Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why I Removed Intense Debate Comments From This Blog

April 8, 2012 - The website of IntenseDebate is down today with no explanation. IntenseDebate is a widely used commenting system used by many websites and blogs. It was working for me last night, but tonight neither their login page and home page are not reachable. Although other parts of the website are available, bloggers who use IntenseDebate cannot log in to repond to, or moderate, comments on their own sites.

There is no message about this from IntenseDebate anywhere on their website, not even on their own blog, where the last post was on February 23. As of 11:00 PM CDT tonight, their most recent post on Twitter was made on February 22.
Chicago News Bench has been using it for a couple of years instead of Blogger's own commenting system. There are a number of reasons why some bloggers choose third-party commenting systems, which I am not going to go into here except to say that they all offer more control and information about comments than does Blogger's own system.

However, because IntenseDebate has shown itself to be unreliable, I felt there was no choice but to uninstall it. I don't know why IntenseDebate's website is having problems, but this seems like the tip of the iceberg. I have had IntenseDebate on another blog, Homeless Patriot, but will remove it from that as well.

Consider this: No tweets on Twitter since February 22. No post on their blog since February 23. This says to me that they are either not aware of the problem with their own website, or they don't care enough to communicate with people who use their commenting system. Or, both may be true. This is not acceptable. Some blogs have IntenseDebate installed as a simple widget, as do I on some of my blogs.

On Chicago News Bench, though, I had it integrated in the html code of the template. The current problems that IntenseDebate is having were causing the load time of this website to be annoyingly slow. "Waiting for IntenseDebate" was the message. Fortunately, IntenseDebate's instructions for a manual uninstall were still online. Unfortunately, they were not completely accurate and it took me more than an hour of editing and testing to fully delete their code from mine. However, as soon as I successfully cleaned out all remnants of IntenseDebate, this blog loaded normally.

Another blogger posted briefly about earlier problems with IntenseDebate.

"Once again," wrote IslamInEurope on March 22, "IntenseDebate, my comment system, is acting up. This includes comments disappearing, or appearing only when the posts are viewed from the comment link. I'm debating what to do about this. Meanwhile, I have notified IntenseDebate and am waiting for their fix. Please let me know if you see any problems."

I noticed that IslamInEurope dropped IntenseDebate since that post and is now using Disqus, another third-party commenting system. By the time you read this, Chicago News Bench might have done that too. Then again, I'm in no hurry.