reply ‘addressed’ to them all.

Google, Intense Debate, Open ID are other options. While the captcha of some of these drives me batty, at least that ‘preview’ lets me see if I’ve shared something galactically stupid. Another issue with various different systems: they don’t always run on other blogging platforms. YES I think WordPress is The Standard, but cannot deny the existence of Typepad, Posterous, Blogger though maybe Tumblr is just technobeasts.

My dream comment system? A wacky hybrid with one key feature – I call the shots.

I want my own buttons. Like is not enough. LOL, LMAO, What He/She Said, Facepalm! Let me have some fun with it. Seriously though – racking up points and gamification aside, I’m not sure of its purpose – the “like” button. I often use it to show that I’ve read it, or seen your reply to my reply as some has to shut up already and NOT get the last word. At times I’ve felt silly typing in a “like” or “ITA” in a comment and yet, there are times that’s all I have to add.

Fewer hoops. I don’t like registration required. I did sign up for Disqus a few years back, since it was commonly used. I’ve set up my LiveFyre profile but I don’t consider a Twitter-auth a full-on registration. As blog owner, I’d still want to give readers the option of the old fashiond name, email, URL to post a comment.

Better format. If the blog field is a narrow width, then the nesting replies become an issue as they indent to tiny little slivers.. or just go on forever in a unattractive hot mess. I’d want to collapse threads, nesting replies as they go a little off topic, to maintain more structural integrity and readability. After the Xth sub-reply, have a neatly collapsed thread like on some BBS and forums.

Link love for guests. I like how the CommentLuv plugin gives back to those who honor me with their comments. More than links, we see what each other is writing about and maybe discover a new blog or two. A must have.

Notification options. Ad nauseum or never, WTH kind of choice is that? Marcus Sheridan’s BWENY post would have had my inbox begging for mercy had I not stopped subscribing to comments. I’d want control over how many emails my posts send; AND give to subscribers, a lot more options for annoyingly frequent updates.

Social sharing. If someone wants to tweet at someone about my post, power to ‘em. And thanks. A lot of people like the ability to pull others into the discussion via the notifications, I’m just not sold that more comments equal better discussion, quality vs. quantity debate.

What are your dreamy commenting features? Please share.

Photo credit: Went with an old Dilbert.

Comments (47) | Trackback

47 Responses to “I’ve invented the perfect comment system. Mine.”

  1. [...] Brewer wrote recently about features she’d like to see added to comment systems. Here’s another one. Livefyre implements a feature that lets me go to a page for my account [...]

  2. Davina, I really, really loved your post. You’ve got a new fan! I can see that I’m going to have a lot of fun here.

    I’d add the fact that I’d love to have the customized “like” buttons, but that’s been said so many times that I won’t. I’m hopeful you appreciate my courtesy there. ;)

    Thanks for a good read!
    Paula Lee Bright recently posted..Eleven Books That Will Rock Your World

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Totally appreciated Paula. Buttons have there place, many times I’ve wished for them so I don’t have to just reply “read.. agree” or “What she said.” And your post on books (been meaning to make time and step up my reading).. should get a look this weekend.

    [Reply]

  3. [...] are countless ways for people to add comments to websites. Programs like Disqus, Comment Luv, LiveFyre…the list goes on and on. But Davina Brewer would [...]

  4. So when are you creating said commenting plugin masterpiece?

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Heh, who knows? Not sure I’ll ever make a perfect one and when I do, it’ll only be perfect for me. Sure your ideal comment system will look a little different, thanks.

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  5. So with you. Going through the same dilemma right now: I love the tracking and sm-savvy features, but still let my grandmother comment without having to sign up for twelve different accounts (yes, my grandmother does comment). Let me know when you find some well-meaning web developer to create yours.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Corianda. I think WP is as close to having your own developer just because as blog owner, YOU control the plugins. Now it may not always have a plugin for what you want, but it’s close. There are features that I ‘get’ in some systems, but not sure I’d want that all the time. Thanks for sharing your comment today.

    [Reply]

  6. [...] I’ve invented the perfect comment system. Mine. – by Davina Brewer, 3hatscommunication.com [...]

  7. Dear Davina

    Thank you for enlightening me. And all the great links to the options available! I am currently on wordpress but was thinking to change to livefyre or disqus… I just think I don’t have enough comments for these two 3rd party systems and fear I may irritate the readers who don’t have their own blog, or don’t want to register.

    I am now considering just adding CommentLuv

    Agreed on The Lion’s comments clogging the inbox. I subscribe to them for now. I read the first 20-30 and then start deleting them unless they are directed at me.

    My fav would be to have Livefyre or Disqus w/o requiring the reader to have to sign up.

    Thanks again, Rajka
    ExpatDoctorMom recently posted..Cyberparenting- The New Parenting

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I know some folks see an increase in comments with Livefyre Rajka.. but it’ll also depend on the blog community too – how much everyone else engages with each other, if they prefer real-time, etc. I think CommentLuv is a big bonus if you have an active community of commenters that are also bloggers.

    I used to subscribe for a while and then stop, but later realized that I’d read others as I read my replies anyway.. so no since killing the inbox. There are options out there, but for me.. not enough control of them. It’s why I’d like to invent my own.. thanks for stopping by.

    [Reply]

  8. Ha!
    I’ve thought about this so many times and have even talked about the “perfect” commenting system with a couple blogger friends who are quite good with the techie stuff. Heck, I even wrote down most things that I wanted to see in my comment system which of course I also gave a name to lol. I actually wanted to create one and then realized after talking with a friend that it probably wasn’t as easy (and very costly I heard) as I had imagined it to be.

    But I’ll tell you what – instead of leaving you another of my novels here – I may just do a follow up to this post sometime soon and of course link to you (that’s if you don’t mind of course). I’m so glad you wrote this – I wish my little brain had thought of publishing my ideas as well instead of jotting notes on a piece of paper.

    You’ve got some kick-ass suggestions here Davina. I especially like the What he said/she said, Facepalm ideas haha! Those rock!

    The one that drives me most crazy is when the thread becomes so tiny and thin that you see one word per line. And of course – I’ve said this many times before but I would definitely have a “Love” button there as well. Sometimes “like” just isn’t enough :).

    Anyhoo – will keep you posted when I get around to typing it out. Thanks for the extra inspiration and if your comment system existed – I’d be the first to sign up for it :)).

    Hope your week has been treating you well my dear.
    Talk soon.

    Cheers
    Ingrid Abboud recently posted..Bring IT! 17 Things About You!

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    By ALL means, link away Ingrid. I’ll look forward to reading your ideas and seeing if any match my own, as well as what new things you invent. Think THAT is what I want most, what would serve a busy blog best is the control; the ability of the blog owner to make changes and improvements tailored to the blog and the community. Everyone would have their own slightly different systems.

    Nesting threads, sub-replies that go on forever. All that chit-chat is fun and there are times the back-and-forth REALLY add to a discussion, but it becomes too hard to read when the layers shrink and narrow, when they don’t nest or collapse just so. Tricky but an area for improvement.

    I’d also like to make it easier to reblog some comments; you write some doozies, I’ve read epic ones on so many sites.. even written a few myself that were pretty damn good (if I do say so myself). Just thinking there should be a better way not just to link to that, but also recycle it elsewhere. Hmm.. Thanks for keeping this going.

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  9. Just starting to come to terms with a lot of the things you mention in this post. So thanks for getting it all down into an amount I can go over a few times.
    One thing that does bug me is getting flooded with comments from a post that gets a lot of action. Ibox in email can get swamped if a handful of blogs get a good post up at the same time.

    As I said before I really dig this blog.
    Billy
    Billy Delaney recently posted..When summer comes- gardens grow and memories are born

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    The inbox can get overwhelmed Billy, that’s why I’ve stopped subscribing to so many comments threads. I’ll get the direct replies to me and check the others as I go. Glad you’re liking the blog, thanks.

    [Reply]

  10. Judy Gombita says:

    As someone who is time-starved when it comes to the amount of relevant and interesting reading available on the interwebs, I’m not huge on the need to sign in. Ergo, I like it when commenting systems remember and recognize your name, and automatically include your link and/or avatar.

    Along the same lines about cutting back on reading time, you KNOW I’m not a fan of a lot of the banter that goes on in blogs (often doubling the number of comments). Ergo, I’d like to propose a button that indicates the comment is:

    - Relevant
    - Irreverent

    allowing me to choose whether I read the second batch. Which I probably wouldn’t. Just not that in to “insider jokes,” especially on blogs that are supposed to be targeted to public relations.

    Thanks for the props, as well as the ongoing discussions, Davina. I continue to appreciate how you take in information and opinions, chew on things, than publish some very thoughtful blog posts.
    Judy Gombita recently posted..jgombita- @mikesgene you now know to what list I refer NOTHING to do with trade publications influencing other medial Its individual influence

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    On the banter, I had suggested the option to collapse some of those sub-threads of replies both to improve the look of the comments and make them easier to scan (since the original replies are usually on-topic). Per your addition to the comment buttons; if a blogger used them I’d suggest another option: those ranked higher in relevancy maybe get moved to the top of the threads for faster skimming. I know some Disqus blogs now can move the more ‘liked’ comments up, if the reader wants… similar kind of thing?

    Plenty of sites I visit save my login info, certainly a timesaver Judy. And you’re welcome for the ongoing discussion, I really am thinking a lot about this.. the different aspects of blogging and understanding that what attracts one person may be a distraction to another. I can’t and won’t try to be all things to all readers, but I shouldn’t assume my way is the only way; it’s just mine. Readers’ interests will vary, always. FWIW.

    [Reply]

  11. Tia says:

    Hi Davina – Thanks for linking to bizchickblogs. Choosing a commenting system is tough. Trial. Error. Two good words to get used to!

    I like your idea of the different ‘like’ reactions. That would be cool!

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Tia. I am very familiar with the intersection of Trial and Error, done many a u-turn and restart with that. :-)

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  12. I hate jumping through hoops to comment and I rarely do it. I have received emails from a number of people who complained about DISQUS and told me that they won’t comment because of it. I like your list of personal buttons, that would be nice to have now wouldn’t it.
    Jack @ TheJackB recently posted..The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To Me

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Lots of people don’t like hoops Jack, it’s why I ranted about that a while back. Now a sign-in is a minor ‘hoop’ to me, but I get that not everyone else will feel that way. You should have the ability to control those settings, let people use the comment system OR the old fashioned way. Buttons, yeah… we could have some fun with better buttons, thanks.

    [Reply]

  13. Davina, thank you for posting this information. I’m on the verge of upgrading and updating my commenting feature on my blog, so this helps me continue to think through my options. I love all of your add-ons!! Take care…nice to read your post!

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Lots of things to consider Nancy. Right now I’m sticking with WP as while it may not have EVERY feature I want, more importantly to me it gives me control over which features I install, how they may function. I know that LF has changes in the works, Disqus too.. and yet for every upside, there is a draw back. Really depends on your blog, the audience, etc. Appreciate you stopping by, thanks!

    [Reply]

  14. Mark Harai says:

    I’d like a button that dispenses deadly nerve gas to those who send spam…
    Mark Harai recently posted..Entrepreneur Series- Eliminate Viruses From Your Business

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Coolest. Feature. Ever. I’d be happy with one that sends stupid songs, lame jokes to any would-be comment trolls, linkback spammers… just offensive enough so they never come back. ;-) Great addition Mark, thanks.

    [Reply]

    Billy Delaney Reply:

    funny…
    Billy Delaney recently posted..When summer comes- gardens grow and memories are born

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  15. Bill Dorman says:

    I want my own buttons – absolutely, sometimes like is just not enough.

    Fewer hoops – I concur, just do it the old fashioned way and leave what you want.

    Better format – Arghhhh, drives me crazy when it get so small you are only typing 2-3 letters per word.

    Notification options – just let me know when my comment has been replied to and I can come back and check the traffic later. Which of the systems are automatic on don’t give you this option? Man, my e-mail does get clogged at times and 95% has nothing to do with me.

    If you will take care of those, we’ll be good to go, huh?

    Good to see you ma’am.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Billy goes Hollywood – my attempt at a vlog

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Think it’s Livefyre that’s clogging your email Bill. Go to their website, login and change your notifications; I just changed mine to ‘never’ as ‘occasionally’ was too damn often and ‘immediately’ would have my inbox plotting to kill me in my sleep.

    Formats, yeah.. need some work. With my design background I’m something of a layout snob, so super skinny posts and comment threads get too busy, esp. if there are too many layers/replies. On the hoops, I just want a simple way to let people comment how THEY want to, not be forced to sign in.

    And dude, you totally need a “Bill’s been here” or a “This post has been Dorman’ed!” button. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Bill Dorman Reply:

    You’ve been Dorman bombed……………..
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Billy goes Hollywood – my attempt at a vlog

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    ;-)

    [Reply]

  16. Awesome, dang awesome Davina :))) In the magical Davina Brewer way, you’ve managed to dish out the good, the bad, and the ugly one the 3 ‘big boys’ of the blog commenting world.

    Your ideas of more customized ‘like’ buttons is ingenious. In fact, I can see someone inventing a plugin for that that can be customized on any blog. Can you imagine how cool that would be?? Holy cow awesomeness!!

    Livefyre is on the major up and up. If they keep doing what they’re doing, especially now that they’re introducing ReplyMe and CommentLuv, they might just take the whole thing over and be the WalMart of commenting systems. They’re good people though, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t paying very close attention to their every move. ;-)

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Dumb It Down- Will Ya!!!—Plus a Video Interview with The Sales Lion

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Still not ‘sure’ about buttons, but I want them Marcus… more than a ‘like’ I’d like to see what people would do if they customized them. (Gonna have to do a WP plugin search later, just see.)

    Another idea I thought of.. one reason I like systems like Disqus and LF is that they save your comments; cool. It’d be nice something to make that more useful if that had a search function, an archive.. maybe it keeps you from repeating comments, help you link back to them as you’re righting a new post, etc.

    What I’d really like is if it could be used with a plugin to show those comments elsewhere. BackType Connect used to have that and I had a nice widget in my sidebar. I’d like that.. or the option to pull in select comments and make it a blog post once in a while, show those comments and let readers see what I’ve been reading, commenting. Whataya think?

    [Reply]

  17. Hi Davina,
    Well my fantasy software commenting package would let me know that I’ve already commented on a particular blog and thus fool the folks a bit longer as to my cleverness. It can be so embarrassing leaving two comments on the same blog both having conviction but expressing conflicting opinions. I hate it when that happens.
    Riley
    Riley Harrison recently posted..WHY DO YOU LEAD A LIMITED LIFE

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Well yeah Riley, I’d love a system to automatically tag all my comments with 24 extra ‘likes’ and turn my rambles into pithy gems. At least we get lucky, sometimes get one with a spellcheck. FWIW.

    [Reply]

    Bill Dorman Reply:

    I haven’t done that yet but I’m sure it’s bound to happen.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..Billy goes Hollywood – my attempt at a vlog

    [Reply]

  18. I keep seeing more and more blogs switch over to Disqus and Livefyre. I prefer to keep it simple for readers, especially those who don’t have websites. I don’t want to make it more difficult for someone to comment. Truthfully, I haven’t figured out how to use either of these systems properly. @mentions? Group replies? Ugh, too complicated for me. Sometimes, when I’m typing a comment and mention someone, Livefyre automatically grabs a name for me. Problem is, if it doesn’t match, I have a hard time figuring out how to fix it!

    I’m in for the Davina commenting plugin!
    Marianne Worley recently posted..8 Business Lessons From the Tee Ball Field

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I want to keep it simple too Marianne. Not EVERYONE is as ‘in’ social, won’t always take the time. Or will just want OPTIONS for commenting; IMO having Facebook only is 1) not much of a choice and 2) bad for a more biz oriented site. See also just Twitter, etc.

    The ‘group reply’ is just when LF replies to everyone in a comment sub-thread, as opposed to just the person who wrote the original comment. There ARE times it’s helpful; when person B has something good to add to A’s comment, then C chimes in… as person D I can write only one comment that replies to them all.

    Also have issues with some of the other functions, so good ideas but the lack of options, choices that I control is my issue. So sticking with WP for now, though looking for the right plugins to make it better, while keeping it easy. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  19. I really like your list, Davina. I think I agree with all of those! I actually might use this for something I’m working on that will have commenting, eventually. Thanks!

    Neicole
    Neicole Crepeau recently posted..Friday Fives- LinkedIn Tips from Three Experts

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Have a few more ideas kicking about Neicole, but these are some of the big ones. I’m still stunned I held comments in moderation so long; glad I finally got around to upgrading the spam blockers and letting things post in real time. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  20. Davina, you covered it so well! I didn’t even know about the @group feature of Livefyre! Did you know you can opt for “some” email rather than receive notification of all the comments there? Plus, if you want to stop following with Livefyre (have to do that at times) it’s one click – right on the blog.

    I’m with you on the registration required annoyance. I mean with Livefyre you register once and then you’re good, but with the sites where I get an email the first time I post – every time – it’s a little too much.

    I definitely would like buttons for LOL, LMAO, What He/She Said, Facepalm, – it would make it even more fun. “Like” buttons are a MUST!
    Great topic D!
    Lori
    P.S. can you tag @livefyre with this commenting system? I guess I’ll see when I click “Submit”!

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Oops. Sorry Lori.. as far as I know there is NOT an @group reply feature. I was just saying I could … somewhere in a comment thread, hit reply once and all the other names that were already in that conversation would be included as well. Just meant that I didn’t have to reply to each comment individually; there was a way to write and address a comment to more than one person. Hope that clarifies.

    The ‘confirm comment subscription’ is annoying; if it’s a blog to which I’m following other posts, then I agree with you, I shouldn’t have to confirm again by email. Also don’t like having to unfollow/refollow conversations; too lazy and I want real options for how many, how often, about what, etc. Still wonder how ‘useful’ buttons are sometimes. Like I said, I often use them just to show I’m paying attention, that I’ve read something and not necessarily that I really ‘liked’ a comment. IDK. Of course, I’d end up wearing out some Facepalm and LMAO buttons I’m sure so, still be fun to play with once in a while. ;-)

    [Reply]

  21. Nancy Davis says:

    I love this comic strip you used! Anyway, I think there should be a mix of all of the above. As long as we are all talking, I think its good. I hate sites that make it very hard to comment. That makes me go away and not want to come back.

    I won’t subscribe to follow up comments anymore thanks to Spin Sucks and The Sales Lion. I learned that lesson once!

    I also vote for Skype emoticons. That could be fun.
    Nancy Davis recently posted..Watching You Grow Up

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Nancy; wanted something for ‘comments’ and then decided to see if Dilbert had anything that might fit.. voila. Some comics just rock.

    I am ALL for making it EASY to comment; some readers will think a Twitter-auth too much, so keeping the WP basic is a must for me. I’m AOTA, want the ability to customize and tweak settings. I’m about to set my Livefyre ‘option’ to never and see if I still get direct replies. Many WP sites use a Reply Me plugin so even if you don’t opt for all comments, you’ll get your replies. We’ll see what happens, thanks.

    [Reply]

  22. I love the first idea – control over buttons is brilliant.

    My favorite request of the moment, which none of these does at present, is one I hope LiveFyre adopts soon (if possible). When I’m commenting on someone’s blog, I’d like to see whether or not I follow previous commenters on Twitter or not, and have the ability to follow directly from that comment stream without ever leaving that site. Sort of how Twitter released the Twitter follow button for blogs this past week? Same thing but for everyone in the comment stream. Wishful thinking?

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    See Sean, THAT is a social connection idea.. an easier way to follow commenters in a post thread. Don’t think it’s wishful thinking at all; if you’re using a Twitter-auth to post, seems like something that could be doable. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  23. Lisa Gerber says:

    Great ideas! I like the first one – wanting your own buttons – how about the skype emoticons? that would be a fantastic add-on. for some reason, those never cease to make me laugh. every. time.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    For some blogs, I could see the fun emoticons being a good option. Nice one.. thanks Lisa.

    [Reply]

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