Explained: Why We Have Migrated To Facebook Commenting System?

Few days back we flipped the switch and migrated to Facebook comments. Some of you have strongly objected to this move and others have welcomed this. In short, we owe you an explanation (and context) – so here it is.

A. Trolls

We are a very active site when it comes to reader participation (as of writing this, we have 37,718+ comments in the system for 5,349 posts). And of course, we get a lot of trolls which simply try to either get into personal attacks (with adjectives) or try to derail the conversation (I have earlier written about this: How to Handle Trolls on Your Website? Few Tips).

With Facebook comment plugin, we have outsourced the identity part to Facebook and that has taken away a lot of trolls from the site.

B. The Context.

When somebody writes a comment on your blog post, it’s always a great experience to know the professional context of the person. How is a person’s experience/insight related to the blog post (and his/her comments)?

context_facebook_comment

With the regular WordPress commenting, this isn’t possible (yeah, you can leave your site url, but this part is highly abused). Ideally, I’d have expected LinkedIn to launch something like this, as they have the most accurate professional context of a person. But then, Facebook has stole the thunder.

A Few Things To Know About Facebook Comment Plugin

You are too tied to the plugin.

As of now (from what I have learnt so far), there is no way to sync your Facebook comments with the CMS backend (WordPress in this case). So in essence, you cannot remove the FB comment plugin without losing the comments made using the plugin.

Do keep this in mind before making the switch. Once you have it (i.e the plugin), you won’t be able to get rid of it.

– Facebook Comment Plugin supports Y!, Hotmail and AOL login too.

That is, your readers can login via any of these services and comment using the plugin. Do not expect Facebook to support Gmail logins in near future.

– Difficult to Track

With the default WordPress commenting system, you will get email alerts when somebody leaves a comment/trackback on your blog post. With Facebook plugin, you won’t get any notification.

Control

Very often, we receive requests to edit/delete one’s own comment (“I moved from company X to company Y and in my earlier comment (written a year back), I promoted company X..but now I want to promote Y”).

Frankly, I find these requests very kiddish and immature. So now, you own your comment and can delete it when’er you want. Keep us out of the loop.

– Facebook Comment Plugin vis-à-vis Disqus/IntenseDebate?

The Facebook Comment plugin is deeply tied up to Facebook (but naturally), unlike Disqus/Intensebate plugins (that is, you don’t need to login/give permission to access the app).  That is, it saves those extra clicks and is ‘already there’ when you are logged into Facebook.

Technically speaking, both Disqus/Intensedebate failed to import our 37,700+ comments so we didn’t give them a serious thought.

To cut the long story short, we have outsourced the identity part to Facebook and we are quite happy with the results so far (the quality of discussion has gone up, though the quantity has gone down). We aren’t worried so much about the quantity of comments, as quality of engagement and context makes up for a super engaging platform (which is our main focus).

Why not a mix of both?

Well, we tried that and it was quite confusing. The discussion was quite scattered and resulted in confusion. Like a minimal product, you need to decide based on what works for your audience. Do not have too many options (you are not running a McDonald’s outlet, right?).

Overall, we have found less number of trolls (though some of that has shifted to our contact us page) on the new system and personally speaking, it’s quite a relief!

We used to get really worked-up with these trolls, but now we are pretty convinced, as Facebook plugin forces you to ‘OWN’ your identity and comment.

But it comes with few drawbacks and do keep the above mentioned points in mind, while making that switch.

What’s your take on FB commenting system?

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