I have been looking for an ideal comment system for quite some time now. I have noticed that quite a few websites have been using Disqus for their commenting system. It is easily one of the most widely used commenting systems around.
Originally, my plan was to install Disqus as well, but increasingly, I have been turned off by the Disqus commenting system. Earlier, I read several links about the flaws of Disqus. Anyways, here was one example.
Several things caught my attention:
- There was a significant increase in the number of comments after they left Disqus and while they used it, reader engagement dropped.
- The moderation interface was not well liked by the moderators (which would be me for this website).
- Disqus has various sponsored comments. There is no easy way to opt out of these comments in their interface.
- Even if you opt out, Disqus will still inject affiliate links.
The bottom line is that the purpose of Disqus seems to be to make money for Disqus. That is not a surprise, but the fact that that the quantity (and possibly the quality) of comments declined with Disqus is quite worrying. Anyways, for those that do not know, Disqus is a marketing company and they collect information for sale to Third Parties, so there is also the privacy issue.
They found that the big advantage of Disqus is that it scaled very well with traffic. The only alternative is moderating every comment. That was the approach taken by the New York Times. They also have something called a “Trusted Commenter” status for people who have consistently demonstrated the ability to generate high quality posts. Judging by their comments, and I do visit their website sometimes, they are quite a bit above the typical website in terms of quality, so they are doing something right. Considering the fact that I have very low traffic right now, this remains a practical solution.
Amongst other commenting systems, I am currently exploring:
- Intense Debate
Given how new this website is, I’m not sure how many readers I will get, so in that regard, the point may be moot. I have no interest in trying to artificially push up page views right now and to be honest, I think it is counterproductive. Besides, I would rather have fewer but higher quality visitors who are genuinely interested in what I have to say than more visitors that don’t care as much.
For now, I am going to remain with the default commenting system. I recognize that it is a hassle to ask everyone to sign in and that every comment will be moderated, but at the moment I do not see any real alternatives. The Internet can be a very unpleasant place at times.
I have added a few plugins for now. The ideal commenting system would:
- Make it easier for users to contribute ideas, images, links, and whatever other content they find useful.
- Make moderation less time consuming for me.
- This is the last one, and for later but drive thoughtful posters to my website.
- Encourage high quality comments and to make it easier for such posters to post what they want.
- Security and spam protection.
- Reduce the time needed for formatting and the like.
Ultimately though, it is still up to the user to type good comments. That is one big bottleneck. However, a good comment system makes that a whole lot easier.
Let me know if the comments if you think what you think about WordPress and the alternatives. Also let me know if there are any debate platforms that you think I have overlooked.