Social Commenting Done Correctly
It’s hard to get WordPress’s commenting done correctly because of the many options available and all of the pro’s telling you to use this or that. Now, I am one of those pro’s too. I think I have found a bit of the good stuff that isn’t sweeping the WordPress world at the moment and I hope this gives you some insight.
Let’s lead off with a quick discussion on why WordPress sucks when it comes to commenting so we can understand why there are so many choices. The platform was meant for blogging and because the developers only focused on this one basic function they decided to make it simple. If you are that person that likes simple and without bells or whistles then Ghost might be for you if not just a basic install of WordPress. No one wants to register for each blog they read. That is insane and where WordPress fails.
If you solely use the setup that you get after a clean installation you will see that it leaves little to desire. Commenting was an afterthought and has always been treated as such. People had a real problem that needed a solution. First, it was just making it look better, then adding social login, then ranking comments, and so on. We are always looking to move the field marker forward and I like that. What I didn’t like was the developers not having good intentions in mind when they developed their solutions for all of us. They needed to make their product valuable and usually did so by hold the content hostage. I don’t hate them, I just think they don’t serve a purpose at this point unless you have too many comments to manage.
It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!
Companies raced to capture WordPress owners that just wanted to push content to their readers and didn’t understand the importance of the comment block. They quickly jumped to install a system like Disqus so they could get back to writing. I get it because I did it. I used several plugins to solve this issue and in the end I was happy with none.
To be clear, they are not evil and I have nothing against these businesses. I am just a control freak when it comes to these types of things. I must have full control over my website design and function to a degree that most WordPress user are not. I like having a conversation that extends beyond just my view in the post content. I want opposition or someone to add to the topic. This brings interest and sharing on social media and beyond.
I once experienced virality from a post on my site a few years back. Someone shared it on a Facebook page and within 48 hours 20K visits to that one page happened. The comments went from 2 or 3 to several hundred and everyone was talking and engaging. It changed my passion for comments and why they are valuable. You may not understand this until it happens to you, but trust me…I was absolutely elated just thinking about the experience. All that activity sky rocketed my position in the Google search engine.
Postmatic Social Commenting
Enter in this plugin called “Social Commenting” developed my Postmatic. It’s 1 of 5 plugins that they built to be light weight and native to WordPress. I have been playing with it over the last few weeks and positive feedback has been flowing in. I received many more comments than normal and I didn’t have to manage account creation because this plugin doesn’t do that. I just want someone to simply click a service to use to verify them and just comment away.
And then once we built Epoch we surveyed the landscape for social login plugins and realized everyone is doing it wrong. All of the social solutions for commenting involved using social profiles to actually log in. And create a user. And deal with the wp-admin bar. And backend access. And all that cruft. Why not just authenticate with the social profile instead? It’s faster, lighter weight, and less obtrusive. So that was the next logical step. ~ Jason Lemieux, Postmatic
This plugin allows you to comment if you are logged in and have an actual account or not, or using WordPress.com, Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook. I configured them all and it took about 10-15 minutes to setup all the external apps. This doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but I have much more positives than negatives. They will continue to refine their plugins and I hope to give them some feedback about what I think after using their package for a month or more. Here is what the site’s comment box looks like while logged out. You can see that you can just put your name and email, use Facebook, Twitter, G+, or WordPress to social. You can login to the site as well, but note that you do not have to register with the website just to comment. Registering is for purchases store products and becoming an affiliate. It’s just an image and not a real commenting form. I am sure someone tried to input some text…haha. All of these options just catapult native WordPress commenting to the next level without turning over a critical part of the site to a third-party. These are our comments and not theirs! You didn’t hear it but I celebrated it with a “YEAH!” after I typed it, so I added the exclamation mark.
My final thoughts are that adding this along with the other plugins Postmatic has developed is a smart idea. I honestly don’t want people to register just to comment. I don’t want everyone’s personal information and this eliminates that. Problem solved as far as I can tell. The other plugins are Epoch, Crowd Control, Postmatic, Elevated Comments and this one here. All of them are free and easy to install. If your site grows and you need more out of the content then they have a premium subscription for the Postmatic plugin that you can pick up for a reasonable price.
- Free to use!
- Super simple to install as most plugins are.
- Allows several ways to comment.
- Blends in with my site’s typography and colors.
- Light weight and nimble.
- Doesn’t take over the commenting area.
- No color options.
- No manual social media ordering. I get what you see above and that’s it.
Update 9/24/2016: The plugin creator found that this plugin causes issues while calling for a HTTP resource on a HTTPS site like this one. This causes the plugin to remain in query mode on OSX using Chrome. I was showing him the post at the time he discovered it and you can’t get better than that :)
Update 6/19/2017: This plugin hasn’t been updated in a year and the developers don’t answer the WordPress support questions in the directory. I wanted to remove the Font Awesome from loading again from the plugin onload and I searched for the answer. Thankfully, grantdb posted a crude fix, but it does work. I assume that if the plugin has an update that it may overwrite the changes you make. Just remember that.
Here is how you remove the Font Awesome:
On line 173 of Postmatic_Social_Comments_Plugin.php I changed
Just go to your file manager or Filezilla and find the file /wp-content/plugins/postmatic-social-commenting/functions/ and you will see the file there. A quick word change and you are good to go. Each kilobyte I can save is good. I try to reduce loading all the time. Thank you to grantdb!