Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Comments: Discuss

Pissotiere
Right now I’m not entirely satisfied with how comments are on this blog.
At present, comments are open on recent entries only, and require you to have an account with AOL, WordPress.com, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LiveJournal or any other OpenID provider. This should include just about everyone, but, the integration is a little clunky in places. And I have noticed that the number of comments posted on here has dropped; in fact, there haven’t been any for 5 weeks. Obviously, I’ve raised the bar too high.
I had to remove the ability for people to post without authenticating to stem the tide of spam; spam comments were being posted on entries that had literally been published seconds ago, and were coming in at a rate of 10-20 per hour. When I was running Movable Type, I had enough plugins to stem the tide; most comments were denied before being added to the database and those that did get through were usually held for moderation. With Melody, a number of those plugins no longer work; whilst I can usually stop comments from being published, they still end up in the database and means I’d have to delete 100+ comments every day – I don’t have time for that.
I’m hoping that better anti-spam plugins will appear, or old plugins will be updated for Melody in due course, but I’m also looking at alternatives – in particular, Disqus.
Disqus is a hosted service, so would mean exporting comments from the blog onto their servers. There’s a Movable Type plugin which will hopefully work with Melody, but if not there looks to be other manual ways of integrating it. The main benefits are that it manages comment spam well, has decent integration with Twitter and Facebook (I’ve previously had Facebook integration but the plugin won’t work with Melody and it’ll need a lot of changes to work with upcoming changes to the Facebook platform) and mobile apps to manage comments. Hopefully, I’d be able to enable comments on all entries – even those from years ago – and commenting will be easy enough for most people to do so that they’re not deterred. I am a little hesitant about trusting so much information to a third-party service, although they do allow full data exports.
I’d like your opinions – should I stick with the current arrangements (at least until Melody’s plugin ecosystem matures), or give Disqus a try? Comments are welcome.

4 Comments

  1. Yeah I’ve found that anytime an additional barrier is put in place like requiring people to sign in (or worse, sign up for some new account), people bail more often than not.
    I take it moving back to MT from Melody is out of the question so maybe ask on the openmelody mailing list if there are any plans on porting the Comment Challenge plugin to Melody.

  2. Come over to the darkside and try WordPress… We have cookies*! 😉
    I must admit, when I left my previous comment it was a pain. Clicked to login via OpenId (using Google), it took me to Melody’s site which had WordPress branding in places which then failed. Reloading then prompted me to select Google again, which then bounced me to Google to confirm which account I used which then finally bounced me back to here to leave a short comment…
    I’d suggest removing the authentication barrier and find better anti spam tools (or allow authentication as an “option” which is treated as a lower chance of spam).
    * = Where EU law allows for cookies to be distributed

  3. Oh, it also doesn’t help that the “Please confirm your request by clicking this link:
    http://www.neilturner.me.uk/comments.cgi?__mode=verify_subs&c=…” url when you select “Notify me by email” takes me to a 404 error page 🙁

  4. Huh…is it really a question of software, logins, etc? Or is it more an issue of changes to the blogosphere? I too receive far more comments on my blog than I used to, and I have nothing more than reCaptcha on my site. I think it’s more an issue of the world moving away from blog comments and toward Twitter, Facebook, sharing, etc.