Disqus and the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme

Many WordPress sites use the Disqus Comment System because it’s powerful, social, and adds some features not available with the standard WordPress comment system.1

Twenty Sixteen Is Not Designed For Disqus

Unfortunately, the Twenty Sixteen WordPress theme2 is not designed for Disqus. On narrow screens like smart phones, Twenty Sixteen displays Disqus full width against the left and right edges of the screen, which doesn’t match the layout of Twenty Sixteen. If you want Disqus to look good, you’ll need to make a slight tweak.

A Simple Fix

Fortunately, making Disqus fit in with the rest of Twenty Sixteen is simple. Just add the following CSS to your site:

#disqus_thread {
    margin: 0 7.6923% 3.5em;
}

@media screen and (min-width: 56.875em) {
    #disqus_thread {
        margin: inherit;
    }
}

This CSS makes Disqus match the margins for the rest of your site. Disqus looks good at all screen widths, even on smart phones.

Adding the CSS

There are may ways to add CSS to your WordPress site, but a couple of the easiest are the Custom CSS module in the JetPack by WordPress.com plugin3 and the Simple Custom CSS plugin. Both of these plugins document how to add CSS to your site.

More advanced WordPress users might choose to use a child theme.

Good luck!


  1. I sometimes use Disqus here at brentlogan.com. I installed it briefly while I tested it with Twenty Sixteen. 
  2. Twenty Sixteen is still in development and will released before the end of 2015. 
  3. If you’re not already using JetPack, I wouldn’t recommend it just for adding CSS. That would be overkill. 

Intense Debate: Who Owns Your Comments?

Intense Debate wants to know who owns your comments. In a poll, they offer three alternative proposals:

  1. Blog Publisher Ownership – Comments made on a blog belong to the blog owner, giving them the ability to edit the comments as they see fit (deleting and editing comments). Blog owners have had this ability with WordPress and other platforms. The only change is that comments are now tied to the commenter in IntenseDebate (which is why there is even a debate here).
  2. Commenter Ownership – Comments cannot be edited by blog publishers. Comments can still be deleted by blog publishers – blog owners must be able to remove spam and inflammatory comments. Commenters can still access their full comment history in their IntenseDebate profiles. Commenters can take their comments with them into platforms other than the blog commented on.
  3. Shared Ownership – This is where it gets complicated and we try to reach a compromise. We’re proposing that blog publishers should have the ability to edit and delete comments as long as the original comment is accessible both on the edited comment and in the commenter’s comment history. If the blog owner edits the comment, then the commenter will receive a notification and have the ability to delete the comment. The commenter will be able to access their full comment history.

Disqus recently addressed the same issues. In A Commenter’s Rights, they propose a shared ownership similar to option (2), above. They have yet to implement that ownership, though.

I believe option (3) strikes the best balance for both blog publishers and commenters. Blog publishers are able to control what appears on their blog, having more options than allowing or deleting a comment. Commenters and their readers have the ability to view the comment as originally written. I wouldn’t advise commenters to rely on the ability to delete posts. Once something in published, the Internet has a great ability to read and archive everything.

If you have an opinion, go make yourself heard. So far, at the Intense Debate poll, the majority is favoring option (2).

Disqus: Bloggers Should be able to Edit Comments

According to Danial Ha on the Disqus Blog:

Bloggers should still control:

[…]
c) The modification of a comment, as long as the original copy is still accessible and the edit is transparent (Source.)

Yes! Exactly what I’ve been saying. Maybe Disqus will get it implemented before Intense Debate does (if they ever do).

I continue to be amazed that this is controversial.

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.