Quitting IntenseDebate

That’s it. I think I’m done. I’ve had a pretty good relationship with IntenseDebate’s services on my various websites for quite a while now. Sure, there have been hiccups and periodic issues from time to time, but that’s the nature of online technologies, especially ones that are always under constant development. As WordPress has grown and become more powerful, so did IntenseDebate, and as one of Automattic’s services, I had high hopes that it would continue to grow and develop and become a tool as useful as WordPress always has been for me.

But the honeymoon is over. After a couple of years using the service, I have become increasingly frustrated by the chronic problems with IntenseDebate. Comments that users, including myself, submit will sometimes randomly fail to display on my sites, despite showing up in my IntenseDebate dashboard. I have submitted scads of problem reports to IntenseDebate’s support, including direct links to the missing comments. Support will fix those comments, but then we’ll just end up having to repeat the process with random future comments. Months of reporting and dealing with this problem has yielded up no satisfactory solution from IntenseDebate’s developers.

To add insult to injury, I discovered lately that IntenseDebate will now no longer allow me to remain logged in to any of my sites so that I can reply to comments or administrate comments directly on my own sites. I started using IntenseDebate when Automattic acquired them exactly because it was such an easy system to use and it greatly enhanced my ability to have discussions with readers. Now, I’m finding it to be far more of a liability and a hindrance to said discussion than a help — and I’m getting zero satisfaction from IntenseDebate’s supposed support system.

Frankly, I think IntenseDebate’s developers have given up the project as a lost cause and just haven’t bothered to inform their users that they aren’t working on it anymore. This is unfortunate because I’ve always been pretty happy with Automattic’s various projects. WordPress has always been far and away my favorite tool for website development, and I use bbPress almost exclusively now for my forum system (when I use one), despite the fact that it hasn’t undergone any real major development in several years. (I realize that it’s now in a 1.0 alpha plugin form for WordPress, but that isn’t particularly useful to me at the moment.) Automattic also has several other services that are just fantastic, like Gravatar and VaultPress, so I had really hoped they would get their collective act together with IntenseDebate, get it under development again, and really iron out some of these bugs that have so plagued the system for so many months now.

Apparently, this is simply not to be. The only recent post on the “developers” blog has simply been an item on how to hide guest commenting. Yay, exciting.

So, I wash my hands of IntenseDebate. I’m done with it, at least for now and at least until someone decides it’s a worthwhile project to pick up again. Who knows? Maybe Disqus has put IntenseDebate out of business. I just wish they’d let us, their users, know so that we can actually move on.

Maybe it’s time to go check out Disqus. Are they actually still under development?

5 thoughts on “Quitting IntenseDebate”

    1. It’s an adequate substitute for ID, but I’ve never been entirely happy with it. With ID, comment syncing to the WordPress DB was instant. With Disqus it can take up to an hour or two for comments to find their way back to the WordPress DB. I’ve also had some small amount of trouble with Disqus not loading for certain users on certain sites I run, so I tend to disable it on those sites entirely so as not to interfere with discussion. Other than that I’m mostly happy with Disqus, but I’d be thrilled if Automattic ever decided to throw development resources at ID again (which at this point seems unlikely).

      1. Thanks for your reply Jim. when I heard that ID was owned by Automattic I thought it would’ve improved in leaps & bounds. I’ve only had it on my site for a couple of weeks & so far had no problems with it. One visitor did tell me though that he couldn’t see any comments. He could leave a comment but not see any, not even his after he posted it. Maybe he has an outdated browser or something.

Have anything to add to the conversation?