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I am currently using on my blog the default comment system with in addition only the "Quote Comments" plugin.

I have seen IntenseDebate and it seems it has many interesting features that probably (and hope) will push the visitors to leave more comments.

The pros are clear but do you see any drawbacks that should I take into account before decide to install or not IntenseDebate plugin on my blog?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There's an excellent post here which, while it might not be completely balanced (it sets out from the start that it is against external commenting systems), it offers a good view of the cons of such systems.

A quick summary of three main points (a mixture of my personal opinions and from the blog post):

  • Comments are stored externally - you no longer have 'possession' of the comments on your blog - they are stored by somebody else, physically away from the rest of your blog
  • Comments are often loaded in via AJAX after the page has loaded, or even after they are in the viewport which can make your site appear slower to your readers
  • Issues with your comments 'provider' may disable comment functionality - if there is a problem on IDs side you will not be able to do anything about it
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Thank you, i think I will not install IntenseDebate. The major feature I would be interested is the login from different accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) but probably it is better search other solutions for this. –  Drake Nov 10 '10 at 13:28

I use IntenseDebate and am mostly happy with it. One thing to note is that it does have occasional downtime (Automattic's status page shows that in the last six days there's been two days with downtime). Also the comment system will take longer to load than comments built in to your theme which can sometimes be frustrating if someone goes to the comment form area before it's even loaded.

Comments are stored externally - you no longer have 'possession' of the comments on your blog - they are stored by somebody else, physically away from the rest of your blogaway from the rest of your blog

While some off-site systems do take "possession" of your comments, if you use the IntenseDebate WordPress plugin it actually syncs the comments into your blog's database. If IntenseDebate comments do fail to load (maybe due to aforementioned downtime), existing comments on a post will load using your theme's styles for comments and visitors will be able to comment using your existing comment form. Here are more details on how ID handles comments.

One thing to note is that since WP 3.0, there is a built-in function to load a customizable comment form using <?php comment_form(); ?>and a variety of parameters.

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I simply did not like that on pages where I had comments disabled it still showed the Intense Debate stuff and just said that it had been disabled.

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