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Disqus, a dark commenting system (supunkavinda.blog)
527 points by supz_k 69 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 264 comments

Title should probably have [Advert] prefix or something.

That said, I deleted my Disqus account as part of a general cleanup and I'm glad I did.

The web needs to shift more to a model where people pay openly for services; ideally with micropayments or a Spotify-like subscription to ensure a large user base. Free products are ok as a gateway to the paid product, but not if the business model relies on selling data (either directly, or as in Facebook's case selling the processing of data).

Spotify relies on monopolizing your listening data. You should avoid it on the same premise. Delivering music is easy; their unique offering is the recommendation engine. There's no competition because there's no open listening data. If we could make it open, then you could have actual competition in the space (coincidentlly Spotify recommendations aren't great at the moment).

>There's no competition because there's no open listening data.


The Music Genome Project came up recently. Thread references code and sample data


Ironically, the page doesn't seem to load for me, but then loads after a delay of 5-10 seconds.

This reminds me I need to find an open source scrobbler compatible with Lastfm's API.

>There's no competition because there's no open listening data

I wonder why last.fm hasn't managed to leverage their data more, if that was really the biggest value of Spotify. Or perhaps they do and sell it to streaming services? Idc

Does any other service deliver music and podcasts at a much lower price then?

Plenty of alternatives exist - YouTube Premium ( which also gets you YouTube with no adds, on top of YouTube Music), Amazon Music, Apple Music, and iirc pandora, SoundCloud? I haven't compared prices.

So, your suggested alternative to avoid data monopolization is to use a FAANG (with a worse product)? I accept that those are alternatives, but no thanks.

Pandora has been geo-blocked and IIRC only serves the USA since 2007, and SoundCloud appears to me to be offering a different service.

Can't really suggest YT as an alternative to a monopoly

Is either company a monopoly in "music streaming" if they're both viable alternatives?

People way overuse "monopoly" these days.

In the country I live in none of those are available other than Apple Music. So the choices are Spotify and Apple Music.

Apple is much less likely to sell off your data

That is true but their app on Android was terrible (I used it for two years before Spotify was available here). Probably the worst Android app I used on a regular basis.

Likely it is better on Apple devices but I don't use those.

Shoutcast/Icecast are alive and well, there are thousands of independent radio stations online; one of the most well known (SomaFM) is alive and well, ad free listener supported. Big Sonic Heaven is still online, both of these are like 20 years and running.

Lots of podcasts are free from their source, Spotify doesn't even offer one of favorite ones (a weekly DJ mix, 500+ episodes strong) all you need is an app like AntennaPod (Android).

In that vein, I'd suggest Radio Paradise. Also add free, listener supported, and has been streaming amazing mixes for over 20 years.


Likewise, you might enjoy:

CHIRP Radio (Chicago): https://chirpradio.org 4ZZZ (Brisbane): https://www.4zzzfm.org.au

Both are ad-free, other than local community orgs and the occasional local independent business plug, and funded by listener donations. Big bonus: huge variety in their playlists, with the DJs playing whatever they feel like.

I didn't forget you guys, thanks these are all great and added to my combined playlist of radios. I didn't get around to CHIRP until this morning and was greeted with some Sisters of Mercy love as soon as I tuned in, that's a win right there. :) Much appreciated for pointers.

Thank you for the reverse share! Much appreciated, ill give it a listen here in a bit (6am here :) ). In return, my podcast mentioned above is Resident - Hernan Cattaneo, podcast.hernancattaneo.com - weekly new progressive house music mixes.

> all you need is an app like AntennaPod

To listen to a podcast? A podcast is an audio file you download like any other file and play like any other audio file. Why do you need a dedicated app?

On many podcasts now, this is increasingly obfuscated or hidden:

- There is no dedicated podcast homepage, only a set of service links (Spotify, Itunes, etc.).

- RSS itself may not be provided.

- Audio is hidden inside Javascript requests.

I do listen to many podcasts by going to a page and finding the single-episode download link,and playing that directly via mpv or other CLI tools. Success rate is falling, seems to be ~75% or so anecdotally. Often I'll curl the page, explode elements to one per line, and grep for '\.mp3' references. Even that fails often.

And yes, I use dedicated podcast apps to subscribe specifically, but I don't want or need to subscribe to every last podcast just to listen to a single episode.

Open standards promote interoperability. Profit comes by building walls and moats.

Profit seems to be winning.

One can browse the web by telnet and issuing HTTP requests directly or sending emails with `mail`, but its usually a bit smoother of an experience using a web browser or email client.

I use a podcast app to favorite the RSS feeds of podcasts and other content. It then keeps track of which entries are new, can automatically download those new ones, and keep track of what I've already listened to. It makes it a lot easier than manually looking at the RSS feeds and downloading the files by hand.

There lots of apps that are great at helping you find and organize them, pretty much automatically, compared to manually tracking all that.

As all the successful technology, convenience.

What SSLy said. For the same reason I have a single app which plays all my shoutcast streams with one button click, the same reason I don't type SMTP/IMAP commands manually or read RSS feed xml with in vim. These are not "Dedicated apps", they are generically useful software applications. Spotify is a Dedicated App.

I believe the price is similar, but Deezer[0] has a decent music library plus podcasts. Its recommendation engine also works a little differently. The "Flow" engine lets you listen as a radio station with known and unknown tracks thrown in with actually decent recommendations.

Much better than Spotify, which only ever "recommended" artists I've already listened to, or artists I didn't like, or genres I didn't. If you listen to a wide variety of music, it doesn't know how to handle this apparently.

[0]: https://www.deezer.com/us/

Yeah Deezer isn't too bad. Dealbreaker for Spotify:Linux Client and Years of Play lists.

> I deleted my Disqus account as part of a general cleanup and I'm glad I did.

Yeah, their data breach exposing mine and 18 million other's accounts made it the last time I used them.

I try not to say what might embarrass myself later, but I did use my email to create a disqus account to talk politics, which is always touchy. I got banned for a couple weeks once for telling someone to eff off after they said they looked forward to seeing liberals, gays and Jews shot in the street. Go figure.

If you want a serious paid alternative, there is graphcomment.com, the design is very neat, the team is very responsive to their user base. It’s still a human sized company. (Disclaimer: have been working for that company in the past)

In my opinion, having to shell out small bits of money every time you hit a paywall on the Internet is just as bad as having your data sold. I wish there was a viable pay-once-for-all alternative to microservices for the Web, possibly even integrated with your Internet service provider bill.

Ah yes, let's go back to the cable paradigm, where I pay for four different versions of ESPN just because I want to watch Comedy Central.

We’ve been saying that for years, but nothing gets done.

My team and I went ahead to describe how it will work, and will be releasing it in 2022 after building it openly on GitHub:


But watch the silent downvotes for this comment... and this is part of the reason why it won’t happen unless someone braves ridicule even of the very technologists who are supposedly for it.

There are many reasons to be skeptical, the biggest of which is that ads pay more (for now) than micropayments for digital content. But that’s not why stuff like this gets downvoted. It’s because the economics of capitalism make it so that you either have to be a big company with a huge fund behind the push for some micropayment standard, or you are not taken seriously.

Your whitepaper promises an all-in-one utopian decentralization panacea for the Internet. On top of that you are piggybacking off of unsubstantiated crypto hype, even though cryptocurrencies have many problems (including lack of trust/recourse between parties due to decentralization). That might contribute to the reason you are finding no traction for your idea.

On this site, at least, you will have fewer downvotes if you don't speculate about downvote motivation.

Shameless plug: My friend and I are building a federated commenting system on top of Matrix if anyone is interested. You control the data, your users choose where they want to be signed up, and the system will not disappear overnight because a company decides to discontinue it. And of course there are no trackers/pixels.

This is a hobby project that we're launching in three weeks. If you are interested, come talk to us on matrix (https://matrix.to/#/#cactus:bordum.dk) or keep an eye on our (for now dummy-) landing page: https://cactus.chat/, https://gitlab.com/cactus-comments

When I click the cactus.chat link I get an "Ethereum Phishing Detection" message.

> This domain is currently on the MetaMask domain warning list. This means that based on information available to us, MetaMask believes this domain could currently compromise your security and, as an added safety feature, MetaMask has restricted access to the site. To override this, please read the rest of this warning for instructions on how to continue at your own risk.

Can you comment on implementation / challenges of using Matrix for this?

I've been working on a dumb git-like and been needing to add syncing. Being a git-like it could just centralize via SSH, but i had also debated a P2P platform like Matrix or IPFS.

You use case UI-embedded Matrix interaction is especially interesting to me, because some of the UIs i plan for on this git-like are WASM based, Offline enabled PWAs.

Thanks for your work here, super interesting!

Even easier would be using Webmentions.

If someone wants to comment on your blog, they can write their own blog post on their blog and send a webmention. That can get linked at the bottom of your blog post with a text snippet summary.

There's no "API" beyond "curl -i -d source=URL -d target=URL WEBMENTION_ENDPOINT" in the traditional sense. Using microformats markup for better exraction is optional.

The result is a federated system of comments owned and controlled by nobody except the original author. No need to use someone's Matrix server or spin up your own. It also imposes a bit of a barrier to entry (must have your own (micro)blog), but if you don't want any random person to leave a comment that can be a feature.

Services like brid.gy turn Fediverse and Twitter comments into Webmentions as well; I've thought about using it for Fediverse comments in the past, but I don't want to host a new program or rely on a third-party service.

I think using Matrix for this is absolutely the right way to go. Does cactus conform to the threading specification? I was planning on eventually trying this myself, but felt like I should wait until the threading MSC stabilized.

Aforementionend friend and Cactus Comments dev here.

We don't support any sort of threading yet, although Cerulean-style threading is definitely somewhere down the road. Although stuff like redactions and emoji reactions are a higher priority right now.

We're also keeping our eyes out for the upcoming spaces stuff. That might be useful for grouping comment sections.

That's pretty interesting. I will check it out. Thanks for sharing. :D

Hey, I remember your post on the Level1Techs forum about this. Best of luck!

Hey, thanks! It's a small web I guess.

why not activatypub

The author of the post runs a competitor called Hyvor Talk (he discloses this at the end). I've had hyvor talk for more than a year. I don't run a blog thats very popular, but it has been quite easy to integrate (I use React, Gatsby/ static side generation, and Hyvor Talk has a react component). An example of the system is at the bottom of that blog post. There used to be a free tier, but now there isn't. I am only still using it because existing customers have the free tier and haven't bothered to look for alternatives. Unfortunately, you can't get it free anymore. I would love to see free tier reintroduced.

I did find some bugs with the React component itself, but it wasn't bad enough to make me stop using it.

I'm conflicted about the free tier thing. On the one hand, I get that personal/non-commercial sites don't generate revenue - so shelling out for a comment system is unattractive.

On the other hand: the whole reason that shady, dark pattern, privacy killers like disqus exist is because people won't pay for stuff. It's at least partly cultural. We'll pay for hosting, or internet access. Why won't we pay for other services if they're valuable to us?

A large part is messaging from the ad-tech industry. Facebook's positioning in its spat with Apple is a good example [0]. "Free is your right!" "Free keeps small businesses afloat!".

"Free" is out the cage; it's never getting completely put put back in. But it seems inconsistent to both rail against privacy invasion and refuse to pay for stuff.

[0]: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/ios-14-apple-privacy-...

"Free" can't indeed be put back in its cage, but this would also apply to real-life, and yet the majority of people don't go out stealing/robbing people even though it would technically allow them to get goods for free that they otherwise would need to pay for.

The problem isn't advertising in itself. The problem is that the law hasn't caught up (or doesn't want to catch up, thanks to corruption/lobbying by vested interests) with cracking down on large-scale non-consensual data collection (which we used to call spyware).

Ads are fine. The problem is that apparently ads don't pay enough and the advertising/data collection industry is engaging in unethical and potentially illegal practices of large-scale stalking (without informed consent) to try and get extra money.

> "The problem is that apparently ads don't pay enough..."

ads pay plenty, just look at the size of google and facebook (granted, they've together largely consolidated the online advertising market, but it's still huge). greed is the simpler answer here.

> It's at least partly cultural. We'll pay for hosting, or internet access. Why won't we pay for other services if they're valuable to us?

1. Too many separate subscriptions become hard to manage. Example: the banks in my country don't allow direct access of my account movements to any budgeting apps so I have to tally everything manually because I want to track my expenses. There is a business idea here somewhere: a subscription aggregator or some such, where you can manage a total subscription budget per month and be able to cut a service easily (which is of course strongly against the interests of those you subscribed to).

2. Cynicism. I have physically met and conversed with people working in ad-tech. They have zero scruples. If you pay for a service these people will laugh at you, collect your money and then proceed to inject trackers and huge banners in the website/app with no regard that you paid for the service. You don't magically disappear from tracking once you pay. That's sadly a myth. Your narrative is correct on its surface but it was perverted and abused.


I agree that the free tier services is like running a charity and not everyone feels like they have to. There is a business opportunity for a better model of free trials and NOT to automatically subscribe you after a week or a month. Whether that new model is in the financial interest of the gatekeepers (Apple / Google and the apps in their stores) is another discussion entirely, though.


Finally, I am OK paying a few more bucks a month to my ISP. So let all those services figure out a way to charge the ISPs. I'll gladly pay anywhere from $5 to $50 extra a month for everything that I consumed that is viewed as non-free.

Paypal can manage subscriptions and cut them off just don't expect them to give your money back in a timely fashion. I got ripped off by the New York Times glitchy interactions and it took months to give some of the money back.

Yes, that's the problem right there -- incredible amount of dark patterns when you just want to unsub. This puts me off and I skipped a good amount of subs to popular services because of these horror stories.

That, plus PayPal is ripping you off with currency conversions.

The problem is majority doesn't care about tracking regardless of free or paid. And the MBAs will push for as hard monetization as possible.

True. Hence at one point we all have to own the problem and start standing behind our ideals.

>On the other hand: the whole reason that shady, dark pattern, privacy killers like disqus exist is because people won't pay for stuff.

Not only for that. Also because they can make extra money off of it.

So no reason to not have "shady, dark pattern, privacy killers" even to services your customers pay for.

It's because of a focus on quality and responsibility that you don't do it, not because "we already make money since our service is non-free, so let's leave the extra ad money on the table".

It's more fulfilling to offer the service for free than to have a handful of paying customers and watch the world fall into a monopoly of moderation by Big Tech.

My software Remarkbox is now free for all after having tried to sell it to people.

Reference: https://www.remarkbox.com/remarkbox-is-now-pay-what-you-can....

I've been thinking about that a bit recently, for a product I'm building where I'd also like to offer a free tier, but at the same time I'm afraid that it's too much of a hassle.

I'm wondering if an open subsidized approach could work: E.g. for every paid user you allow 100 (or at whatever threshold) users to sign up for the free tier. Possible one could also set up a monthly donation system that directly goes towards financing free accounts.

I'm sure something like that has been tried, but I haven't really been able to find any good examples for that.

So it depends a bit on what you are hosting, but a real concern for myself at least is the value that free users bring to your service.

I'm not talking about the costs of running your service to support them, but everything else. A part of your free userbase will expect the world for free and start demanding more, and as they outnumber your paid users by so much it can just be a huge distraction. The question is how many of these free users will convert to paying users?

I personally add a free tier to my products because I want to make the tool accessible to hobby and other small projects without a budget, but it's probably not a good business decision.

Something I've been considering: charge some small one-time payment, say $10, for a lifetime 'try-out' plan. Then when they want to upgrade to a subscription you give them that $10 as a discount for their subscription. It may filter those users that will never upgrade anyway.

Check out the pay-want-you-can model.

> We'll pay for hosting

Will we? Most personal websites i know of, including my own, fit perfectly within the free tiers of Netlify/Vercel/Firebase/S3+CloudFront/GitHub Pages/etc.

The cost of a commenting system is not in hosting, it’s in moderation.

And that cost falls squarely on the site owner not the comment service. Moderation may be as expensive or as cheap as you make it.

Big Tech is spending a lot of money on it, thousands of people and jobs and algorithms.

If you ask me, it's a fools errand and I hope that they waste their money trying to build a clean Internet.

Reference: https://www.remarkbox.com/remarkbox-is-now-pay-what-you-can....

I don’t know the rules for Disqus but I expect that they impose at least some limits to block bots and spam, which is almost impossible to achieve for a small site.

Check out akismet, it works for wordpress and is likely all you need to divide spam from ham during moderation.

Can I ask an honest question: Why do you want to allow random people to leave comments on your blog and be responsible for them? I just don't see the value and feel that it just adds technical and security overhead, invites spam, and possibly the need to waste time moderating trash comments.

Many blogs that I have visited which demonstrate or explain something technical with a comment section has: spam, accolades such as "great post thanks!" (not bad but kind of useless), and one I frequently see, broken English asking the author something like "please explaining how to building [complex thing] using circuit you post". I picture that last one coming from the "engineers" who build those hazardous off-the-line chargers you see at gas station check out counters.

Want to leave me a comment? Email me or go away.

The classic answer is that commenters on a blog become a community, and that much of the value of a blog-post is in the discussion. No doubt that if often not true; but on both of my own main blogs it absolutely is. I'll point you at one of them: Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week is a palaeontology blog with a knowledgeable and thoughtful readership that often thinks of things that I and my co-author did not. See for example https://svpow.com/2021/02/01/what-a-cervical-vertebra-of-an-...

I've ran a blog that was quite popular within the torrent community. The comment section itself was a reason to visit the blog. If you have an active community or you want to build an active community comments are a must.

Also, it allows to add more value to your blog at very little effort. If you have someone who comes along and points out another use-case for your information or raises a doubt which you can answer then your blog post has become more valuable.

If your blog is just so you can write what you currently think about things then there is little value.

You can accomplish the same with a mailing list. Users don't even need to create an account; they just click the "mailto:" link at the bottom of your article and type their comment in their preferred client. They can browse the archives for a threaded discussion.

That being said, the best comment platform for a blog is, imo, someone else's blog. If you want to leave a comment, write your own (micro)blog post and send a Webmention.

I wrote about this in another comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26043298

>Want to leave me a comment? Email me or go away.

The common alternative these days is to have no comment section on your blog, but to post your blog posts to Twitter/Reddit/etc and have the discussion there.

That still builds community and drives traffic to your blog, but with greater potential network effects, and no tech/security overhead or need to be responsible for rando's comments.

Yes, but then your community becomes subject to the whims of Twitter/Reddit/etc.

I've been feeling it these days, helping my spouse with their art career.

You make a good point I should have added. Outsource the community to an external platform and let someone else handle the comments, spam, moderation, etc.

> I just don't see the value and feel that it just adds technical and security overhead, invites spam, and possibly the need to waste time moderating trash comments.

I've been running a tech blog for 5+ years now and it has thousands of comments.

I happen to be using Disqus (not proudly, it is what it is), and I've only ever had to moderate a few comments. Disqus does a pretty good job at stopping blatant spam. Sometimes you get those people who reply with "Nice article, have you checked out example.com?" where it's clear they are just trying to drop a link to their service. But these rarely happen.

I like comments because it creates a sense of community, and sometimes with tech articles things get outdated so it's nice to wake up to see a comment saying something has changed. It's a good reminder to go in there and update your content.

I remember one of my Docker posts having something like 500 comments over the years (around setting up WSL 1 and Docker). The overall strategy worked and most comments were "Thanks, worked perfectly!" but there was a decent chunk of folks asking for tech support because it didn't work for them. Those were really beneficial to me because it helped discover some edge cases, some of which I reported back to Docker directly.

I'm a firm believer that if you're going to put stuff out there it's your responsibility to own it from beginning to end. That means writing it, making sure it's accurate, keeping it up to date, answering questions and everything in between.

I can help you import your users and comments into Remarkbox if you like to move your community.

Thanks a lot for the offer but I think I'm going to decline for now. It's nothing personal or even related to your comment service specifically.

For the sake of transparency here's the questions going through my mind and how I arrived at this decision based on using the free version of Disqus:

- A lot of people have a Disqus account and having a low barrier of entry to comment is important. When most folks don't need to create an account, that's kind of nice.

- Disqus has been around for a really long time and has handled billions of comments. This gives me confidence the service isn't going to be down for maintenance regularly, or just break one day.

- Disqus has a pretty good spam filter due to having so much volume. I would rather not be bothered by having to do manual spam moderation regularly and if I hooked up a 3rd party service to do that I would end up either having to pay for that, or you're still allowing another company to profit from your data.

- Disqus makes it pretty easy to moderate comments. You get notified of a new comment by email, click it, and then hit a drop down and figure out how you want to moderate it.

- Most developers are using some form of ad-blocker so Disqus' invasive ads are stopped. Although Disqus can still read the contents of the comments and profit from them in other ways (improve services around paid offerings, maybe selling the data to other companies doing ML around written text, etc.).

To be fair this is also why I haven't picked any semi-popular open source self hosted comment solutions. I wouldn't mind self hosting it alongside my blog on a $5 / month DigitalOcean server, but all of my objections apply to this as well. And now there's also the added risk of the code having security vulnerabilities that could potentially expose my server or even worse leak personal data from the people who have commented, such as their email address.

I could write the code myself which I've thought about for a while too, but the spam problem is still there. There's also allocating all of the time necessary to implement such a thing in a production ready way. When really all I want to do is create new blog posts / videos and have a way for folks to contribute to the conversation in a persisted way.

Cool. Thanks for the feedback.

Most of the objections have been solved with Remarkbox. Users do not need an account to comment. We email you when new comments happens you can control how often by modifying your notification settings (immediately, daily, weekly digests)

The population of people with ad blockers is low, for example I'm a tech person but I do not use ad-blockers.

I hope you reconsider, I'd offer you white glove support to move.

As for spam it's not much of an issue on Remarkbox, but if it becomes a problem akismet will be integrated so you can apply your own API keys. This will filter the likely spam from the likely ham.

Have a great day!

No problem. Here's a few follow up questions that aren't listed in your FAQ if you don't mind answering them. Maybe some of them can become FAQ items later.

What do you do to combat spam and what does the work flow look like to moderate it?

Is it possible to change the word "remark" to "reply" as an end user?

What does the work flow look like for users to edit their posts? Can they edit them forever or is it time locked sort of like HN's comments?

If a user deletes a reply, do all of the child replies get deleted or does the original parent reply that was deleted get renamed to "deleted" while keeping children replies in tact?

Is there a way to restrict users from posting links unless they have an account or are pre-approved? Do you mark those links as nofollow, ugc or something else?

Can you disable certain things like image tags so users can't embed images or other media (video, iframes, etc.)?

Is there a way to black list specific user names from being registered?

Can unverified users edit or delete their own messages? If so, how does that work?

If an unverified person creates an account later on, will their original unverified comments get changed to their new username?

Are registered user names from verified users protected from ever being used again?

How long are users verified for after using the magic link? What does the user experience look like for verified users who end up being logged out?

What would the migration process look like from Disqus to Remarkbox? Disqus doesn't give site owners the email addresses of users, which makes me think I would end up losing who posted what for thousands of comments since they would all be classified as "unverified" comments?

For posts with hundreds of comments, is there pagination or a load more feature?

Is it possible to lazy load the comments based on the scroll position of the device viewing the site? For example, your iframe isn't loaded until it's close to being visible? If so, is this an option you can turn on and off?

Is it possible to customize the date output of comments? I noticed it outputs dates like 8y, 213d ago which in my opinion is a bit unnatural.

Is there a way to customize the "link" functionality? Right now after clicking it, there's a jarring user experience where it auto-scrolls the page. I'm not sure what the intent of this is. Is it to prepare for a user to manually copy the link? Could that be replaced with a copy link to clipboard?

Have you given any thought on making a specific comment's date output the permalink href instead of the user name? I clicked a user name thinking it would show me a list of their comments but it was really their specific comment. I know you can click the avatar but it's really confusing because clicking a user name everywhere else would typically bring you to a user's profile, not the specific thing they created.

If a user verifies an account on site A, will they already be verified on site B? If so, is there a way to disable the link to show a user's comments since it would now be listing their comments from other sites.

From what region of the world do you host the embed link and serve the iframe from? Is there a CDN in front of it?

Can you get the count of comments near the remark comment box itself? When viewing a post that has a Disqus embed you can output the comment count above it. It's basically a part of the widget. That's a nice number to have.

Do you have a list of sites using Remarkbox that aren't your own sites?

The preview functionality is a bit wobbly, it jumps around a lot based on what you're typing. For example if I put a, b, c, d on 4 different lines it takes almost a full second for it to jump to 1 line since it's Markdown. Is there an option to make single line breaks be treated as <br> new lines so it's a bit more WYSIWYG?

Do you have a public status page showing the uptime of your platform?


I hope you don't mind the suggestions. I'm not trying to come off as one of those users who expect the world for nothing.

Just letting you know that personally some of these things are barriers that would prevent me from switching over and I like what you're trying to do, so I'm more than happy to take the time out to list them out.

If they get implemented, that's cool but if not no worries.

Hey we've been talking over email, the plan is to answer these questions at https://faq.remarkbox.com

While I agree Disqus solves a lot problem as a comment system.

They certainly harvest visitor's data. There are many privacy-friendly comment systems as well as a 3rd party anti-spam service like OOPSpam that do not collect user data. It all boils down to the fact what is your local law says about privacy, and how much you care about your vistiors' privacy.

> There are many privacy-friendly comment systems as well as a 3rd party anti-spam service like OOPSpam that do not collect user data.

If there were a free fully managed comment system that you could embed onto a site that guaranteed user's privacy, didn't track anything, had billions of comments pumped through it to ensure it's technically adequate and they had multiple years of a good track record for reliability along with a spam filter that blocks 99% of spam hands free I would instantly switch. But I don't think any type of solution like this exists.

Just using OOPSpam alone comes with a $17 / month fee and based on its FAQ it looks like you need to call its API which means it wouldn't work with a static site like Disqus does because OOPSpam requires making an API call from a server with a secret key.

>Can I ask an honest question: Why do you want to allow random people to leave comments on your blog and be responsible for them?

Because they enjoy the conversation that ensues?

>Many blogs that I have visited which demonstrate or explain something technical with a comment section has: spam, accolades such as "great post thanks!" (not bad but kind of useless), and one I frequently see, broken English asking the author something like "please explaining how to building [complex thing] using circuit you post".

That might be true for most/all technical blogs, it's not true for other kinds of blogs.

>Want to leave me a comment? Email me or go away.

That doesn't foster a community of discussion.

See blogs like LessWrong, Lambda the Ultimate and such.

I want people's feedback and questions. I want that feedback, questions, and their answers, to be public. Email is private which means if one person asks a question my answer has to be repeated for each person. As comments on the blog others can read the the feedback and responses.

As for spam, I've had very little spam since being on disqus. (~10yrs?) memory might be bad how along ago i switched to disqus. I will keep on using them.

Just yesterday I went though a Kubernetes tutorial and hung up on one step, others in the comments did as well. Very useful.

Also useful to see the complete exchanges to learn different debugging approaches.

Try remark42. Free, open source.

But self-host only, unless there's also a free remark42-as-a-Service?

Disqus was the default commenting system for a Ghost blog theme I purchased for my humble website. It actually broke my site's functionality by directing users who had made comments to really shady advertisements. You can see a screen recording of the behavior here: https://keeganleary.com/disqus-is-evil-trash/

I switched out for ComentBox and let the theme designer know about the issue. I will also forward him this article and have a look at some of the other comment systems provided! Thanks!

This is not even remotely related to your comment but wow your bolognese looks incredible.

lmao I will continue to share anything I can build a meat mountain with! Analytics for my site on 5FEB showed 200 people visited my Disqus post and then 50 people clicked on the "Food" tag. Apparently people who consume tech news also like food a lot. Thanks HN.

At some point, and I feel it is close, we need to subscribe to stuff and simply pay for the stuff we want and need to use. The internet always have been a place where most stuff is free and people got used to that. At some point after that the dark parts and ad parts of the web will reside; but I do not think it will completely disappear.

I've been around long enough to remember a time when the web was full of content that didn't originate from profit motive. Just a bunch of people talking about their interests and sharing their creations. Even the stuff that was commercially motivated was largely innocuous, because they were focused more on brand awareness - which doesn't need a surveillance system. All that personal interest stuff is still out there, despite all the insistence that the only alternative to the ad-supported-spy-machine paradigm is a subscription model. I really wouldn't mind seeing all the click seeking platforms get wrecked, because they incentivize the most useless and annoying noise.

This is very true, I know this has been discussed over and over, but I definitely prefer reading a personal HTML old style based blog than a Medium blog post which I need to access in incognito.

Yeah, I think the problem with self-hosting vs. Medium is that it is harder for the authors to reach a large audience.

I mean, even if you don't want to make money from your cool project or tutorial or whatever, you still want people to see it.

But man, I really hate Medium.

not true, I have started a blog and hosted it on blogspot at first but wasn't satisfied with the style in general and the lack of customization so I built my own in bootstrap + php and hosted it on a 5€/month Server. No tracking, no ads, no external libraries, no referral links, no monetization.

After switching to my own I re-wrote one of the articles of my old blogspot posts (word for word) and because my custom solution was so much easier on the eye, the post picked up and I got TV and Radio interview requests, etc.

Even reddit and hn hugs and thousands of concurrent users didn't bring it down.

You don't need Medium, you need to write stuff that people are interested in reading.


Can't a person write interesting stuff on Medium/Blogspot/Wordpress? Telling a person, who wants to blog about fruit preserves, to learn php and selfhost is a bit too much.

heh, I had a little project hosted on an nslu2 wedged between the water heater and the wall of my utility closet. Never had a problem, even after several major sites picked up on it the same day, because responding to get requests for static files isn't hard. Thankfully, most sites only become hard to self host after they start doing annoying things - like dynamically generating oversized embedded junk.

Wow, your blog is beautiful!

I had used Hugo before, but I'm learning some Full Stack dev now (I work in Data Science, so it isn't my main work) and making a blog could be a good exercise.

> Yeah, I think the problem with self-hosting vs. Medium is that it is harder for the authors to reach a large audience.

To be honest, this sounds like profit thinking as well. Why would one need "wide audience" when it's about their interest and hobbies? They need sincere search engines, that's all.

Some people are proud of their work and they want to show it to others. The more people see it and appreciate it, the more validated and important the creators feel.

It's like sending invitations to your birthday party. It feels bad when just one person shows up.

> They need sincere search engines, that's all.

What exactly are you suggesting to the content creators?

So what? You can still share your selfhosted blog article around the internet. Like the olden days. Or the modern days, where right now we are all reading someones selfhosted blog that was shared with us without using a restrictive platform like Medium. You can offer RSS or mailing lists. You don't need all this cruft to fix problems that have been solved 20 years ago.

> The more people see it and appreciate it, the more validated and important the creators feel.

That is called vanity in one word.

> What exactly are you suggesting to the content creators?

If it really is a hobby, one enjoys it on it's own. The "showcase" part shouldn't be essential for one to take joy in the process.

My recommendation is to find a space where one can share what they achieved, but it really doesn't (shouldn't) need to be a "wide audience", rather the opposite: a group of people who actually enjoy the same things. Enthusiasts, maybe even fans.

I wouldn't call it vanity; it's too harsh and unfair. It paints people who are enthusiastic about their accomplishments in a negative light. People shouldn't be ashamed to be proud of their honest work.

Showcasing isn't essential, but it can increase the enjoyment and it can benefit the others. That's why we have art galleries, trade fairs, talent shows, and Show HN threads.

I specifically asked about how "They need sincere search engines, that's all." What exactly content creators should do about it? Make their own, sacrificing time from their main hobby? Maybe one already exists. But then they need to tell their potential fans about it. How would they contact them? They might not even be aware they exist. I guess they could wait until the new sincere search engine reaches critical mass. But what until then?

As for the "wide audience", consider this. At one point in their lives, fans were part of the wide audience. They weren't born fans; they became them over time. So why shouldn't the content creators try to capture new fans from the larger audience? They don't have to - becoming too mainstream is a thing after all. But if they choose to do so, why not? Unless you oppose the creators growing their fans and popularity, in which case I don't know what to say.

Sharing your hobby with as many others as possible, hoping maybe more people join the fun is not vanity. The birthday party analogy has validity too.

the problem with self-hosting vs. Medium is that it is harder for the authors to reach a large audience.

Isn't this is a problem that search engines were intended to solve? Before they went into the ad business, I mean?

People seem to stream more than they'll search.

Google's daily search stats are getting harder to find, but with 3.8 billion Internet users and probably a few billion searches/day, it's likely single-digit searches per person per day, as a mean.

Algorithmic/stream discovery, as on Facebook, or HN, is at least an order of magnitude higher.


Hobbyist stuff still exists. But even back then, you're still talking about a small fraction of internet content.

We don't want just the fruits of everyone's hobbyist weekend warrior free-time. We want it to be profitable to make the stuff we want to consume so that we get better content than hobby/charity content.

Also, most things aren't hobbyist cheap. Even in the era you're looking upon nostalgically, consider message boards. You'd either use a freemium solution like Proboards/Ezboard or you'd pay for hosting which could cost you $100+/mo if your forum was popular.

I have a feeling every time people talk about the old hobbyist internet, they're talking about brochure Angelfire websites they themselves never spent all that much time on. Most people want better content than that just like most people want to watch Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, not hobbyists on Youtube.

Yet these threads always sound like "remember the good ol days before Breaking Bad when it was just hobbyist vlogs on Youtube? ahh, those were the days even though I didn't watch vlogs, they were boring."

Maybe things were different before the AOL era back when there was almost nothing online that we want to do online today, but I'm in my 30s and first got internet in the 90s with AOL and "profit motives" were always the driving force for why there were compelling things to do online, like playing Age of Empires multiplayer through MSN's Internet Gaming Zone platform in 1997.

These rebuttals always sound like "But if I didn't pay AWS $1k/yr I wouldn't be able to host my family photo album powered by a 15 stack frame deep Nodejs nosql-backed container!"

> We want it to be profitable to make the stuff we want to consume so that we get better content than hobby/charity content.

We, huh? The most enriching content you've ever encountered on the web, was it churned out by the likes of about.com? The places you've had the most meaningful conversations, were they on platforms that regularly purge and actively censor content they deem not to be advertiser friendly? What you are describing sounds a lot more like network television to me. If you just want to zone out in front of the latest episode of "Dancing with the Stars", you already have that option.

I get the kneejerk assumption that if something even approaches the potential of being nostalgic, it must be the product of delusion. But that really isn't applicable here, as we all know the ways that technology and infrastructure has been twisted to benefit commercial interests at the expense of everyone else.

The web is still full of content that didn't originate from profit motive - you're looking at some - but it's wrapped up in and presented on for-profit sites.

The friction point is not so much presenting/hosting content as "discovery" - finding interesting new people and new content. And that's much more complicated because it's full of perverse incentives.

Hosting, curating, and moderating Hacker News is certainly adjacent to YC's business and ostensibly has some profit motive. I appreciate that it's also a dark-pattern-free public service, but it's not a coincidence that one of the best tech news and discussion boards is hosted by one of the premier incubator/accelerator shops.

"The web is still full of content that didn't originate from profit motive"

Very true but with a few notable exceptions - successes such geek_at says he's had, others have pointed out that self-funded, self-hosted sites don't get the large visitor coverage of the big conglomerate/commercial sites. This stands to reason and it's a damn shame.

It seems to me a way around this would be to have a common universally-wide index type site where all the free, no-ads, no spying sites would be listed.

Similarity, this index site would be spy-free, no ads and free for visitors to use but those listed would pay a small listing fee to cover site running costs. To keep listing costs to a minimum the site would be non profit, revenue-neutral and run as a cooperative society or similar non profit structure.

To stop cohersive pressures from commercial interests, commercial, for profit sites/businesses would not be allowed to list.

The site itself would be indexed and cross referenced along topic lines using the Dewey Decimal Classification system or similar schemes that libraries use to classify books.

This would have the advantage of grouping likemined/likekind websites together in ways that were easy for visitors to browse from one to another. The listing for each site could also include a short description.

This index site would cover just about every topic imaginable and thus attract many sites for listing which would provide economies of scale. For example:

- Trades/Woodworking/Cabinetmaking

- Science/Physics/QM/Quantum Field Theory/Yang-Mills

- Philosophy/Utilitarianism/Jeremy Bentham

Right, the site could easily contain interests as diverse as any book library, and it could even have its own internal search engine.

It seems to me that we desperately need such an independant nonprofit site on the web. It's our only reasonable hope of escaping the centralization created by Facebook, Google, etc.

Ooh, a taxonomy! Haven't had one of those since the death of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMOZ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_Directory

(these are popular with library nerds, but in practice the public wants a constant feed of links + discussion in some form, whether that's slashdot, digg, reddit, or twitter)

Right, I only mentioned Dewey to illustrate my point since it's likely the best known. Of course there are many others such as Universal, Library of Congress, etc., etc. I'm not saying that any of these are suitable for the site I'm suggesting, perhaps we need to pinch the best ideas from each and tailor a new version specifically for the web.

What I will say is that taxonomy and classification systems in general are problematic and have always been so. Anyone who has ever tried to sort and classify stuff knows this! I'm forever sorting the myriad of stuff on my PCs, smartphones, etc. into various classifications and then into appropriately named directories and it's an ongoing struggle.

If I dream up too few classifications then I end up with directories that don't have sufficiently specific names to find things, too many and I'll lose items in directories whose names that are a near match but not sufficiently so. If I ignore the obvious catalog/directory naming system and use a program such as Everything that finds stuff anywhere based on name then I'll lose the ability to browse (grouped) like subjects as their names won't necessarily be sufficiently alike. It's all a damn nuisance really.

Then there's the problem of what you classify by: subject, or author's name or physical object (a major problem in a general purpose catalog).

I could write an essay about nomenclature and how it's a significant problem for the web and IT generally. For instance, if people were a little more knowledgeable about taxonomy and classification in general - and that includes both general web users and website owners - then Google could be spared millions in electricity costs due to much more accurate search results first time around.

That said, existing classification systems have their uses even in days where electronic sorting has come into its own. Take a physical book library for instance, I'll check out some subject in the catalog index then go to the book in question - and, as more often than not, I'll browse many of the nearby books on the same subject. The fact that they're grouped together by subject is very useful. If they were grouped alphabetically then this would not be possible.

I take your point that in practice the public's constant need for links, discussion etc. However, I don't see this as inconsistent with what I've suggested, especially so if one doesn't take a one-system-fits-all approach as is so often the case not only on the web but with software in general.

For instance, with Windows 8 when Microsoft moved away from the traditional IBM/CUA-like GUI to its new Metro GUI, it didn't allow users a choice to retain the old GUI. This programmer-know-best arrogrance permeates both software and the web like a bad smell and it does nobody any good.

I see no reason why the site I'm suggesting can't have multiple methods of access. The Dewey-type, search a la Everything, and also those along the lines you've suggested. Moreover, there's no reason it cannot have user comments in the same way Hacker News does.

The key to its success would be in having wide appeal - by providing both casual and sophisticated users a service suitable for each. As the saying goes, to each according to his/her needs.

I certainly remember when most blogs were about sharing and not making money. Still, the explosion of tutorials, how tos, cooking lessons, math lessons, science shows, etc on youtube is all arguably because there is a money incentive. The bad parts of youtube (leading to conspiracy videos/fake news) are bad but the good parts (the large number of relatively well produced indie content) feels to me to be pretty awesome and that's arguably because of money.

On the other hand, I only have my experience to go on. I have no idea what youtube is like for everyone, only myself.

I hate all the tech blog posts that seem not about actually sharing useful info but instead about reputation building. I have no idea how much of youtube is that or if it will degenerate to that at some point. Maybe because the tech blog posts don't make money, only rep, they're being used to farm rep.

note: i'm not dissing all tech blogs. There are tons of people who write great and informative posts. I'm just saying that I run into enough that seem like they aren't about sharing, they're about rep farming, and it seems like a phenomenon

There are plenty of personal HTML pages out there, probably more than in 1997. But the fact is that commercial entities have created far more streamlined and addictive experiences.

The web was that way because there wasn't much profit to be made. With enough users, advertising becomes viable and becomes the driving factor in content production.

That is debatable, but what isn't is the fact that the third option exists - which never gets mentioned in the tired old "If you don't disable that pesky adblocker - you'll be forced to pay!" posts.

Yes, the hobbyist web still exists. But it's hampered by the much larger commercial web IMO. The influx of members to any non-commercial web community is disturbed by the commercial entities that draw so much of the attention that to most people, it seems like there isn't anything else on the web.

The big fish use up so much oxygen that the little fish in the pond shrivel up. They live, but in a stunted form.

Well you're going to have a hard to reasoning about it when you stick with the predator/prey, attention economy, zero-sum game analogies. A man running a site cataloging ancient internally generated IBM typeset documents... what higher unstunted form is he aspiring to - despite the machinations of unshriveled fish?

Attention is zero-sum. There are 24 hours in a day. People only spend so much time online. There is no bigger bag or truck.

And? I mean, obviously if you're going to correct me then you know "zero-sum game" refers to game theory. What game is Mr. Typeset playing here?

The game is Attention. Focus. Discoverability. Relevance. Impact.

All are inherently rivalrous

Even discounting any financial returns, howling into the void / winking in the dark fails to accomplish anything if there is no receiver or audience.

Ms. Typeset might be engaging in a form of personal journaling or meditation, but in a world that has so many competing distractions her curation is never shared, or even where perhaps it is but the potential community of interest, and the discovery tools possibly reaching it, are fractured and distracted to the point of dissolution ... the effort to communicate and gains of doing so are lost.

Mind that large audiences really aren't communities -- I'm talking Facebook or national broadcast scale. As Dave Winer observed, conversation doesn't scale very well. Dialogue between two people is its most intense form, and past a handfull of participants or so, what remains is mostly a set of serial monologues. Above 15 or so, the graph starts trending increasingly to a star, with one broadcaster and numerous recievers, collectively an audience. At sufficient scale, selling that audience to those who'd hope to advert its attention to their own message becomes a principle commercialisation model. The baiting message tends to the minimum viable common basis.

At extreme levels of specialisation, such as, say, aa maths PhD, the relevant community might easily fit in a small classroom. Possibly in a single car. My cursory analysis of Google+ communities by size and activity levels suggests diminishing returns above about 10,000 registered members, of whom perhaps 1--10% were highly active, so 100--1,000 participants, roughly within Dunbar's Number range. Extremely large groups are visible but not especially useful --- most seemed overrun with spam and memes.

Pursuit of that audience tends strongly to sacrifice or ignore nuanced, specialist, or niche interests, to the point of actively trying to steer potential members of such groups to the larger, and more monetisable, vulgar pool.

My own seeking of expressive outlets is an increasingly frustrating trade-off between the expressivity of the tools themselves (mostly formatting and media capabilities), technical hosting issues, audience discovery and cultivation, search, and related concerns. I'm hoping to learn, share, and discover. The sense that this used to be more viable back in the days when I used Usenet and mailing lists may be a Golden Age illusion, but its a damnedably persistent one.

So I'll just assume that you intended to answer the question, and that your response contains your strongest argument. From what I can tell, the only complaint that makes sense is with regard to community building platforms splintering potential collaborators/readers. I can somewhat agree with that, but it has absolutely nothing to do with an attention economy or corporate market capture. I can't think of a time that I was searching for something related to an interest, but instead got trapped in a dead Yahoo discussion board - hypnotized by erectile dysfunction spam. I just blast right through and eventually end up on some dude's blog with a tilde in the url, on more than one occasion this has ended up as a back and forth over email where we both come out ahead. Now I'll admit that my interests aren't mainstream, and I may not be in touch with the average consumer... but their interests are mainstream - so they are by default already catered to.

it has absolutely nothing to do with an attention economy or corporate market capture.

I disagree strongly. My complaints are not merely theoretical. Addressed in the Reddit post below and the three internally-linked articles. That subreddit itself is a failed experiment at community-building and fostering. One of several. (There's also been the rare modest success.)


There was a time that intelligent conversation was ... reasonably easy to find online. You'd head to the appropriate Usenet group, later an email list, or, for a time, Slashdot.

Hacker News seems to be about as close to that as I can find at the moment. It has numerous flaws, and it definitely has its own niche. The moderation philosophy is excellent and the practice nearly always lives up to the goals.

I came to have a strong appreciation for the site by voicing disagreements to dang, generally in email, and though I sometimes disagree with specific decisions, the actions which are made are in general fair and serve the site's goals. The increasing politicisation over the past four-plus years has clearly been problematic, but HN's breasting of that surge has been largely admirable. Not that the occasional thread doesn't fall flat, and not that there aren't rampant attempts at manipulation. But as a whole, and compared to other platforms, the bottom's not fallen out, and the site's not become a complete cesspit.

Usenet was small. I've a copy of John Quarterman's The Matrix, an overview of online conversation forums and networks published in 1990 (it covers Usenet, it does not include WWW or Gopher). That includes DEC's estimates of Usenet activity. The total population with access was ~880,000, and I believe fewer than 150,000 active participants (posting activity). HN alone, a minuscule site by modern standards, is roughly comparable in size (precise statistics don't seem available, though this is my general understanding).

Usenet also had high barriers to entry, though based largely on interest and aptitude (by way of university campus access) rather than market-based rationing. Campus-based administration also helped moderate behaviour, though more overt mechanisms had to be developed with time, and ultimately Usenet could not scale to the hygenic-controls needs of a multimillion-user network, on several fronts, so discussion migrated elsewhere. (Yes, a tiny fraction remains on Usenet, but for all intents, it's dead, Jim. https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/3c3xyu/why_use...)

It's not that you get trapped in some ED mutual admiration society. It's that the folks trying to launch or join an earnest discussion ... often cannot.

I think we've got a pretty fundamental difference on what we're looking for in a community. But we seem to agree on one thing - the political dimension has worsened things (well beyond the point that I'd have thought would occur before a general outcry for a return to sanity curtailed the destruction). And to further extend that thought, I would certainly agree with anyone who suggested that commercial or otherwise centralized platforms are not only uniquely vulnerable to political shenanigans - but magnify the 2nd order damage. Things are going to be getting a lot worse on that front before they get any better. As someone who was involved with bitcoin when the community was 90% crypto-anarchists, I'm keenly aware of what a community looks like when it is tearing itself apart - and what it looks like when it is under assault. It'll be interesting to see how much further things go, because few people outside of the early crypto community have experienced de-banking, and socially conscious market indexes are being rolled out...

Yes, we can agree on that political element being destructive (though might start diverging on the mechanisms ... I'll spare the long ramble here).

I do fundamentally believe that markets and information goods are a poor match. Attempts to "market it harder" to fix news, academic publishing, ratings, community, and most of all, conversation, seem to be a category error. https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/2vm2da/why_inf...

Advertising seems remarkably pernicious, particular in its adtech instantiation.

Bitcoin ... well, that's another story ;-)

One where people visit his site, I suppose.

Just people randomly stumbling in with zero interest in the subject? Or people who had previously been captured by a rival typeset historian backed by a powerful multinational commercial interest? Because one of those is a search engine problem and the other is a goofy attention economy based concern.

While I agree that more people should be willing to pay for services, I'm less certain that it would actually make a huge difference.

Once upon a time premium TV stations, like HBO, had no ads. After all, you were paying for them directly. Then they realized they could charge you a monthly subscription fee and show ads.

And all the theorizing about "but then a competitor that doesn't show ads would take all their customers" hasn't really panned out.

So I imagine the same thing would happen on the internet. Companies have all discovered that most people are willing to tolerate ads almost everywhere, giving them "free" revenue. So we get ads on things we pay for: Kindles, Microsoft Windows, etc.

Just a minor quibble about the Kindle since I'm very appreciative that there is a choice of buying one with or without ads.

That will do nothing. They will take the sub revenue and keep the current privacy monetization too. The only way to stop it is legislation.

Exactly. This blog clearly showed that tracking remained even after switching to a paid plan. These companies have tasted the forbidden fruit of surveillance capitalism and they won't roll back voluntarily.

The market-based approach wouldn't have these companies rolling back their surveillance, but consumers en masse moving over to paid, privacy-focused alternatives.

I don't actually consider this remotely likely, but the world is getting weirder, so I'm not writing off the highly improbable so easily.

> The market-based approach wouldn't have these companies rolling back their surveillance, but consumers en masse moving over to paid, privacy-focused alternatives.

I see what you're saying, but you're referring to something like a "market-based solution" to this problem. The one and only market-based outcome is the one we have. This is a case of imperfect information. There's no reason to expect a market-only approach to deliver a desirable outcome when one party has so much more information than the other.

"What has happened is all that could happen" is surely not the best line of argument you have?

There's an excellent example in this very thread on how politics (i.e. democracy) can trump capital.

Read here:


More on this:



If a service is paid while allowing itself to engage in data mining and monetisation, it will lose most of its paying users to a more ethical competitor as soon as someone bothers to read the ToS.

If a paid service engages in data mining in violation of its own ToS, it is liable to be punished by law as soon as that leaks, so that’s another counter-incentive.

The expectation of free service is what enables shady practices: new companies can hardly compete on price with a giant that doesn’t charge money and is incentivised to keep users locked in by making migration to another service difficult.

> If a service is paid while allowing itself to engage in data mining and monetisation, it will lose most of its paying users

Will it lose some users? Sure. Most? No.

You can buy a tv costing 4 digits that happily will harvest data and show you ads.

First, could you name this TV set so that others don’t make the same mistake? TV prices decreased a lot over past years (50 inch 4K units go for below $500 I think), in fact I suspect that the hardware is sponsored by ad revenue in some cases.

Second, context matters. Buying a TV is different from setting up a commenting system for your site. In one case you want to consume, in the other to be a service provider (you have a website, possibly generate profit from it, probably know what JavaScript is). Moreover, you are unlikely to be able to make your own TV, but you are much more likely to be able to set up your own commenting system if you can’t find a company to handle that responsibly.

>it will lose most of its paying users to a more ethical competitor as soon as someone bothers to read the ToS

So never? People don't read the ToS and certainly don't judge services by it. It seems people have come to accept surveillance capitalism as a fact of life

People do and people do. The first person to jump on this will get thousands of retweets in publicity as others pile on to get justice.

Of course, there’s no “justice” to speak of if you get stuff for free, so paid social is where it’s at. Paying customer to service provider relationship is radically different from one of a product-to-dealer.

Normalising free service is exactly what incumbent de-facto monopolies want, it empowers them and destroys any potential for competition. They hate paying users because that’d mean actual responsibility and people voting with their money.

And where do they get this information from.. only a few news sites pick stuff like this up. Do the relevant users have this news site open at the correct hour to catch it? Likely not.

Most news is not actionable for the person reading it, except for popular apps where there are most users. The information needs to get to the right people at the right time to be actionable.

Even that may not be enough - the article mentions this, and points out that even the paid version of Disqus includes these trackers.

Just like paid cable television still includes ads, I fear even paying for content won't alone bring the end of ads and tracking, since providers can always make even more off both subscriptions and tracking...

I already think that has happened for companies and startups, but I don't think much progress at all has been made for individuals.

I'm not seeing it. Newspapers and cable both heavily rely on ads. Credit card fees eat up way too much for small transactions. I had hoped Paypal would have addressed this 20 years ago. They seemed best positioned to bypass traditional credit card companies. Cryptocurrencies seem like it technically could work, but I don't see that happening.

One way around is the iTunes model. Where everything is bundled under a single company (Apple) that negotiates and/or batches transactions with credit card companies--or eats the fee on small transactions as a loss leader for larger ones. Patreon seems like a decent candidate for this. Another benefit of a centralized model is trust an familiarity. I'm more likely to use Apple or Patreon for subscriptions because individual companies suck with alerting you before reoccurring payments or letting you cancel.

How do you see the money side playing out?

> Newspapers and cable both heavily rely on ads ... Cryptocurrencies seem like it technically could work, but I don't see that happening.

Because of the fundamental asymmetry in the law: advertising+tracking don't require AML/KYC, cryptocurrencies (mostly) do.

If your users pay you with their attention or tracking data, you're not required to verify their identities, ask them if they're terrorists, store copies of their passports in some hacker-magnet database, or any of that.

If your users pay you with cryptocurrencies you have to do all of that.

The problem isn't a business problem or a technological problem, it's a regulatory problem. This outrageous double standard is massively subsidizing the adtech-surveillance monster. Require AML/KYC be performed on users before ads can be shown to them, and if ads are shown or data collected without AML/KYC, impose the same "corporate death penalty" allowed for AML/KYC failures. Or else eliminate AML/KYC for cryptocurrencies.

The use case I was thinking of for individuals is more like paying a nickel to read an article. I'm not really familiar with AML/KYC requirements, but I'm not sure I see the need. I would imagine most people would want a basic account so they could revisit paid content later. Any laundering would get caught looking at your business' finances (what you do with the money) or tracking crypto accounts in a more traditional manor.

I've used cryptocurrencies here and there for online services (merch and digital services) and don't remember any additional scrutiny. I reasons I had in mind are the confusion and overhead of using crypto for the average person.

I guess if there were some regulatory requirements in a made-up "ideal" scenario, I would see it mirroring existing banks and credit cards where your source wallet was from a "sanctioned" account to track location for local taxes and whatnot. The onus wouldn't be put on the business other than having an allowlist (by prefix or something)--but none of that exists. I would think a lot more structure an institutions would need to exist anyway to make cryptocurrencies more palatable to individuals.

Brave got a tap on the shoulder from the government and was told they had to collect all that data in order to release crypto payments to the owners of the websites they'd been collecting micropayments for:



I disagree with a lot of Brave's approach. However their experience shows that this problem isn't theoretical. One company has already managed to deliver frictionless micropayments, and was told by the government that if they didn't add some friction back in (AML/KYC), executives would be going to prison.

Not cool.

This also led to a real mess with the operators of archive.today, who don't live in the USA and apparently aren't supported by the AML/KYC process being used. So a fairly large amount of money collected in order to support them is stuck and can't be paid out:


AML: anti-money laundering

KYC: know your customers

> At some point, and I feel it is close, we need to subscribe to stuff and simply pay for the stuff we want and need to use.

The problem is not everyone has the means to pay for everything.

E.g. what if Youtube and other video sites switched to a paid only model? Youtube is full of educational videos which can help a poor person to learn stuff and make his situation better. Such persons would be at a disadvantage if they can't afford Youtube's fee.

> and simply pay for the stuff we want and need to use

The post tells the paid plans have all the same trackers.

Yes. And the 'paid so you are the customer, not the product' thing has limits. That was one of the original value propositions of cable television, but it turns out to be more profitable to get a platform monopoly and then sell ads as well as charging a fee.

Paid-for might be necessary for non-scummy, but it's certainly not sufficient.

I think this really depends on your moral compass. It’s not solely a matter of your business model. I don’t want to start paying for everything I want to read on the 50 pages I browse per week.

Disagree. Imo most content is basically throwaway entertainment (especially social media) thus very interchangeable and has very little value. The internet is simply not that important.

Commento.io is a very simple alternative that costs $10/month. We use that on downforeveryoneorjustme.com.

It is also open source and can be easily hosted. https://gitlab.com/commento

What are good self-hosted alternatives? I remember looking at Commento (https://github.com/adtac/commento) before, but if people have had good experiences with others I'd like to hear them.

I've seen some examples in which people embed Discourse discussions.

There's also Coral (https://github.com/coralproject/talk) which used to be Mozilla + Vox project before Mozilla handed it over to Vox completely, but I have no experience with it.

Lead developer at Coral here (so some experience :P)

Coral is more suited typically to larger organizations trying to power multi-site community tools. It has a powerful moderation system that's all open source! It's probably overkill for a static blog or small site.

I'm using Isso [0], it's simple, lightweight, and does the job. A demo is on their page.

[0] https://posativ.org/isso/

I've been using this for a few years already. Does it's job. I like it.

That looks perfect.

I helped someone set up discourse[1] a long time ago, don't know how it stands up these days; it's got basically zero presence in the parts of the web I'm around.

[1] https://www.discourse.org/

Discourse is quite popular, I see it regularly on new sites. Though it doesn't really fit the same niche as disqus.

I've seen it used to operate as footer comments on blogs.

Dgraph Labs uses it. I am a bit ambivalent about it. For example: https://dgraph.io/blog/post/putting-it-all-together-part1/

Here it says 7 comments. But you only get to see one. You have to click into the discourse post to get more. This is due to Discourse's threading model. 6 of the comments were replying to the one on the blog post itself.

I see 7 comments when I go to that page. Dig Dgraph fix something in the last hour? Or is the site treating you differently from me because I'm completely unknown to it?

Discourse prefers a single level threading model, until Reddit or HN. So, you can in fact see all the 7 comments there. Not sure why you only see one.

I also only see one - probably just a bug due to different browsers/adblockers.

> basically zero presence in the parts of the web I'm around

What parts of the web are that, if I may ask?

I think Discourse is popular in software and tech related organizations — I see it a lot on such websites.

Talkyard Blog Comments, https://talkyard.io/blog-comments

(I'm developing it. Open source: https://github.com/debiki/talkyard. Not yet so well documented — soon time to add more docs, ... as per this nice discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26002656 )

Commento is abandoned, they have a bug that prevents login and it's gone unfixed for years:


Unfixed for 1 year, not years. I've got an instance of Commento running on two of my sites and haven't run into / heard of this issue on Firefox. Though I'm not using the Docker image.

Maybe give better steps to reproduce the issue, as it seems to only be happening to one other person?

It does seem like Commento's development has lost its momentum (last commit was 6 months ago). The author likely isn't getting more funding from Mozilla and is focusing on their primary money-maker, the cloud-hosted service.

> Unfixed for 1 year, not years

May 2019 is almost two years now.

> Maybe give better steps to reproduce the issue, as it seems to only be happening to one other person?

Or maybe we're the only ones who bothered using/reporting it. I don't really have any STR, they consist of "Install Commento, try to log in, you can't".

i'm the author of Commentator, a commenting system where comments are stored on any s3 compatible store (easier to manage than a DB or local storage): https://github.com/mcorbin/commentator

It's still WIP but it supports comments approval, has a rate limiter, a challenge system to avoid spammers... I already use it for my personal blog.

Remark42 is also good https://github.com/umputun/remark42

Yep, commento is a great self-hosted alternative.

There's also Isso[1] and utterances[2] (Github issues based)

[1] - https://posativ.org/isso/ [2] - https://github.com/utterance/utterances


I'm the founder and in 2021, in the face of the Monopolistic take over of speach and allowing communities to self-moderate, I've made the service free!



Worth reading the publicly released statement.

Not self-hosted:

One alternative I’ve seen a few times recently is to start your own subreddit. Post your articles to it, link to the Reddit thread at the bottom of each posting, and let the conversation take place over there.

Reddit has crippled their mobile browsing experience to push people towards the app. I'd prefer not to force all readers to download another app.

Eh, hosting on reddit isn't much better than Disqus.

Worse even. It's in Reddit's interest to get the reader off your blog and into their app

I run one, and we support migrations from Commento - I already dropped the link once here, don't want to be too spammy :)

I never understood Commento's SSO system. We went with HMAC instead.

This is so amusing to me — I remember when Disqus was being built and beginning to gain traction, lofty ideas of "comments and discussions done right" were being thrown around.

I never bought in to the hype, and considered carefully whether I want to "outsource" and give away comments and discussions to a third party, becoming tied to them and all the data tracking/gathering that they might choose to do in the future.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and here we are :-)

Own your data, people. Don't give it away just because something is nice and shiny today. Don't outsource data. And don't write articles only to post them on Facebook, LinkedIn or Medium (or Google+, remember that?).

> ib.adnxs.com - Malware site, "Adnxs appeared as the eighth-biggest name in our Tracking the Trackers data

This is AppNexus, the second-biggest display ad broker after Google. It can be argued that both Google and AppNexus facilitate the spreading of malware by injecting ads which sometimes aren't properly vetted, but simply calling it a malware site is very misleading.

"aren't properly vetted"

Malware distribution by negligence and "malware site" are a hairs breadth apart on my scale, especially when it's negligence on behalf of an ad-broker.

That kind of negligence is what gives their entire industry a bad name. But then I consider trackers as malware anyway, as is my personal bias.

Article only makes it clear at the end that it is an ad for author's "privacy first" competitor... which is a paid-for product.

And? The article _starts_ with the point that "if the product is free, you are the product". Shouldn't we therefore _prefer_ a paid-for model, which must demonstrate its value in competition with similar competitors (for instance, by protecting privacy better?)

Not all free markets are bad (though many are, and many are less free than they appear). A good free product is good, but I would rather a good not-free one than a bad free one.

> And?

... and I won't read these fake advertorials if I don't get cheated into reading them by witholding the admission about what they are until the end.

I don't want to be lectured about Dark Patterns by a guy who deliberately misled me as his first and only interaction with me.

I agree. It is frustrating because it is otherwise a good article and likely accurate.

It's like that Social Dilemma movie which is 100% based on the tactics of fear and engagement generation it ascribes to social network.

By they way, you're not paying for Hacker News the last time I checked.

"If the product is free you're the product" is such a blatant statement people throw around like they don't have to prove their point anymore.

Still holds for HN.

Our attention towards HN (and with that YC, it's accelerators and its startups) is the product. That's rather benign compared to most other "free" products, but it's still true.

I have (had) a Disqus account that I connected to via my google account. I say had because I haven't been able to login in a year or so via firefox. I just get a page that says "There was an error submitting the form. If you're having difficulty, try repeating the action on https://disqus.com" with an annoying meme gift on the background. Luckily the title of the page says "Embed: CSRF verification failed (403)" but I have not been able to find a way to fix it. Oh well, I guess I won't be commenting on any site with disqus anytime soon.

I wish there was some kind of service or plugin (preferably not based on a centralized service) where one could easily leave comments on any site even if the site itself did not support comments.

> I wish there was some kind of service or plugin (preferably not based on a centralized service) where one could easily leave comments on any site even if the site itself did not support comments.

Not exactly for comments, but look at https://hypothes.is

it is for collaborative note taking

There's https://epiverse.co/, which automatically loads comments for the current URL from Reddit/HN -- so basically what you wished for, but piggybacking on an existing ecosystem.

> I wish there was some kind of service or plugin (preferably not based on a centralized service) where one could easily leave comments on any site even if the site itself did not support comments.

IIRC the Dissenter extension was just that, albeit centralized.

There's an extension called Epiverse that does something similar. It used to have its own comment sections like Dissenter, but has since shifted to just showing discussions on reddit/HN that point to the webpage you're currently on. It's actually how I discovered HN.

I also have a Disqus account and at some point it got flagged (incorrectly) for spam. I've emailed them and asked in their forums for it to be fixed but apparently it isn't something they will fix.

If you are looking for a free hosted comment system, check out Remarkbox https://www.remarkbox.com

I'm the founder and in 2021, the service is now Free for all to use.

Check out my reasons for opening up the service to all here: https://www.remarkbox.com/remarkbox-is-now-pay-what-you-can....

Big Tech must NOT have a monopoly on moderation!

how do you generate revenue to sustain this service?

I've started collecting different ways to include blog comments a few years ago [1]. After using Disqus for several years, I've removed the comments on my blog and link to social networks instead (mostly Twitter and Mastodon).

[1] https://darekkay.com/blog/static-site-comments/

Nice list, thanks. The one other possibility that I personally like but is out of fasion these days is the mailing list. A private archive mailing list with moderate first comment seems like it should be fairly easy to maintain, although I haven't actually tried yet. This would best be combined with the manual method you mention and would likely mostly work when there is something beyond the blog itself drawing people to be interested in the discussion (or maybe sufficienly popular blogs it could work anyway).

The benefits of that method as I see it are: discussion can more easily go beyond particular blog posts, the website can potentially be fully static, and (sometimes an advantage, sometimes disadvantage) only the more interested people (in either the blog or community depending on how it is described) will bother subscribing. Also, it makes it possible (once you have subscribers at least) to first write posts to the list and get some comments before revealing it to the world. The main disadvantage I see for someone who otherwise finds the other tradeoffs ok is that people are understandibly more reluctant to reveal their email these days and many people don't have a basic conception of what a discussion mailing list is so it would be a good idea to have a general FAQ that describes the basics and links to some free email providers.

> consider migrating from Disqus to a privacy-first commenting system. One such service is Hyvor Talk

I see blocked requests to doubleclick.net, which is a Google advertising domain, on its website. And then a lot more third-party domains that weren't blocked. Such privacy, much wow.

This is why I dropped disqus and made my own comment system


Turned off Disqus on my blog a couple of years ago (https://eli.thegreenplace.net/2018/turning-off-blog-comments...) and have been generally happy since then.

I also recently turned it off. I had gotten a couple of comments in the past but my blog is quite low-traffic. Mostly a place for me to practice writing (and occasionally vent). However I did like the simplicity of Disqus. I tried looking around for something similar with the following requirements:

- No third party code on my domain. - Minimal code to write myself.

Most of these tools work using an iframe, so the code that they run on your domain is minimal but they end up loading as a script that injects the iframe. AFAICT the primary reason for this is is so that they can adjust the height of the iframe automatically. In some cases I could pull a pinned version of that API from NPM or similar however it would be nice if there was a truly minimal snippet that I could use.

It also makes me wonder, if iframes could have a dynamic height would this ecosystem flourish?

In the end I just added links at the bottom of each post to search for mentions on Reddit/Twitter and another link to share the post there. I then use a WebMentions bridge to collect responses. Right now I haven't published the code that displays WebMentions automatically but I might do that in the future.

I'm using ReplyBox on all my sites and client sites, it's a lightweight and slick alternative https://getreplybox.com/

Once, a number of years ago (Disqus has been around a while), I signed up for a Disqus account.

As part of the process, the service showed me a page of comments from around the Web, and asked if they were mine, and, if so, would I like to associate them with the account.

I was horrified. They included some...rather “rash” comments that I had made, over the years (I was not always the stuffy boomer that I am now). Many were quite old, and, I had thought, made anonymously.

I scragged the process immediately, and made a vow to be a good boy, from then on (I had already made that choice, years earlier, but this solidified it).

Nowadays, I deliberately associate myself with my online comments. I nuked my last anonymous account years ago.

It is my opinion that anonymity is an illusion, these days. I feel that knowing my words can come back to haunt me, helps me to be more careful in what I say; just like in real life.

Alternatives from my notes (never used them IRL):

* https://github.com/eduardoboucas/staticman

* https://github.com/schn4ck/schnack

Staticman is awesome for static websites! (next.js, jekyll etc). It provides user content via pull requests. That's all it does! This means you have complete control over the UI. No loading of 3rd party scripts etc.

I wrote a blog post about integrating it into Next.js: https://richardwillis.info/blog/self-hosted-staticman-dokku-...

I miss the golden age of blogs, bulletin boards, and of mailing lists, frankly. They are still out there, of course, but focus seems to have shifted. Twitter is so much more immediate, and I think it has displaced blog post consumption. To our detriment in many ways.

Where are all the defenders claiming this is all necessary and great because it enables superior advertising? Whenever we have a Google or Facebook they always seem to crawl out of the woodwork, no love for the small businesses which rely on advertising here?

"disqusting" - thanks for the article!

The one thing you can't do as a developer in 2021 is claim innocence while you're letting these companies feast on your visitors data. You do know how these things work and you're assisting surveillance capitalism. You are complicit in your silent embedding of these tracking devices.

From a month ago: "Adding comments to a static blog with Mastodon"


I've been building a commenting system called Simple Comment that leverages free-tier offerings for hosting and data. So, you own it, hosting and data. It's at MVP status now, but it's as-yet pretty rough. You're welcome to try it out. I'd love feedback.


Heck, be the first to leave a comment!

It has one customer so far: my blog. https://blog.rendall.dev

I am struggling to understand why anybody thought that "outsourcing" blog comments was a good idea. It seems like a really simple database function that could be self hosted easily.

When you want to do voting, moderation, new/hot/etc, handle potentially large loads, it can get to be a lot. Also, if you don't want anonymous commenters (because that contributes to spam and bad community) you get into the entire user/password management mess. Particularly if you're just some guy that wanted to blog stuff, rather than a content-centric media corporation. Plus there's some potential benefit to having a consistent identity across different sites.

FWIW, Facebook was doing the exact same thing. I think they still do, though I don't see it as much.

I don't know about in the past, but a lot of devs are big on static sites now. Comments require the overhead of a server.

FWIW, pi.hole with the default blacklist of domains blocks all but one of the listed tracker domains. Disqus still works with those domains blocked.

We used to have Disqus on our site and I can attest to it being a resource hog. We switched to Commento last year, which doesn't have as many features, but it shaved seconds off our page load time.

My only complaint with Commento was that automated moderating / spam filtering worked better in Disqus than Commento.

I’d rather just tweet a link to a blog post and let the discussion happen there. Plus, you get “free” eyeballs on it since it’ll appear in the commenter’s social graph.

If you wanted to “own” the data, you could periodically scrape the tweet’s comments.

I think there’s a cool product somewhere in there.

Shameless plug:

I started building a small commenting system that fetches comments from social media postings (hackernews, reddit atm.)

It's not released yet, but You can sign up to know when it's ready. https://popvox.dev/

This is so stupid, by the way. Can’t Disqus simply use its OWN third party cookie in the back end to inform all these other sites and grab their information to display, even cache some of it? Disqus is being sloppy and just angering its own “customers” is the websites and users.

I've seen suggested before that third-party tracking is used to validate results and prevent self-dealing and fraud.

When your primary function is counting things, trusting the tallymen is critical. Multiple independent counts addresses this.

How true this is I don't know.

Dispensing with the counting avoids this need.

I've stopped using Disqus on my blog for exactly the reasons described. I've switched to https://commento.io/ and the site started loading noticably faster.

Every time I see Disqus on a site I wonder why people use it. The page load lag alone is bad enough.

It's free, easy to integrate, many people already have an account. Those were the reasons for me. But in the end, the drawbacks were enough for me to remove Disqus.

I don't know why you use Disqus when there is an Opensource alternative: Glosa --> https://github.com/glosa/glosa-server

Several reasons immediately spring to mind:

- it's yet another dependency on the back end (for a static site you may not even have a back end or a server you can install it on),

- it requires Java, which is possibly yet another dependency and platform,

- both of these need patching and updates

- I do not love comment storage in JSON because it complicates backups

- needs email configuration which can be something of a deliverability minefield, but Disqus handles this out of the box

Fundamentally it's more work/complexity than some people will be willing to put in. Disqus is easy. Just drop it into your relevant page templates and it'll work.

How is this GDPR compliant? What tracking is used for EU citizens? I've seen no consent notices here in the EU.

Disqus does not track users from GDPR countries by default. My initial story in December 2019 for the Norwegian broadcaster NRK was a result of Disqus not knowing Norway had the GDPR (we are part of EEA, but not EU).

Users are checked based on IP whether they come from a GDPR country. If GDPR, they will be put in private mode. A user needs to create a profile and consent to sharing for tracking to begin.

Norwegian DPA opened an investigation as a result of our stories and Norwegians are now in private mode by default.

Fair to say this is necessary but not sufficient. GDPR covers users within GDPR countries but also European data subjects wherever they are in the world.

This gets repeated over and over on HN but it isn't true. I feel this is because so many try to make GDPR seem too hard and breaking everything (likely people with something to lose).

GDPR is for data in the EU. That is it. Not data outside the EU and not people outside the EU. An American in the EU is covered, an EU citizen in the US is not.

What you are saying would require that the EU could create laws that were above the Supreme Court in the US for example. It simply isn't true.

> I feel this is because so many try to make GDPR seem too hard and breaking everything (likely people with something to lose).

Or people who wish to extend the reach of GDPR so that others outside of the EU are protected too.

> What you are saying would require that the EU could create laws that were above the Supreme Court in the US for example

This is not true for multiple reasons. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003 specifically "Authorizes fines and/or imprisonment for up to 30 years for U.S. citizens or residents who engage in illicit sexual conduct abroad". The EU could punish US companies that have offices in the EU or income from the EU. Alternatively it could sanction them.

Let me rephrase: If the data is in the EU it is covered by GDPR no matter where the person that creates the data is at (yes in the US too) but the person isn't covered by the GDPR, the data (that is in the EU) is covered. It is not the same thing. What most people seem to think is the EU overreaching and "making laws that reach outsides its borders" is in cases where a foreign company (like Facebook) gets regulated by GDPR even though the company is outside the EU. This is because the data is in the EU and of course data in the EU isn't under US or any other entities law but EU (and member states). If you transfer data outside the EU you either do so illegally or have to follow the rules of the GDPR. It still doesn't reach outside the EU borders. Of course if you do something criminally the EU might judge you no matter where you are at just like the US with PROTECT Act of 2003 but that is another matter.

Hmm. I actually said that because that's what the GDPR training that I was forced to undertake by my employer taught me. That being said, reading the reguglation now shows me that was a misunderstanding.


That being said it wouldn't require the EU to create laws which have jurisdiction above the US supreme court - if a company has any activity within Europe the European courts can act. There are other examples - for example UK libel law allows people under certain circumstances to sue for libel in the UK even if both parties are not UK citizens and the libel itself occurred outside the UK. Another example is the US CFTC which claims jurisdiction over all swaps transactions even if both parties are non-US and the swap itself happened outside the US.

What you are describing in the case of the GDPR would be like a US company - Facebook for example - being regulated by the GDPR. But while Facebook is in the US the data someone in the EU is creating is inside the EU, so it doesn't really matter if Facebook is targeting EU citizens or not since the data is not (at first at least) in the US and transferring it there is illegal if it doesn't follow the GDPR. That being said I'm aware that there are situations where a country will punish something happening elsewhere but it still isn't reaching outside its borders. If the EU want to punish Mark Zuckerberg it cannot touch him or his assets unless they are inside the EU without the cooperation of the local court or government. That was the reason Privacy Shield got overturned.

Thanks for this!

It isn't, but I'm guessing their argument is that the website owner should get consent before loading their code. Of course in practice basically no one does that and they seem to be banking on that fact.

Disqus is not necessarily off the hook here. GDPR identifies several roles with different requirements (Data Processor, Data Controller)

File a complaint to your local gdpr body

These are actually all the reasons I built https://fastcomments.com

It was originally just a tiny little project, amazing how things grow.

There are some interesting features in Disqus's "import comments" feature. Most of the fun has been closed. But yeah, for vanilla purposes the criticism is deserved.

I wonder if anyone has considered using Gmail or another free email provider to be their comment backer. You get an API that already supports threading.

There was a post here a couple weeks ago about using Mastodon (ActivityPub) to add a comment feed to a static site. Seems like an interesting idea.


Someone sends a very bad link (eg CP) and all of your google accounts get nuked immediately without any chance of appeal.

Yup. Be vary careful with your big tech accounts. They may be revoked without any path to resolution.

Is there a good alternative that it is easy to migrate to from Disqus? I dont want to lose all the comments that I had on my blog.

I can help you migrate your comments into Remarkbox (founder).

I used to be able to import users but they stopped exporting email addresses from the disqus XML.

So instead I import user surrogates.

Reach out directly, Remarkbox is free now!

This guy is selling exactly that

But it isn't free :-D

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