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Ask HN: Disqus or something else for site comments?
14 points by tokenadult 1812 days ago | hide | past | web | 3 comments | favorite
I'm reviving my moribund personal website, an information and resource-linking site mostly about education reform and homeschooling, and I think as I bring the site into the HTML5 generation I should revive commenting on the site. The last time I tried allowing commenting, I got a lot of drive-bys from people griping about the point of view expressed on some pages of the site, but never LEARNED anything new from the comments. I enjoy intellectually vital online communities (like HN, of course), so I'm thinking of giving a second go to accepting public comments on my website.

What's the best technology framework for website comments that tends to build a good, civil, informative community? I've heard friends recommend Disqus, but I visit surprisingly few sites with Disqus comments enabled, so I don't know much about Disqus. As I visited the Disqus website yesterday using Chrome with Ghostery installed, I couldn't even read the site's home page (!), so then I viewed it with IE to see what is going on there. Do you like Disqus? Do you like something else better? What is a good set of software features and administrative practices to maximize the chance of civil, informative discussion on a website that starts off with a controversial, minority point of view?

Thanks for all of your suggestions.

I have taken a look at Juvia (an open source alternative to Disqus), but have not moved forward with it:


I am still with Disqus. The biggest problem I have with Disqus is that it is a 3rd party service, meaning:

- I do not control my own blog's data, as I did with wordpress

- third parties can peer into the identities of my visitors, eavesdrop on their comments, modify those comments, etc

- my otherwise static website now has a new vector for injecting exploits (i.e. via Disqus dependencies)

- Ghostery rightly blocks Disqus... and this gives me a moment's pause

I have seen SMTP-based static comments for Jeckyl:


...but this actually introduces a .php dependency! At any rate, I am eager to hear about other alternatives in the self-hosted comment space, particularly those that are compatible with static blog workflows.

We looked very heavily at Disqus for comments on a product I worked on that was released recently, and decided against it in favor of rolling our own commenting system. Ultimately, what it came down to was that we could build an equivalent system that met our needs for less than they wanted in a contract. I'm sure that there are things Disqus does that would show improvements over our homegrown commenting system, but ultimately it just wasn't worth it. A basic comment system just isn't that hard to write, and it's hard to imagine a scenario when added functionality in your product's comment system would justify paying for an external system but that functionality isn't important enough to justify building it yourself.

Tim Bray rolled his own blog years ago and has continued to, last I knew, manage the comments himself.


It may not be what your after. And it may/will not be specific technology. But as an example of method, for someone who's reasonably well known and gets some decent traffic, it might be of interest.

Aside from or in conjunction with this, I'd lean towards plain text and no linkification. Those who are going to communicate well, will do just fine with this. And competent people know how to copy/paste or drag a link when there's an interest. (Although, I suppose, "mobile"... ah, well.)

P.S. Rereading your post, I better notice "HTML5" and things that lead me to believe you may be after a more dynamic interaction.

Nonetheless, I've been increasingly of the opinion that "less is more" when it comes to commenting infrastructure particularly with respect to e.g. formatting and "fancy features".

HN is kind of an example of this. A minimal "Markdown-ish" set of formatting features, and basic linkification; beyond that, it's up to the comment author to make things work. And identity is more by established reputation than by a specific, on-site mechanism.

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