Tuesday, June 08, 2010

About This Awful Commenting Tool

There's been a few complaints about the Echo (JS-Kit) commenting tool I'm now using. There's been enough of them that I feel it's time to offer you an explanation.

Back in 2003, when I opened this place, Blogger had no commenting feature. The commenting tool from Blogger (Google) was not offered until May, 2004. But, I wanted comments in 2003, so I went looking around. The blogs that I visited used various comenting services. After some time of reviewing options, I finally settled on Haloscan.

Haloscan had many features that I really liked, such as being able to edit the template and a simple one page review of all new posts that made moderation much easier than the new product Blogger came up with a year later. So, I stuck with Haloscan.

About three years later, this site started hopping. It was not unusual to get 300 comments for every post. Haloscan served me well during those busy years.

Six months ago, I was informed that Haloscan had been purchased by JS-Kit (Echo). Since Haloscan comments cannot be imported to Blogger, if I didn't want to lose 6 years of comments, I had to go with the new company. I was offered no other option.

JS-Kit refers to this as an "upgrade." Their model, which I'm sure many of you recognize, is the way comments are handled on Facebook. It is less than satisfactory.

To add insult to injury, as a "Haloscan" customer, I am not given any access to templates or other codes. Nothing, except one brief line of script, was added to my Blogger template. They are using the existing Haloscan code. So, there is no way for me to modify anything. Apparently, JS-Kit figures I'm lucky to have what I've got. I've asked them when I'll be given access to my template. I've yet to get an answer, except, "we're still upgrading."

So, out of frustration, and in response to some of your complaints, I went surfing for some hacks. I found one that puts the comments in descending order, as they used to be with Haloscan. And I found a way to block the feature that collapsed long threads, requiring you to click a link to expand it. That should make things a little less confusing.

I have still not solved the problem of deleting a comment without those below it disappearing. That is a very strange feature that I'll have to work on.

I also want to change the color scheme, enlarge the font, and get rid of all that cutesy crap (facebook links etc.). And yes, JCF, we MUST get the "preview" feature back! But I'll have to wait until I'm deemed worthy to access my own template to do all that, I guess.

So, the short version is that I did not choose this awful commenting tool. I chose Haloscan before Blogger had a comments feature. To avoid losing thousands of comments, I'm stuck with Echo, who bought out Haloscan.

Hope this answers some of your questions. I'm sorry folks. Be patient. I'll eventually work out all the bugs.


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