Goodbye WordPress Comments, Hello Facebook

I’ve not been happy with the default comment system for some time and have therefore been looking at alternatives. Specifically, I’ve been looking at a more convenient way for people to leave comments on WP Mods so that visitors are more inclined to start and join in discussions.

I’ve tried out external commenting systems like Disqus and Intense Debate. Both of these systems have great social media integration with Facebook and Twitter and boast many great features such as community profiles, great moderation tools and comment voting.

The social media integration isn’t perfect though. I don’t like the fact that the user has to grant access to an application in order to leave a comment. It’s a barrier; something that will discourage many people from leaving a comment.

Commenting via an External Comment System

I was also looking at complementing the existing WordPress comment system by letting people sign in with Facebook or Twitter; but users also had to grant access to your Facebook application or Twitter account in order to do so.

Facebook comments is something that I did strongly consider a few months ago as I saw more and more blogs and websites giving users the option leaving a comment via a Facebook comment box. The visitor does not need to grant access to any application; they can post directly if they are logged in to Facebook. This encourages more comments.

I still wasn’t happy with this setup though as the conversation was fragmented. Most of the websites who were using Facebook comments and the default WordPress comment system had two conversations going on in each article. It’s understandable when you place one type of comments at the top and another set of comments underneath.

Replacing The WordPress Comment System With Facebook Comments

Recently I’ve come across a few websites that are using Facebook exclusively as their comment system. At first I thought that this was perhaps a bold move however the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

That’s why I have decided to use Facebook comments on WP Mods exclusively. I considered using the WordPress comment system as well for a short period of time to see which got the most comments, but I didn’t it would change my opinion.

Connect Using...

  • The vast majority of people who use the internet have a Facebook account. Most Facebook users stay logged into Facebook when they browse the web.
  • Unlike other commenting options, users don’t have to grant access to an application in order to leave a comment.
  • You can also let visitors leave a comment using their Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account. More applications may be added later.
  • Less and less people are commenting on blogs. Perhaps people can’t be bothered entering their name, email address and website.
  • Using Facebook is more personable. I’m sick of people leaving comments using their website name instead of their real name. I prefer to reply to someone by their name rather than some 5 word key phrase (don’t they understand that the nofollow tag means they get no PR juice so it’s a pointless venture anyway!).
  • I’ve found that the the majority of comments which are left are spam (trackbacks were removed here a long time ago because of the same reason). Akismet isn’t full proof and the plugins I’ve used to combat spam are either ineffective or too effective i.e. blocking valid comments.

One of the main points I had to consider was outsourcing all comments from my site to an external service. This is something that put me off a lot of commenting solutions in the past. I believe however that using Facebook as your commenting system encourages more interaction with your readers and increases the chance of them joining your Facebook fan page. If you gain more Facebook fans, you will encourage more people to visit your website on a regular basis, so I don’t think you’re losing out.

I’m also aware that some people would prefer to keep business and pleasure separate therefore they could be discouraged from leaving a comment using their personal Facebook profile. They should of course have their profile protected though if they don’t want their name attached to a comment they could create an account with an alias specifically for commenting.

Leaving a comment via Facebook

It’s actually very easy to moderate your Facebook comments too so you don’t have to be too concerned about people leaving racist comments or abuse on your website (I suspect there is less chance of this occurring when people are using their real name).

Moderating Your Facebook Comments

If moderation is a concern, you will be pleased to know that you can review every comment before it is posted. You can also set additional moderators to help you with this task blacklist swear words.

Moderating Your Facebook Comments

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this change. Do you still like the default WordPress comment system or do you find leaving a comment using Facebook is more convenient?b Please feel free to share with us the comment system you use on your own websites.

Also, please stay tuned to WP Mods over the next few days as I will be showing you how you can add Facebook to your own site.

Thanks,
Kevin

This article was authored by:

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity, Internet Marketing and Social Media on his personal blog and and provides technical support at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter: @KevinMuldoon and Google+.

Kevin Muldoon has authored 833 posts.Visit Website

Showing 10 Comments

  • I’m curious on how this experiment went. Since it looks like livefyre is your commenting system now, I guess it didn’t work out. What happened?

    Besides a general distrust of Facebook, I don’t want to lose my comments. I like how disqus syncs comments back to the WP database. If there an easy way to do that with Facebook comments?

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  • Kevin Muldoon (Admin)

    @Kraft It went well. I really liked having Facebook comments here. Unfortunately, I was receiving a lot of spam via the regular WordPress commenting system so I decided to look for a better solution.

    Livefyre actually syncs with Facebook comments but it doesn’t work correctly here as I use Feedburner to update my Facebook fan page. Which is a shame as I lost a lot of good comments from posts (including a long discussion in this one).

    You won’t lose your comments if you use livefyre or disqus as they sync all comments back to your database. You can’t sync comments with Facebook i.e. everything is stored on their database.

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  • @Kevin Muldoon You *should* be able to sync with Facebook. I just don’t have the coding chops to know how to do it. I can pull all the comments made on this post via facebook at this link: https://graph.facebook.com/comments/?ids=http://www.wpmods.com/facebook-comments-added-to-wpmods/ but, I haven’t found a plugin that would automate any syncing.

    I feel like Facebook would convert a lot of hold outs if they developed the plugin for the community.

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  • Kevin Muldoon (Admin)

    @Kraft I wasn’t aware that those comments could still be seen. I will contact Livefyre to see if this helps them find a solution.

    I’m not sure if Facebook want to develop anything that syncs comments away from Facebook itself.

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  • @Kevin Muldoon Facebook claims that public comments within Facebook from a “share” of a link would also appear in that feed too, so in theory, new posts could have comments if someone publicly shared it on their wall (er, excuse me, Timeline) and someone commented on it.

    Agreed. Facebook’s apparent attitude of online world domination is a turn-off. A plugin would give me reason to rethink my acceptance/hate relationship with them. :-)

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  • Kevin Muldoon (Admin)

    @Kraft A lot of people don’t use Facebook and have no intention of doing so. Due to this, a Facebook only solution excludes a lot of people. I doubt they would develop something with universal logins (e.g. google, openid etc).

    I stay logged into Facebook most of the time as I visit it frequently to stay in touch with friends and family back home. This was one of the reasons I like Facebook comments. That is, I’m already logged in so it makes leaving a comment very easy.

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  • @Kevin Muldoon Funny. This morning, I was playing with a new-to-me plugin for Facebook integration and one of the options is to automatically import FB comments into the regular database. One of WPMU’s premium plugins- http://premium.wpmudev.org/project/ultimate-facebook?ref=kraftbj-76443 (yeah, that’s an affiliate link… if you’ve been looking for this too, show me a little love).

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  • Are You happy with Livefyre comment plugin ?

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  • Kevin Muldoon (Admin)

    ¬†@cna training online¬†Yeah. I’m using it on most of my websites now. I recommend trying it out :)

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  • FJ

    @Kevin, it’s been quite a while since you wrote this post and your last comment… Could you write an update as to your experience with Livefyre/facebook comments over the long run? Any ‘spam’ problems from facebook profiles? I’ve recently noticed an increasing number of spam bombardments on various pages inside facebook itself. I don’t really spend that much time on facebook checking out different pages – so having seen spams in the little time I spend there, only makes me wonder about the comments plugin spam rate. Any experience with this?

    Cheers!

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