Sunday, March 27, 2011
Hello all, today we have implemented a new commenting plug-in for the main Pallimed blog. Some of you may have already noticed this at the Arts and Humanities blog or the Case Conference blog. The new commenting system is called DISQUS, and if that looks confusing just say it out loud and you'll get it.
I was never a fan of the user interface under the basic Blogger template, since there was little room for customization. This platform has been implemented on several popular blogs (Mashable, CNN, Engadget and others.) and has been shown to have increasing stability, so we have finally made the switch. Facebook recently came out with it's own commenting plug-in for blogs, but I decided against it since it only facilitated people on Facebook and not all of our audience is on Facebook.
All of the old comments have not been lost, they are imported into the new system. And yes I backed them up. For a look at how the new commenting system led to 16 comments see this recent post on Pallimed Case Conferences: "What to do after a patient is made comfort measures only."
So what does this new commenting system mean for you?
- No more word 'captchas' (the squiggly words)
- When you sign up for to follow the conversation with email, you get a really cool feature to reply straight from your inbox. Just hit reply and your comment goes straight back to the blog. Try it out! It is pretty easy and keeps the conversation going.
- You can 'like' posts and comments. These likes stay locally and are not the same as Facebook 'likes.' It makes it easy to see which posts may be more popular (or less!) and which comments resonate the most with the readers. You can also sort comments by best rating. You can also 'flag' potentially offensive comments, which will then be hidden upon 3 flags. Will be watching this closely and evolve this as needed. We dont expect this to be an issue since Pallimed comments have really been civil and without many trolls looking to pick fights.
- DISQUS allows us to build our community of commenters. When you login (instead of just commenting as a guest) a user profile is started that tracks your comments and 'likes' from other people. Our hope is as this system grows we can find a way to reward the commenters who contribute the most. You do not need to sign up for a Disqus account, but it does allow for more functionality across multiple blogs if you comment a lot. You can see my profile here.
- You can attach links without knowing any html code and they will be clickable. You can also embed videos and images easily.
- You can log in with multiple other accounts securely. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google and OpenID are all available. Pallimed collects no information, such as user names or passwords from this type of login.
- When you sign in with Facebook or Twitter, you have the option of sharing your comment with other people in your network. You have a chance to 'opt out' of sharing before posting, just look for the little square icon in the lower left area below the comment box. We obviously would love for you to share your comment with your network and spread the word about Pallimed. Since we have no advertising budget (or regular budget to speak of) anything helps to widen the discussion about palliative care.
- You can still leave anonymous comments, although you will have to enter an email address to comment. Obviously you could leave a fake one, but you would miss out on the great replies to your comment.
- It is a new system to learn, but it is pretty intuitive.
- If you are concerned about someone seeing everything you ever commented on, then you may not want to use this, but at the same time, it will help you to make sure that your comments are clear, straightforward and helpful even if critical.
If you want, you can use this post as a practice way to comment with the new system.