I sure dont like this new ECHO commenting system. And judging by the plummeting traffic levels here, I'd say I'm not alone.
First off, its incredibly slow opening on my DSL speed connection. Each thread takes several seconds, but the management page takes like 45 seconds. Secondly, its missing several key features I really enjoyed with Haloscan, such as the blockquote tag which allowed me to easily post news stories inside the threads. For some reason ECHO is incompatible with spell checker. And thirdly I cant tweak the appearance like I could with Haloscan. With Haloscan Premium individual users had access to the HTML and CSS Templates, with Echo everyone has to use the same template.
Bottom line is it sucks.
.... so I have spent the last several days exploring my alternatives.
Alternate 1: Migrate From Free Blogger To Free Wordpress. I would have never considered moving URLs before because I knew that would result in much lower traffic levels. Everyone would have to change bookmarks, and all the incoming linkage from other blogs would cease. What I learned is that there are 2 ways to use Wordpress. Wordpress itself is just blogging software. Its really nice blogging software, that you can get tweak you blog via a ton of free plugins to look and function exactly the way you want. But you have to self-host .... that means you have to pay a monthly fee to a hosting provider, and installing the software on a hosting service exceeds my current level of technical prowess. I'd have to pay someone else to do it for me. The free version of wordpress, where they host it themselves at wordpress.com, lacks all the abilities to tweak the appearance and functionality ..... and what you get is the plain jane commenting system you see in the link above.
Alternate 2: Migrate To a New Blogger Blog (Primeval Screams) Utilizing The "Intense Debate" Commenting System. Intense Debate is one of ECHO's main competitors. Its a little more tweakable than ECHO. Its a lot faster than ECHO. It allows full size yo-tube embedding. It does allow the blockquote tag, but it lacks all the other text formatting buttons that Echo has. And it appears to be very buggy...... give it a try there and let me know what you think.
Alternate 3: Shitcan ECHO here, and use either the default Blogger Commenting system or Intense Debate. This blog was built on the old blogger template, back before blogger had their own shitty commenting system, either option would require updating this blog to the new blogger template, and thats an unpredictable process.
Alternate 4: Migrate from a Blog to a Bulletin Board type Forum. The only commenting systems out there that I really like are on BBS type forums. But I'm not sure how they work. Some are free (with ads) and the others require self-hosting expenses. I think I could configure one to work like the Command Post, but there again I would probably need some outside help in setting it up.
Alternate 5: Do Nothing. Leave this Echo system in place and just deal with it until something better comes along. Thats the easiest thing to do.
Alternate 6: Blow this entire Blogging thing off. Say fuck it and go back to my more productive pre-blogging life. The most attractive alternate at the moment.