Discussing DISQUS

Several months ago, I decided to give Disqus a try. Disqus is a company that provides a social commenting functionality to blogs. It replaces/hijacks a blogs comments and replaces with their own commenting system. I really liked the ability to reply to comments via email as well as comment threading.

Jason Yan and Daniel Ha have been extremely helpful over the past months in helping me with comment syncing (that is keeping a store of my comments inside WordPress as well as in their system) and being extremely attentive to suggestions and feedback.

However, I’ve decided to drop Disqus and return to native WordPress comments. I told Daniel I’d write this post as a point of feedback for him and his team and to hopefully provide some structure around my thoughts.

Spam

Recently, there has been an onslaught of spam here and yes, I have the ability to remove comments but they should never make it to my blog at all. I was under the impressions that Akismet was being used to control spam flow but now I’m told they moved away from it. This could explain the onslaught of spam. However, I’m just not comfortable with lack of spam moderation functionality and the lack of “assume is spam” mentality when a comment is unknown to the system. If there’s a hint that it is spam, it should be held for moderation at all costs.

Lack of Theme Integration

The common response to my complaint of lack of theme integration is that most of the elements of the Disqus comment form are stylabe, and while that’s true, I don’t think it’s enough. Really, I don’t want the comments that Lisa designed for me to be displayed any other way. I like them that way. In fact, I like the WordPress form and behavior. It’s comfortable and familiar.

A benefit to the Disqus commenting system was threaded comments, however, WordPress 2.7 is coming with threaded comments so the point is moot.

Comment Moderation Panel

I always feel like I’m stomping through someone elses house when I go to my comment moderation panel. I imagine this is largely due to the cumbersome iframe that houses the Disqus moderation panel. Really, a WordPress plugin should be tapping into API that manages this stuff and allows a native user experience. This is the least of my problems, but it doesn’t feel right at all.

At the end of the day, what I really want is Disqus-lite. I want the social functionality of Disqus with the assumption of native WordPress benefit. I want reply by email and comment moderation by email in a WordPress context. My WordPress context.

I love the Disqus guys over any of the competition and I don’t close off the possibility of returning as a user one day. But for now, I’m going to shelve the idea and come back at another time.

Good luck to you, Daniel and Jason!

Facebook Shows New Life and Value

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A few months ago, we started to see a shift in how Facebook could potentially be used in a different way. Newsfeed commenting was heralded as a Friendfeed style approach. Initially buried in the original Facebook design, I sort of shrugged it off as just another me too approach that wouldn’t take.

Boy was I wrong.

In fact, accidentally Facebook became valuable to me again by keeping me engaged and connected to the hundreds of friends I have there.

Facebook used to be a fairly passive social community. By passive I mean, I found value in event RSVPs and occasional messaging. Certainly by all accounts, I was the exception as it seemed to be pretty active for other users as a wall post messaging system and an app platform. I block almost all apps universally as they annoy me, so I didn’t find the value. It was for these reasons that I had temporarily suspended my own account.

However, the other day I made a fairly innocuous status update, something I don’t do all that often and was surprised by the comments that that status update got. It was the first time for that for me. I was a Facebook Status Update Comment Virgin! And it was exciting! In fact, it made me want to do it again!

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End of the day, Facebook was getting boring for many users including myself. It was passive. It was blah. It certainly was a way to keep in contact with people, but showed little real value beyond that.

The new design has given some people heartburn, but even that heartburn seems to be dissipating into quiet reluctance at worst and enjoyment by others as people realize that little stuff like feed commenting is now more exposed than ever. Facebook, for me, has once again become useful.

What are your thoughts?