Why I’m Dropping the IntenseDebate Commenting System

UPDATE 1: Michael from IntenseDebate saw the tweets about this post and he has not only participated in the discussion, but he's also helping solve the issues I'm having with IntenseDebate. I love real-people-customer-support!

I'm a big fan of commenting systems for websites. My love for them is the features they offer to my website visitors, making it easier for visitors to join in the conversation:

  • login with Twitter, Facebook, and other accounts;
  • easy guest commenting;
  • extra spam protection;
  • threaded comments (irrelevant to some themes, such as StudioPress Genesis);
  • reply notifications to commenters;

I had been using and recommending IntenseDebate over alternatives for primarily two reasons.

  1. Made by the makers of WordPress, so integration would seem to be tight.
  2. Designed to fallback to the default WordPress comments system if JavaScript wasn't available.

But I've been having problems with my website, and I traced them to IntenseDebate.

  • If you use LastPass on Google Chrome, then you may have seen my website layout break when LastPass offers to autofill a form.
  • When I would receive email notices of new comments, the links would take me to my post—not the actual comment on the page.

Additionally, I think that a comment entry form above the comments makes it more convenient for someone to comment. As opposed to how IntenseDebate places the comment form below the comments. This also made replying to a comment not as intuitive to visitors.

I was also challenged to rethink my decision when I heard Syed Balkhi from WPBeginner mention several commenting systems in his presentation “Facebook and WordPress – A match made in Heaven” at WordCamp Louisville 2011 (I was also a speaker).

So I see two main alternatives, which I have already been testing (as you may have noticed):

I'll write more about my experiences with each of these, and I'd love to hear your thoughts! I know CommentLuv is also a reasonable option, but it doesn't offer some of the primary features that I want a commenting system for in the first place. I know there's also a CommentLuv plugin for IntenseDebate, but that doesn't solve my problems.

What do you like as a blogger or podcaster? What about as a website visitor? Are you more likely to leave a comment with one system over another? What do you like to see on the websites you read?

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

55 comments on “Why I’m Dropping the IntenseDebate Commenting System

  1. Rich says:

    Hey Daniel, I was using Disqus on my site for quite sometime and it is a very good system. I recently switched to Livefyre though to allow a tighter social integration with my shows Facebook fanpage. If you want more social “cross talk” I would test out livefyre

    1. Thanks, Rich. I was using LiveFyre for about a week, but discovered a few things that were total deal-breaking show-stoppers for me:

      • No HTML formatting.
      • Guests can’t subscribe to comments to be notified when someone replies to them.
      • And some annoying syncing issues on two separate sites.

      1. Rich says:

        Ahh I see. If that is the case then you’ll like Disqus.It works well. I only changed due to the need to try something new.

        1. I do love the crossover between Facebook and a blog with LiveFyre. They know the issues I have with their service, and I’ve promised them to try again when they update.

          I would call LiveFyre the service I want to use, but can’t.

          1. Rich says:

            That is an accurate description. I had some issues with cross talk due to using url shorteners. Those don’t work well. It hampers my twitter conversations but the facebook side works well. Maybe after I relaunch the site I will give disqus another crack. Keep up the great work. I am fan of your show and have implemented quite a few of tips and tricks. Debuting some new hardware 🙂

          2. Ryan says:

            This kind of feedback is valuable as we move our system forward.

            I have to be vague for now, but we’re working on some very exciting things, so keep an eye out for what we’re doing over the next few months.

  2. Uwe Trenkner says:

    One big(!) disadvantage of Disqus: The user must have Javascript enabled for the page/site itself (e.g. theaudacitytopodcast.com) AND for disqus.com AND some others needed by Disqus (probably some google-Domains because of RECAPTCHA). For security and privacy reasons I am one of many who use the NoScript addon for Firefox, which by default blocks all Javascript. As a result, I normally do not even see that a comment system is available. There is no fallback option for Disqus or even a hint that I would have to enable Javascript to see it.

    This seems to be no issue with LiveFyre – I can have all Javascript disabled and still see comments on pages using LiveFyre.

    1. Yes, the lack of a suitable fallback is disappointing, and I’m looking into whether I can hack that back to the way it should be.

      1. Ryan says:

        @e6cb3ac87f7df0c4ca15c39bc2cc774c:disqus By default the comments sync back to WordPress, and we actually allow them to display if Javascript disabled in that case. @theRamenNoodle:disqus If you’ve intended to have comments sync but need some help just let us know.

  3. Hope you don’t mind my stopping by. Just wanted to point out that with IntenseDebate you can move the comment box to the top by adding some CSS to your Custom CSS page. We have a great guide here . You can actually do a ton of CSS customization using our CSS documentation.

    Thanks for the heads-up on the LastPass layout issue. We’ll dig into that along with the comment link issue. 

    CommentLuv is pretty cool – there are some awesome people working on it. They made a CommentLuv plugin for IntenseDebate which you can access in your Plugins page.

    Hope to see you back some time.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Michael! I’ll take another look at the CSS for moving the post window up.

      I had already emailed support about the LastPass issue, and the response seemed that it wasn’t something IntenseDebate was interested in fixing. However, I’ve also noticed the problem doesn’t occur on other sites running IntenseDebate. It’s probably something I have setup in my ID options. I’ll continue to test on one of my other podcast sites.

    2. Ah, I see we’ve already chatted about LastPass. Sorry about the confusion on my end. 

    3. Ken Rohrer says:

      Hello Michael! From your post I gather you know a lot about Intense Debate. I have a problem I don’t know if you can resolve for me. I recently moved my site to HTTPS and Intense Debate apparently is serving unsecure content now by calling for an unsecure image located at http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/zL/r/FGFbc80dUKj.png. Is there a resolution for this so I don’t have to remove comments from my site?

  4. Man you’re fast! That’s strange that it doesn’t happen on other sites. I’m not sure which of our options would cause that, but we can always take a look and test it out. I’ll take this offline and drop you an email. Cheers!

  5. Been thinking about switching from the native WP commenting system to either disqus or intense debate. I prefer the latter only because it integrates with commentluv; however, I have been reading about other bloggers’ bad experiences about it (unintentionally of course – I’m not out looking for negative reviews on the commenting system but seem to keep bumping into them).

    So for now, I think I might have to stick it out with the good ole WP commenting system.

    1. As you can see, I’ve opted to switch to Disqus until IntenseDebate upgrades to more modern options.

  6. Omar Garza says:

    Umm nice.

    1. Hi, Omar! I couldn’t quite tell what this is referencing. Would you care to expound?

  7. raman2572 says:

    which commenting system is this
    i want to apply one on http://www.financialcell.com

    1. That site is using Disqus, which is the same thing I’m using now, though I’m considering trying the new version of Livefyre.

  8. divyansh says:

    I had say you should stick to it…because commentluv is missing in it and blogging community loves commentluv…i prefer platform with commentluv…moreover disqus is slower to load than commentluv

    1. Sure, CommentLuv is nice, but it’s really not as ubiquitous as its creator seems to claim. If someone wants to leave a comment on my site for the purpose of adding to the conversation rather than promoting themselves, I doubt they would turn away because I don’t have CommentLuv.

      I would rather have a commenting service more user-friendly than one that lures people to comment in exchange for linkbacks.

  9. Yes, and I hate that about Disqus and Livefyre. But I also hate that IntenseDebate has been updated in a while and is stuck using techniques that are several years old.

    1. LucieCoulombe says:

      I am going to test in on my site for few days, it look good to use

  10. lukmon says:

    nice article

  11. Bichareh says:

    Now it’s Disqus I see…why?

    1. IntenseDebate hasn’t been updated to meet the modern web demands. After comparing LiveFyre’s and Disqus’s latest updates, I decided that Disqus was the best choice. LiveFyre is cool, but does some annoying things.

  12. I have just gave IntenseDebate a try, and I could not approve the comment by email. I had to wait until I was in front of the PC, log into the dashboard and approve one by one.

    I am also working with Disqus again.

  13. Rasmus says:

    this is a test.. sorry, but need to try some where

  14. Rick Porter says:

    Good article

  15. Dude says:

    Yeah, yeah…

  16. smahapatro says:

    After going through reviews, feature sets and thinking for some time, I’ve also added Disqus on my new site. It’s a little slower, but it’ll improve.

  17. a says:

    just trying the comment box

  18. darmster says:

    Daniel, has InstenseDebate improved to the point where you’ll consider recommending it. Or are you sticking with Disqus?

    Thanks. 🙂

    1. Looks like IntenseDebate still hasn’t bee updated much. I’m sticking with Disqus.

      1. darmster says:

        Thank you, Daniel, for the quick reply.

        Interestingly, Chris Lema wrote an short article in November of 2014 entitled, “Why I Killed Disqus Commenting on My Site”. You can read the article at http://chrislema.com/killed-disqus-commenting/. Does his perspective resonate with you, or does his perspective seem to you to be a low-priority concern?

        Thanks again. 🙂

        1. I’m not concerned, because that is addressed in Disqus’s privacy policy. And Disqus users may opt-out of such tracking.

  19. Suu says:

    I use intense debate, after moving to it from Disqus. Although Disqus is better looking and it’s control panel is a lot easier to navigate around and use, it ultimately didn’t give me what I wanted. My content isn’t something that is ideal for commenting on, so I needed something to reward readers who wanted to make a comment, and intense debate offers that. You can make backlinks, and even embed your youtube videos in your comments if you activate the corresponding plugin. It’ll ultimately mean a lot of moderation, but at the same time readers have an insentive to comment which will also help give you content. It’s also great to have conversations and debates in comments, something which can be hard to get started with comment plugings like disqus, purely because there isn’t any reward and it’s a hassle having to have an make an account with it. Intensedebate has some problems, and it feels like it hasn’t been updated in forever, but I still prefer it over disqus.

    1. That’s nice, but there’s something shady to me about someone who wants to comment only for the incentive or backlink they would get.

    2. Bahits says:

      Apparently LiveFyre dropping out of the free commenting systems and as a result of new found power Disqus is planning to also change so that you get charged or have to show their ads. Not good. imho

  20. Steve says:

    Hey Daniel… just wanted to test out commenting with Disqus without having to login to Disqus… to see how it works. 🙂

  21. Tamim Bin Nazim says:

    If you are looking for some voyance telephonique then please read some reviews and take the right decision,

  22. Tamim Bin Nazim says:

    Great post Club Outfits(20)

  23. john adam says:

    Great Post Home Tips

  24. Naz says:

    Hey Daniel, I know its a bit outdated, but what service you are using right now? on this post

    1. Hi, Naz! I was on Disqus for a while, but they started missing comments and I didn’t like how heavy their plugin was. I’m now using the native WordPress commenting system and added a replyable.com subscription to give the email notifications.

  25. emonreza says:

    I use intense debate, after moving to it from Disqus. Although Disqus is better looking and it’s control panel is a lot easier to navigate around and use, it ultimately didn’t give me what I wanted. My content isn’t something that is ideal for commenting on, so I needed something to reward readers who wanted to make a comment, and intense debate offers that. You can make backlinks, and even embed your youtube videos in your comments if you activate the corresponding plugin. It’ll ultimately mean a lot of moderation, but at the same time readers have an insentive to comment which will also help give you content. It’s also great to have conversations and debates in comments, something which can be hard to get started with comment plugings like disqus, purely because there isn’t any reward and it’s a hassle having to have an make an account with it. Intensedebate has some problems, and it feels like it hasn’t been updated in forever, but I still prefer it over disqus.

  26. I use intense debate, after moving to it from Disqus. Although Disqus is better looking and it’s control panel is a lot easier to navigate around and use, it ultimately didn’t give me what I wanted. My content isn’t something that is ideal for commenting on, so I needed something to reward readers who wanted to make a comment, and intense debate offers that. You can make backlinks, and even embed your youtube videos in your comments if you activate the corresponding plugin. It’ll ultimately mean a lot of moderation, but at the same time readers have an insentive to comment which will also help give you content. It’s also great to have conversations and debates in comments, something which can be hard to get started with comment plugings like disqus, purely because there isn’t any reward and it’s a hassle having to have an make an account with it. Intensedebate has some problems, and it feels like it hasn’t been updated in forever, but I still prefer it over disqus.

  27. sonnet gomes says:

    basically i like discuss. also like IntenseDebate, looks like old today 2020.

    1. For privacy and performance reasons, I’ve dropped third-party commenting systems and now use WordPress-native comments plus https://replyable.com/ to enable email notifications and replies. (I’m approving and replying to your comment from my email inbox!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

50%
5/5

Enter your name and email address below to learn “7 Ways to Get More Podcast Reviews” FREE!

50%

Enter your first name and email address below to get my favorite TextExpander snippets!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

Enter your information below to download the free guide “Free Tools for a Faster Website”

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

Enter your first name and email address below to download “Tools to Improve the 4 Cornerstones of Your Podcast” FREE.

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

See what Apple Podcasts and other popular podcast apps search with the Podcast SEO Cheat Sheet!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

Enter your first name and email below to download the Podcast Cover Art Toolbox.

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

Get a FREE printable checklist “20 things you should do before recording every podcast episode”!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.
50%

Before you go! Don’t miss this FREE checklist, “20 things you should do before recording every podcast episode”!

This form collects information we will use to send you podcasting-related updates with tips, offers, and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.