Summary: Disqus is an external blog commenting system, giving blogs a way to have a common commenting platform with features for both the blog readers and the bloggers
What is Disqus?
Disqus is a blog commenting system, an external service used in blogs to offer a versatile, yet easy to use platform for both the readers and the bloggers to make blog commenting better experience for everyone.
Disqus integrates to all major blogging platforms, including some free hosted platforms, like Tumblr.com and Blogger, and self-hosted CMS systems like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, just to name the most popular ones. It offers a chance to moderate comments on a blog via external service, and a place for the blog commenters to track and manage their own comments with ease.
Disqus consists of two parts, one if for the bloggers and the other is for the blog readers, or the blog commenters actually. The comment and moderation system for bloggers is the Disqus Comments. And the blog comment aggregation and social profile for blog commenters is called Disqus Profile.
Disqus Comments, like most free services, it is far from perfect. Disqus has some decent perks, which has made it a favorite for many bloggers. In combination with the single-login, autosharing to Twitter and Facebook, claiming and editing one's own comments with of Disqus Profile, Disqus is a powerful combination, which can benefit both the blogger(s) and the commenters.
To Disqus or Not to Disqus?
- Some bloggers like Disqus, some don't.
- Some blog commenters like it (most do), some don't.
Who's right? What should you do? Let me help you with that (or confuse you even more)...
Disqus for Blog commenters
If you comment on blogs that use Disqus, go and create your Disqus Profile now. Don't ask, just do it, if you haven't yet. Just create your profile before an username you want is taken.
Single-login, never enter your name, email and URL again. Share comments automatically to Twitter and Facebook. Claim and edit your comments. Nuff said.
Disqus for Bloggers
If you're running a blog on a free platform, which is supported by Disqus and you get and want comments on your blog:
- Disqus will give you a better blog commenting system
- Add Disqus to your blog immediately.
Disqus - The Bad (and little bit of Ugly too)
If you're running a self-hosted blog, here's what you lose:
- All other comment plugins that spice up the comments. On WordPress, bye-bye CommentLuv, KeywordLuv, Thank me later, Comment Relish and many others. Note that some plugins, like Subscribe to comments for example, have their functionality replicated to Disqus
- Most spam protecting plugins apart from AKismet, which is integrated into Disqus
- Easy formatting of comments via CSS (since Disqus elements and css-classes are horribly documented)
- W3C validity. Disqus will make your blog code non-valid HTML. If you care about validity, like I do, this makes you cry.
- Speed. Disqus is an external service, so it might slow your site down
Disqus - The Good
On the other hand, here's what you get:
- Speed. Yes, it might speed up your blog too, depending on the current comment system (however, slowing down is more likely outcome)
- Easy Twitter and Facebook connect for comments (commenters can login with their Twitter or Facebook account and share their comments on those services = potential exposure & traffic for you). This is something that requires quite a bit of tweaking and tech-knowledge or use of other addons / plugins to accomplish.
- Threaded comments. Love'em. (Amazingly, not many blogging platforms support this!)
- Automatic "Subscribe to comments" functionality. Commenters can get notified about new comments (and you as a blogger can too)
- The "Like-button". With Disqus, readers can hit "Like" on any comment. These votes are visible to everyone
- Spam protection. Disqus catches spam reasonably well, especially when integrated with AKismet, especially compared to the free services. With self-hosted platforms, extra SPAM protection is lost thou.
- Reader moderation. For comments that get through the SPAM filter, any reader can "flag" a comment as inapproriate. Depending on settings, enough flags hide the comment from view (and you can go and mark it as spam if you like too)
The list of benefits and cool features is long (I'm sure there are even more), but the weight of the things you lose makes it very close to even (depending on things you value).
- Quick & easy vs. technical & slower setup.
- Dependance on external system and their settings vs. full customizability and control.
Disqus is the quickest and easiest way to get solid blog commenting system. Without Disqus, you're depending on the blogging platform, theme/template designer, addons/plugins, yours or someone elses technical knowledge to configure them all, to get all the pieces in place and working.
As said, for free blogging platforms, like Tumblr and Blogger, it's a no-brainer - Disqus will make those blogs and commenting system better (and good blog commenting systems is the first step to get more blog comments).
On WordPress, there are some bugs, like showing weird number of comments on a post
(there's a fix, but Disqus doesn't bother putting it in their WordPress plugin). (My mistake. The number of comments bug is easily fixed from the Disqus options. As Joel pointed out on the comments below: "go to Disqus in WordPress (under Comments) and then top right click Advanced Options, the option to fix it is there.")
On the other hand, Disqus is amazing for blog commenters. The single login (login once and never enter name, email and URL for blog comments again), automatic sharing and replying to Twitter, and all the good stuff that made me fall in love with Disqus as a blog commenter. And as a result, I wanted my readers to get those cool benefits as well. With this in mind, I should continue using Disqus.
Disqus Love / Disqus Hate Debate
- Do you like Disqus?
- Do you run Disqus on your blog?
- If you don't, why not?
- If you do, why?