My verdict on Disqus: Two thumbs up

There seems to be a mini-bitchmeme brewing, sparked by VC blogger Fred Wilson’s recent post about Disqus, which is the commenting system that I use on this blog and many others use as well. Why Fred decided to write about Disqus at this point I don’t know — maybe to give the company some free publicity, who knows. In any case, he listed three reasons why he thinks every blogger should use it, including:

  • threaded discussions
  • email replies
  • shared profiles

That was followed relatively quickly by a post from David Risley, in which he said that Disqus seemed “stupid”, primarily because the comments are hosted somewhere else, and therefore they don’t integrate with a blog’s existing comments and if Disqus disappears then those comments are gone for good. Others have noted that Disqus doesn’t support trackbacks either — which I have also mentioned in the past as a drawback of the system, and something I would like to see.

For the record, Daniel Ha of Disqus has promised that both trackbacks and data exportability are coming to Disqus, which would remove a couple of the major complaints about the service. But even with those flaws — or missing features — I am happy to use it, and Fred puts his finger on one big reason why: the ability to respond to comments instantly via email (and also to approve or delete spam via email). As Fred notes, this is huge. And it is handled seamlessly.

Spam — which Don Dodge mentions as an issue in his post — has also been virtually eradicated. I think in the months I’ve had it integrated with my blog, I’ve had Disqus email me twice or maybe three times with a possible spam comment, and in each case I simply replied with “delete” or “approve” and it was handled. Like Fred and Howard, I would encourage anyone looking for a better comment system to give it a try. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, as far as I’m concerned. Carlos says he thinks that Google should buy Disqus.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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