On June 2nd of this year, my inbox pulled in an email with a link to an article with this headline: “Your Comment System Is Killing Your Discussions and Community Building Efforts.” I was immediately intrigued for two reasons. One, it was written by Sam for the Yakezie network which I had most recently joined. I love Sam’s writing and the ideas he puts forth so naturally I was going to read.
I also was interested because I was using the DISQUS commenting system on my blog at the time. I had installed that at the very beginning of Luke1428.com after doing some reading about how to monitor the comment section of a blog. DISQUS was promoted in the literature I read as being a system that 1) helped block spam, 2) raised the quality of conversation by weeding out gutter-trash commenters, and 3) provided options for monetization if the user wanted to go that route. Plus it was being used by several well-respected and highly trafficked blogs I was reading at the time. So I thought if it’s good enough for the bigwigs it’s good enough for me.
But I suspected Sam had an ulterior motive for preaching against comment systems. A few weeks prior to his post, we had an email exchange one day because he couldn’t log on to DISQUS at my site and make a comment on one of my posts. After several emails we eventually got it worked out and he left a comment. But I was frustrated one of my users had to go through that mess just to comment and I’m sure he was a tiny bit annoyed as well.
So I figured when I clicked to read the article that DISQUS and all other third party comment systems would be skewered. I was right.
In general, Sam’s main argument for abandoning comment systems is that they put up a wall to engagement in that a potential user has to register with the system to comment. They must keep track of their username and password at all times if they want to join the discussion. Many people will balk at that request, refuse to comment and thus the discussion and community building efforts are hindered.
Sam admitted to me in response to my comment on that post that his observations were anecdotal, based solely on his own experience. So I decided to run an experiment to put some data behind his observations. Perhaps then I could find out if DISQUS had actually been hurting my community building efforts.
On July 12th, I scrapped my DISQUS commenting system in favor of the traditional WordPress commenting platform. All the original comments transferred over without problem. The only addition I made to the system was adding the CommentLuv plugin, which allows other bloggers to leave a link to their most recent post when they comment on your article. Read More