Intense Debate (Comment System) on iRunFar!

Howdy readers,

Here at iRunFar, we’ve long considered a way to enhance our comment system to embrace the positive, communal aspect of our sport that iRunFar was built on… as well as to deal with some of the growing pains that were likely inevitable in growing from a personal running blog to a global news and information source. That’s why I’m excited to introduce iRunFar’s new comment system powered by Intense Debate.

Some of the new features we’re excited to share include:

  • More personality and greater personification through the use of avatars and personal profiles;
  • A more refined look and, hopefully, greater usability for the comment section;
  • Community upvoting and downvoting of comments to help separate the wheat from the chaff;
  • The ability of a commenter to visibly build a reputation as an insightful and informative contributor via the above system;
  • Easy reader log-in options via ubiquitous platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; and
  • Integrated email notification system for comments as well as reply by email(!).

We’re simultaneously taking steps to make iRunFar’s comment section even more friendly and informative, two of the hallmarks of our website–and, indeed, the trail /ultra communities–since its inception. To that end, you’ll now need to log in to leave a comment. We are a community and community members have faces, history, feelings, responsibility, and reciprocal relationships. The major historic drawback of requiring logon–the log-in process itself–has been heavily mitigated by the ubiquity of Facebook and Twitter and the ability to sign in with either in addition to being able to sign in with an Intense Debate (or account.

We highly encourage you to sign up for and use an Intense Debate or ( account as one is needed to up vote/down vote comments as well as accumulate reputation points.

Even with attribution now required, there will be the occasional bad actor. With Intense Debate, you’ll be able to help us identify trolling, offensive, or spam comments by clicking “Report” on such comments.

One of the great things about Intense Debate is that we can try it on an exploratory basis with nothing lost if we decide to revert to WordPress’s native commenting system in six days, six months, or six years.

The goal of this change is to foster the constructive dialog that iRunFar has long been known for while limiting distracting issues that developed under our previous comment system. With that in mind, we’d love to know what you think about Intense Debate as well as if you have any problems leaving a comment!


There are 50 comments

  1. ToTheTrails

    That's great Bryon! Looking forward to more "intense" discussions and the many funny quips readers use to lighten the moments in some of the posts.

  2. BreatheThinAir

    Bryon, thanks for working so hard to continually improve the iRunFar we already love!

    I hope everyone takes a minute (it really does just take a minute) to register for the new commenting program – I'm looking forward to the same spirited debate we've grown accustomed to.

  3. ripvanracer

    This may entice me to post a few more comments. Love to read all the great stories about other runners especially those that are not as well known.

  4. j_w_s

    Looking forward to it. So many profound yet comical thoughts have just been rattling around in the dome like a rock in the shoe. Finally they'll get shaken out.

  5. Aaron

    Ghostery blocks it, which isn’t much of an endorsement. Disqus is the worst I’ve ever encountered, having to enable multiple trackers and scripts just to read the comments–never again.

    1. Bryon of iRunFar

      First time I've ever heard of Ghostery. I could be wrong, but rather than endorsing or not endorsing anything, it looks like they give the user the option of enabling or disabling which trackers they do or don't allow. Intense Debate is an externally served comment system with a common/global reputation system as well as global logon to provide your identity on an website using Intense Debate. For me, I don't have a problem allowing such tracking, cookie-ing, or whatever go on as there's a clear benefit to me, the person who wants to comment. I hope you'll find it worthwhile, too.

      1. Aaron

        I meant the opposite–it’s in the tracker list, so not an endorsement. The problem I’m finding with a lot of things these days is the over-reliance on tools that are hosted on many different sites and by many different companies. That leaves users very vulnerable if they choose to enable everything without due descrimination. I’m particularly opposed to java script use and assume that any system on which I visit such sites is no longer secure for email, banking, or online purchases.

        1. Aaron

          That is to say that you’ll get a company offering a service like this who is actually using verious tools and trackers hosted by a number of other companies. It’s a bit unnerving.

      1. Aaron

        Well, I don’t squat about what’s available right now. But Disqus really caught my attention when a couple sites that I frequently visit upgraded to it.

  6. BBolder

    Bryon and Meghan have done a great job keeping the discussion informative and civil, so an upgrade is welcome and no surprise.

    However, I've been using Intense Debate for years, and would like to note this caveat: this rating system is perilous, as it can encourage a herd mentality. A commenter can quickly see where "group think" is going, chime in with a simple similar comment, and get +1 from the very active participants, while the person with a thoughtful or nuanced comment often gets no support, as it's human nature to take "sides" and want to "win" the discussion.

    Ultrarunners are generally some of the nicest people anywhere, while online commentators are notorious for being the opposite, so hopefully our iRunFar group will support informative, thoughtful and non-blaming comments, whether they agree with them or not, and not support aggressive comments, even when they agree with the content.

    1. Bryon of iRunFar

      I, too, hope that the community will be supportive. I know I’ll be quick to give a thumbs up to well-stated comments the substance of which I disagree with or that simply come from a viewpiont/perspective other than my own. On the other side, I hope the community is able and willing to self-moderate comments from viewpoints that resonate with them but which are aggressive or otherwise unbecoming to out community, whether that’s a down vote (I hope this is the primary use of the down vote) or reporting offending comments. In the coming days we’ll provide commenting guidelines to suggest tips for commenting in a positive, informative manner especially when you disagree as well the sort of material that won’t be tolerated in comments on iRunFar.

      Meghan and I have done out best to promote useful, civil dialogue on iRunFar and will continue to do so, it’s our hope that the community can play an increasing role in this effort. After all, Meghan and I can’t always be at the computer … nor do we want to be. With that in mind… it’s off to the Needles District! :-)

    2. Bryon of iRunFar

      … but first, I'm psyched that it'd take no more than the click of one button to head back to WordPress's comment system should Intense Debate not work. Even before that, there are a number of settings that can be modified to address various issues that arise.

    1. Ultrail

      I retract my praise! It's a pretty good move right now, but it would be a very, very good move if you lifted the word count limit, so anything longer than a tweet doesn't have to be posted in multiple comments. That's irritating.

  7. AV1611_Ben

    Wise move, IRF. Don't worry about the minor criticisms from some. "If you want to lead the orchestra, you have to turn your back on the crowd." With that, I'm off for a run… :-)

  8. c635237

    I was being funny in my previous comment, but I actually do think that some of the anonymous comments make sense. I do realize the effort and overal positivity you put in the website and it literally changed my attitude towards my running and lifestyle (neverending thanks for that!) . I'm one of those fans who loved your book, put in some donation, bought stuff through your amazon link etc. But I also believe there is some value in anon comments sometimes. Bringing up just the 'good' we find in the sport without any criticism might be counter-productive at times. It is a high impact sport after all. I can imagine how annoying negative comments might be, but I'd like to express my doubts about training regimen and medical advice without posting my real name in the world wide web. In my eyes, one thing is trolling with obvious personal attacks and nonsense so common in 'unregulated' parts of internet, the other being simple expressing doubts and criticism about articles we find here. I believe you in irunfar often get sensitive in both the same way. I'm not sure if a compromise could be done in this place, but I do think some critical discussion has a value and should be valued.

  9. naynaynaynay

    For me – a 30 year old male – the gender of the runner was less an influence on my introduction to ultra than THEIR STORY. The Salomon video of Anna Frost bravely sharing about her bout of depression ignited my passion for ultra. While I do think that some men are more inspired by male runners and some women are more inspired by female runners, in my communications with real, complex trail ultrarunners – men and women – these people do not posit gender-centric arguments as to why they got in to ultra (this is not to say that they aren't egalitarian or feminists, which they generally are). I think if we as a community continue on the path of developing OUR STORIES to share on the internet and thru other channels, most of the superficial (but still significant) hangups folks might have which keep them from engaging in longer races will be challenged by the overriding wealth of positive media and community-building. If someone becomes inspired, if someone SEES who they want to be displayed in front of them – whether the spokesperson be a guy or a girl – kids, jobs, marriages, friends will not hinder but benefit from their daring.

Post Your Thoughts