Can you tell us a bit about your website?
It’s a small but growing blog about the collapse of industrial civilization (http://fromfilmerstofarmers.com) that I didn’t even intend to start up. I bought the domain for future considerations (it’s the title of my forthcoming book), but then decided to teach myself a tiny bit of HTML and CSS so I could put up a static page so that there would be at least a bit of info on it out there. The site was rather ugly, so I kept trying to spruce it up. That didn’t work, as although my coding was getting better, the design of the site was getting uglier. I eventually redesigned it from scratch, thought that it lacked content, and then errantly ended up starting a blog out of it all. Whoops.
How did you discover the Commentics site?
Seeing how I was solely using open source programs to build my site (Brackets, Gimp, and Firefox) and within my site (Piwik), ideally I wanted an open source script where I’d have control of the content and the system, rather than outsourcing it all out to somebody/something else. I can’t remember exactly how I found Commentics, but I think it was through one of those “top 10 commenting scripts” type things. I was even happier to then find it available as a one-click install via Softaculous on my cPanel-using shared hosting service, so installation was a breeze for a total amateur like me.
What made you choose the script over others?
Everything else looked like crap, to be honest. Somehow I’d discovered quite a few before I came across Commentics, and I was almost ready to give up and go with one of the commonly used commenting scripts out there which maintain ultimate control over the content of your comments. But then I fortunately came across Commentics and discovered that it was exactly what I was looking for.
What advice would you give to fellow admins?
If you’re looking for a nice looking and customizable open source commenting script, Commentics is the way to go.
How, if at all, did you customize the script?
Although I didn’t own a smartphone (or even a mobile phone in general), I ended up looking at my site on a friends’ iPhone and it looked awful — it was the regular desktop site on this tiny screen. So I taught myself how to create a style sheet for an adaptive mobile page, but the Commentics script wasn’t set up for that, so I adjusted the style sheet to take Commentics into account. A few things I couldn’t adjust with just a mobile.css file and had to actually go into the Commentics files themselves and adjust those. It works great now. The only thing I couldn’t get to work (it was behind too many variables I think) was getting inserted images to appear at a properly scaled size. There’s only ever been one image inserted in a comment though, by me, so I could live with that minor bug.
What would you like to see added or improved?
I’ve currently got it set up so that one approved comment means that all following comments are pre-approved, and I wouldn’t mind being able to see a list of all those approvals, which I could then revoke on a case by case basis if need be.
Have you ever needed to use the support site?
Yeah, I duplicated my blog to start up a side-project blog (which is now defunct), and seeing how I was too lazy to try and figure out how it was that I adapted the original Commentics install for mobiles, I asked away on the forum if I could just duplicate the install. Steven was quick to answer my questions.
Has Commentics helped your website so far?
Yes. It’s a blog, and it must have commenting available, so it wouldn’t have been proper without it.
Would you recommend Commentics to others?
Definitely. There isn’t a single reason why I wouldn’t recommend it (well, unless you’re a monster site like CNN or something), and I haven’t regretted my decision once.
Do you have any final words to add?
I’m planning a few other once-in-a-while side-project blogs, and rather than coding them myself (or reusing my site as a template) I’ve found a nice blogging template I’d like to use (which I’ll also have complete control over — none of that Blogger or even WordPress stuff). It’s responsive however, and there’s no way I’d be able to adapt Commentics to work with it. So I was glad to hear that the upcoming Commentics version 3.0 will be set up to work with responsive sites, which I’ll be looking forward to. (That being said, I’m slightly dreading having to undo the Commentics revisions I did to my current blog for its mobile adaptation, but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out.) As well, another friend gave me an old and unused iPhone of his, so while I now have a smartphone to check my site with (Wi-Fi only with this smartphone!), it’ll be nice once the back-end of Commentics is also adapted for smartphones and which I’ll be able to use without the pinch-zoom thing.
Thanks for all your work!