A little while back, I heard the news that Automattic, the folks who develop WordPress, acquired a couple of new services. One of these is called “IntenseDebate”:http://intensedebate.com, a dynamic commenting system that’s compatible with several different blogging platforms. Initially, I’d installed it on “Reclaimer”:http://reclaimercomic.com as a test drive but pretty quickly removed it again. At that point I didn’t feel it was ready, and my readers confirmed my opinion (rather vocally, I might add).
About three weeks later, IntenseDebate came back out of their invite-only mode, so it was time to give it another try – and the updates have made all the difference. I’m running IntenseDebate on four of my sites now, and I’ve watched discussion on _Reclaimer_ alone double and, in a couple of cases, triple from what it was before I had IntenseDebate installed. Granted, IntenseDebate still has periodic issues and it doesn’t have quite all the features I’d like to see, but it’s improving with each new update, and I’m confident that it will continue to improve.
One of my favorite things about IntenseDebate is the ability to award Reputation Points to quality commenters. It encourages discussion, I think, and rewards those individuals who leave good comments. I’d be curious to see the algorithm that determines the ‘leveling up’ of one’s reputation, though, since it’s easier to earn Reputation Points early on and harder later.
There’s good stuff here with IntenseDebate, and now that it’s part of Automattic, I’m confident that it will continue to grow into a quality product. I’m hoping as time goes on, more and more bloggers and websites will adopt IntenseDebate, making it a truly powerful community-building system.