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Dropping Facebook Comments in Guides

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We have decided to no longer use Facebook comments in our guides. We are gradually going to move the comments on the forums, starting with the class guides.

While we originally found this feature to be very useful, over time we realised that it has many shortcomings.

There is no way for us to be notified when someone comments on the website, so we had to write our own programs that check if new comments have been added. Also, we did not find a way to receive notifications when someone replied to a reply we made, which means that many conversations just stopped in the middle.

Also, this commenting system does not encourage conversations. We did 99% of the replies, which tends to indicate that this was mostly a write-only feature that people used to ask questions but never to reply to that of others.

Finally, these comments are loaded through Javascript after the rest of the page is loaded. This means that Google bots (which are regularly crawling our website to index our pages) do not see them and all the content that some users wrote (when suggesting corrections, for example) is invisible to Google. This is a pity, as some comments were very interesting and would have probably deserved to be shown on search results.

Now, clicking in the "Comments" link at the top of the articles will link to a "comment" thread on the forums, as you can see them in the "Guide Comments" section. For now, only a handful of class guides have been moved to this format, but the entire website will eventually use this system.

Also, a discrete link at the bottom of each page is encouraging readers to post their questions on the forums.

As you will have understood, the bottom line of this decision is to encourage people to exchange and help each other, something that the Facebook comments did not really permit.

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