Trying out Disqus for Comments

Article written: 10 May , 2011
by

You might have noticed that the comments for Universe Today look and behave a little differently today. That’s because we’re testing out a commenting platform called Disqus. If everything works out, it should provide a more feature rich, better looking, spam-defending comment system. The other cool thing is that it’s integrated with the rest of the Disqus network. Once you create a profile, you can write comments on thousands of other websites without having to create a profile on each one – something like this is going to be the future, so we might as well get on board now. Since Disqus is focused on creating the best possible commenting system, we should get carried along as they make improvements.

It’s still importing comments in from the WordPress system, so that’s going to take a few hours/days. Once that’s done, comments made in Disqus will be mirrored within WordPress, so we can always retreat to that system if this doesn’t work.

There’s one important decision that I still haven’t resolved yet: Who Can Comment? It can be set so anybody can reply to an article, which means there will be a lot of SPAM, but a lot of comments. I can tighten it down more (the current setting), so only registered users can comment. Or I can tighten it down even further so that users need to validate their email. I’m leaning towards the tightest control already, since I had a few nasty SPAM comments come in when I had it on the most open settings.

Anyway, let me know if you run into any problems. Let me know if things are displaying strangely for you, or you’re having trouble registering with the system.

Fraser Cain
Publisher
Universe Today


77 Responses

  1. Member
    IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

    I’m leaning towards the tightest control already, since I had a few nasty SPAM comments come in when I had it on the most open settings.

    Exactly! Take no prisoners, I say!

  2. Hey Fraser,

    I use Disqus across all my sites, and IMHO I would recommend allowing users to comment using their Facebook and Disqus accounts, as they are much harder to validate. Anyways welcome to the Disqus club! 🙂

  3. Member
    Jon Voisey says

    I like Disqus so far. I did enjoy seeing how these articles were being rebroadcast via twitter, facebook, etc… but agree with others that it got spammy. Is there a setting to have that but have it initially collapsed?

  4. iantresman says

    Very welcome, especially an option to edit. But what HTML can we use? Bold |
    Italics | Links?

    • Ryan says

      Here’s the HTML we allow in comments: http://docs.disqus.com/help/19/

      • Okay, how cool is that? A person from Disqus shows up to help us organize this. 🙂 Hi Ryan!

      • Ro Gupta says

        Glad to have Disqus on UT, Fraser 🙂

      • Ro Gupta says

        Glad to have Disqus on UT, Fraser 🙂

      • Member
        Anonymous says

        Since you’re on the Disqus team here’s another question: Is it possible to make numerous moderators for comments? Generally Fraser has had us police comments on our own articles. I have Disqus on my blog too and haven’t seen an option to make additional mods, so is there such a feature hidden anywhere? I know my most recent article is going to bring out the trolls and I’d like to disemvowel them at the very least. >:D

      • Ryan says

        You may certainly have multiple moderators — Fraser can add any Disqus usernames/email addresses in the “Moderation” settings:

        http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13552259/Screenshots/yu.png

      • Ryan says

        You may certainly have multiple moderators — Fraser can add any Disqus usernames/email addresses in the “Moderation” settings:

        http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13552259/Screenshots/yu.png

      • iantresman says

        Thanks for that. A big shame that lists are not allowed, , and I can’t see a use for fieldsets without forms. I guess lists can be simulated with entities and bullets, but not as elegantly.

      • Anonymous says

        Is there any possible way to make disqus viewable and minimally functional on a BlackBerry? With Opera-mini it is almost viewable but posting is totally out of question.

        I don’t care if I have to download and install a new app or even a whole new browser I just really want to be able to view all comments and post a very basic reply.

      • Ryan says

        We do work on Blackberry OS 6.0, but we’re working on a read-only version of Disqus mobile for older the older Blackberry browsers. The general rule of thumb is that it’ll work on any mobile webkit-based browser.

      • Anonymous says

        Any chance of functionality on a 3rd party browser for OS 5? I noticed that there is a huge difference between the stock BB browser and Opera mini. The only other browser I can think of is Bolt and I tried it once and didn’t like it for some reason?

    • iantresman says

      Another test to see whether entites can be pasted as unicode characters:
      ? ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ?
      ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
      ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
      ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

  5. TerryG says

    If it can help UT easily eliminate way-off-topic trolls, then it could also help conserve the world supply of tin foil such commenters line their bicycle helmets with as well alleviate that traffic jam of mother-ships supposedly parked behind the Moon. Nicer too for UT contributing writers (such as Steve Nerlich, etc.) whose time might be wasted removing nasty comments that defile his weekend column. Just saying….

    Disqus is just like the old Space.com comment format, which was the best, until Space.com went too far by removing all comments to a Face-book page only killing off much of their community.

    Good move Fraser. Congratulations UT.

  6. I’ve seen other bloggers try Disqus for a while, discover that it fails, and go back to the way things were. And they are right to do so.

    One fail is that it’s incompatible with the Recent Comments widget in the sidebar. Take, for example, Fraser Cain’s reply to Ryan. According to Disqus, that comment is #comment-201152830. But according to the Recent Comments widget, it’s #comment-94751.

    Because of this discrepency, the links in the Recent Comments widget do not work so long as you use Disqus. They do not take you to the relevant comments. Try it.

    Maybe there’s a patch; maybe Disqus has its own Recent Comments widget you have to use instead. But from what I’ve read, using Disqus creates many more problems than benefits, and I advocate getting rid of it.

  7. Anonymous says

    Just testin’

  8. Anonymous says

    Just testin’

  9. Anonymous says

    SWEET! Editing at long last!

  10. Anonymous says

    SWEET! Editing at long last!

  11. Hide or minimize the Twitter feed and don’t make them list as “Comments” on the front page. “Comments” imply “Content”, not spam.

  12. Dan Bennett says

    Well, I just had to go and get a Disqus account.

  13. Anonymous says

    I use disqus in my blogger blog and I’ve had a positive experience.

  14. Anonymous says

    Great to see discuss. I have been using it at The Atlantic for a couple years now and have had no issues.

    I’m more for super tight controls myself. I would even go so far as to have the moderators review newly subscribed commentator’s first postings. People who join and link to their purchase my “space mirrors” theories and other junk don’t belong on UT’s respectable articles, period.

    Keep up the good work!

    PS: What are your flagging rules Frasier? Advertising is an obvious one, though I imagine you’ll set it up to eliminate that. Can we flag person theories? Abusive comments?

  15. Anonymous says

    Just joined Disqus so I can leave comments. Hope this works out well for all.

  16. Cz-David says

    Nice, it supports OpenID. And also I have never seen smooth adjustment to the resizing of the page. Little choppy, perhaps unnecessary.

  17. Anonymous says

    You need to allow cookies from the Discus site to use this, otherwise OK so far.

    Any indication on when previous comments will complete the transition?

  18. Slugsie says

    I don’t like Disqus. It forces me to lower my security settings by requiring that I accept third part cookies.

  19. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Like!

  20. Anonymous says

    Okay, here’s my go at Disqus. I hope we (any of the world’s space agencies) commit the will and funds to further explore preferably in situ: Europa, Titan, Enceladus and Triton.

  21. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Since we will use this thread to wish for (modified) functions, I still wish for the full dynamic WordPress avatar handling. But other than that, so far so good. (Well, except for the recent comments bug; but at least/meanwhile we see what is up.)

    Udate: Hey, speaking of dynamic, I noticed the flag!

  22. Disqus! Yaay! =D Awesome move.
    Btw Cain, umm, can’t you do something about those Google Ads appearing at the top? Those “prophecy”, “Einstein was wrong” stuff just, they just don’t belong here. Drives me mad.

  23. Disqus! Yaay! =D Awesome move.
    Btw Cain, umm, can’t you do something about those Google Ads appearing at the top? Those “prophecy”, “Einstein was wrong” stuff just, they just don’t belong here. Drives me mad.

  24. Oh, sorry about that. Cool if we had a ‘Delete’ function too =D Just a suggestion.

  25. Anonymous says

    Just tryin’ it out myself….

  26. Anonymous says

    I am concerned about this move. Will Disqus share my info across their entire network, or will it stay with UT? I like to post comments, but i DO NOT like giving my email address to Disqus, and having to allow cookies to post. I block cookies, and do not freely give out my email address.

    I had to log on to post this comment, and allow cookies. I will be removing the cookie that was added to my PC, and blocking Disqus.

    Even after allowing cookies and signing in, including giving up my password, I am unable to logon. I went to the “help logging on page” but one must logon to get the help. It is an endless loop.

    There has to be a way around this.

    RUF

    • Member
      IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

      There has to be a way around this.

      The whole point of all that is to discourage, if not prevent, the “Electric Universe” trolls from plaguing the comments section whenever the terms “magnetic field”, “electric current”, or “plasma” is mentioned in the subject title.

  27. I’m glad to see this better commenting system! Hopefully it encourages even more discussion!

  28. Anonymous says

    I’m so happy to see this better commenting system! Hopefully it encourages even more discussion!

  29. Anonymous says

    I’m so happy to see this better commenting system! Hopefully it encourages even more discussion!

  30. Anonymous says

    I have to go on the record as saying that I am about as diametrically opposed to disqus as is humanly possible. Not only can I no longer post from my BlackBerry, I can only view something like to last 20 posts. For that I have to use a 3rd party browser the BB browser only shows 5 and they are in teeny tiny italicized print that is illegible for all intents and purposes. I can’t describe how wonderful it is reading the tail end of a scientific discussion that I can barely follow when able reread every posting multiple times and now having to piece together what is being debated from quotes taken from previous posts that I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of.

    In short if disqus is permanently adopted this may be one the last times I participate in a discussion here. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my discussions here and I would like to think that if nothing else I hope that I’ve contributed a different point of view that the “science guys” wouldn’t have ordinarily thought of.

    I also wish now that I hadn’t fought the urge to follow every one of the EU/PC guys posts up with a “No way man God did it!” I’m pretty sure all the really deserving EU posts have already been deleted or I’d go do it right now…

    Is there any possible way that UT could employ a mirror wap site like physorg does? There wap site is one my absolute favorite things, I even use it on the PC because navigating there .com site is like pulling teeth with no Novocain.

  31. Anonymous says

    Why are the comments out of order? Hard to follow a discussion when the comments are all jumbled up. Comments made a day ago appear after ones made 8 or 10 hours ago.

  32. Anonymous says

    How does one access the settings for Discus? (to change avatar, time setting, ect…)

    • Member
      IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE says

      Place your computer’s cursor over the “DISQUS” button situated above and to the right of the comment box; a menu will appear with the options: “Dashboard”, “Edit Profile”, “Logout”, and “About Disqus”.

  33. Anonymous says

    I see the grey Discus button next to the “expand community” button. DISQ in white, US in grey. There is no dropdown menu. It seems like it is “clickable”, yet nothing happens when I click on it. Do I have the right button?

    I know I’ve been to the setting page before, yet can’t figure out how to get back to it.

  34. Anonymous says

    PS the comments are still out of order. The answer to my question was burried in the thread.

    The edit does not work either. It would not save and post.

    Also, the add new comment says “please wait….” most of the time. I have to exit the page, reload a few thime till I can post.

  35. Anonymous says

    Clicking a recent comment used to take you directly to the comment in the article, now it takes you to the top and you have to now search down thru the article and then the comments to find it.
    Also, is there a setting that tells Disqus to remember your “sort by” preference so that you don’t have to continually reset it? Very aggravating. I’ve asked Yahoo the same and of course , no response.

    • Anonymous says

      Sorry, I now see that one must be logged in for the “sort by” preference to be remembered.

    • Ryan says

      The WordPress recent comments widget doesn’t recognize Disqus comment numbers — the Disqus recent comments widget will need to be used for that.

      • Anonymous says

        And where would I get this widget?

      • Ryan says

        Ah, just to clarify it’s something the site owner has to add

      • Anonymous says

        Thank you Ryan, I hope Fraser is still monitoring this thread.
        If so, I’ll add; why do posters show up as Anonymous in the recent comment list but show their log in name correctly in the thread post and, is it possible to increase the recent comment list to > 5?

  36. Anonymous says

    My comment was registered but did not show in the recent comment list.

  37. Phil A Viverito says

    I like it!

  38. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  39. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  40. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  41. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  42. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  43. Anonymous says

    Fraser…….Yes, I believe you have the right strategy for implementing Disqus. There is much to much SPAMish stuff taking place today that clouds the salient topics.

  44. Anonymous says

    Is the transfer of old comments still work in progress or have any that haven’t appeared yet going to be lost?

  45. Anonymous says

    Very nice! Thanks Fraser.

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