Some of you may remember last year when I asked people what to do in the way of a commenting system because the main reason people said that they didn’t comment on my blog was anonymity. While I didn’t really find a satisfactory solution for my website (other than partial integration with The Fourm), I tried installing IntenseDebate for most of my hosted sites/project sites, including True Falsities, Color Pencils and Bubble Blog. It worked out pretty nicely. IntenseDebate looked pretty and all comments were associated with a central IntenseDebate account that could be used on other IntenseDebate-supporting sites.
There was one problem, however.
INTENSEDEBATE IS FREAKISHLY SLOW.
Recently, I‘ve been doing a lot of thinking about True Falsities and why it suffered the death that it did and I recalled the fact that it took a very, very long time to load. I took a look using Chrome’s Developer Tools and I saw that it it had a network latency of 5 seconds. 5 seconds! And that’s me…. accessing a website…. within my own house. 5 seconds. I can only imagine how long it must take for viewers overseas.
Clearly, something had to be done. I looked around at my other IntenseDebate sites and saw that Color Pencils and Bubble Blog were also loading hideously slowly (which may also have been the reason that those two sites died). I disabled IntenseDebate on True Falsities, and, what do you know? It started zipping along happily. But that wasn’t acceptable–I wouldn’t receive any comments without some sort of centralized commenting system.
So I did some looking around and found Disqus. It looked pretty neat. So I downloaded it and set it up on True Falsities. Oh, wait, did I saw that it was easy? No? Oh, well, good, because it wasn’t. Because of some monstrous limitations placed on my server that are out of my control (and yet completely fixable by certain people that will simply not oblige), my server couldn’t access the Disqus website. Apparently IntenseDebate did all of its processing on the client side.
So I then spent the next 2 hours finding a proxy and configuring the Disqus plugin to use it instead of straight Internet access. And it finally worked. But…. it was hideous.
I don’t know why, but Disqus simply didn’t want to work. I had a difficult time exporting my comments from IntenseDebate to Disqus, the actual comment forms looked bad and wouldn’t even appear most of the time and everybody instantly became anonymous. Also, every single comment looked horrible because Disqus completely discarded any formatting information the IntenseDebate provided. I tore out my hair at this point. I was actually hyperventilating.
Clearly, Disqus was no good. So I looked around for another solution and found something called Echo. It looked pretty awesome. Wait, check that, IT COSTS MONEY. No way José.
So, at this time, nothing can be done. True Falsities, Color Pencils and Bubble Blog are stuck with immense latency and there’s really no chance that anybody will go on those sites now because of it. Which is very sad. Because I like those sites and they are never posted on. I really didn’t want to settle with this, so I did something thinking and came up with a thought.
As some of you may know, the specification for Four Island 3.0 includes a complete rewrite of the travesty that is the Four Island commenting system. I figured, hey, if this new commenting system comes out nicely, I may detach it from Four Island and let it be its own commenting system like IntenseDebate that people can download and use. Probably called FourComment.
I think this is a good idea. Because I want integration with social networks. Because I want ratings and notifications. Because I want my webpage to load…. quickly. FourComment should be very professional and I hope that I go through with this because the current state of commenting systems on Four Island is…. bleh. A big integrated thing with cool features and a professional look would make me very happy. And with that, another large project is added to the Four Island 3.0 specification.