Saturday, June 28, 2008

Overview of Comment Interface

Here's an introduction to the new comment system's interface.

Below is a shot of what you should see the first time you make a comment.

Going clockwise from the upper left:

Login: This is optional. If you have established a profile,you can click here to login. Your screen name, email address (if you choose to make it public), and your picture (avatar, if you choose to make it public), and a link to your profile will appear automatically. If you have not established a profile, you will be offered the chance to establish one. You do not have to login to post a comment.

Follow this discussion: This is optional. If you click on this, a menu will drop down. If you are registered with a news feed service, such as FeedBurner, you can choose to receive email notices when your comment thread receives new replies. If you are not registered with a service, just ignore this option.

Be the First One!: You can safely ignore this. If you want to post a comment, just enter text in the appropriate spot.

Post a New Comment: Just enter text. You can use simple HTML commands such as <i>, <b>, etc.

Name: This is required. If you want to post your real name or a screen name, enter it here. Enter "anonymous," if you'd like.

Email: This is optional. If you enter a valid email address, you will receive email updates when new comments on this thread are posted.

Claim Your Comments: Optional. If you check this box, all your comments on this blog will be available to all other users of Intense Debate comments across the Internet. If you click on Why, a little text box will pop up explaining the benefits to you if you do claim your comments. In order to claim your comments, you must be logged in to the Intense Debate system. If you are not registered with a profile, you will be offered a chance to register. Remember, this is all optional.

Or post using OpenID: Optional. OpenID is a system, that relatively few use, that allows you to enter your profile information once. After that any web page or blog that uses this system will automatically log you in, in the future. I don't use this system. I don't know anyone who does.

Submit Comment: Optional. Click and your comment will be submitted. I don't believe you can edit the comment after it is submitted.

intensedebate button: Optional. This is a link to the system that hosts our comments. It's a shameless commercial plug for IntenseDebate. You can ignore it or not as you choose.

Get Better Comments for Your Blog: Optional. Another link to Intense Debate. Another shameless commercial plug.

Links to this post: Optional. If anyone has chosen to link to this post on another website, you can check them out by clicking here.

Create a Link: Optional. If you want to create a permanent link to the post you are commenting on, click here and you will receive the code to do so.

Okay, that's it for that window.

If you are logged in with Intense Debate, you should see a window like this:

It is similar, with these new differences:

Dashboard: Optional. This link takes you to a control panel where you can manage your profile, check out your Intense Debate comments on any web site on the Internet, and so forth.

Edit Your Profile: Optional. Takes you to a control panel where you can update, add to, or change your Intense Debate profile information.

Logout: Optional. Click here to log out of the Intense Debate system. You might choose to do this if you wanted to post anonymously. Remember, you don't have to be logged in to post.

Okay, just one window to go!

Finally, if you are replying to a theard that has already begun, you should see a window like this:

Most of this should be familiar by now, but there are a couple of new wrinkles.

Sort by Date Rating Last Activity: Optional. You can choose to sort all the comments to the post. You can see them in date order, ascending or descending. You can choose to look at the highest or lowest rated comments first (more on this in a second). Finally, you can choose to look at the most recent comment, regardless of where it appears in the threaded system. This is very similar to forum systems you may have encountered.

Profile (picture and name): You should see the name that the commenter chose to comment under. If the commenter has chosen to upload a picture to his profile, you will see a little thumbnail of him or her there. If you hover your cursor over the picture, you can choose to go to the commenter's profile, follow the commenters public actions within the Intense Debate system all over the web, or see all comments made by this commenter across the web. If you click on the screen name, you will be take to the commenter's profile. If you're a fan of a particular commenter, these options are for you.

8 p: This is a reliability rating calculated by Intense Debate. The higher the better. The system figures in the number of posts a person makes as well as the number of positive and negative ratings his or her comments got from readers. See below.

+1 "thumbs up" "thumbs down": The new commenting system allows comment readers to rate the value of the post to them. The + or - number gives you the current rating of the comment, taking both negative and positive ratings into account. The "thumbs up" icon allow you to vote a positive recommendation for the comment. The "thumbs down" is a negative vote. I believe you can only vote once on each comment and you cannot change your vote once you've made it.

The only other wrinkle I can think to comment on is the "Last Comments" box in the right hand sidebar. You can see the 5 most recent comments. If you see something you are interested in, you are supposed to be able to click on "Jump To" and go directly to that comment -- and the associated post. So no more wondering which post a comment is responding to!

The problem is, this feature doesn't seem to be working for everyone. So don't be surprised if you go to the post and are offered a chance to post a comment, but you may not see the other comments to the post. This is a glitch and shouldn't be happening.

I am working with Technical Support to resolve this and other issues.

Hope this helps! Don't hesitate to write me with further questions at .