The UK Defence Journal has been using the same comment system for five years now, it’s time to change that.

As part of our redesign and refresh at the New Year, we looked at getting a new comment section for the website. That objective can now be ticked off.

The biggest complaints we’ve had over the comments section on this website is that the commenting feature is simply clunky. The system doesn’t notify users when people respond to their comments, it doesn’t allow people to edit their comments and in general makes it a pain to follow replies.

Despite this shambles, a very active and knowledgeable community of commentators has formed on the UK Defence Journal.

As the editor and owner of this website, I personally enjoy reading the comments in response to my articles, since I don’t get paid for writing it’s a nice way to get something back for the work.

I think the people commenting here that have persevered through one of the clumsiest comment sections on the internet deserve better so, we’ve been looking at ways to put something better in place.

Our new system will be based around these points:

  • Clean, simple and easy user interface and user experience.
  • Live updates of new comments with notifier buttons to notify you of new posts on an article or if you prefer, when someone replies to your comment.
  • Comment voting, you can now vote good comments up and bad comments can be voted down.
  • Comment list sorting by newest, oldest and most voted comments.
  • Anonymous comments can still be posted if you prefer. (name and email are to be be set as not required)
  • Full integration with Social Network Login plugins (Facebook, Twitter…) if you prefer to use those.
  • Users and guests can edit their comments (time-frame to be determined).
  • Long comment text breaking function (a ‘Read more’ button).
  • Secure and Anti-Spam features will not allow spammers to comment.
  • Post sharing options through Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • A feature highlighting new comments since last visit with different background.
  • Notification to a comment author telling them when their comment is approved.
  • Other ‘Quality of Life’ improvements compared to the original system.

Comments are moderated to check they comply with UK Defence Journal social media guidelines. If comments don’t comply they will not be published.

To learn about our social media and comment moderation policy, then click here, you can also now flag comments you think are abusive just by clicking the little flag near the top right.

I sincerely hope it’s a better user experience for all of you and if there are any issues, please e-mail me directly at [email protected]

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Daniele Mandelli

Thank you George.

I was quite happy with the set up myself. These changes will take some getting used to, and no doubt will make an excellent site even better.


Agreed. Might take a little time to adjust, but it’s needed.

Ian Smith

Daily reading for me, not least your well informed contributors. Whatever the changes, I’m in. Thanks for the site George.


Agree with Daniele, but good to have a refresh every now and again


Ah…! If only I could get a refresh every now and then…

PS… The new layout looks good. Let’s have some meaty content.


A welcome addition. It will be good seeing the comments ordered by like/dislike ratio rather than simply whichever one was added first.


Fantastic, it’s a bit different but much improved, thank George, the like and dislike buttons is a massive improvement


I just noticed as well you can see how many people are reading the comments at the top right!


Well done, a great feature.


Brilliant thanks for this update.


Happy to give this a crack to see the difference.

EDIT: This is my edit – thanks for adding this function if only to be able to correct my horrendous spelling

Andy P

Hi, been reading the articles on here for a while and have tried to comment a few times with no success. Probably me being stoopid right enough. Good luck with it, I enjoy the articles.



As a web developer, I’m happy to see the UK Defence Journal keeping pace with the best of them. Give it a few weeks and we’ll have all forgotten about the archaic comments section of yesterday. Good job on the update George
[email protected]


Great job, the comments sections looks slick.

Nick C

The old method was getting a bit clunky! Trouble is I will now need to learn how to use it and at my age…..?
Did anyone see yesterday’s article about the Russians having to scrap their ancient carrier, since the drydock failed they can’t put it anywhere else to fix it!


It has done them a favour then. Waste of money and frees up a tug to escort another ship!


Great stuff. Can we vote to have the baddies names in red rather than green? You know who you are! 🙂


By the amount of dislikes you have does that make you the baddie?


I’m happy to wear that. Can’t say I think the voting thing is a good idea though, rather shuts down debate if a load of people vote a particular way early on.


Someone doesn’t like you I think Rob, 2 more thumbs down.

I do find elsewhere that once the initial ‘new toy’ aspect wears off it works quite well though some use a star system instead which I suppose is a little less obvious in terms of pos/neg though equally for that very reason more frustrating at times in terms of it being less obvious the general number/view of those who click it.


It appears some people have no sense of humour, I tried to dislike my own comment too but alas you cannot vote on your own.

Captain P Wash

You don’t Say !!!!! This place Is almost totally devoid of humour now.
Bring back RGR I say.

andy reeves

baffled(as usual).perhaps my diminished mental capacity is clouding my judgement .since i don’t actually know anything about posters on the site, i don’t tend to notice the name of the posters, i enjoy them all but i wissh george would ban the use of acronyms which unless explained often leave me totally lost NO ACRONYMS PLEASE. RGR? IS THAT AN AIRCRAFT?


George has mentioned in another comment here that he might turn off voting if it doesn’t pan out. I share your scepticism although I can see how, together with the ability we now have to sort posts by “most voted” (assuming that means most positively voted), it allows something like a very informative Gunbuster or similar expert post to be easily spotted. I do think this post of Rob’s illustrates one of the pitfalls though. I don’t know how much flexibility George has with the new system but I wonder whether one half-way house to keep the benefit above might… Read more »


Very sensible suggestion. I mean its not like I came on here and said we should get rid of the CASD and most of the navy and just have patrol ships, unlike someone else I could mention, who will no doubt receive a lot of thumbs down!

I enjoy reading the posts as there are some very informative commentators on here so the thumbs up addition is a positive attribute, just voting down for the sake of it is not.

andy reeves

I HOPE PEOPLE WON’T TURN THIS INTO PERSONAL ISSUES I.E i don’t like this persons votes so i’ll minus all he/she posts maybe + or – votes are not really needed.


Doesn’t that mean we are all Baddies? well apart from one name I did see in red. Like the idea mind.

andy reeves

i’d like an option to post a new thread maybe something like plain, or normal digestives on the M.O.D coffee table scandal, that could spark a good debate

Captain P Wash

Hello Rob, It looks like you have Attracted a whole load of Trolls. Don’t take It personally mate, It’s entirely normal nowadays for the “New Age Offended” to hide behind their Keyboards and feel all Powerful like.

Trust me mate, I have first hand experience.

Nigel Collins

Many thanks George,
Hope you get well soon!


I used Simplemachines and it worked great.


Looking good

Steve Martin

Excellent work! Doesn’t seem to want to connect to my facebook though 🙂


Looking good!


Nice 🙂


Great improvement, although the voting for comments can create a bit of a herd mentality and can put people off counter arguing the comment.


Yes. It’s a better place to be coming from to have the feature and then be able to turn it off if it does end up being counter-productive rather than wondering if adding such a feature would be good. Personally I suspect Expat is right but your “let’s see how it goes” approach seems very sensible. I’m happy to be proved wrong re my concerns.

Thanks again for this overwhelmingly positive revamp of the comments section, and for all the work on the rest of the site.


Hey George. I suspect you read all the comments anyway but if you do change the voting system I thought I’d cut and paste (with a few tidy-ups) something I put in a reply to another comment by Rob in case it gets buried there. You probably have an email notification set on your own comment here so are more likely to spot this reply. I can see how, together with the ability we now have to sort posts by “most voted” (assuming that means most positively voted), it allows something like a very informative Gunbuster or similar expert post… Read more »


Nice one George?


Time to adjust but a good idea, esp for notifications to replies etc


Nice one George. I think you ticked every single one of the boxes with your list of extra features added. It must have been quite a lot of extra unpaid effort getting this up and running so thank you for that. Like many, I find the comments section hugely valuable. I do agree with Expat’s comment that sometimes having a voting system can create a bit of a herd mentality that can distort how people post because they, sometimes even subconsciously, start posting for up votes. With due acknowledgement of the irony involved I’m about to go and up-vote Expat’s… Read more »


Looks great, good job George.


Wow does this mean I don’t have to fill in all the details each time… oh apparently no change there from what I can see. Certainly looks and behaves much nicer mind so thumbs up on that one. Much improved visually and functionally.


I apologise after the first one auto fill does work, so its a gold medal from me now folks.

Steve Taylor



Harumph! This is DIFFERENT! That is all… 😀


Alan Garner

Can I actually post comments now?…..YES!

Captain P Wash

Hello George, Nice to see this new format. Thought I’d add my two Penneth worth, so to speak. It’s great to see the new features and Upvote feature but the Downvote one will cause Trouble. As mentioned Yesterday, I have 6 such Forums, (Set up and Moderated by a few like minded Ex Forces Vet’s both Fit and living with the aftermath of some Injury ) Defence related and otherwise, the Downvote feature just causes Grief and I personally do not include It as an Option. This particular Site (which I Love) has a real need for a Troll Deletion… Read more »

Captain P Wash

See, there is the first downvote. You have to be some serious Troll or Mentally sick Individual to downvote my post there.

Captain P Wash

Thanks mate.

Too soon though George. You’ll miss all the genuine Trolls.

My post a few minutes ago was typical of the sort of stuff every other well meaning forum has had trouble with.

Captain P Wash

Hello George, yes, I’ll happily do that.

andy reeves

just an idea, would an area to post personal descriptions and experience be worth a try after all several of us on here, mentioning danielle e.t.c post really good posts but i ‘d like to know more about others on the site.

Captain P Wash

Just like the sick reply to RGR when he replied a few days ago.

Sole mate, You’re good at reposting comments from previous posts, can you re post RGR’s Peadophile one please. You know the one, When He was Ridiculed by Herodotus for daring to post his experience.

Called him a Liar too.

Trolling of the finest order.


I’m genuinely not bothered mate, you have come on here tonight with a bee in your bonnet, you have targeted me on two articles calling me out. The above comment from Rob has downvotes, so you’re complaining saying its a bunch of trolls, or perhaps it might just have something to do with the fact someone got banned last night, the admin has stepped in, got abused for his troubles, created a new comments sections, I’m sure i was not the only one when this kind of felt like a fresh start, and after a host of nice comments Rob… Read more »

Captain P Wash

It’s not all about you Bud, Get Over yourself . See You.


I honestly had no idea there had been any problems or someone got banned. I didn’t understand why I was getting down votes but now I do. Sorry to anyone who got offended.

Captain P Wash

Rob, There are some pretty sad individuals on here. I Upvoted you once so that possibly leaves another 9 that felt the urge to Downvote you for some unknown and Bizarre reason.

Funny thing Is, You attracted more Downvotes than me and I’m currently Public Enemy Number One here.

Captain P Wash

Example shown below.

Daniele Mandelli

Nice one Captain. Very well said. As for voting I cannot do anything as it says I must be “logged on”

And yes you did mention the double ID’s way back.

andy reeves

ditto i’m without an arm and a leg.keep on posting, that’s why we’re all here.

Chris H

While I no longer contribute to comments UKDJ is basic reading (including comments) given my history and interests in matter military. I think George & Co do an excellent job and these changes are a very good step forward. Well done UKDJ!

If people think they can do better well they can fire up a website and we can all have a read.

IMHO having seen how the ‘like / dislike’ thing works on BBC HYS comments I would maybe just quietly remove it. Just an opinion.

Captain P Wash

Why did you Leave ?


Apologies if my comments earlier came across as crass but I honestly had no idea there had been problems and someone got banned. My comments were not a reference to anything or anyone in particular, just a silly suggestion that’s all.


I thought the old system was fine too, but let’s try this new one!

Mmm, edit works 🙂


I’m surprised it took you so long George. Upgraded comments on WordPress have been around a long time. Added it to a site I run quite a while ago,

Malcolm Whitlock

Pleased with the progress and the content of your site.

Rashed Miah

Thanks for the post. Very informative.

Rashed Miah

Excellent Post!

andy reeves

excellent, and behalf of all of the site users, thanks for all your great work, and control of the site, good luck with the new setup.