The Disqus Experiment

Blogan.net is more an experiment than a platform for expressing my ideas. At least that’s the way it’s played out. It works for me. I have fun trying new cool things. If I have anything important (or not) to say, I have a place to say it.

It’s time to try a new comment system. I’ve chosen Disqus. Features I like:

  • Threaded comments. You can respond to a specific comment.
  • E-mail notification. I’ll know when you leave a comment and I’ll be able to respond via e-mail and have it posted here. As a commenter, you’ll have the same benefits.
  • Gravatar support. Pretty pictures of us. I don’t know whether I can control the ratings or get wavatars or identicons.
  • Comments can be edited. At least if you have a Disqus account.

Issues about Disqus that concern me:

  • No import feature. To keep all the old comments visible, I end up with two different commenting systems on Blogan.net. Supposed, this will be fixed “real soon now.”
  • No useful export feature. Yeah, I can export the comments into XML or RSS. That doesn’t do me much good unless I can also the import that into WordPress’ standard comment database. If I decide I don’t like Disqus, I may end up walking away from the comments that get posted using Disqus.
  • Spam filtering. I have had good luck with Akismet and Spam Karma 2. I hope this is just fear of the unknown instead of a real problem.
  • No control over no-follow, at least not easily. I know of only one commenter that knew and cared that Blogan.net has (had?) no-follow turned off.
  • Comments can be edited. (Yeah, I know — I listed that as a feature I like.) After a certain time period, I’d like the comments to stick.
  • Less ability to edit. I don’t have the same ability to edit my comments I have as the administrator of Blogan.net. How do I easily upload pictures, what HTML works, what doesn’t? I guess some experimentation is in order.

In short, I’m (temporarily?) leaving an underutilized commenting system that works to experiment with an unknown that might increase comments here on Blogan.net.

What do you think? Try leaving a comment. Can you edit it? Do you have a Disqus account?

Update. Okay. I’ve spent a little more time with Disqus. Time to update my lists. Pros:

  • Daniel Ha, who trolls the Disqus support forums and writes the Disqus blog, also watches Twitter and responds quickly. He also has a new follower on Twitter.
  • Comment consolidation. All the comments I leave on Disqus-enable blogs appear on my Disqus community page. It will be easier to follow the conversations I’ve joined.

Cons:

  • Strange markup. The Disqus editor does not do markup like WordPress. Disqus puts an entire comment in a single <p> tag. Attempting to create paragraphs by hitting the return key twice result in <br><br> instead of closing the paragraph and starting another one. This prevents me from easily styling my comment’s line and paragraph spacing to match the rest of my blog.
  • Documentation. Disqus’ documentation isn’t there, yet. I haven’t found a way to search the forums, either.

The experiment continues…

Update. Not anymore.

<3

Author: Brent Logan

Engineer. Lawyer. WordPress geek. Longboarder. Blood donor. Photographer. More about Brent.

5 thoughts on “The Disqus Experiment”

  1. Hey Brent. Editing a comment may leave the comment looking un-stylized until a page reload.

    I agree with your concerns. They're all honestly on our list and we're trying to build out this service as fast as possible.

  2. Okay, time for a little experimentation. Can I bold or *italicize8? Cool!

    What about a text link, say to Google (as though they need Google-juice). What if I just type http://www.google.com? The styling looks a little different, though I think I can change that.

    How about embedding a picture? That’s going to be a little more work because there’s no upload capability. Here’s a Google Chart.

    Google Chart

    Hmmm… It doesn’t look like that works. Also, for some reason, the comment is not showing full height. Maybe that’s an artifact of putting the long code for the chart (that didn’t work). Ah, page reload works wonders. :-)

  3. Wow! There's another feature of using Disqus: Daniel Ha of Disqus will read all your comments. Okay, that's probably an overstatement, but it is nice to get a response so quickly. ;-)

    I'm looking forward to watching this little experiment of mine.

What do you think?