Friday, June 18, 2010

Is Disqus Any Good? Discuss:

I’m a weird kind of tech-head. The type that is ever on the lookout for the latest gadget or widget but then gets cold feet about using them and breaking the clean lines of my blog.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed a great number of my favourite blogs switching their comment moderation over to Disqus.

Hmm.

Since then I’ve been eyeing it up. Trying to work our whether it has any advantages over Blogger’s own comment moderation. Is it quicker? Does it give you more options in terms of editing (being able to go back and correct typos rather than having to delete and type everything in again would be marvellous)?

Hmm. Or is it more complicated? An extra fuss in a world already stuffed to the gills with fuss and bothersomeness.

Because I have to say here (hand on heart) – and this is not meant to be a criticism at all on what other people do with their own blogs – I find I have a helluva lot of trouble trying to leave comments on blogs that utilize Disqus.

It seems to take ages to load the comment box. Sometimes it refuses to load at all. Sometimes it will load but only if I refresh the page 6 or 7 times. Then when it has loaded it is completely arbitrary as to whether it will allow me to log-in and publish a comment. Sometimes I have to try several times before, hello, my comment – my sparkling jewel of wisdom – is published.

Now as I said this is not meant to be a criticism or even a product review because my experience of using Disqus is purely from the front end as opposed to the back. If anything, those of you who use Disqus should now be basking in the knowledge that I love your blog so much that I am prepared to run this gamut of daily irritation every time I want to leave you a little bit of myself on your newest post.

Love is… accepting minor irritations with a fond heart. See, that should be on a T-shirt featuring those naked boy and girl cartoon characters from the 1970’s.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is just to say that, upon balance, Disqus is not selling itself to me. Am I missing something? What’s the deal?

Disqusion welcome.


42 comments:

The Dotterel said...

Gosh, well... as a committed DISQUS user I'm horrified to hear of the problems you've been having. Is this the same for everyone (*asks other commenters*)? What I like about it is the way you can reply quickly and easily to people's comments and - sometimes - get a bit of chat going. But if it's not proving very user-friendly then that's rather object-defeating.

I did get an email from them only last week announcing that they'd cleared some of the bugs and (they said) made it easier for people to comment, but...

Is it true?

Steve said...

The Dotterel: I tell no lies. To be honest I think it might be a browser compatability issue. It's worse if I try and access Disqus user's blogs from my work computer but the problem isn't solely there - I've had problems with my home computer too which is very up-to-date and very fast. So I don't know what the problem is. It still might be "buggy" - all I know it sometimes has me gritting my teeth in frustration!

Simpsonslover said...

I haven't had any issues with leaving comments. But the thing I'm not so keen on with Disqus is that it seems to leave a trail of my commenting history that comes with me, regardless of whose blog I am commenting on (if they use Disqus, I can see how many Disqus comments I've made in total, ever). I stand corrected if that is not the case... but if it is, then, well it just creeps me out a bit. I know I have a blog, I've been online, sharing and caring since 2004 in some form or another. BUT... I think this is a helluva lot different to people seeking me out. That someone can go through all my comments is a bit, hmmmm. I don't know why, but I just don't really like it.

My 2c. And for the record, it won't stop me blabbing on here if you do change it. You have my word! (Sorry! ;)

Steve said...

Simponslover: that is a bit creepy. That would creep me out too, I think. It makes it far too easy for anyone to read your entire commenting history. Is there not a privacy setting of some kind? Feel free to babble away - it makes a change from my babbling. And to be honest, I'm not sold on Disqus at all. I don't think I'll be changing anytime soon (not unless Disqus can link me directly to Keeley Hawes anyway).

Nota Bene said...

Ah yes, well...I adopted Disqus by mistake...I thought I was doing something else and have ended up with it...no idea what it adds to Blogger, but because the code is embedded in the blog design, I'm far too much of a scaredy cat to try and get rid of it...and, of course, I'm too nervous to try a new design...the main issues I have are that if someone posts a comment, I find it hard to work out who they are and go to their blog...and I now have to log in to Disqus to post comments...which I never had to do before...

Gina said...

Well, I guess this is another example of me wearing blinkers because I had no idea that this DISQUS thing even existed. I don't read blogs as much as I used to but I am sure I must have been to one that uses it at some point. I use Chrome on a Mac though so probably my experience would be different to yours. Well, maybe?

What Simpsonslover said is very creepy though. I really wouldn't want that.

I have no problem leaving comments here though so I hope you won't change your system!

Steve said...

Nota Bene: yes the contant logging in to leave a comment really gets my goat too... especially when it doesn't always identify me in a manner that the blog writer would recognize. Just seems an extra hassle when all I want to do is leave a comment. I don't like the fact that it can so easily attach itself to your blog if you're unsure of what you're doing. That sounds a bit naughty to me.

Gina: I'd hate to lose you as a reader and commenter so you have made my mind up for definite. This is going to be a Disqus free blog forever (but not in the same way that it's a World Cup free blog)! ;-)

Nickie @ Typecast said...

*holds hand up*

I'm a fully paid up user of Disqus too (well, I'm not because it's free but...)

I have used other commenting applications (Bloggers own, Intense Debate) and find that Disqus is the most user-friendly of them all for both myself and the reader. Comment moderation can be actioned from email, the Disqus website or direct on the blog.

Disqus have, as The Dotterel says, had a few glitch issues over the past few weeks and these are being ironed out slowly but surely. I have noticed some improvements in the way you sign in as a commenter (twitter, facebook, open id, etc).

If you sign up to Disqus you can adapt your "trail" in your user settings so there is no reason for people to track your commenting history and if you think it is a browser problem then I don't want to state the obvious ;) I use Google Chrome and there has never been a clash or a delay with Disqus (so far).

Steve said...

Nickie: thank you for dropping by and for yur comment - very informative and very sensible. A point for Disqus... though I'm still not convinced. I've tried it on Opera and Firefox and had the same problems as when using IE. If it only works properly on one browser then that's a big reason for me not to buy into it.

Rol said...

I agree. It's just another bloody password to remember too - and utterly pointless as far as I can see when most blogging platforms have perfectly decent comment facilities built in.

Steve said...

Rol: yep, that about says it all.

French Fancy said...

I was just going to say that I had never encountered it and then I saw that your first comment was from Tim over at Charlie's place. Now the amount of times I have tried to leave a comment on his new blog and it absolutely just bloomin hangs there - well. it must be over seven or eight times now. So I have tried a blog that utilises it and I think it is rubbish

Steve said...

FF: thank you - proof positive then that it is not me, my browsers or indeed my computer! It is Disqus! I think I'll be sticking with Blogger's own comment moderation for a while longer...!

Val said...

I only use Disqus to comment on other people's blogs and so far I find that I don't like it. I find it very impersonal and too commercial. Also, one day I deleted all my cookies by mistake and had a hell of a time trying to work out how to make disqus work again!

On the other hand, I don't like Blogger and when I've had blogger/blogspot blogs (is there any way to say that without it looking clumsy?) I've not liked the limitation of the comments thingy here.

I have a wordpress blog and I like it a LOT (sorry, did I just shout? Yes, I think I did, that's cos I can't easily speak in italics) because there are loads and loads and loads of ways it can be modified, adjusted, adapted to ones own needs. I've seen a few people say that they find it cold or clinical but it's pretty much what you make it. On Wordpress, one can edit ones own and other people's comments, and - if replying to a comment via the dashboard - can use a rich text editor on them too. But hey - you didn't ask about Wordpress!

Kelloggsville said...

As a leaver of comments on Discus I have to say "I hate it" for all the reasons you have already covered.
I use IntenseDebate on my blog.
I think IntenseDebate is easier to leave comments on. Amothersramblings uses it, I site I leave comments on a lot. Installing it wasn't hard but you have to be careful about hanging onto old comments. It is possible but needs consideration before you throw yourself into it. I think the blogger one is perfectly adequate but blogger snobbery (or ignorance - NotaBene!) means lots of us have installed these clever little widgets but it leaves you at the hands of yet another service provider and I can't understand why they provide the service and why I don't pay, where is the catch? I suspect it involves getting you completely trapped and then starting to charge! Sticking with the blogger own brand makes template changes etc easier as you are not have to mess around with html bits and pieces. (ahhhh here comes Dave Clark)

Kelloggsville said...

....but if you had IntenseDebate I could reread, sense check and edit that and now I will just bee shone too bea the bad speler that I ...oh bugger

Joe Bloggs said...

Well, Hammer gonna half to be straight up with you, Steve - I ain't never really had the field for discus, Jabberlin's always bin maw mestyle ;)

hampshireflyer said...

My heart sinks when I'm not at my home computer and I want to comment on a blog that uses Disqus... for some reason I can't log in *at all* unless I'm at home where I set the browser to 'remember me'.

Probably the fact that I log in with Open ID has something to do with it... it's already bad enough with Blogger comments on blogs that have word verification.

It's the same with Instant Debate which one or two of the blogs I visit have started using. I don't want to have to have three or four different logins just to be able to comment on blogs...

Steve said...

Val: before I started my blog I did contrast and compare both Blogger and Wordpress and in the end plumped for the former as, yes, I did find Wordpress very cold and and clinical - and still do if I'm honest. It doesn't put me off reading a Wordpress blog but it does kibosch any thought of having one myself.

Kellogsville: IntenseDebate? That's a brand new one on me! Gosh and I call myself a tech-head! How long has that one been going round? May have to do a little more on-line research - thanks for the tip-off!

Joe: feel free to Jabber as much as you like here, I promise to be generous with my measurements and I will always try to get your point...!

Hampshireflier: more proof that it is not just me and my browser settings. That's good to know. Now I don't have to take it personally.

Owen said...

Wasn't the disqus throw an Olympic track and field event ?

Sounds like it should be thrown anyway if it doesn't work any better than that.

So far Blogger seems to be working ok for me...

Steve said...

Owen: 'tis indeed, mayhaps you have to be a muscular lady of Russian persuasion to be able to operate it properly...?

Heather said...

this is most disturbing! As you know i use Disqus and I had no idea it was so bad! I feel rather honoured that you'd even bother going through all the faff just to comment. thank you. I shall have to give it some serious thought now. I use it because i like the reply to comments part that emails the commentor with your reply. also, when you get a new comment you get sent an email with the comment in, you can then reply to the email with your reply rather than having to click through to the site which is handy.

Being Me said...

Steve, by the way, I do hope you realise Simpsonslover is me.... In really poor disguise (especially now I've said it's me). I was logged in incorrectly and cannot for the life of me work out how to neatly change when using Blogger. But that's a whole other grievance with commenting on blogs ;)

Steve said...

Heather: it's al part of the service! I think nearly all software is buggy... I was just curious to hear if the good outweighs the bad. It seems the jury is still out on that one!

Being Me: I hadn't realized - thanks for telling me! There should be an option to log out on the Dashboard and then you can log back in again with another identity...!

Michelle said...

Ohh really interesting debate, as I have been thinking about swapping over to Disqus. errr, no I won't be now! lol As a commenter it drives me nuts recently as I tend to write the comment and then log in and then it deletes my comment. It also will not let me paste in the comment frield! grrr I can also never log in with an openID to it. but I did like the aspect of emails to tell me of follow up comments and the facilty to reply to each person straight after their comment.

I must check this intense debate one. Let me know if you do Steve! lol

You also gave mea smile mentioning the 'love is' I did a post on Thursday and had one of those in it. spooky!

Mich x

Steve said...

Michelle: I've read all the feedback from this post with great interest... and have more or less decided to stick with Blogger's own in-house comment moderation. Sure it's a bit clunky (as is Blogger itself on occasion) but on the whole it's pretty stable. Better the devil you know!

Yes, those Love Is... cartoons used to be everywhere in the 70's; they seem horribly kitsch now!

Nickie @ Typecast said...

Returning to the discussion again - hope that's ok :)

As I mentioned in my earlier comment, I have used Intense Debate prior to installing Disqus and had loads of problems with it.

Because I offer a RSS feed (through Feedburner) any comments directly from that feed landed on the blog post at a slightly different URL so they wouldn't be visible to the general reader.

I asked ID to look into it and, to be fair, their customer service was brilliant - they have real people who email you and will attempt to sort your problem out - but they couldn't sort this issue out.

With Disqus I haven't had any such problem and I think the Open ID log in problem is their (Open ID) problem because I have experienced it LOADS of times. Disqus now offer login's from Facebook, Twitter and Guest Email (which doesn't display).

I have been interested to read everyone's comments regarding the log in issues but none of my readers have ever reported anything back to me (other than a cookie issue once and that was sorted by the reader clearing their cookies).

Mark said...

I find disqus a pain; I prefer plain old blogger comments - and oh what a smart template you use too! Great minds...

Löst Jimmy said...

Disqus is yet to find its way onto the browser of the laptop at Victory Mansions...I worry that my lack of technological know-how is not adequate to break out of the blogger framework

Michelle said...

grrr 3 times tonight I have logged into disqus and tried to comment and 3 times nothing apears! It seems to be getting worse.

Steve said...

Nickie: hmm, sounds like Disqus' problem might be third party based, then? I must admit I've since tried signing in with a different idea and it's been easier - but that's still no help on the occasions that Disqus comment box doesn't even load!

Mark: yes, I've always been impressed with your choice of decor too!

Löst Jimmy: I wouldn't worry. From the sounds of things you're not missing a great deal!

Michelle: it wasn't me! Honest!

Selina Kingston said...

Amen brother! You know how technically inept I am but I think DISQUS is a bloody pain in the arse. It is used on lots of blogs I follow and I often find that comments I have left just haven't shown up which is highly irritating !! (Either that or the blog owners don't like me and what I have to say!!)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I haven't tried Disqus because I'm not really interested to. I'm happy with Blogger comment system, the same as you have here, and even though I've had one or two hiccups with it, I'm not prepared to change to Disqus just because every one else has. Bloggers unite; that's what I say.

CJ xx

Michelle said...

I know Steve, I just appreciated using your comment section for a rant. Thank you kindly. Mich x

Extra Ordinary Me said...

I don't like it.

Steve said...

Selina: that certainly doesn't recommend it, does it?!

CJ: we have the nucleus for a political party here, I feel...

Michelle: pleasure!

Extra Ordinary Me: to the point and spot on!

missbehaving said...

I could have sworn I left a comment the other day, maybe I missed the final hoop. Can't remember what I said now, but I'm sure it was very clever and insightful.;)

Steve said...

MissBehaving: I just hope the ol' Blogger comments technology isn't going up the swanee as well!

A Write Blog said...

I find blogger easy to use although loading photos can take a while and editing stuff around them can be a nightmare.

Comments can sometimes get 'stuck' too.

However I understand it so would be loath to change.

It's all just to frighteningly techie for me.

I'll still be using steam when evryone else has gone nuclear.

Steve said...

AWB: sometimes just being happy with what you know is the key to happiness...!

vegemitevix said...

Ah. Oh. Dear. Oh dear. Mmmmm. Thanks for commenting on the disqussed blog Steve. I had no idea that it was that difficult to load. I've not experienced that on any of the other blogs I chat on...weird..But in all seriousness thank you so much for making the effort! x

Steve said...

Vegemitevix: always a pleasure where you're concerned! ;-)