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BlenderNation Commenting: Back to WordPress Comments

104

After testing Discourse commenting for three months, I've come to the conclusion that it's not helping the conversation and the sense of community here on BlenderNation. Articles only have occasional comments and more often than not, a real conversation never takes off. I think it's a shame, all these empty articles don't give a feeling of activity anymore (BlenderNation has over 40,000 visitors a day!) and I've seen much better activity in the past.

A bit of history first: my main motivation for looking for alternative commenting systems started in the days that my webserver was collapsing under the load that the amount of traffic generated. I needed to apply aggressive caching, and having users log in to WordPress to comment would break that. My poor old server just couldn't handle that. Disqus and Discourse seemed good solutions and they each had their benefits, but certainly also their drawbacks.

Since then, I've switched to another hosting provider and upgraded my hosting package. After running some tests over the last few days where I disabled most of my caching, I'm satisfied that the new server is capable of handling the load that native WordPress comments would cause.

So from now on you'll be able to log on to BlenderNation again and use regular WordPress comments. As the main advantages I see:

  • You don't need to register with an external service like Disqus - your account stays here on BlenderNation.
  • WordPress comments are just plain HTML - no fancy Javascript like Disqus which would break for about 10% of my readers.
  • The entire discussion takes place on the article page - not on a separate page like the Discourse embedded comments. I received lots of feedback on how confusing this disconnection was.

I hope this will make it more fun to leave your thoughts with an article, or to engage in a proper discussion with other readers. Please let me know if you consider this a good move, or a bad one. Let's bring the community buzz back here!

Update:

  • To control the amount of email notifications, use the link below the comment box.
  • To set up your avatar image, create an account at Gravatar.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender – I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)

104 Comments

    • It seems to work nicely. Maybe I will actually be able to comment on this site now.

      I have wanted to comment in the past, but for some reason, Disqus almost never worked for me on here, even though it would work just fine on other sites that I had open at the same time. And I didn't want to sign up for Discourse.

  1. Also really glad it changed back.
    Both Disqus and Discourse did not work for me, one did not load the comments at all and the other did not let me use my GitHub-Account for commenting, although this was exactly what it claimed it would.

    I wanted to comment quite a few articles in the past, but simply couldn't due to the system which was in place.

    So: This is my first comment in a few years. Glad to be back! :)

  2. The issue with the last system, for me, was that it would send me to another page when I was replying, that page had lots of buttons or things that I wouldnt care to see because I was just replying a post. It was tedious. (it was like a forum, if I recall correctly. But I dont have the time for a forum!)

    Also, replying personally to a guy would look like "1 reply", instead of showing the reply at all. That also annoyed me.

    And it is odd, because on reynante's page or gleb alexandrov's page, disqus works just fine.

    But whatever, if this changes makes things smoother then it will be just better!

    • Yeah I never could figure out why that was. I've contacted Disqus support several times about this, only to receive super unhelpful answers. I actually met a former Disqus team member last week and he was very disappointed to hear about that..

      • Yes, that always struck me as strange. All other websites with Disqus would work, and sometimes I would do something that would make it work on BN, but then after a couple weeks they would disappear again.

        Something I really like about this now is that is shows the number of comments for each article on the home page. I'm much more likely to go check something out if I see that there's a good discussion going on!

  3. TARDISMaker on

    It's nice being able to see who replied to who again :) Also nice actually seeing people commenting.

    Is there a way to like with this comment system?

  4. On the other hand, recieving mails for every replay isnt good, I didnt find a way to disable this and I just had to flag the page as spam.

    Rofl.

  5. So, I used both systems before, but I Discourse did cause some issues. I like Discourse, but it is designed to be forum software, and the interface as a comment system seems like a hack.

    I like Google Plus Comments and Facebook comments better, but if you want to stick with WordPress, might I suggest you change some settings in your WordPress? I don't think you want me to be able to make Events?

    Also, if you install Jetpack from the makers of WordPress, then we can sign in with a WordPress.com account, and it can make comments better, including an option to allow us to use markdown in our posts if we wish.

    • I'll take a look at Jetpack, thanks! I tested it in the past and found it to be rather slow and a drain on resources, let's see if that has improved.

    • It looks like Jetpack plays a lot nicer these days. However, when I allow the social login function, it no longer offers blendernation.com login as an option. For me, that's a dealbreaker - I don't want to force people to use either a social network login or go to wordpress.com to register. Are you aware of a way to solve that?

      • Are you sure you don't have a setting hanged somewhere? On a default install with it just turned on, with a logged out user it allows anonymous posting, and users with accounts on your blog to sign-in with their blog credentials, as well as wordpress.com credentials.

        If your user is already logged in, it allows the user to post a comment. So, you would only really want to add a login/register button. Since the Jetpack Comments form is hosted on wordpress.com, you won't easily be able to safely change the looks. You could place a much larger sign-in/register buttons underneath the comments iframe, and that may be better for you to encourage more visitors to use your system.

        I hope this helps some.

        • I was referring to the login options they offer 'inside' their comment window. Any way, as I commented above, the plugin raised the CPU usage on my server by an unacceptable amount, even with most of the functionality switched off. I'm afraid it's not a good solution for me.

    • Hmm, on closer inspection, even while the pages remained fast, my server load quadrupled. For now, I'd better not use Jetpack. Maybe some time in the future :)

  6. Yay! I can comment again with Opera Mini :) Thanks for HTML compatibility. It was worrying to see people not commenting anymore.

  7. Good to use this comment system.
    but why i can't upload user profile image? and after save my profile, i noticed this "Sorry, but you do not have the correct permissions to install the Contact Form 7 plugin. Contact the administrator of this site for help on getting the plugin installed.

    Dismiss this notice"

  8. masterxeon1001 on

    the comments hardly loaded with the old system. I like that now the box is there by default. Good keeping in touch with your public.

  9. beta-tester on

    Howdy, BlenderNation
    thank you very much to that decision...
    i hope i will see more comments again.

  10. Rodger Davis on

    I've had troubles with Disqus a lot of times.. Though I do have dial up and that may be my downfall.

  11. welcome back wp comments. I also liked the discourse system, which gave me back the opportunity to see (!) comments again under bn posts, after a long time of disqus not loading...

    the only drawbacks of discourse were a bit its slowness when ambedded under posts, and the lack for comments count in the bn home page post thumbnail... I can't resist to comment a nice post thumbnail with zero comments... :D

    (although I would have preferred a bit of discussion in the discourse forum about a wrap up after discourse experiment, and the possible coming back wp comment, maybe a poll... or did I miss it?)

      • well my input would have been also based on other's, but now I can say I like wp comments, which are fast and integrated, and feel much more connected but as I said a forum is different. And you can start discussions also with no post to coment on.

        anyway, after receiving email notification, to see my comment (and your reply) above, I had to login. I guess some caching is still on. just for you to know. And, I could not find a "log in" shortcut anywhere but under a post in the comment area...

  12. It seems you made the right decision returning to the "old" wp comment system if i see the lots off comment here....

  13. My only complaint would have been the need to log in to comment, but it turns out I already had an account and my browser

    • ...remembered (I didn't).

      Okay, turns out my other complaint is the lack of an "edit" function... ;)

      But I'm glad about the change. For the longest time I never even saw comments on Blendernation. Apparently both systems hardly ever worked on my end.

  14. Thank you for bringing WordPress comments back. I didn't want to register at another site to be able to comment, so I couldn't take part here while comments were with Disqus. I'm looking forward to be able to do that again from now on. Thank you! :)

  15. Good way to stress test the new/old comment system ;)

    The people who don't want to be emailed with replies, there's a drop down with notification settings below the 'Post Comment' button. Not sure if this has just been added, but still, handy.

  16. Chrome Monkey on

    Good to hear there was a way to stress-test, and congrats on finding a new provider that can deal with all the traffic.

  17. polygonesrus on

    Woho. Thank u Soooo much. Could never remember what I did to get it to work. And it would take far to long to post a simple , nice tutorial , comments. This is much better.

  18. Hey all, I took a bold move and removed the login requirement from the comment form. Commenting should be easy and fun, after all. Let's see if the spam filter holds :)

      • Chrome Monkey on

        Yes, but the problem was I couldn't find a way to log in and post as myself, I had to go back to my page history to find a link to do so, which I am now copying to bookmarks.

        • Yeah I thought that might happen, that's why I left the comment text right above the text box. It should contain info on setting up a Gravatar account and a login link. Do you see it?

          • chromemonkey on

            I completely missed that they were clickable links. They showed up as bold black text instead of the normal link color on the website, the CSS must be different for those two links.

  19. No problem, Bart! Hey, I thank you for giving such concerns to improving the commenting experience, as you have over the years. Anything's better than nothing. But WordPress is more than sufficient. Thanks, again!

  20. Very happy to see the back of Discourse - it felt entirely disconnected from BlenderNation. But Disqus always worked brilliantly for me - sad to see it go. Perhaps WordPress is the answer...

  21. Hey Bart, any chance of the RSS feeds going back to full/fuller articles please? I realise you want visitors to make proper page views, but 3 lines of text with no images often doesn't attract me to read the whole article, making me 'skim' read them and hardly browse deeper.

    Cheers!

    Sorbus

    • The RSS stream contains pictures, doesn't it? I'm sorry, but as you say I really want people to visit the site, not read everything from their RSS feed. Also, I had a lot of cases where websites automatically republished my full stories on crappy spam sites when I still had the full stories in my feed.

      • There are no images in the RSS stream (at least for me). I understand entirely about the scraping/spam sites :( At the very least, images in the RSS feed would be great if there is some way to achieve that.

        Thanks for all your hard work!

  22. Been trying every way to unsubscribe from all comments. Going to see if setting the option before posting will stop the ones from posting previously.

  23. Great! The old system was an awkward herculean task to comment on, and Disqus seemed to always need a cookie wipe every few months or else it wouldn't load. I imagine BlenderNation is going to be a significantly less lonely place now.

  24. Blender-Fan on

    Great!!!
    And its the right thing to remove the login barrier for commenting. I think you'll receive a lot more comments now. Honestly having to register often prevents me from comment on websites.
    I think I also will remove Disquss commenting plugin from my projects website now, you've inspired me!
    Cheers!

  25. I think it makes perfect sense. A lot of people will want to get in on comments but find it difficult on other sites and blogs. Good on you Blender for taking the initiative and perhaps more people will be commenting on topics and have more engagement for the readers who will spend more time on Blender Nation.

  26. Watermelon Man (the one with the african beat in the beginning). Maynard Ferguson's version of Chameleon. Will Smith's Summertime (yeah I went there). Just a few I would like to wake up too..they make ya feel good in the morning I guess

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