After years of relying on WordPress’s comment system we have now made the change to exclusively utilize Facebook comments for our blog posts. We know that many of our readers have concerns about Facebook, including their stances on net-neutrality and privacy, so we didn’t arrive at this decision easily. In short, we believe that the new comments will be easier to use, faster and safer for all parties involved.
What does this mean for our readers?
We currently have 6,761 subscribers who have registered to comment in the past few years, and those comments will no longer be accessible. While we will be losing more than 10,000 comments (and the PageRank that goes with them) we hope that this change will spur far more discussion than in the past – and in short order we’ll rebuild what we are losing.
The new system is also much easier to use and more secure for our readers. You will no longer have any personal information (including email address and password) stored in our database, as all user data is set to be purged as soon as possible.
You also have the ability to post your comments to Facebook to share with others, but by default they will take place on our site only. If you’d like to share your comment on Facebook, you must check the box next to Also post on Facebook (as seen below).
Why did we make this decision?
There are several reasons that we have decided to implement these changes. The primary reason is to combat SPAM. Even though most of our posts only received 100-200 quality comments in total, we would delete thousands of comments on the back end submitted by SPAM bots. We’ve tried implementing CAPTCHA and other methods, but the bots remained diligent.
The final reasons are security and stability. Since our website will no longer be processing user-based requests, speed and stability of the site should improve dramatically. And since this is a no-profit site, the fact that we don’t store any user information on our servers protects us, and our users in the case of an attack or breach of our systems.
We hope that as we begin to ramp up our posts that more users will get involved in the discussions, and we feel that while Facebook comments aren’t the perfect solution, they are the best we have available at this time… and considering that Facebook now has more than 1.4 billion users, not many will be left out. As always, feel free to let us know what you think below.