Should I try to switch commenting formats

I need your opinion, because this is something that will affect you.

There have been some rollicking good discussions at my posts lately, with long conversations developing, sometimes organically moving away from the post itself and taking a life of their own. Right now, because I have WordPress comments, all the comments show up in linear form without differentiation. It turns out there is another way and I can probably plug it in. It’s called Disqus, and I found it because the Captain converted to it. Disqus allows commenters to “reply to” specific comments, so that the comments sort themselves into topic threads and real conversations. You can see it at work in the comment thread to this post at the Captain’s Quarters (although what you’ll also see is that, as of 7:30 P.S.T., few people are using the “reply to” feature).

What do you think? Would you like to have the comments here work along the Disqus lines? Let me know.

UPDATE:  Turns out it’s a moot question.  Emails with a Disqus representative revealed that it doesn’t work with WordPress, if you’re doing what I’m doing, which is using a WordPress, not a self-hosted, website.  Sigh….  I like doodling around with new technologies.  I’ll keep my eye on it and revisit the subject if WordPress ever relaxes its rules about this kind of third party provider.

6 Responses

  1. I’m assuming that Disqus sorts the comments into a tree?

    I think that following even multiple comment threads and branches that are displayed linearly is a skill that isn’t that hard to develop. If a response is likely to suffer when not attached to the comment that is being replied to people tend to include a quote or the comment number or time-stamp. It does work. (Unless intervening comments are deleted and all comments renumbered… which is *bad*.)

    Personally I dislike most comment systems that separate replies and split them. Some are relatively functional but many are not.

    Partly they suffer from people saying the same sorts of things on separate branches when they’d be better off keeping the conversation all together. If two commentors go off track in a similar direction I will then have to follow two separate comment branches as people reply to those two people.

    Or maybe I shouldn’t assume that Disqus sorts comments into a tree and actually go look at it. 😉

  2. Currently it is not a real problem because I use your blog, google reader, and wordpress “my comments” listing to read your comments.

    I don’t want to spend the time learning Disqus, given the fact that my mozilla browser is horrible with Haloscan. I don’t want to have to click, click, and click again to read. I just want to scroll down. That’s all I need. My brain separates out the different elements on its own.

  3. Hello! Daniel from Disqus here.

    @Ymarsakar: I agree – one shouldn’t have to spend time to learn a new comment system. Ours integrates directly with the blog so the experience is seamless. I’ve had some experience with Haloscan and I can assure you Disqus does not follow the same philosophies. Just scroll down and all will be well.🙂

    @Synova: I’d love to hear your thoughts after checking us out. I think you’ll find it quite intuitive.

    And of course, @Bookwork:
    I’d love to answer any questions or personally help you get started. We’re a young service but we’ve dedicated much of ourselves to making Disqus the best way to have discussions on blogs.

    Cheers,
    Daniel
    daniel@disqus.com

  4. Sorry, I had meant to type Bookworm. What a nasty typo.🙂

  5. You could take it for a test drive for a couple of weeks and see how it works out. If it does not perform satisfactorily you can always switch back.

  6. I’ve used disqus, and I don’t recommend it.

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