GraphComment Turns Comments into Dynamic Social Discussions
GraphComment is a WordPress comment platform developed by Semiologic, a company based in France. It aims to replace the default WordPress comments system with a dynamic and engaging online community, and includes features for moderating, tracking, and analyzing visitor discussions.
The heart of the plugin is built around two main components: Bubble Flow and Bubble Rank.
GraphComment’s Bubble Flow is an innovative graphic interface that allows users to easily read and write comments, as well as follow relevant discussions in real time.
Bubble Rank is the algorithm the plugin uses to sort comments by relevance and reputation, helping to reduce trolling and spamming on your site.
Overall, GraphComment aims to help you grow your community, engage your audience, increase your revenue, and promote your brand.
In this review, we’ll take a look at GraphComment’s main features, how it holds up to its promises, and give you our final thoughts about the plugin.
GraphComment’s Main Features and Benefits
Bubble Flow is a patent pending graphic interface that allows users to interact with a discussion thread through a horizontal line of tiny author avatars that can be collapsed or expanded with a single click. Messages are sorted vertically and are expanded one at a time to read them. This allows readers to browse from left to right on every comment level with previous/next buttons.
Bubble Flow replaces the more common “flat” commenting views which can be problematic with longer discussion threads. With this older commenting system, messages are stacked up chronologically, screen width can become too large, message space is sacrificed, and user readability can get progressively worse.
Instead of having to deal with pages of disorganized comments, with Bubble Flow, you always know who’s talking to whom and you also understand what level you’re on within the discussion. This provides maximum readability without occupying more space. And instead of being sorted chronologically, messages are sorted by relevance (thanks to Bubble Rank). All in all, Bubble Flow makes it easier for your site visitors to read/write comments and follow relevant discussions.
Bubble Rank helps GraphComment sort messages and replies by relevance and the reputation of the visitor (determined by a voting algorithm). Not only does it give users the most trustworthy and relevant comments, but it also helps reduce trolling and spamming on your site.
GraphComment allows you to directly manage user comments through the plugin’s admin, embedded into WordPress. It also gives you the ability to assign different moderators to different pages of your site.
Moderators can receive real-time new comment notification through email and can moderate comments in batches. They can also ban a user or tag a message as spam to help GraphComment’s filters automatically prevent abuse.
Here are the top-level moderation options with GraphComment:
With Pre-Moderation, comments don’t appear on your site until they’re approved by a moderator.
With Post-Moderation, comments appear immediately on the site, but can be removed later through moderation.
Smart Moderation moderates comments automatically based on the plugin’s algorithm and the comment author’s reputation.
GraphComment helps you build your own online community where users can follow and interact with each other. With community relationship management features, you can take advantage of user profiles that show: total comments made, spam comments, user email, reputation indicators, user votes, and seniority.
Activity indicators in GraphComment make it easy for people to see and interact with new content and activity.
Dynamic, engaged communities can self-generate content, provide support to other users, and reduce support costs for site owners.
With GraphComment’s analytics, you can view information such as top commenters and top threads. This information can be extremely valuable in helping you understand your most engaged users and what kind of content your audience desires.
By getting direct customer feedback, site owners can gain valuable consumer insights that help them optimize their content, products, and services.
Social Media Features
GraphComment comes with a number of social features.
For example, the platform allows for the rating and sharing of comments and threads to social networks.
There’s also a voting system that rates user reputation and allows for community moderation.
And the plugin includes community profiles, with mini profiles displayed directly with comments.
Finally, the platform allows for inline media embedding for YouTube, Instagram, GIFs, and more.
GraphComment data is stored and protected across an infrastructure of dedicated servers in France.
All data (email, profiles, comments) belongs to the site owner and can be retrieved at any time through the Export tool available in the Settings section of the GC admin.
Comments can be auto-synced (backed up) to your WordPress database, and you can import old WordPress comments in one click. This way, if you ever choose to stop using GraphComment, you won’t lose any comments.
GraphComment increases production of user-generated content, helping to benefit SEO rankings.
Furthermore, the plugin’s Bubble Flow interface helps to make unique threads that are indexable by search engines through the user page of each member. In short, you get SEO-friendly comments.
SEO features include nofollow links, microformat, indexable user pages, and metadata.
GraphComment lets you use your company or brand logo for GraphComment registration and emails (premium version). You can also choose among different theme colors in order to match your site’s design.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Visitors have to register with GraphComment in order to use the comment system on your site. Semiologic, the people behind GraphComment, say this is primarily because they need to correlate commenting data to a unique profile to allow notifications and interaction. Without a verified email, this is not possible.
But once visitors have a GraphComment account, they can interact with any website that uses GraphComment.
GraphComment tries to make registration as easy as possible by allowing user registration through social networks (Facebook, Google, Twitter) or email.
With the premium versions of GraphComment, you can take advantage of their Single Sign-On feature (SSO). This provides site owners with their own sign-in system. In this case, your users sign in and register (by providing a username, email, and password) on your website’s authentication system, and don’t need to directly register with GraphComment. Your website automatically takes care of that for them through SSO.
Within SSO, you authenticate your users and give Semiologic a “token” that tells them to trust your user. Semiologic never sees any user passwords—they only use the username and email from the SSO to display that person on the GraphComment system.
Other Features and Benefits
• Increased engagement, trust, and brand reach can help promote loyalty for your products and services.
• Currently available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Persian, and Czech
• Fully responsive with all operating systems and devices (desktop, tablet, phone)
• Text formatting options in comments (e.g., bold, italics, underline, hyperlinks)
Setting Up GraphComment
GraphComment is available for WordPress, Tumblr, and most website platforms. Here’s how to install and set up the plugin for WordPress:
1. Begin installing the GraphComment WordPress plugin by going to Plugin … Add New.
2. In the Keyword search field, type GraphComment.
3. Click the Install Now button for GraphComment Comment System and then click the Activate button.
After activating the plugin, you’ll see the GraphComment menu in the WordPress admin sidebar.
4. Click the GraphComment menu in WordPress and you should see a page where you can create an account with them.
5. Create an account with GraphComment by signing up through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or an email account.
6. For this example, we’ll sign up through email by adding a username, email, and password (you can also choose to add an avatar). After doing so, click the Sign up button.
7. GraphComment will send you a six-digit validation key to your email. Copy that key and enter it into the 6 digits key box, then click the Send button.
You should see a congratulations notice.
8. Click the Go to admin website button (or the GraphComment link in your WordPress sidebar).
9. You’ll see a notice that reads Authorize to use your account? Click the Authorize app button to connect the GraphComment plugin to your new GraphComment account.
You should see a success notice that tells you that your WordPress site is now connected to your GraphComment account.
10. You will be redirected to the Add a new website screen. Fill out the following information to register your site with your GraphComment account:
Site name (name of your website)
Unique ID (this will be automatically populated)
Website preferred language
That’s it—you’re finished! If you see a notice that you need to install GraphComment on your pages, you can safely ignore it, you’ve already done so.
After installing and activating GraphComment, you’ll see the GraphComment menu in the WordPress admin sidebar. Within that menu are two submenus:
There’s also a third area of interest you should know about that’s not listed here, which is the GraphComment admin that is external to your WordPress site.
Let’s take a closer look at these three areas, beginning with Plugin Settings.
The Plugin Settings Menu
After installing and connecting your site to your GraphComment account, you’ll want to go to GraphComment…Plugin Settings in the WordPress sidebar.
The Plugin Settings menu consists of four main tabs:
Let’s briefly look at what’s in each tab:
The General tab shows:
• Your website ID associated with GraphComment
• The options for setting up GraphComment on your site:
Select this option to turn on GraphComment for your site.
Activate GraphComment on all posts
Select this option in order to use GraphComment on both your old and new posts. If you don’t choose this option, you’ll need to select a starting date for which GraphComment should be used on your posts. You do that in the field marked Activate GraphComment on posts from.
• Choose whether to activate the SEO Friendly comments option. If you turn this feature on, you’ll need to sync the comments to your WordPress database for indexation (done in the Synchronization tab).
• Choose whether to Activate Logs for possible debugging. This option is available in all tabs under the Plugin Settings menu, and may come in handy for troubleshooting.
Here’s where you activate synchronization to automatically save new GraphComment comments to your WordPress database. In this way, you won’t lose any comments if you later choose to deactivate GraphComment.
Just check the box next to Synchronize comments with WordPress and click Save Changes.
The Importation tab is where you can import your pre-existing WordPress comments to GraphComment.
Turn on this option if you’re a moderator and want to be notified when a new comment is posted to your site.
The GC Admin Menu
Now, let’s take a look at the other GraphComment submenu.
When you first enter the GC Admin, you’ll need to log in to your GraphComment account through either your social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) or via email.
Once you’re connected, you’ll see sections for:
What follows is a brief description of each item.
Note: What you see in these sections is dependent upon which plan you have for GraphComment. For this review, the features we’re using are those of the free plan.
This is where you’ll moderate (approve, refuse, delete, mark as spam, reply to) any comments you get. If you choose to moderate comments before they can appear on your site, you might see comments under the Pending tab.
The Analytics section provides a dashboard for statistics about users and discussions, including:
Number of threads
Number of comments
Number of users
Number of comments posted and seen between specified dates
Number of users posting a comment between specified dates
By looking over your analytics, you can understand your visitors better (e.g., identify influencers, ambassadors, and detractors) and what type of content is most attractive to them.
The Community section provides profile information about your commenters and administrators, including:
Their name and any profile information they’ve given
Links to any social networks or emails they’ve provided
Number of votes they’ve received
Number of comments and threads they created
Number of times they voted
You can search the people in your community using different filters, and also show banned users.
The Setup section provides instructions for installing GraphComment for:
All sites (Universal Code)
Tumblr (editing HTML)
This section also has a link to a “setup guide”, which is just a paragraph of text explaining how to enable GraphComment on your site.
To install and set up GraphComment for WordPress, follow the instructions provided earlier in this article.
The Pages section lets you set specific moderators for each page of your site. Moderators will receive email notifications for each new comment on the page. This section also lets you search for threads by name or URL.
In the Settings section, you’ll find a number of options for GraphComment, including:
• Moderation system
Pre-moderation means comments need to be validated before they can appear on your site.
Post-moderation means comments show immediately and will stay depending on your later approval.
Smart-moderation means that “trusted” comments show immediately, depending on a sliding scale you set.
• Number of comments you show at loading (before a “See more” link)
• Number of replies that are collapsed in a thread on loading
• Language of your commenting system
• Color theme for your commenting system
• Moderator usernames and the ability to add moderators
• Ability to export comments and users (WXR and CSV formats)
The Power-Ups section allows you to see the number of monthly views you’ve used for your site. It also provides information and links for upgrading plans.
The GraphComment Off-Site Admin
You’ll also want to be aware of the GraphComment admin that is located outside of your WordPress site. You can log into it by going to https://graphcomment.com/admin, and entering the login information you used to register with GraphComment.
In the off-site GraphComment admin, you’ll see:
• All of the sites you have listed with GraphComment under your account
• The unique IDs for your sites and when each site was added to GraphComment
• The ability to add new sites to your account
Video Tutorial: Setting up and Using GraphComment
Support & Documentation
Support for GraphComment is available Monday-Friday, 9 AM-5 PM (GMT +7) in France. For reference, this is 3 PM-11 PM, Eastern Time Zone.
Here are the support and documentation offerings for GraphComment:
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• FAQ page
• Knowledgebase (solutions for common troubleshooting questions)
GraphComment is supported on the following mobile devices: Safari, iOS 7+, Chrome, Android 4.1+, IE, Windows Phone 8+
Compatible browsers: Internet Explorer 10+, Google Chrome 24+, Firefox 14+, Safari 5.1+
Unfortunately, at this time, the documentation for GraphComment is very limited. Because GraphComment is a fairly complex plugin with many features, getting new users up and running with it requires clear and thorough user documentation. I would love to see either video tutorials (none exist at the moment) or a well-written user guide that clearly explains how to use all of its features.
With that said, I did find their online demo to be helpful, although you can’t see the backend of the plugin in the demo. (It might have been beneficial to have gotten a peek in the plugin’s backend with a fairly active user community.)
I found their email support to be very helpful—they were quick to respond my questions.
GraphComment comes in three different plans:
1 moderator allowed
Help desk support
1 million page views/month
5 moderators allowed
2 million page views/month
Enterprise (custom pricing)
Number of moderators based on quote
Connection via user database (SSO or Single Sign-On)
SLA warranty 99.9% based on quote
Custom technical support
Number of page views based on quote
For more information about the plan features and differences, you can visit their site here.
Conclusions & Recommendations
Billed as a “next-generation commenting system”, GraphComment is a WordPress plugin that promises to replace your site’s outdated chronological comment system with one that allows you to easily moderate, track, and analyze user discussions.
Whether you’re an agency, media company, or blogger, GraphComment aims to help you build an engaged and dynamic community around high quality discussions and social interactivity.
The plugin gives visitors access to relevant content through an innovative and real-time thread interface, and helps reduce trolling and spamming.
GraphComment offers some very nice and innovative features, including Bubble Flow and Bubble Rank.
Bubble Flow offers an exclusive user interface that allows clean interaction and impressive social features. It enhances readability while making it easy for users to like, react, and reply to individual comments. I especially like the horizontal alignment of avatars that keeps user comments within easy reach, as opposed to long lists of chronological comments.
I also like how the Bubble Rank algorithm displays the most relevant comments and responses first (based on voting).
GraphComment comes with a lot of other impressive features, as well, including advanced analytics, social sharing and voting, user profiles, multiple moderators, and Single Sign-On (premium version). It definitely brings a new and modern discussion platform to WordPress.
That said, the need for users to register with GraphComment may be problematic for some. And without registering, users won’t be able to add comments. But kudos to Semiologic for making the effort to make the registration process as simple as possible, whether through social media accounts or the Single Sign-On option (SSO).
How this slight “barrier to entry” affects the success of GraphComment remains to be seen. But for WordPress users who strongly desire a new and dynamic social discussion platform for their site, GraphComment might be just what they’re looking for.
To find out more about GraphComment, you can visit their website here.
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