September 19, 2015

Change Blogger comments to Google Plus and be prepared for surprises!

Before we come to the subject, we'd recall our old post on dynamic views on Blogger. We found it aweful in its initial avatar, and had hoped that it would improve. It has improved a lot, with side links to many missing resources, but jury is still out whether some of the views are worth it.

Google has two options on Blogger ( platform for comments. You can integrate blog comments with Google Plus or you retain the older version. After some study of the advantages of the new offer (Google Plus), we switched to this on ITB. But we are disappointed - as of now.

This post, thus, is to inform bloggers about pluses and minuses of shifting to Google Plus enabled commenting system on Blogger so that they take an informed decision.

The old, traditional, commenting system has these features:

  • You can see comments in the 'Comments' menu of the blog. There, you find the list of all the comments - published, those awaiting moderation (if comment moderation is on) and spam.
  • You can moderate comments, i.e. decide which one to publish and which one to block. You can, additionally, choose to get an email notification when  a new comment is received.
  • In the 'Settings' menu and 'Posts and Comments' sub-menu, you get options to moderate. You also can allow or disallow different commenter identities including anonymous comments. You also an option to force a capcha. Finally, you can place a greeting message on top of the comment box. 

On the Google+ enabled comment system (as of now), 
  • You can't see all comments in one place.
  • You cannot allow or restrict comments according to identities. Only visitors with Google+ identity are allowed to comment.
  • You can't moderate comments before they are published. You can mark them spam only after they are public, but removal from the blog does not mean the comment will not appear on other places where the post appears.
  • You can't greet commenters in a customised way.
  • It is not available on classic template, adult blogs and private blogs.
  • If you shift back to the traditional system, the comments made during the Google+ system will disappear. Thankfully, when we change over to Google+ enabled system, we retain all the earlier comments.

But then why would anyone like to put Google+ enabled commenting system?

Yes, that is the moot question. We looked for user responses on the web and found some answers:

  • Google Plus commenting integrates all comments relating to that post, whether on Google Plus timeline or any community or the blog itself. It also leads to only one profile of Blogger and Google Plus. This results in greater social media visibility. As the G+ universe grows, it means that much more exposure in future.
  • The integration definitely leads to many more followers for your Google Plus timeline.
  • The system pre-supposes that commenting is a community activity and must be visible to all. To that extent, this is a move towards more freedom of expression.
  • It has also been reported that these comments become available to Google for search, leading to better visibility to the blog in search results.

On the other hand, some users have found the loss of control and customisation a retrograde move. Some feel, spam-marking of the already published comments might lead to revenge from spammers. Not allowing visitors without Google account to comment is taken as Google trying to arm-twist people to register on Google; this also discourages non-Google-registered visitors from commenting.

So, friends, we have done our job. You decide about your blog. Amen!