Trying out Disqus

· blogging ·

I've been having issues with comments on this blog for a little while. I love seeing people discuss things I've posted about and I think it adds immeasurable to the content of the blog. However, I've had a problem with spam comments for a little while. An Akismet plugin handled things well for a time, but recently I've been getting spam that seems to be manually entered, and superficially looks like a legitimate comment, so Akismet doesn't catch it. This got so annoying that I turned on moderation, which has the dual drawback of making commenting much less immediate for legitimate commenters, and making it more of a hassle for me, because I have to regularly sort through the comments in the moderation queue. There has to be a better way.

I've been looking at third-party commenting systems, and came across Disqus. It basically handles comments for you instead of the built-in commenting system of your blogging software. I'm using the generic Javascript version because there isn't a plugin for ExpressionEngine, and this has a few downsides in terms of how easy it is to integrate with old posts, but it seems to work OK. On older posts, you'll see the previous comments left with the built in system, then the comment box provided by Disqus, with any new comments in a separate list. A little clunky, but I guess it will do until I work out how to make the appearance a bit more integrated. On new posts, you should just see the Disqus system.

There are some advantages for commenters: while you don't have to sign up with Disqus to post comments (you can just fill in a name and email address -- which will not be shown -- as before), if you do sign up at some point, you can 'claim' all your comments. You can see all the comments you've made on all Disqus enabled sites in one place on your Disqus profile, and people can rate your comments so you gain 'clout'. This blog also gains a Community Page here, where you can see all the recent comments on the site, subscribe to comments feeds and so forth, all from one place. From the point of view of me as an adminstrator, I just have one easy location to view all comments and moderate them, which might make things a bit easier.

I'm going to play it by ear for a few posts and see how it goes. Do play with the comments and let me know what you think of the system. I'm trying to strike a balance between an easy and transparent experience for legitimate commenters and making it harder for the spammers.