While I have found the IntenseDebate commenting system a worthwhile addition to my blog at Stochastic Scribbles, I have found one really "bad" thing about it. And it's not just for IntenseDebate in particular, but rather about email notifications on new comments in general. Also, it's just a "bad" thing for me personally: plenty of other people love it.
I prefer a more leisurely pace for commenting or discussion online, with a comment or two for each topic each day. However, email notification of new comments raises the urge to make a responding comment sooner rather than later, and when the response comes just as quickly, the urge begins to build into a compulsion that grows stronger and stronger with each incoming comment. The most recent experience I had with this was in a blog post where I wrote about the capsizing of Somalian pirates, in which a reader strenuously disagreed with my opinions.
Debate and difference of opinion is all well and good, but the discussion thread was going way out of control. It wouldn't be so bad if there were a lot of people participating, but there were over 35 comments in a single day between myself and just one other reader. And the number of discussion branches kept increasing and the pace quickening while the discussion kept going in circles, so I had to take the ignoble step of shutting the discussion down. I might have let others have at it indefinitely, but the quickening pace was too much for me to tolerate in a thread I myself participate in. And it is my blog, so I shouldn't have to feel too guilty about it. I do hope my last word in the discussion wasn't too one-sided ...
Of course, it's my compulsion to respond to something on the Internet that's the problem: I shouldn't be blaming the email notifications from the commenting system. I really should strengthen my willpower to limit myself to one comment per day. xkcd sums up my problem perfectly: