Back to Regular WordPress Comments

Hello Universe Today commentators! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to disable Disqus comments on Universe Today, and return to plain old WordPress comments. There are a bunch of reasons why I decided to do this, most around my nervousness about having comments hosted outside Universe Today.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve struggled for years about what to do with comments on the website. I’ve tried lots of different plugins and services, searching for the right option.

Comments can improve an article tremendously, allowing readers to carry on the conversation, provide additional info, and genuinely connect as a community. It’s heartwarming when that happens.

Comments can also allow the worst kind of racism, vitriol and spam to stand beside the article, giving nasty people a free platform to rant and market their garbage.

I’ll never remove the commenting section from Universe Today, but I often ponder about what comments can and can’t do, and how they impact the readers. And honestly, it’s one of the toughest challenges a publisher can face.

Anyway, ironically, I’d love to hear your feedback and advice in the comments.

You’ll need a Universe Today WordPress account to make a comment. Many of you probably already have one. But if not, go here.

Fraser Cain

45 Replies to “Back to Regular WordPress Comments”

  1. So I can really comment again after all this time? Yay awesome! =D

    * mutters something involving mixed feelings about predictably spending yet more time on the interwebs *

  2. apparently i already had an account and it’s the same username as i had setup on Disqus.. so that’s cool. I think this was a good decision.. im sure all the regular commenters will continue to post comments. We all love Universe Today. keep up the good work!

  3. No comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    … actually i like the change, my problem with Disqus was that I had to use Internet Explorer to use the facebook login or gmail login method. It always failed with Chrome.

    1. This is why we have Firefox, Safari, Opera and other free cross-platform Web Browsers. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Good move. Thanks! Also thanks to you and Elizabeth and all the other contributors for the great articles.

  5. Apparently I still have my old WordPress account too.

    WordPress has a *lot* of problems that the other commenting systems don’t (from a user perspective), but it’s still better than forcing people to use their Google+ or Facebook accounts to log in. I literally don’t use sites that force me to do that. As soon as I see it, I move somewhere else. If I wanted to link my social networks to every article I feel the need to comment on then I’d do it on my own! I don’t want to be forced to do so:P.

    Real life example: most of my wife’s family is highly religious. Like, 6000 year YEC type religious. Any time one of the “wayward youngsters” in their family posts a comment on a site (using the facebook commenting system) that doesn’t support their views, they somehow find it and it starts a huge fight:P.

    1. The lack of ability to edit comments is one of the biggest drawbacks of standard WordPress though:(. It has so few features… but still better than facebook:P.

  6. Thank you Fraser!!! Half the time when I tried to enter a comment with Disqus, it wouldn’t accept it, saying I needed to log in. But when I tried to log in, it said I was already logged in. WordPress is much better. Thank you.

  7. Fraiser,

    If you truly valued input from the readership who contribute comments, then you might have canvassed for reader input on what comment system features are wanted before abruptly imposing another system reversal and a another fait accompli.

    How are readers now to vote up a good comments and where do we sort comments in order of relevance?

    You given many years of valuable service and have have a great brand here so don’t take any backwards steps.

    If you need more volunteers moderators to alleviate administrative overhead, why not just just ask as you have done in the past.

  8. I wish you wouldn’t keep doing this. Pick a commenting system and stick with it. Moving off WordPress the first time was annoying because my username was already taken on Disqus, so I had to create a new one. But I got used to it, and eventually having a commenting system with *gasp* [i]functionality[/i] grew on me. Then you took it away and tried to impose G+ and facebook on us, which I don’t use, so I couldn’t comment at all for a while. Then it came back for a while, and now it’s gone again.

    Now we’re back to the old one. But how long will it be before the rug gets pulled yet again and we all get some new stupid thing inflicted on us? No doubt the instant we’ve re-adjusted to WordPress. I’m not going to bother. I won’t be commenting here again.

  9. Thank you for loosing disqus. I found it invasive, requiring other logins to other sights in order to post. Who knows what price they tag on the information they gather. I feel that wordpress is much more straightforward and less invasive in terms of personal information. Lets try this for a while then! ๐Ÿ˜€ happy posting everyone, Kwestdjonmaarc

    1. In an age where the NSA is keeping meta data on millions of cell phone calls and text messages everyday, use of the word โ€œinvasiveโ€ is kind of relative isn’t it?

      User willingness to keep a single logon alive across multiple platforms is what most improved the content of the comments. Users moderated their tone because they didn’t want to get banned across multiple platforms. There was far less anonymous ranting, trolling and off-topic fighting spilling over from one article to the next under Disquss compared to the previous WordPress experience here.

      Some will be weary of a return to the bad old days. I hope it works out. We’ll have to wait and see.

      1. Yeah, I’m looking forward to reading comments from the “Electric Universe” nutters again(!).

      2. I do have to say that TerryG is right, at least about me. I moderate myself far more on Discus than I do on WordPress, because I know no one will outside the article in question will ever read my WordPress comments (new account on every blog/newsite).

        But under Discus you have one username for every site that uses Discus, so people automatically selfmoderate their behaviour. Otherwise you become known as “that jackass gopher65. He’s ok over here, but have you read his crazy comments on UT? Eeesh!”

      3. @IVAN3MAN

        Hah! And then there was the guy who repeatedly defiled this site by offering his pet theory that the Universe was full of โ€œSpace Mirrorsโ€.

      4. @gopher65

        Actually, you can select on Disqus to “Keep my profile activity private” — only moderators can then see your activities across different sites.

      5. @Ivan3Man

        Spell checker wohoo!

        Now we can right without making so much as won spelling error.

        Hey, weight a minute, no whey, I can edit as well.

        Two much,
        Thanks heaps UT.

      6. @Fraser Cain

        re: “I found a plugin that lets you do edits for 60 minutes after you make a post…”

        That’s gotta be a worth a stack of up votes right there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Seems I still have my old login, too.

    Didn’t like Discus.

    Just keep up the great work. I stop hear daily to see what’s up.

  11. Okay, I had trouble because I never had a Word Press account, and clicking “Add one” does nothing unless you are logged in. If you can’t comment try clicking the “comment or log in” after one of the other comments.

    1. I like discus fine, didn’t like the Facebook/Gmail comment stuff. I do with UT would pick something and stick with it. changing comment systems doesn’t change humans on the internet.

  12. Wow, my old account is still there and I can comment again, Thanks!
    Everything is better than allow comments only for people with disqus,facebook or G+ accounts. Thre are lots of reason why I’ll never wanna use one of these. And I know I’m not the only one.

  13. Thank you very much! I missed commenting. But no way was I going to give my date of birth for the privilege. It’s not like the Goog was going to send me a birthday present, more like a present for identity thieves.

    Anyway, thank you again.

  14. I’ll see what I can do to enhance the WordPress commenting system with editing, voting and more bling.

    For those who don’t like me making changes, I apologize in advance… I’m going to make changes. We’re living in internet time now, and the landscape is constantly changing. I switched over to Disqus because the SPAM was becoming intolerable. But now changes that Google recently made have significantly decreased it.

    But if I think there’s a better way to do things, I’ll make more changes. Sometimes I don’t know the outcome until I do the experiment.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll take ownership and fix it. And if I’m right, then we all benefit.

    1. Hi and thanks.

      re: “more Bling”.

      When a comment get’s a reply or someone else joins the discussion, Discuss would send you an e-mail alert.

      This is another thing which doesn’t happen in WordPress comments, so it’s easy to predict a fall over time in the total number of comments and page hits. A pity really, because comment quantity (and quality) is one on-going sign of a website’s health.

      I thank you and your team for your site and the any upcoming efforts at restoring bling (= standard features) and hope e-mail alerts might be considerd worthy of inclusion on the bling list.


  15. Thanks! Disqus was always too bulky and temperamental, didn’t seem to have any social benefit, and I was banned more often than not. Google+ was nice because friends saw my posts, but it was also not particularly simple.

    This solution should be innocuous enough to stick with. Enough with the fads.

    It would be nice to go back to the good old days with a few physicists hanging out here regularly, but it’ll take a while to feel secure writing long, analytical comments when the database has been wiped so many times already.

  16. Hehe, I do find it a little funny that you’ve gone from a quite decent comment system in Disqus, with lots of thoughts on security, to WordPress! Still, at least I can change the colours of the admin area ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I see lots of people not liking Disqus but I’ve used it a few times and it’s so quick and easy. Plus, it means I can log in in one place and comment all over without having to sign in time and time again.

    But anyway, yay for comments!

  17. OK, I just registered so I could comment. Kind of a pain to have to register yet another username/password just to comment here. At least with Disquss, I just sign in with Google, on any site at all, no hassle at all. I’ll probably stick with commenting on tthe Universe Today Google+ posts rater than on the articles themselves. Oh and while I’m here, I’ll put out a plea to move UT to a mobile first, responsive design.

      1. Thank you, Mr. Cain, for your work and attention! I am only one of the thousands of benefitees! I’m sending you my true appreciation, and if there is some way I could be of service in return for the years of enjoyment I have received from your and the other team members’ efforts, please just let me know. Guitar maker P, on Facebook as O’Connor Guitars. Top of the day to you

  18. bonjour , I follow universe today from France , I just want to say I am really happy to read what you said about some comments and their authors . it’s a satisfaction , thanks

  19. I hope this gets the ‘band back together’ to provide thoughful insights again. it’s been missed.

  20. Excellent – hated all the cross-site stuff.
    I hope that LC will find his way back here now.

    1. Agreed, I also hope LC and Torbjorn find their way back to UT. I for one sorely miss their considerable contributions.

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