While most mainstream blogging platforms boast a decent commenting system, blogging pros may wonder whether they should consider outsourcing their comment section or leave the native system up instead.
Since outsourcing ones comments can be a touchy subject (as there are passionate voices on both sides of the issue), here are three reasons why you should and should not outsource your communities voice to third parties.
Comment Outsourcing FTW!!
Despite the advancements of comment sections over the years, there are many of you who prefer to enhance your comment community without having to utilize custom hacks or plugins.
For those of you on the fence about outsourcing your comment sections, here are three reasons why you should “embrace the future.”
With the exception of WordPress, Typepad, etc., most blogging platforms do not support threaded conversations.
While this is not a major issue if one receives less than a dozen comments per post daily, it can turn into a nightmare with people shouting at each other (using “@ comment name”) as well as difficult to follow conversations.
No matter how good your anti-spam tools are, spammers, trolls and “Mr. off topic” always seem want to derail the conversation from the original post.
Many third party commenting services allow users to report offensive comments (which sends them to you for review), or even “bury” them from public viewing.
This can save you hours of time spent moderating your comment section, which means you can spend more time writing excellent posts.
For those who self host their blogs, an active comment system can potentially suck up bandwidth on your site, which could easily stir up the wrath of your hosting company (yes, even the unlimited ones).
Outsourcing your comment section to a third party service can help you reduce the bandwidth blues, as well as your bill at the end of the month.
Native Comments All The Way!
Despite these reasons there are some of you who are hesitant about outsourcing your comment sections, especially the paranoid types (I say that in love) who prefer to keep everything “in house.”
For those of you hesitant about handing your community over to the hands of a stranger, here are 3 reasons why you should NOT outsource your comment section.
While many native comment systems embrace the traditional approach (i.e. Name, Email, Website, then comment), third party commenting systems often put the comment section first which can confuse users.
Worse, many of them are filled with extra login buttons for Twitter, Facebook, OpenID, etc. which could confuse new comers and turn them into lurkers instead of active participants.
Even though services like Disqus have tried to solve this issue with a cleaner layout, users may not loathe the new system and loudly voice their opinions via email.
Group Think Censorship
Despite its benefits, community moderation can backfire as users can censor minority viewpoints that contradict the “wisdom of the crowds” by burying (or disliking) the respective comment.
More often than not this becomes a major issue with political and (to a smaller degree) tech blogs where users are zealous towards a specific viewpoint.
If dislike is an unavailable option, users may flag (or report) the comment to the moderator (which can become a major headache for the blog owner).
Slower Page Loads
While third party comment services can save you bandwidth (at least for those who self host), they can also slow down your page loads as well (just like any other third party service).
Bloggers fanatical about page loading speeds will probably not appreciate this fact, as a slower loading page can easily result in a lost reader (which translates into lost revenue).
Should I Outsource My Comments?
Truth be told it depends upon what your blogging needs are. For my case, my sites were being over run by human spammers, trolls, etc. so third party comments became a necessity in order to keep the discussions family friendly.
Others may choose to outsource their comment sections for different reasons, and there are plenty of blogging pros who choose not to outsource their comments for other reasons.
For those of you with active blogs, do you outsource your comment sections, and if so why? (or why not?) Feel free to share your opinions upon our native comment section below.
Author: Darnell Clayton
Darnell Clayton is a geek who discovered blogging long before he heard of the word “blog” (he called them “web journals” then). When he is not tweeting, Facebooking, or blogging about space and his beloved iPhone, he enjoys running, reading and describing himself in third person.