Blogging

Livefyre is Back as My Blog Comment Platform

After an absence of nearly a year, Livefyre has returned to this blog.

When I switched to my current theme, which has been about a year if not slightly longer, I discovered a serious problem.

The problem was that something in the code of the new theme didn’t get along well with something in the code of the blog comment platform Livefyre.

While I sorted through other issues, I temporarily deactivated Livefyre. This, unfortunately, caused a second problem: nearly a year of comments — not that there were that many, mind you, but still — had not been integrated into Livefyre’s system. This meant that when I turned Livefyre back on, assuming I could figure out what the issue was that sometimes prevented people from being able to leave a comment on some posts and prevented the comment module from appearing at all on other posts, I’d still have a wide gap of comments from over that past year.

With the help of Livefyre’s tech support team, I was not only able to get help importing the comments that had been missed during the “outage,” but also in adjusting the theme’s code so that Livefyre would work again.

As of this morning, Livefyre is working as expected, though I’m watching for any glitches.

Why Livefyre?

It’s a perfectly reasonable question.

When I had completed some other necessary work on the blog and was ready to reimplement Livefyre, I did spend a bit of time first considering other options. I wanted to know what might have changed in a year’s time that might give another blog comment platform an edge over Livefyre.

My primary choices were:

  1. Stick with WordPress’s default commenting system.
  2. Switch to Disqus.
  3. Switch to IntenseDebate.
  4. Reactivate Livefyre.

WordPress’s default commenting system is fine, but it’s not particularly “feature-packed.”

Disqus is supposedly the most popular commenting system. I don’t have anything against Disqus on the front-end. But on the backend, Disqus moves all of the comments to its server and does not automatically sync with WordPress default comments, meaning that when I look at the latest comments received, I have to move to Disqus’s site, not my own comment dashboard. As such, if Disqus is down, my comments (at least since my last manual sync), are gone. A manual import to Disqus failed and an attempt to delete that account so I could start from scratch failed to the point that I decided to create a new account. Getting help was not a fast process and didn’t really result in anything.

IntenseDebate, which is made by the same company that makes WordPress, seemed like it would be a good match, especially assuming there’d be total compatibility between it and a WordPress-powered blog like this one. I attempted an import of comments from here a couple of times. It told me the comments were importing “in the background,” but they never seemed to. It made that decision easy.

Livefyre, meanwhile, has a “Bozo” function, which allows a site moderator to hide a comment from a troll without making it obvious to the troll that the comment is actually hidden, a neat little trick that helps trolls disappear faster. It also gives me the option of flexible profanity moderation, so I can specify which words, if any, I don’t want to see appear on the blog, even in someone else’s comment. There are certain words, let’s face it, that are unnecessary; that’s not about preventing one from expressing an idea but requiring that people simply be respectful during that expression.

Then there’s the social integration that really sets Livefyre apart in my opinion. If someone replies to a tweet in which your blog post is linked, that tweet appears on your blog post as a comment. I see they’re also integrating Facebook pages now as well, which means that conversations on social media end up on your blog where the post is, thereby continuing (and hopefully increasing) the conversation on your site where you want it. Livefyre also gives me the option I consider most important of all — allowing someone to comment as a guest without requiring that they create an account or log in through some other platform just to give feedback.

And as for technical support, they worked with me to get the old comments imported, giving me detailed directions on how to get them the files they needed, then found the issue that was making the comment module not appear and gave me the code I needed to add to the theme functions file to counteract that issue.

If every blog comment platform were otherwise equal, Livefyre’s technical support alone would make them the one to go with.

In any case, I’m glad Livefyre is back, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.

Go ahead, give it a try by leaving a comment. (And let me know if you have any problems.)

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.