Disqus: Some thoughts on comments

by Mathew on January 13, 2008 · 33 comments

If you come to my blog much (as opposed to just reading the RSS feed), you’ve probably noticed that I’m using a comment-handling system called Disqus, which has been in beta for the past few months or so. Fred Wilson of A VC uses it too, and so does Andrew Baron of Rocketboom, and so does my pal Dave Winer. Founder and CEO Daniel Ha asked me to try it out and so I’ve been using it since about November.

As with some other comment-aggregation systems, such as CoComment.com (which I also used for awhile), Instense Debate and SezWho, Disqus gives you a central place where you can track all of your comments, and it also gives you a built-in, threaded commenting system for your blog — which if you use WordPress, as I do, comes in the form of a plugin. It’s easy to set up and easy to administer, and you can decide whether to let it handle all your comments or only the new one.

Disqus.com has avatars for those who register, and it also gives users the ability to rate a comment. The registering part has irritated more than one reader, but I figure it’s a small price to pay for a lack of spam. In the few months I’ve been using it, I’ve had two pieces of comment spam make it into my email inbox — everything else has been handled by Disqus. One of the best parts of the system is that when you get an email notifying you there’s a comment, you can simply reply to the email and it gets posted as a comment in reply, which is a huge time-saver.

There are a couple of things that I don’t like about Disqus. For one thing, it doesn’t support trackbacks — although Daniel said they were working on something that would take the place of trackbacks. Another thing is that if you create a draft post in WordPress, it can be revealed on your Disqus comment page even if it hasn’t been published; Daniel said this was a flaw and they were planning to fix it.

The other little thing is that it took me awhile to figure out how to delete a comment (you have to click on the person’s avatar to get a menu). Other than those quibbles, I think Disqus is an excellent system and I intend to continue using it. The best part is that I find myself commenting more, and that is (I think) a good thing. If you have any thoughts about it, please let me know — in the comments :-)

  • http://www.winextra.com StevenHodson

    I've been using Disqus on WinExtra as well since I first heard about it and I've been pretty pleased with it as well. Like you I have found it excellent at handling the comment spam – I only hope that when they do come up with the trackback equivilent that it will deal with spam as well as it does for comments.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I'm hoping it will too, Steven. I've grown to like Disqus quite a bit.

  • joaquin

    Hi, great post. We are excited to see more players in this space. We at coComment are always looking for better ways to serve users needs. As it seems you have used few of the comment tracking services, would love to hear your thoughts about coComment and why you chose Disqus over coComment.

    Thanks and feel free to email us anytime at joaquin@cocomment.com


  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    Am I right in thinking that Disqus completely replaces your regular commenting system, and stores the comments on their own servers? If that's right, then my biggest concern over Disqus is simply that there appears to be no way to get comments on your blog out of it – how, if you decide to drop it, do you get the comments that it retains back into your blog?

  • http://obscurelyfamous.com Daniel Ha

    Couple things:

    1) You can export data out of Disqus at any time.
    2) Correct, we are a hosted comment service. We power, manage, and enhance discussion on websites — and this is a plus for most. In the near future, there will be a solution that allows you to retain the comments on your own server (and sync with Disqus).

    Thanks Ian.

  • sidmarks

    Am I mistaken or does coComment not even do what Disqus does. It appears they're completely different services.

    Can't speak for anyone else, but coComment never really worked for me.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I thought CoComment was pretty good, Joaquin. But Disqus is more of
    an all-in-one kind of thing — which could be good or bad, depending
    on your perspective, I suppose. As I said in the post, I like the
    fact that it ties in with your email, making it easy to respond to a
    comment. And it handles spam as well, which is a pretty killer
    feature for me.

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk ianbetteridge

    Daniel – thanks for clearing that up! I look forward to your new solution.

  • http://www.sezwho.com tedd

    Just wanted to clarify — unlike Intense Debate and Disqus, SezWho is not a comment replacement system. We augment existing comment systems by providing additional functionality such as filtering, rating and reputation, and linkage to other contributed content. There's no separate registration to deal with and your comments stay on your site, so you never have to worry about access or loss of your comment data.
    - tedd at sezwho

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks, Tedd — I should have made that clear. The same goes for
    CoComment, which enhances comments that remain on your site.

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    I am glad to hear that disqus is planning on fixing the extra early preview problem. I noticed that people were commenting on things before they were even done, and I was confused, and then disappointed that it did that. I hope they fix it it soon!

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    Thanks for the post… I've been looking into the different commenting systems and I like the idea, but I'm not sure which I want to chose or if people will comment more, or less, with one.

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    Disqus is a great tool, I have it on many of my blogs already. It will only get better in the next few years..Disqus is a popular commenting platform…

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    I like Disqus because it give me a freedom to give comment without having to login to each blog that i went in.I love Disqus much more.

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