Gravatars are a great idea, but they might not be practical for your site because
people might not bother to use them (or they might not even realize how to use
them). No matter—you can give visitors other comment options. For example, you
can let them log into your site using their Facebook or Twitter credentials, and then
post a comment. In such a case, WordPress grabs your guest’s Facebook or Twitter
profile picture and displays it next to that person’s comments.
If your site runs on WordPress.com, you already have the Facebook and Twitter
sign-in feature, and there’s no way to switch it off.
If you run a self-hosted blog, the best way to get Facebook and Twitter comments
is with the Jetpack plug-in (page 297). However, you won’t be able to see the comments
until you explicitly enable them. To do that, click Jetpack in the dashboard
menu. Look for the box named “Jetpack Comments,” and then click the Activate
button inside (Figure 8-21). Incidentally, this setting isn’t just for Facebook and
Twitter users—it also lets anyone with a Google+ or WordPress.com account join in.
TIP You might find that once you enable Jetpack comments, your comment section gets a new background
that doesn’t blend in with the rest of your page. To fix this, choose Settings→Discussion, scroll down to the
Jetpack Comments section, and try different options under Color Scheme. You can pick Light, Dark, or Transparent;
finding the best fit is a trial-and-error process.
Some people turn on Facebook and Twitter comments and enable the “Users
must be registered and logged in to comment” setting (which you can find at
Settings→Discussion). This creates a site that requires commenters to provide a social
identity. When a site owner takes this step, he’s usually thinking something like this:
“I’ve been flexible, and now I want something in return. I’ve given my readers
several good options for establishing their identity (Facebook, Twitter, Google+,
and WordPress.com). By making them use one, I can lock out spammers and force
people to bring their virtual identities to my site.”
Think carefully before you take this step. First, it only partly protects your site against
spam, because many spambots have fake Facebook identities. Second, it guarantees
that you’ll scare away at least some potential commenters, including those who don’t
have a social media account, those who can’t be bothered to log in, and those who
don’t want to reveal their social identities to you.