Intensely Automattic Change.gov

Everyone is honored and excited today that Change.gov, the website of President Elect Barack Obama, has turned on IntenseDebate comments to discuss things like health care.

Micah Sifry has an excellent write up of the topic.

Imagine what happens if those numbers–on not just any “centralized site” but the one that symbolically and perhaps literally has the attention of the President-elect–start climbing into the five- and six-digits. Before our eyes, we are witnessing the beginning of a rebooting of the American political system. [emphasis added]

[...]

By using IntenseDebate (and the OpenID framework), the Obama transition is actually enabling a lot of interesting community development to start happening beneath the surface of a threaded discussion. Users get their own “commenter profile” on IntenseDebate, along with reputation points, and they can carry those profiles onto other sites that use the same system. Users can also choose to follow other IntenseDebate users, so if someone is really diligent they could start to gather a group or a crowd around them.

It has even started to make the cable news, as evidenced in this clip.

Pretty exciting! And it’s also a reaffirmation of Automattic’s platform-agnostic approach to Akismet, Gravatar, PollDaddy, and IntenseDebate that although Change.gov uses Expression Engine for their CMS they’ve chosen IntenseDebate for their comments.

32 thoughts on “Intensely Automattic Change.gov

  1. Bravo. A great tool and the OpenID piece is a plus. Will Intense Debate be fully integrated into the next version of WP?

    1. 2.7 has a lot of additional comment functionality, like the reply-from-admin and threaded comments I’m using now, but IntenseDebate will remain a plugin.

  2. What good news for you and Automattic. I tried Intense Debate on my blog, but I found it too complicated to set it up so my small readership could use it without having to log in. I will say, however, that the folks helping with Intense Debate were very friendly, patient and helpful, even though I opted to not use after all.

  3. Must hurt that they’re using EE huh?? :D

    Well done on them using intense debate though, must be a nice feeling knowing that you’re being part of the changing political climate

  4. Great news!

    I am eagerly waiting for the stable version of 2.7. I have been using 2.7 since beta 2, but I have been having little troubles – it is still beta, I know. :)

  5. I also have to say I find it very interesting that they’re using a comments system. To me it seems like these types of intense, complex discussions would be better suited for a forum system.

    The “comments” trend is just an interesting one, in of itself. As “forums” were seen as the future, but now due to the popularity of blogging, “comments” are seen as the future.

  6. I’m not seeing threaded comments here though.

    “2.7 has a lot of additional comment functionality, like the reply-from-admin and threaded comments I’m using now”

  7. Never mind! I see it now.

    I see that your comments are slightly indented and therefore threaded. But I was thinking of a true threaded comment system whereby visitors could also reply to comments via a ‘reply’ button.

  8. Now you just have to convince Nate Silver, of fivethirtyeight, to switch to WordPress and VIP hosting. I need a reliable site when I start obsessing over U.S. politics again in 2012. :)

  9. Congratulations on the good press for Intense Debate!

    I am a little surprised this blog is not using Intense Debate. Can you share with us some of your reasons for not converting to Intense Debate right away?

  10. I’ve been calling for this sort of engagement since before WWW so don’t think me a trasher, but this deployment shows how we’re basically using real pretty versions of 1997 tech (see HyperNews): 53 pages of comments … 3.7K the last time I checked.

    Sort by credibility and comment #4 reads something like, “Great comment … you’re right”.
    Brave New World? Hardly.
    Change? Ohhhh c’mon.

    What this shows is that innovation is only allowed when someone A-list is positioned as champion … so it lags, and lags, and lags.

    Same old same-old. With bells and whistles.
    Spin2.0 … that’s not change.

    The four Is of conventional engagement: Invite, Involve, Inform, and Ignore.

  11. @Ben — So people award credibility based on who agrees with them most. And politicians aren’t necessarily REALLY paying attention to internet comments. So what? That’s nothing new.

    What _is_ new? For starters, those of us who aren’t the best debaters out there can at least easily track our own comments and their replies, regardless of which intense debate enabled site they were made on.

    But the great news is that the best debates (and the best debaters) along with the ideas they generate are no longer lost in the abyss. They’re up front where we the people can find them and maybe even do something about the great suggestions being made.

    Kudos, Matt.

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