Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Un-HaloScan Comment" your blog

Many, many Blogger (or blogspot) sites use HaloScan for comments. Personally, I don't care for HaloScan comments ... but that's me.

I used to be a proponent of HaloScan commenting for Blogger. But no longer.

Not because of anything wrong with HaloScan. But because Blogger commenting got better.

Used to be, you had to have a Blogger account in order to comment on a Blogger blog. Now, it's an option. You can open it up to everyone, if you wish.

Blogger has also added "word verification" to comments as an option. That is, the user must type in the characters that appear in a verification field.

Blogger also added moderation. That is, comments go to a queue and must be approved.

Those last two features help reduce spam. Yes, HaloScan also supports moderation, but not word verification. [UPDATE:] It's worth pointing out (as Don Suber did below) that HaloScan does have other abilities, such as banning IP addresses. Blogger comments do not ban IP addresses.

Taken together, in my opinion, these features give Blogger the advantage in commenting.

TrackBacks are another matter. Blogger offers Backlinks, which isn't the same thing.

Backlinks are Google search results of links to a post. It's hit-and-miss. Most of the time, I've found, it works. Yes, there's a delay of minutes to hours, but usually links show up. But not always.

TrackBacks for Blogger must be done through a third party, like HaloScan.

So, while I prefer Blogger commenting to HaloScans, I prefer HaloScan TrackBacks to Blogger Backlinks. Let me clarify. I would suggest using both.

The problem someone can run into is, after using HaloScan comments, how can they be converted to Blogger comments?

The answer is ... not easily. In fact, it really can't be done.

But then, again, it can be done. Sort of.

If you've use HaloScan comments, and want to convert to Blogger comments, you can. With a little bit of work.

Let's give it a shot.

Start By Backing Up

Before you do anything, back up your template. Save it to a text file (Notepad will do). In case things go wrong, you can put things back.

Turn Off HaloScan

Look in your template for your HaloScan comment code. It looks something like this:
<a href="javascript:HaloScan('<$BlogItemNumber$>');"> <script type="text/javascript"> postCount('< $BlogItemNumber$>'); </script></a>
Now, be careful. Be sure you've located the section that includes "postCount" ... and not "postCountTB". There is an important difference.

Right before the section of code, put this:
<BlogItemCommentsEnabled> <!–– </BlogItemCommentsEnabled>
Right after the HaloScan comment code, put this:
<BlogItemCommentsEnabled> ––> </BlogItemCommentsEnabled>
Now, HaloScan comments will not display if Blogger comments are enabled on the post.

Turn On Blogger Comments

Now, turn Blogger commenting on.

From your Blogger interface, go to your Settings tab.

From there, select "Comments."

Make sure comments are set to "Show."

Go to "Comments Default for Posts" and select "New Posts Have Comments".

You're Done. Maybe.

Let's test it now. Create a test post.

Make sure "Allow New Comments on This Post " is set to "Yes."

Publish it and look at your blog.

You should see the Blogger comment link and not the HaloScan comment link.

What If ...

Suppose the HaloScan comment link is gone, but the Blogger comment link doesn't show?

That means your template is so old, it doesn't have Blogger comment code in it.

So, let's add it.

Add Blogger Comment Code

Just because we turned on Blogger comments, they won't show if code isn't in the Template to show the code. Again, if you see Blogger comments, you can skip this part.

Go find the code we inserted to disable HaloScan comments.

Just before that, put this:
   <a href="<$BlogItemCommentCreate$>"
   <$BlogItemCommentCount$> comments</a>
No, that third line isn't a type. We actually have ">>" at the end of that line.

Now, look for this in your Template:
Got it? Good. Now look for this:
<div id="comments">
Got it? Good. Now, immediately after that, insert this:
   <a name="comments"></a>
   <h4><$BlogItemCommentCount$> Comments:</h4>
      <a name="<$BlogCommentNumber$>"></a>
      <p class="comment-body">
      <p class="comment-data">
         By <$BlogCommentAuthor$>, at
         <a href="#<$BlogCommentNumber$>">
   <p><a href="<$BlogItemCommentCreate$>"
   Post a Comment</a></p>
Anyway, save it and publish your blog.

Write a new test post, remember to ensure that "Allow New Comments and Backlinks on This Post" is set to "Yes."

View your blog and click the link to add a comment.

Add a comments. You can say "testing" or whatever you like. Just add a comment.

Then view your blog. You should see the comment link. And, when you click on the post Permalink, you'll see the test comment you just entered.

That's It

We now have HaloScan comments on old posts, and Blogger comments on new posts. And that's what we were trying to do. So we're done.


  1. Oh no you are not done... go back and explain how to turn on just Haloscan trackbacks. ;-)

  2. The user verification thing on Blogger is why I comment so seldom on fellow Blogger blogs. Better to use the Haloscan manage comment and ban the spammers outright

  3. Don Surber: Good point. I'll update to bring this out.


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