Help us test the new comment system

Update: We have deactivated the commenting plugin for now as it had too many issues. We will take another look at it once it offers missing features.

The native WordPress comment system is limited in many ways. There is for instance no option to subscribe to comments or edit your own comments once you hit the submit button.

Over the years, I have added various WordPress plugins to the site to improve the commenting system. That's why comment editing and subscriptions are supported.

But limitations don't end there and plugins can only go that far to remedy some of the issues.

I started to test various commenting plugins or systems for WordPress and while I liked features of some, I could not really find one that fit all requirements.

For instance, while I liked some of the features that third-party commenting systems such as Disqus or Livefyre offer, I disliked that comments were stored on third-party servers. This not only required migration of comments to those servers -- and back from them should the need to leave the service ever arise -- but meant that the commenting system depended on that service functioning properly at all times.

Plus, it had privacy implications for commenters since their comments, and thus email addresses and other information, were stored on third-party servers.

This left a local comment system as the natural choice. While that takes care of privacy and dependency issues, it meant having to compromise in some regards.



After evaluating what was on offer, I selected wpDiscuz for this website. It is a free commenting plugin for WordPress that integrates well and keeps everything locally. If you want, it is a frontend for WordPress comments that changes a couple of things and adds others.

One of the things that I wanted was to limit the initial comment count on article pages. The reason for that was that search engines might see comments as low quality content on websites which in turn can have the effect that the site's visibility in search engines is lowered.

Read also:  Ghacks in 2017, and a look back

For now, the three newest comment threads are displayed when you load a page. This should speed up the loading of the page in general and reduce the load on the server as well. A link is placed to load all remaining comments at once which takes a couple of seconds on pages with hundreds of comments but should be near instant on most.

load all comments

example

The new commenting system adds features that you will benefit from as well. First of all, it is now possible to edit the editing time. I have modified the time to 30 minutes which means that you can edit your comments for 30 minutes before that option expires.

Second, the subscription options are better now. Instead of having to subscribe to the all comments like before, you can now subscribe to replies to the comment you are writing or all of your comments in a thread.

comment subscriptions

subscriptions

The plugin supports more features than that but I have not enabled all just yet. It supports voting for example which could be useful but since it does not order comments based no votes, I made the decision not to enable that feature right now.

I have tested the comment plugin as thorough as possible but there may be issues. If you encounter any while leaving comments let me know please so that I can fix them.

For now, this is a temporary switch to find out how well the system runs on Ghacks. If no negative side effects or issues are found, it will become the permanent comment plugin on the site.

Please share this article

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail



Responses to Help us test the new comment system

  1. Julian April 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Sounds promising :)

    • CGA1 April 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

      Test.

      • shady April 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

        one more test reply :)

  2. XenoSilvano April 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Hello World

    • Paul April 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

      Reply test. :-)

    • Dave April 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Reply 2 :)

  3. Richard April 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    I am happy to help. I understand the frustration of comments. This seems like a good solution, certainly worth trying.

    I dislike Disqus et al. as I don't like sharing my thoughts with third parties. When I comment, I believe it should be with the local community on the website not with a "global" community as defined by Disqus or Livefyre. I don't like being tracked by Disqus or Livefyre.

    Thanks for keeping your/our comments local

    • Straspey April 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      If you want to see a very good example of where Disqus works very well, I suggest you visit How-To Geeks http://www.howtogeek.com/ and browse their forums. One good thing about that format is that after you register, you do not have to re-enter your info - such as name, email, etc. - because you have a profile which the system remembers.

      I know that the owner of HTG has a few misgivings about Disqus, but so far it's working much better than the the previous system he had been using, which he left about two years ago.

      To Martin:

      This comment system you're trying out does not seem very appealing in it's basic GUI - but as we all know, people all react differently to change and new things. I will be interested to see if you experiment with other options.

      • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        As far as I know, How To Geek uses Discuss and not Disqus ;). I thought about it but it would take considerable time and effort to get it running.

      • Straspey April 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

        Opps - my mistake Martin ;)

        And you're right about the time and effort, because I can remember what it was like for Lowell when he decided to move HTG over to Discuss - which was also a work in progress at that time - and still is to a certain extent as he recently did a few "tweaks" to the site not long ago.

        It took a while to get used to Discuss - and some long-time members of HTG left because they could not handle the significant changes in the new site.

        Sorry for the confusion regarding Disqus and Discuss.

      • Chandra April 4, 2015 at 9:10 am #

        It's Discourse: http://www.discourse.org/

  4. Richard April 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Does this commenting system have the ability to sort comments? I note that it is sorting newest first. I prefer oldest first.

    • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      I can change it as a global setting only. If the majority wants oldest first I can make the switch. Comments?

      • Florin April 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

        Wondering how much thinner the reply box gets, the more we comment here :)
        Cheers from Cologne!

      • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

        It is limited to three levels.

      • exrelayman April 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

        I always read oldest first if I can. It makes it easier to see the framework of the current comment. It also makes the comment that you wish to revisit always be at the same location when you scroll.

      • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

        That makes sense. I switched to oldest for now.

      • Kevin Dearing April 2, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

        I prefer to read oldest first, it seems more natural.
        With the 'newest first' system, you're not even reading in a completely bottom up direction because replies are posted beneath the main topic. Thus you read down, then up to the next topic, down, then up, etc. Just feels unnatural.

      • DonGateley April 3, 2015 at 1:47 am #

        I really dislike that threading stops at three levels. What's the reasoning behind that?

      • chesscanoe April 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

        Although I like email to be newest first, I do prefer Comments to be oldest first.

  5. Sven April 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    Test, test.

    • Sven April 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

      Hmm, not yet sure if I like it, breaks my user style for gHacks and make the site look terrible now :( See if I can fix that. What I really don't like is the poping/zooming out effect. It's modern but I find that extremely disturbing , unfortunately you find it everywhere these days.

      • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

        I could do without that as well. Let me see what I can do about it.

      • Sven April 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

        Don't worry about it, Martin. It just had to be said :) I don't really get why it is there, doesn't really make things better.

      • Karl K April 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

        I don't see any "popping/zooming out effect" at all. What kind of operating system are you using?

  6. Acti April 2, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    teste teste 123

  7. Comrade Stalin April 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Brothers, working men, this is comrade Stalin testing ghacks from heaven. :)

    • Karl K April 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      Comrade Stalin is NOT in Heaven!

  8. Dwight Stegall April 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Still no way to delete posts?

  9. Maou April 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    Disqus is a little paradise for trolls, I'm glad you decided not to use it.

  10. Uhtred April 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    This is better for me... my system colours are best described as virtually black with off white text, the old system did not hard code colours in reply box, leaving off white text on white... this one does keep colours fixed so is good that way

  11. Pants April 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Something in Privoxy was blocking the "load more comments" action. Couldn't be arsed working out what exactly, just added ghacks.net to my exception policy (basically i block everything and everyone and then fix/allow the "broken" parts of websites I visit regularly).

    OK, so I just tried to post and it now requires the email field filled out. This is annoying for regular anonymous posters

  12. Pants April 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Also - the overlay "you comment is awaiting moderation" is extremely annoying because it requires me to click the damn thing away. Surely this could be handled more elegantly?

  13. Lookmann April 2, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    I dont have any ideas to suggest improvements because it's OK for me.

    Few months back I received a mail on latest info on my comments [post] on Windows 8 pre -release article in ghacks. It must have been from 2011/12 archives.

    Anyhow best of luck Martin for further improvements

  14. Maelish April 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    Oh darn, you lost the website field?

    • Maelish April 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      I'd love for you to bring the website field back. Plus although 30 minutes seems good for editing, I hate having to re-enter my information. The previous version remembered who I was.

  15. SCBright April 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi!
    Testing

  16. chuotconleader April 2, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Reply test

  17. Nebulus April 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Let's see how it works.

    The first thing that I notice is that your posts are not highlighted anymore. I thought that was a great idea. Also, the website field was a good idea, but I wouldn't call it mandatory. The third thing is that you have a default avatar image (48x48 pixels) that shows partially to the left of the comment form (it is currently shown as 8x8 pixels); its URL is http://cdn.ghacks.net/wp-content/plugins/wpdiscuz/files/img/avatar_default.png .

    • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

      Nebulus I don't see the avatar image, can you create a screenshot of the page where it shows up?

      • Nebulus April 2, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

        I would, but you changed it back to how it was before :)

  18. walt April 2, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Compared to what I've seen here previously, the comments layout is balooned (line height? too much whitespace) necessitating extra scrolling. For me, "Load All Comments" is preferable to (Google Groups?) pages which incrementally load only a few at a time, but I worry that a casual, or rushed, reader will overlook that l'il gray button. Might be helpful to add a blue border to the button? Change the button color?

    ps: Across the months, when attempting to post comments here, it has seemed like a crapshoot for me. Nearly half of my comments have failed to post. Some have been a bit contentious (grousing about changes to firefox), but none have contained vulgarity nor hyperlinks. Upon submission "Slow down -- you are posting too fast" or somesuch has sometimes been displayed; at other times the page has reloaded with no indication ("...is awaiting moderation" or "...have 9min 59sec to edit").

    • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

      I'm sorry that you experienced issues in the past. I can adjust some of that line height and whitespace stuff later today by editing the CSS file of the plugin.

      Let me know if you experience less issues under the new plugin.

  19. Test April 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    test...................done!

  20. Test April 2, 2015 at 5:22 pm #

    Hi ... i cant use my email when domain end with .info

  21. fokka April 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    on a first look i have to say i like it. simple, clean, nice!

    let's see how that editing goes!

    • fokka April 2, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

      ok, am i blind, or where is the edit button? only "reply" here...

  22. gewg_ April 2, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    @Comrade Stalin
    It appears you were misinformed about where you are.
    There's an old Twilight Zone episode that deals with that condition.
    A Nice Place to Visit

    .
    As for comments, though I clicked the Reply link in Comrade Stalin's comment, I'm pretty sure my comment won't appear directly below his.
    Not allowing comments to thread properly without running JavaScript is the main deficiency I see in this site.

    By default, I don't download scripts.
    If a script was plainly named as ensures_proper_comment_threading.js, I might be convinced to whitelist that.
    Scripts with names that are obfuscated or are clearly not useful definitely remain blacklisted.

    For a view of how to do comments with threading done properly--without scripts, visit soylentnews.org.
    They use Slash/Slashcode (a customized version of the codebase from ~2001).
    I have not encountered a better CMS/forum software.

  23. Jojo April 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    Happy you didn't choose Livefyre (Slate uses this awful commenting system. It is very slow and doesn't update well. I don't much go to Slate these days because of the Livefyre problems.

    Also happy you didn't choose Disqus. Had you done so, I would have stopped leaving comments. Disqus has a big hole in its design - it allows someone to follow you (by ID) without your permission. This might work well in a social networking system like Twitter but it does not work when using a single anonymous Disqus ID on various web sites. Someone following you via your ID could well gather enough information to find out who you are, what your political and social views are and more. I had wrote to Disqus about this security hole years ago but last I checked, they had chosen not to do anything about it.

    One function I would like to see in your email is to only send one notification of a comment reply and then require the person to visit the website to see any possible remaining comments and to get another email notification. GHacks before (still?) would keep sending an email notification with each new reply, filling my email with 10, 20 or more notifications of replies on popular posts that I left a comment in. That is annoying. It is why I am not checking the "Notify" me box for this post.

    • Jojo April 2, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      RE: email notification point above, I am thinking similar to this:

      "There may also be other replies, but you will not receive any more notifications until you visit the forum again."

  24. Karl April 2, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    I get nailed on my contact form 7 to where I have to use a capthca - and even so, I can barely stand the spam. I can't find any free ones that work effectively any more. I'm surprised you don't need to use one. :)

  25. Xi April 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Large area is occupied by the "join the discussion" and ........ below every reply. Please try to remove it and keep the button "Reply". To make more simpler, you can add another button "Leave a new comment" below "Responses to" and also with every comment/reply.

    When the "Leave a new Comment" is clicked, the comment form can be set as drop-down. This will reduce the number of scrolls in every page and also improve the functionality.

    The functionality is good. However, it occupies more space and needs effective captcha.

  26. Guest April 2, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Hey I'm cool with whatever comment system as long as it allows guest (non registration) no passwords, no emails, and I find it rather impressive that you have no captcha's. Either you get very low spam volume, or you're very vigilant with moderation.

    I've lost interest in tech sites that force you to register to comment, so hope it doesn't happen here too.

  27. Oxa April 2, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    I'm glad you chose not to go with Disqus. It's an odious system - it requires registration (to be avoided at all costs- just one more method of hoovering up my personal data) and takes forever to load.

    Priorities for a commenting system:
    - chronological ordering with threading
    - loads with page (doesn't require a click on "Comments" to load)
    - loads quickly
    - large number of comments per page so as not to require further clicking to endless other pages

  28. hugh April 2, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    Just wondering what happened to the comment I posted to:

    https://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/31/firefox-37-find-out-what-is-new/

    I have checked again just now and it still isn't there.

    Guess it is still awaiting moderation!

    Good luck,

    Hugh

    • Martin Brinkmann April 2, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

      Are you sure it was accepted by the server? I cannot find a comment matching your name or email in the spam nor moderation folder.

      • hugh April 3, 2015 at 2:19 am #

        Hi Martin,
        Well this comment machine is working all right!

        I could not see anything that said it wasn't accepted by the server.

        The only thing I did different was edit the comment for a spelling mistake - I can remember seeing "you have such and such a time to edit this comment..." but no other message.

        I wasmaking an enquiry about why my youtube check page looks like this:

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/73177027/youtubehtml5page.jpg

        here it is if you can't find it on the server,

        best wishes,

        Hugh

  29. interstellar April 3, 2015 at 4:04 am #

    Martin,

    Please, please
    - DO NOT use Disqus for Ghacks' comments.
    It's a PITA.

    I really dislike Disqus...
    makes it hard to read comments
    on some websites.

    As hard as I try,
    I simply can not read the comments
    on some sites which use Disqus.

    At the end of an interesting article,
    the page says:
    - "Log in to Disqus to read the comments".
    Well, that's insane.

    So, I just move on to another site...
    Disqus = unusuable.

  30. mike April 3, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    Like the fact no email NECESSARY

  31. Bob April 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    I like to read oldest first if I can.

    Bob

  32. Blue April 3, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    Can I assume the Facebook comment plugin is off the list, or is that an option you never looked at considering you must have a Facebook account to comment, but it does allow editing, subscribe to a feed, and replying and of course, "Like". Considering you already have a Facebook page Martin, perhaps you can make a simple survey like, "Are you a Facebook user" (https://surveyplanet.com/551edeb4859fb75125307d5f) which I already created.

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/facebook-comments-plugin/

    • Martin Brinkmann April 3, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Blue, I decided not to use third-party plugins or services and Facebook is one of them. The main issues with all of them are privacy and data access.

  33. spravocnikpolekarstvam.ru February 6, 2017 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Ted!  Thanks for taking the time to test the system.  There is no preview but you have usually plenty of time to edit a comment before anyone notice it.  I agree though that a preview would be cool - I'll keep this in mind. Suppose you are 1,000 miles from home, yet have the ability to monitor and control every watt of power in your home or office building from the palm of your hand. What could you do with that capability?

Leave a Reply