Iâ€™m not sure what to make of IntenseDebate, the third-party comment management system thatâ€™s been managing the comments, and the commenting process, on this blog since mid November.
The screenshot above is probably as good an indicator as any of the sense of frustration I often have with this system.
It seemed to me that the new version 2.0.17 of the plugin treated my blog and all its comments â€“ over 5,500 of them â€“ as a brand new installation and so wanted to import them all into a database at IntenseDebate, something youâ€™d definitely want to do in order to use the system. Yet Iâ€™d already been using IntenseDebate for six weeks.
It doesnâ€™t give me a feeling of confidence in using this system. But thatâ€™s not the only thing, thereâ€™s more.
Now, every time I log in to the blogâ€™s admin area it shows one comment awaiting moderation. Yet thereâ€™s never actually a comment to moderate.
If I log in to my account at IntenseDebate, it shows no comments to moderate if there actually arenâ€™t any.
Whatever I do, I cannot get rid of this notification which has fast become a serious annoyance.
Which is another thing â€“ where should I moderate comments? At Intensedebate or at my blog? Maybe itâ€™s just me not fully understanding (or perhaps following) IntenseDebateâ€™s instructions but I find this aspect of using the service quite confusing.
Iâ€™ve noticed that when I do moderate comments at IntenseDebate, the status of comments updates quite quickly on my blog to reflect whatâ€™s happening, so the synchronization of comments in both databases seems quite effective.
Yet I have a feeling of unease about my comment data and whether I really can trust IntenseDebate with it. I know I still have all the comments in my WP database, but Iâ€™ve noticed that some comments are missing from one post since I started using IntenseDebate. I really hope thatâ€™s not reflected anywhere else.
And what about this â€“ a comment by Bernie Goldbach showing today in the â€˜Recent Commentsâ€™ module on my blogâ€™s dashboard, yet the comment itself isnâ€™t anywhere, not in the blog nor at IntenseDebate:
So what happened to that comment?
One more thing â€“ every comment now requires moderation. Before IntenseDebate, anyone who had commented here at least once could make a further comment that didnâ€™t need moderating: a sense of trust had already been established.
While all of this may seem like a litany of unhappiness with IntenseDebate, the fact is that I think itâ€™s a great service in its overall operation.
I like the comment threading capability â€“ also one of the new features of WordPress 2.7 if your theme supports it â€“ which was one of the main reasons why I wanted to use IntenseDebate in the first place.
Other features, too, are worthwhile such as connecting with other IntenseDebate users and tweeting whenever you leave a comment.
I just wish I felt a little more confident overall.