The best solution for multilingual blogs is here!

Transposh is a new shiny plugin that promises to make translating your wordpress blog to other languages a breeze. If you’ve gor a multilingual blog, you can’t afford to miss it.

Image by Swiv via Flickr

Through I’ve come to discover Transposh, a new WordPress plugin that promises to make the task of translating pages of your site to other languages very easy, and to also take reduce the personal effort required to do so by crowd-sourcing the task.And boy does it deliver!

You may have noticed that I occasionally write in other languages, particularly in my native Greek. That doesn’t happen so often because my audience is mainly international now but it still bugged me that my choice of language was in effect making it difficult for my friends and relatives from my birthland to follow and participate. However the task of replicating each post on another language was simply too much to bother.

However Transposh finally gives me an opportunity to fix this. I can much more easily do the task of translating my pages to my native language myself, since it utilizes google translate to get your text changed, transparently. That is, the text will switch to the google translation of the language you want and you can edit and fix it right there and then, without having to go through the dashboard or anything.

Not only that, but the elements of the page which exist in other locations as well, such as the title or the header, once corrected once do not need to be corrected in every other page of your site as well, but rather are intelligently cached and served.

Oh, and did I mention the crowd-sourcing part? This is my favourite bit. Transposh gives the opportunity for the blog author to not only allow other registered users to translate, but also for anonymous as well. This means that all interested parties can help improve your site. This might not be of much use for small fishes such as me, but for larger players with an international audience, it will certainly provide a lot more labour. Of course, there’ always the issue of vandalism, but much like any wiki, some solutions should be possible.

You can see how translating with Tranposh looks like. The colour show the status of each sentence (Google-translation, Human-edited or none)
You can see how translating with Tranposh looks like. The colour show the status of each sentence (Google-translation, Human-edited or none)

This crowd-sourcing now means that if you find an interesting article in a Transposh-enabled site, you can help translate to the language you wish (of those the author made available) and then send the link to all your friends whos’ foreign language skills are not so good.

For an Alpha version plugin, I’m impressed. Both at the quality of the code but also at the quality of the support. The main developer is lightning quick to respond and help with problems (although that’s bound to change as the plugin becomes more popular I guess). For example, my first and largest problem was that it seemed that the translation of each page was taking forever, sucking all my resources and that caching was not happening. However after some discussion with the developer, I discovered that by simply leaving the first translation to finish, everything became much snappier on subsequent attempts. That is because the general elements are translated once on the first time (which on an element heavy page like mine can take a while) but are cached once this is completed.

Oh, and did I mention that that it can also make nice permalinks for your translated articles that are indexable by google and cacheable by Hyper-Cache? (And I assume WP Super-Cache as well). For example, you can find the Greek translation of this article here.

So if you’re writing a multi-language WordPress blog or if you have an international audience, I think it’s time you give this plugin a go. Even if you don’t have the time to perform the task, you give the capability for others to read it easily (without having to go to visit google first) or even do the full job of translation themselves for the most interesting stuff.

For the Division by Zer0, I’ve now activated the Greek and German languages since I don’t expect people from other places to visit much. However if you’d like another option, simply let me know and I’ll enable it.

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The Division by Zer0 has finally passed the 100.000 unique visitors mark. W00t!

The Division by Zer0 has finally passed the 100.000 unique visitors mark.  W00t!

I only noticed this from my WordPress stats, which count my visitors since Feb 2008, but Google Analytics gives me about the same number since 2006 (and that is always much reduced). So I can safely say that I’ve passed this little milestone in the life of this site. It’s not incredibly important, but it’s nice to know that so many people have read what small I had to say.

Here’s to 1 Mil 🙂

And now, some stats, just for the heck of it:

  • Current RSS Subscribers: ~200
  • Most popular referrers: Google Search, Stumbleupon and Reddit.
  • Google Pagerank: 4
  • Number of posts: 653
  • Number of comments: 3.221
  • Number of times banned from blogs: 4 😉


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Comment Hell with Intense Debate

Intense Debate has b0rked and is phasing in and out of existence. Needless to say, this is fucking up all conversations.

The Rocket Breaks Down album cover
Image via Wikipedia

For the last month, Intense Debate has been behaving extremely badly. It’s been hiding comments from everyone, on seemingly random rates and times. Basically, at various occassions, replies to particular threads would disappear. Sometimes it would be just one or two replies, at others it would be the whole thread past the first reply.

And while this started out mild, as the month passed, it has grown progressively more intense, to the point where now there’s always at least some replies missing, and at worse, hundreds of them. This is even more annoying since those comments still exist in the system (ie, I can see them in the dashboard) but appear sporadically. So in one refresh I will see 90/100, and the next refresh I will see only 15.

Unfortunately, the developers have really dropped the ball on this. Even though this seemed from the start as a quite important problem, and even though this was reported early on, there was initially no response, then there was some non-functioning workarounds, and finally the problem was acknowledged just last week after me and other started screaming bloody murder. Incidentally, it was at this point where this was becoming unbrearable which I assume meant some of their big name clients started complaining as well.

So now, this is creating a comment hell situation for me, especially for the long discussions I’ve opened with Lockeanists and the like. Not only do many people get confused about their disappearing replies, but they also get the impression that I’m secretly deleting comments. And this just too much.

So for now, I’m going to stop replying to comments until this fucking issue is resolved. This is not say that I will leave your replies unanswered, but that I will only start a conversation, when a conversation can be maintained. Of course, this assumes that IDC will get their act together and fix this annoying bug ASAP. If this does not happen, I may have to do the unthinkable and remove it altogether in order to be able to discuss again.

Needless to say, this whole situation is seriously pissing me off, especially since I’ve been a devout proponent of IDC for a while now.

I’ll be updating this post with the status of this comment hell in the future.

UPDATE1: It seems that the IDC folks have finally located the code causing this and have produced a fix to stop this from happening in the future. Now all that’s left is fixing the problem as it already exists and they plan to push an update for this once they know the fix worked.

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A resource wiki just for the Atheosphere

Unveiling the Atheist Resources, a project which hopes to provide a valuable centralized resource to the Atheosphere. By Freethinkers, for Freethinkers.

AR logoWould you like to have a place where all information relevant to Atheist Blogging would be gathered and constantly updated for your benefit? Well for the last few months ((Well, more like days of actual work, as the whole thing stayed basically idle for most of its existence)) me and Larro have been working exactly on such project to provide some help for Atheists, especially the bloggers but not excluding those who take a more passive look.

I conceived the idea once I noticed the large number of resources, ideas and tips that existed and the many ways that bloggers had put them to user. For example, the simple concept of a blogroll had allowed the Atheist Blogroll to exist, from which many other stuff could be based on such as a search engine in atheist blogs or optimized reading lists. Furthermore, many atheists were blogging about ways to use the various tools online, such as Technorati, Reddit, Stumbleupon and the like.

But all this information was dispersed and difficult to find, especially for people who were just joinging the game. So it would be a great idea to have a centralized place where all such information would be gathered and through crowdsourcing improved over time to be as comprehensive as possible.

Thus, the Atheist Resources project was born.

At the moment, this project is still in very early infancy and up to now it’s been mostly me and Larro who’ve been adding to it. I’ve been concentrating on the Toolkit while Larro on the Blog Directory (and the site layout). The former is to allow people to discover useful stuff for their sites while the later is to add a bit of self-management to the Atheist Blogroll and easy updating.

The project is based on the excellent DocuWiki software with a theme that approximates the Wikipedia one (I guess to make the whole thing more familiar. The wiki format should allow us to easily add, remove and update information without fear of losing it and without having to go through a difficult approval process. Everyone is welcome to join.

Of course, this won’t go anywhere fast with only just 2 people on it, so I think it’s about time that I put out the word on the Atheosphere and invite y’all to join. Strangely I’m not the first to mention this as the Jewmanist somehow discovered its existence early and blogged about it already. Unfortunately this didn’t elicit much of a response.

So what is the current functionality? Well of course it’s a wiki so you’ll be able to quickly add and edit anything. I’ve also enabled pingback functionality which means that when the AR links to a blog, it will appear (if this functionality exists – yes, I’m looking at you Blogspot) and when a blog links tot he AR, this will appear on the site as well. This way if someone writes on a topic, say, Technorati, and links to the AR, theit entry will show on the Technorati page for people looking for this information to follow.

Then there’s tags, which is something I’m hoping might become useful for sites listed on the Blogroll. Through them, one should be able to see which Atheist Blogs write about a particular subject and visit them. Along with all the information that should be present on each Blog’s listing, this should enable people to find Atheist bloggers with similar interests easily.

And that’s just the begginging. I’m hoping that with all these brillliant Freethinkers out there, we can make this something unique and useful. So I hope to see you all there.

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The fastest caching combo for WordPress. Am I in a cached Nirvana?

Caching in Wordpress is the best way to increase your performance. This post reviews two new plugins, Hyper Cache and DB Cache and how they can work together

Diagram of the basic operation of a cache
Image via Wikipedia

I hope you’ve recently noticed a significant improvement in the speed of the Division by Zer0.  I’ve done some further testing and I think I’ve discovered the perfect combination of tools which, at least for me, has made everything much snappier.

Last time I was playing around with Dreamhost’s FastCGI option ((Since disabled as it seemed to cause more problems than it solved)) as well as trying out a few newer caching plugins since Super Cache didn’t really play nice. Specifically I was testing Hyper Cache and DB Cache and trying to decide which one is better to keep. Well, in the end I figured out that using both is even better, and now I’m going to tell you why 🙂

Hyper Cache

This one is one serious mutha. It basically does the same thing as Super Cache but without requiring you to edit your .htaccess or other such hassle ((And removing it is simple too, unlike Super Cache)). All you have to do is activate and go. And the results are really stunning. With it activated, I routinely get pages loading in sub-second speeds (whereas before the average was 2-6 seconds) on cached pages with very low overhead, which means I can withstand traffic spikes.

I was so impressed I spent an afternoon just reloading pages to admire how fast they loaded 🙂

Of course this plugin will not help with javascripts speed so if you have a lot of ’em, you will still notice your site taking a bit. However you should notice that the loading starts immediately and then waits for each javascript to download and run (so you’ll see the page appear in stages) instead of waiting a bit until it even starts loading (while it’s gathering prerunning the php and quering the DB). As such, if you have most of your javascripts loading at the footer (as you should), your content will appear immediately for your audience to start reading, and by the time they’re one the second sentence, the page will have finished.

My main problem was exactly that incidentally, that the content took up to 5 seconds to even appear. As long as the main text is there, I don’t mind so much how long it takes for the rest of the “bling” to load.

Another good thing about hyper cache is that it will not activate if you’re logged in to your wordpress installation. This means that in order to see the speed of your site as it appears to everyone else, you either need to use another browser (I keep a konqueror lying around just for this) or to clear your cookies. On the upside, it means that you almost always see the current version when you make non-content changes, such as editing your theme (as the cache will be automatically cleared if you make content changes.) This really helps if you like to tweak your site layout a lot.

One last (bad) thing I’ve noticed is that if I go ahead and clear all hyper cache. My site will die with an internal server error. I’ve tried this twice now. I do not know if that is because my site would die if hyper cache was not there or because once the cache is cleared, there some heavy duty function running to repopulate it or whatever. I know it happens though. I don’t have to do this anymore however so it’s not really a problem.

Overall, Hyper Cache is an absolute win for people hosting their own WordPress, especially if you’re on a shared hosting plan and even more especially if you’re using Dreamhost PS, as Super Cache is not an option.

DB Cache

This plugin takes a novel approach to caching. Whereas all the other that exist simply save the html output of your content and then serve it to avoid running PHP code each time a page is requested, DB Cache saves database query output to avoid making SQL calls to it.

This has a few significant benefits. First of all, it helps with Search Engine crawlers such as the google bot. Where a normal caching plugin really shines when a lot of people access one specific page, it actually harms you when one agent accesses a lot of pages, since you add the cache-saving to your load, on top of the normal page loading. DB cache on the other hand, by caching common Database queries, can fill exactly that hole which significantly reduces the juice you need to serve all the bots crawling you.

This is becauseeach page of your site, other than the main content and possible some post-related queries (ie similar posts), has basically the same calls. Your recent posts, your tag clouds and category lists, recent comments etc, depending on what widgets and theme you use. These generally don’t change from page to page but for a normal caching plugin on a new page, they still need to be called so that the full html page can be saved.

So by caching all these common calls, you seriously reduce the time one needs to wait on a blank screen before a page can even start loading the content. You also reduce the load when a crawler does his daily thing and you even increase the speed of the occasional visitor from a mobile. While DB cache will not give you the awesome speed hyper cache will on a single page load, it will certainly reduce your overall server’s CPU & RAM load (much more important than bandwidth and disk space for shared hosting) and make visits to uncommon pages quicker.

Another plus which I’ve discovered is when you are using Gallery2 through the wpg2 plugin. Gallery is imho a database chewer because people don’t simply see one image and then leave, but rather switch quickly among a lot of them. As a result, DB Cache is perfectly prepared to grab those common queries done through wpg2 and save them for later, increasing the overall speed.

The caching combo of ultimate speed

Until now I’ve never mixed caching plugins as they all generally worked in the same or similar way. However the distinct way these two worked gave me the impression that they wouldn’t really conflict and might actually complement each other quite well. One of them is built for serving one page to lost of visitors in a short time period, while the other is perfect for serving many pages to one visitor. So I went ahead and activated both of them at the same time

And whatdayaknow, there was no explosion 🙂

What happens at the moment is that generally, a page always has at least a few queries cached by DB Cache. You can even see the cached queries increasing with each time it’s reloaded (when bypassing hyper cache). This in turn allows a non-hypercached page to load quicker which is then saved into hyper cache for further visitors.

So currently you see the results of this experiment. I’d like to believe that my speed at the moment is quite good and others who have followed my advice have experienced similar improvements. I really hope this is the last time I have to play with caches in the future and that the current speeds are not just an illusion.

Let me know of the results if you try the same combo on your own sites.

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Who knew WordPress excerpts were so useful?

Did you know about the amazing potential of Wordrpess excerpts? This is a short description and a link to an excellent article explaining their utility.

Excerpt from Meshari by Gjon Buzuku.
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve always wanted to put the excerpt field provided by wordpress to some good use but I never really realized what the best way to go about it would be and/or why I should spend the time writing an extra piece of information for the post.  Until now I’ve sometimes used them for replacing the frontpage snippet in case it broke due to not properly close html code and the like but nothing more than that.

In the end, the utility of the excerpts was so obvious that I had to slap my forehead for not thinking of it myself. Thankfully, someone else not only went to the trouble of explaining why excerpts were useful but also provided links and information for the tools you can use to utilize them best.

From: The manual Excerpt in WordPress. What, why, how, tips and plugins

WordPress excerpts, which are not excerpts, make a WordPress site easier to browse and its content easier to discover. In addition, when also used as META descriptions, good excerpts bring more and better traffic from search engines.

If you’re using wordpress, especially if it’s self-hosted, this is the kind of article you should be reading right now. The insights and improvement ideas would certainly make you rethink the way you utilize this underused feature and the concice and structured way this is presented makes the whole thing easy to go through and understand. As one commenter put it

Heard a cling and a thud ?
Well, it was my awesomeness-meter crashing !

What a post. Dugg deep, very deep into something that’s insanely powerful, but not appreciated, the WP Excerpts !

As for me, I’m already going through my latest posts and adding descriptive excerpts to all. I’m not going to go back to all 3 years of blogging (almost 4 now 🙂 ) but I plan to go through the last year at least.

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Of WordPress Caches and Fast PHPs

More attempts to improve the performance of my Wordpress site through new Caching plugins (Hypercache and DB Cache) and Dreamhost’s FastCGI.

Example of a Plug-In Framework
Image via Wikipedia

Improving the speed of this and my two other sites has always been a major issue for me. Ever since I’ve switched to WordPress I’ve never been fully satisfied with the loading time and it seems I’ve been trying since forever to improve it.  My main methods were through the use of caching plugins such a WP-Cache and later on WP-Supercache and through manual performance tweaking. For a while it seemed to have worked to a degree until again my performance started dropping without any apparent reason.

It was at this point that I jumped to the VPS offering in a desperate attempt to get a site which loads in this century. Again, for a while things looked to be working well but now and then I would get horrible site b0rks which would take me hours to troubleshoot and resolve. The latest one was the reason I discovered that WP-Supercache didn’t play nice with VPS and thus I had to find something else, or live with it in a state of half-on.

To my delight, it seems that now there are new caching plugins available which I can try. I already mentioned Hyper Cache last time and today I discovered DB Cache (h/t which seems particularly promising, especially because it works not by caching the fully loaded page, but rather by caching the Database queries themselves. This is an interesting take on caching since it now can improve performance for web crawlers as well as normal users. It also provides an extra benefit to me since I’m proving a gallery through the wordpress interface, and that means that the database queries for that are also cached.

So I ditched Super Cache from all my blogs and installed DB Cache on the Division by Zer0 and the Wesnoth Journals and Hyper Cache on the ACP. It’s of course always difficult to figure out how much difference a caching plugin has done to your site. As of now, I can’t say I notice a significant difference on loading times with DB Cache, however I did notice that the number of SQL queries that are made each time the page loads have dropped from >60 to about 15 which means that there some difference.

I  have also noticed anotther thing. In the past it could take a few seconds before my site even started loading (I guess while it was running the SQL queries) but after that it would be displayed very quickly (especially if it had been supercached) whereas now, the site starts loading very quickly but it takes more time to actually finish loading the content, in effect loading in parts (first the header, then the content etc) but in a way that is much more exaggerated than before.

Another thing I also decided to do is to finally activate Fast CGI for PHP. I hadn’t done this before as it wouldn’t have made much difference when Supercache was in use but now that the code is executed every time, it seems like a good idea. There’s also the added bonus that for VPS, the Xcache opcoder is available which further improves php performance when on high load. I do not think it will make much of a difference as my problem is not one of traffic but it may come in handy for those rare reddit moments.

As of now, the performance seems comparable to SuperCache times and I am hoping that this time I will not have any more random Internal Server Errors. Unfortunately my WordPress admin panel is still quite slower than I’d like with loading times randing frmo 5 to 15 seconds or more on occasion. I honestly don’t know what I can do to fix that but at least the admin panel is not something that is used very often.

Next step will be to see if Hyper Cache is better than DB Cache and if they can both play well together for a combined improvement.

So what do you think of the current speed?

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Planet of Anarchy

The Division by Zer0 has joined the Anarchoblogs, a new planet centered around Anarchism. This is my introductory post to it.

Image by anarchosyn via Flickr

I have just joined Anarchoblogs ((h/t to Rad Geek – he goes into more details on this, check it out!)), a new aggregator focusing on all kinds of Anarchism (yes, even the oxymoronic “Anarcho”-Capitalism) who took over after the previous such attempt stopped being updated. This is basically the same thing as Planet Atheism but for Anarchism but further than that, the person behind it has interesting plans for the future.

As anarchism can fall anywhere from the left to the right of the political spectrum and with members all over the world (primarily outside of english speaking countries), the owner decided to create various hubs which can be separated by interests or language (initially, in the future there are plans for location specific ones etc). At the moment there’s only a few of them and I have been added to the english speaking hub.Of course, the main site displays all content from all hubs together.

I find that this separation into hubs is actually a good idea and perhaps Planet Atheism can copy it and organise Atheists to specific groups, to make the whole thing more manageable and allow the members to subscribe to only the topic that interests them.

So this is my introductory post for Anarchblogs and also a way to spread awareness to all who might have anti-authoritarian, anti-statist leanings. If you fall low on the y-axis on the political compass, then you should consider joining as well.

How come the Division by Zer0 has joined you might ask? Well, the more I read, the more I learn of how much Capitalism fails and also how much the modern state is designed to protect the interests of the wealthy. I find it impossible to avoid sliding towards the libertarian left more and more. And since lately I’ve been blogging especially much about Capitalism and Communism it seems like a good place be.

For those of you who might discover the Division by Zer0 from there, welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay. I won’t ask you to subscribe as you’re probably be seeing my writings through the aggregator, however I thought I might post a few of my older posts with Anarchism related content.

I have generally had not much presence from anarchists around here (unlike AnCaps to my dismay) so I’m hoping that this might present me with some views from a different perspective than usual.

Here’s to a brighter future and to more voices raised high.

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It's all about you, baby

My first audience query to find what you like about the Division by Zer0, what you want to read more about and what you want me to get rid of.

What's that thing you're pointing at me?
Image by frozenminds via Flickr

Old time readers of the Division by Zer0 (heh, riiight…) might have noticed that the site as of late has been more and more exploring subjects related to Socialism and Capitalism from various perspectives. This isn’t really a surprise as this blog has always been quite personal and the subject matter tends to follow whatever draws my interest at any point in time.

This being a personal blog (or at least that’s what I keep saying to myself) I’ve been quite surprised that I’ve managed to exceed a hundred subscribers. I assume that this is mostly because I’ve stopped writing about “boring” real life stuff so much and have a taken a more philosophical blogging style.

I can’t say that I’m not glad that at least a hundred people consider me interesting enough to follow and this is why I’ve been wondering what exactly it is that keeps you coming back. I think its impossible that there are so many of you with exactly the same interests as me so it’s certain that I often write about things you do not care about. Thus I think there’s no better way to discover what’s going on, than to ask you directly.

What  do you like and/or dislike about the Division by Zer0?

At the moment I have quite a few subjects I’m (fairly) often blogging about but I think that the ones I’m most often visit are Socialism and Criticisms of Capitalism, Free Software, Blogging, Philosophy (mostly from my own (I hope) unique perspective but some social subjects thrown in as well), Project work and finally the occasional personal stuff.

Out of these, are you returning for anything specific or do you enjoy that I switch between them often? Is there any in particular topic you don’t care to read about? Any that you prefer? Why? I like to delude myself that some people find me interesting because I’m fresh and unique compared to the rest of the atheosphere  so feel free to rain on my parade.

But what about other things? Is there anything non-topic related that you (dis)like? My writing style? My dull wit? My Greek Geek perspective? My luxurious long hair? The speed of the site (Hah!)?

So yeah, I’m curious and I hope you will take a bit to let me know. I’d mostly appreciate comments if you can spare the time but in case your busy schedule prohibits it, I’ve setup a poll to allow you to give a hint quickly (note that you can select up to two choices)

[poll id=”5″]

But I’d really much rather hear what you have to say instead.

Oh, and happy new year as well 😉

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Comment Wars Meme: Why Intense Debate is superior to Disqus

The last post on war: Thoughts, wishes, duty.....
Image by FlickrJunkie via Flickr

In recent months, outsourcing one’s blog comments to a specialized comment engine has become quite trendy for many people. Of those specialized engines, two are gathering the most publicity, Intense Debate and Disqus. I jumped onto this comments outsourcing bandwagon about half a year ago and my choice was Intense Debate Comments (IDC from now on). Not only have I not regretted at all but I’ve become such a staunch evangelist for this system that I have made quite a few converts 🙂

So what is this post about? Well, yesterday, Friar Zero asked my via email why I preferred IDC over Disqus. The simple answer is that IDC was the one I stumbled onto first, quite randomly while using the Get Satisfaction support (GSFN from now). I discovered Disqus shortly after that but since I had already taken IDC for a ride, I saw no reason to start all over again and Disqus was not also using GSFN so as weird as it sounds, that was a major reason for me at the start.

But of course that’s not a proper reason and I think it’s time for me to actually write  in detail why I preferred one over the other. And since I’m doing that, I thought I might as well make this my first meme and perhaps trigger others to explain for themselves why they use their current choice. This will hopefully create a body of opinions which might give bloggers enough information about each option from all sides of the argument, to make an informed decision.

So the rules of the Comment Wars meme are the following:

  1. Declare which system you prefer and perhaps give a short history of your decision.
  2. List the reasons of why you prefer you current system choice over the direct competitor (If you’re using IDC, your competitor is Disqus and the other way around).
  3. (Optionally) list the reasons why you prefer your current system over your blog’s default comment system (WordPress, Blogger or Typepad most likely). If you’re still using your default system, instead list the reasons why you consider it superior to both IDC and Disqus.
  4. Link to the person who tagged you for this meme.
  5. Link to any other people who are using any third-party comment system of whom you care to know why they chose as they did.  You can also link to any people who are still using the built-in comment system and you want to know why. Make sure to leave them a comment or send an email to inform them that they have been tagged.

So without further ado

Why I prefer Intense Debate over Disqus

Some Horrible Threading in Disqus
Some Horrible Threading in Disqus

1. The threading looks and works much better

The original thing that drew me to IDC was the capability to have threaded comments and this is still the thing that breaks or makes the deal for me. IDC threads simply look natural, with the little arrow pointing to the reply below, with the reply being just a tad to the right (so as to allow a lot of threading before you run out of space) and where the end result just looks natural.

On the other hand, Disqus threading, to me always looked ugly. Blocky comments which simply begun below and quite a bit indented which had the result of quickly running out of space. This became painfully obvious when I participated in a lengthy discussion through disqus and after the 13th reply, it stared becoming very annoying to continue (sample on the right)

On the contrary, in the Division by Zero, I’ve held a 30 deep-thread going without any major inconvenience. Granted, it helps that I have a variable width template (why waste screen real-estate) but it is mostly because of the way IDC conserves space and builds the thread.

It would be impossible to hold a 130-reply thread going without good layout and the fact that I did and it’s actually readable from a visitor’s point of view, is a major success.

The only thing missing (from both systems) is a way to connect a reply to the parent comment, but IDC already has the collapse thread function and I know they’re working on better solutions.

2. They seem to innovate in the correct direction

While both systems have taken a generally similar path in features, and even though IDC came later to the party, IDC seems much more full in features that Disqus. I’ve been seeing a lot of new features such as the recent ability to paginate comments in order to keep the page load fast, or the capability to keep your wordpress comments synced both ways with IDC.

I do not know what the recent innovations of Disqus have been to tell the truth as I don’t pay attention to them so I can’t really compare the relevant speed they advance. A quick look at their blog tells me they do provide a lot of good stuff as well but I get the impression that they are more interested in making more fancy features rather than strengthen and make the comments themselves as good and solid as possible.

3. Email notifications rock

By now, I’ve gotten email notifications for replies by both systems (and from builtin solutions) and I can safely say that IDC was the best for the following reasons.

  • They send a notification immediately after a reply is posted to a thread below your comment. That is, if you leave a comment and someone replies to it, you get a notification. If, after 3 days, someone replies to the reply to your comment, you are still notified, as this is continuing from a point you raised. I find this great to keep a conversation live and going ((It’s been a while since I got such a notification as I generally comment on my own blog where I get an email for everything. Last time I remember, this functionality was the case but it may have changed since)).
    On the other side, Disqus seems to send notifications only every 30 minutes or so (thus some times passes before you get informed that you got a reply, and by then you might have gone to do something else) and then you only get notifications if someone responds directly to your comment. You don’t get informed if someone continues the discussion that you started.
  • The email notification includes your response to that comment as well, so you can immediately see the context of what they are replying to. This is quite important as it’s very often that I do not remember what I was saying at the time.
  • It allows you to reply by email. Granted, so does Disqus, but not the built-in systems.

4. They are (now) owned by Automattic.

This is more of a personal preference than anything else but it really made my day when I learned about it. To clarify, Automattic are the makers of WordPress, the Blogging software the Division by Zer0 stands on and, for me, is the best you can use. That IDC is now backed by the skills and expertise of those people gives me much optimism about the future.

And since WordPress is a Free Software, you never know, perhaps we’ll be able to convince the IDC people to finally liberate their code (it’s for their own good after all 😉 )

To tell you the truth, I can foresee Disqus being acquired by WordPress’ rival in the blogging battlefield: Blogger/Blogspot, or more accurately, Google. If this happens, things will get…interesting.

5. They use Get Satisfaction and their support guys are top-notch

GSFN has become one of my favourite places to seek support and it was actually how I came to discover IDC as I explained at the start. Their support guys are still active over there and they generally provide excellent support (although a few times I did go for weeks without solution). I’ve had issues which were reported only by me actually looked by a developer to find a solution very quickly. Although some times I really felt like pulling out my luxurious hair, eventually a solution was found and the than all was right in the world again. But no matter what, very rarely will you find a support person volunteer to help you scour your blog for possible problems just to make sure that everything is ok.

Unfortunately I do not know how quick the Disqus support is but the fact that they use their own support forum generally does not make me happy.

Another big benefit of GSFN is the ability to separate ideas from other support issues and get an idea of how many other people want the same idea to happen. Quite a few of the things I’ve proposed in the past have already been implemented and the devs generally pay attention to what their userbase asks for. This counts.

6. They integrate very well with WordPress

At the moment of speaking, the IDC wordpress plugin merges very well with the platform. Not only can you manage your comments in the same way as before (bulk moderation etc), but it also gives you some extra functionality, like the ability to reply to comments from within WordPress moderation or filter by author.

I won’t claim that the plugin is perfect as I have suffered quite a bit through it (I was testing it since the alpha) but I can safely say that for most people it should work flawlessly and if you have a problem they’ll be able to fix it for you quickly 😉

And with these six points, I finish my reasons on why I prefer IDC over disqus. Very shortly now, I’m going to present…

Why I prefer IDC over WordPress’ built-in comments

1. IDC has threading

As I said, this is a deal-maker for me. While wordpress can achieve threading with plugins and the newest 2.7 has it built-in by default, in my site it never looked nice and you could not thread more than once (or the theme broke and I couldn’t fix it). IDC worked out of the box, and much much better than I could ever imagine. Indeed, I was so impressed with the Threading capabilities of IDC that I could now change my Comment policy to allow discussions to flow much better.

2. Email Notifications

While wordpress can do this with plugins again, it doesn’t do email replies.

3. I can keep my site is less bloated

WordPress can indeed handle email notifications and threading and whatnot but all of these are extra code that needs CPU power to run and on a shared hosting like mine, every little bit counts. Granted, IDC hasn’t been the fastest kid on the block until now, but recently the devs put it on a diet and with some new comment organization features, they’ve made it much faster to load.

That means I can get all these functions and anything more the developers cook up, without having to worry about updating 3- or 4 different plugins which might break each other or slowdown the site.


In my eyes, IDC is and will remain the better choice for most people who want something superior than what comes with the box. I’m certain that the competition with Disqus will remain heated but this only benefits us all in the long run

Below you will find a poll where you can vote, as a blogger or as a commenter, which system you prefer. If you take part in the meme, feel free to link here for others so that we may get a bigger view.

[poll id=”4″]

And finally, to tag some people to get some opinions and spread this meme. I’ve tried to tag a nice spread of systems to get various opinions on this.

Anyone else who is reading this, feel free to take part as well and let us know why you chose as you did. let the Comment Wars begin!

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