(UPDATE: I now switched back to WordPress’ native comments so I can use the Comment Luv plugin. See this post.)
So I’ve decided to give DISQUS a shot (pronounced Discuss). If you’re not familiar, DISQUS is a comments platform that has a few distinct advantages over the normal WordPress commenting system. AVC names a few here:
“1) Threaded discussions – When you want to leave a comment that is actually a reply to someone else’s comment, you click on the reply link and the comment/reply is indented right under the original comment. On any comment thread/discussion with a lot of action, this is absolutely necessary to make sense of the discussion. I am shocked that a popular blog like Techcrunch doesn’t have this feature in its comments. Certainly it’s possible for commenters to use an @sign to signify a comment that is actually a reply, but threaded discussion is so much better.
2a) Email Replies – DISQUS emails every comment to the blogger. If the blogger wants to reply to the comment, he/she simply replies to the email and it is posted as a reply (with the indent described above). This feature, which I requested the day I met/saw DISQUS for the first time, is the single best thing about DISQUS and has transformed my blog comments because I can now participate in them in real time throughout the day as the conversation develops. This is a BIG DEAL.
2b) Email Replies for Commenters – It works the same way for commenters. If you leave a comment in Disqus and have given DISQUS your email address, you will get an email when anyone replies to your comment. You can reply to that just like the blogger can. This is also a big deal and leads to much more active commenting and replying – ie discussion.
3) Shared profiles. As more and more blogs add DISQUS (over 10,000 at this point), the profiles that commenters create in DISQUS are shared across blogs. This is an important network effect that benefits the blogger and his/her community. For example, if you have a blog that is read by a similar audience as my blog, and you add DISQUS to your blog, most of my commenters will already be recognized by DISQUS the first time they show up in your comments. They don’t need to set up a new profile. They”ll have the same avatar/icon and identity.
There are literally a dozen more reasons why DISQUS is great (this guy lists 25 of them), and maybe you all will add them in the comments, but these are the big three.“
There are a few cons of course, but I feel the pro’s out weight the cons. Especially when you consider the fact that DISQUS allows visitors to comment on your site using their Facebook profile or Twitter profile. Also, it’s not too difficult to switch back from DISQUS later if I decide it’s not for me.
Here are a few cons to think about if you’re thinking about switching over to DISQUS.
“Now for what’s missing…
The first thing you should know is DISQUS literally overrides all of your existing comment related plugins. For us WordPress users, that means Askimet (the spam comment system) is gone. It also means some of the plugins you may have added (like subscribe to comments) are also gone. You literally see a window in your control panel to the DISQUS website, where all controls happen and comments reside.
Some other BIG things that are missing include:
No hotlinks on names: In the past, when a commenter enters a comment, their name was hotlinked to the web address they entered (allowing folks to check them out). Now that capability is shut off by default UNLESS that person registers with DISQUS. Once the email is registered, only then will the name be hot linkable.
Names often come out wrong: When a user does register with DISQUS, they need to pick an ID (like mikestelzner). When that person leaves a comment, the ID replaces his or her name by default. I learned this the hard way. I needed to go back in and change my name to be something other than my ID in DISQUS in order to change what was displayed. However, one trip over to Mashable.com and you can see that most people don’t know to do this. The result is no longer a personal name, but some short nickname that is not personal. The good news however is that if you ever change your name, all posts are updated.
Comments and control reside at DISQUS: You will notice that everything about your comments and their moderation is actually residing on DISQUS servers, not your own. Thus, if they ever decided to charge you OR if their servers go down, you are in big trouble. Now it does seem for WordPress at least, that the comments are also mirrored (meaning a copy seems to reside in WordPress). However, all the moderation actions are not mirrored back into WordPress. So the real big question is what will happen to DISQUS down the road and how will that impact your comments (which are a rich part of your site). Also, if you tag a comment as spam inside DISQUS, it does not also tag it that way in the WordPress database. So, if you uninstall DISQUS, you will need to go back through all your comments and remoderate them…“
Remember the article above is a year old, so DISQUS has had some time to resolve some of the issues. I think it’s going to work great for TrueWebPresence.com. Feel free to leave a comment to test out DISQUS yourself!