New Comment System Feedback Please

Jackson, who is the most frequent commenter here at avc, doesn’t like the new comment system and feels that as the most frequent user of it, his opinions should matter. They do.

He doesn’t like the fact that he’s not remembered from past commenting and he hates the fields where you enter name, email, and web address.

His words to me were direct. Fix it or dump it.

My preference would be to fix it. I like that the comment system is divorced from the blogging system. I like the idea that web services are combinations of various services, not one monolithic service. I like that I’ll soon be able to link to the comments on each post from my feed, and I like that you can reply to a comment and see that discussion as threaded. And most of all, I like that Disqus handles the comment spam for me.

So in an effort to improve instead of remove, I am soliciting feedback. It’s been a week since I cut over. I sense fewer comments coming in, although that could be the summer doldrums or a bunch of posts that don’t inspire comments. Regardless, I want more comments not less. So tell me what you don’t like. I’ll point the team at Disqus at your comments and ask them to incorporate the feedback into their product roadmap.

Given that they built the entire thing in 10 weeks, I am certainly willing to give them another couple months to get it working the way you all want it. That may be longer than Jackson is willing to wait so I’ll make sure his two beefs are at the top of the list. As they should be. He has earned it with his words and so have all of you who weigh in on the discussion and make this a community instead of a publication.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. adam

    Dump it, go back to one that doesn’t use Javascript do display and enter comments

  2. Seenator

    this is 1st comment on the new system so I haven’t actualy submitted anything but it definetely feels more intuitive to comment than the previous version.Maybe, its at the top of the page as opposed to the bottom of the page.

  3. Geoff

    I don’t really like it either, the “Add Comment” at the bottom of the post should be a link which does just that.

    1. Geoff

      and the URL field should contain the http:// bit if they are going to insist that you need it!

      1. davidu

        Actually, if this is supposed to be an improvement they should figure it out for you.

  4. harpos_blues

    The JavaScript causes the comment entry box to jump around a bit on the screen in Safari 3 (OS X). Also the dependency on javascript does not allow me to read comments on my Treo 700P.

  5. harpos_blues

    Fred,Off-topic, but germane to you early morning twitter post: I can’t hear the audio on your new voki. I’ve tested it both with Safari 3 and Camino 1.5 on OS X. The voki is adorable, so I’d like to hear the audio.

  6. RYK

    its not a better system because its not compatible with the browser’s auto suggest feature…

  7. ppearlman

    love the the no drunken letters verificationhate the i.d. system. – on my screen i have a bunch of anonymous avatrs w/ ? in them. the killer soultion here is to just take a url and capture that page in the picture cube there.anonymous commentrs shld get a little “w” icon in the picture cube… w for wuss…

    1. RYK

      just noticed threading…thats great…. should also contain a way to “keep me notified” incase I wanna follow the comments.

  8. Robert Dewey

    Oops… Sorry for that last one.I don’t have a problem with it. It looks a lot like that TechStars company “Intense Debate” (that’s who I thought it was at first)….Okay… I just hit submit and got an error….Okay2… it’s forcing me to input a URL

    1. obscurelyfamous

      We’ll look into “Okay2”. Website urls is optional and that should definitely not occur. Thanks.

  9. RacerRick

    It was probably a little too soon to go to Disqus. Seems like it needs some more work. Working beta isn’t always a good thing especially on a high profile blog and extra especially if it annoys The Mighty Jackson.Comments being divorced from the blog software is a good thing. Another good thing is a couple of folks focused on making a comments system is way better than Six Apart who could care less about comments.(Though they should. What is a blog without the comments? They should invest.)Stay with disqus – they’ve got a good thing going. Or come back to them when it’s ready??”just take a url and capture that page in the picture” – good idea.

    1. Gerald Buckley

      I’m all for you staying with Disqus. These guys seem responsive to the feedback and dedicated to getting plugged into the various blogging platforms out there. The offline emails I’ve traded with them shows me they’re definitely executing on a solid plan. Thumbs up.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Thanks for the words, Rick. Yes, we’re currently very much in a closed testing session but we have quite a few things developed that’s going to address the problems brought up. We think the readers of A VC are a very perceptive bunch and that’s why we’re letting a lot of this feedback help shape us.Since the integration last week, we’ve had a number of changes put in that hasn’t been pushed live yet. We’ll try to get those out asap, thanks!

  10. Dave!

    I don’t think it’s soup yet. Honestly, because I run No-Script, I thought you’d just removed comments.Now that I take a look at it, I agree with Jackson. And I agree with several others that the over-reliance on javascript really sucks.

  11. Oskar Austegard

    obviously what Disqus is trying to do is become a central clearinghouse for comments, which is fine I guess. The concerns about having to enter a name, email and website every time go away if you register and log in to the system; but that then raises all sorts of other concerns, I guess. Privacy nuts are likely to complain that Disqus will be able to generate too personal of a profile since they will aggregate all your comments across sites, and I’m sure there will be other concerns, like targeted ads based on the profile, etc.

    1. Oskar Austegard

      Things I don’t like:* The default sort by points – a new comment is automatically given 1 point or so it seems, which pushes it far down the page where it is much less likely to be read* No ajax – given that this is all driven through js and webservices, why can’t the comment stream be updated without a page refresh?

  12. Eric Friedman

    The problem I still foresee is that there is no integration with the current comment systems that are already out there. This is forcing people to build another avatar on another system. Your post today speaks about never being able to have everyone on one platform but comments are one of those half-second chances at the end of a post for many – and it is easy to scare people away.My problem with Disqus is that the content lives on their domain which is both good and bad. On the one hand you basically get a forum thread with every post. On the other hand they are essentially holding your comments within their walled system. What happens if you want to try another system or go back? What happens when WP comes up with an amazing comment system built in?(I had a few time-out errors yesterday and had to keep refreshing the browser before I could submit my comment.)

  13. bsiscovick

    Ignoring the development choices made by the Disquas team, the concept they are running with is fascinating for two reasons:1) The forum style commenting system really takes the conversation to a new level. It facilitates interactive dialogue seamlessly and allows discussions to occur more rapidly and effectively. True, dialogue and discussion occurs in normal comment applications as well, but the extra layer of forum-like tiered replying drastically improves usability and readability.2) Associating cross blog commenting with an author is a great innovation. All of us participating in this discussion right here clearly understand the value of commenting – as is said so regularly, we often learn more from the comments than the original posting itself! Reading truly insightful, well-informed and intelligent comments is great, but having the ability to follow these insightful commentators around expands the range and depth of intellect we have access to through the Net. Using Disqus allows each commentator to effectively become a “pseudo-blogger,” albeit bloggers with no official home page!To be fair, broadcasting your comments to the world is a double-edge sword, particularly when commenting is poor or sensitive. But this is the same problem with broadcasting yourself through any medium on the Net.One note for Disqus, I would like the option of switching between different names that appear on top of my comments. For example, I registered with Disqus this morning but did so using a user name, not my real name. Sometimes I like to post comments with my real name and sometimes I like the guise of a user name. I posted on this blog yesterday with my real name (Ben Siscovick) but there is no way for me to associate my posting today with that posting from yesterday. Just a thought…All said, I am a big fan of this type of product.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Just wanted to chime in and say that we’ll have the ability to switch between display names really soon. πŸ™‚

  14. Andrew

    If it wasn’t broke – why change it? REMOVE

  15. josef

    like Robert Dewey did on accident, I did on purpose, b/c i am dealing with the exact same accidental spamming thing on comments for one of my sites. I guess a misery loves company scenario.

  16. Mark

    I don’t like how Disqus does not seem to play well with coComment, which I have come to rely on quite a bit the last few months. I left a comment on one of your posts yesterday, then completely forgot about it because it was not being updated in my coComment feed.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      All sorts of feed-goodness is on the way. πŸ™‚

      1. Mark

        But I already have a system to do that on pretty much every other website on the internet, I don’t want to have to go back to subscribing to individual comment feeds or even a “global disqus” feed for all my comments on disqus-enabled sites.

        1. joey


  17. Steven Kane

    sorry i have to say “revert to original”. the discus system only adds one good new feature — the ability to reply direc tly to a comment — but otherwise is a net negative. clunky, slow, confusing etc

  18. Andrew Parker

    It doesn’t give me Google Juice for commenting on your blog because the hyperlink on the commentor’s name is a javascript call. In the old system, the hyperlink on the commentor’s name was a direct link to the commentor’s blog. I think I vote dump it, though I feel confident in the long run that comments will be modular to the blogging platform

    1. RacerRick

      Andrew – google juice is not why you should be commenting. That’s what spammers do.

    2. candice

      I’ll second that annoyance, having to jump through a hoop to see if someone has a website, plus the “make an account or else we mark you an anonymous loser even though you have a blog” thing sucks. I dislike it.

      1. obscurelyfamous

        True – Anonymous isn’t the right word to use, and especially if the poster includes a blog url with the comment. We’re going to have a good way for this.

    3. obscurelyfamous

      We’ve had a couple people mention how it’s more difficult to see who the people are by their hyperlink. We haven’t ignored this and we’ll address this really soon.

  19. todd sawicki

    Fred -Couple of things as a longtime RSS subscriber (and rare commenter) – 1. I have been following your meme (i had to throw that word in there for you) regarding the lack of sophisticated comment systems. One of the features missing typically are api’s to allow the comments to be open and potentially exported/combined with other blogs comments systems. Does this system allow that? If not now, then are they planning on adding that as a feature? (Avoiding data lockin then)2. Something missing from your RSS feed footer is a link to the comments directly. Yes I can click a link to the article but it would it would be great to have a link right to the comment section for a post. Small thing but useful and perhaps even more important a textual & visual reminder to comment when I get to the end of one of your posts.

  20. Brooks Jordan

    I think it’s a great concept – i.e., microchunk and free your comments – even in light of the negatives that others are pointing out (personally, I’ve not been vexed by it). Let’s give it more time.

  21. Fraser

    i vote to remove it (for now at least). lots of reasons, most of them mentioned… but I miss the ability to read the comment and hover over their name to know who it was (“oh, it’s common-first-name from that site)…. now I have to click and then hover to see that. Boo.

  22. Frasre

    also don’t like the comments split onto 2 pages. not too easy to follow a conversation if you forget to click over to the other pages πŸ™‚

  23. lawrence coburn

    I wrote a long comment while not a member of disqus. I then joined Disqus, with the hopes of “claiming” my comment. There was no way to do this. I don’t see much value to the service (to the user) unless more folks actually join disqus – this is what enables the cross blog comment histories, reputation, etc. Disqus needs to do a better job of encouraging folks to join – giving them the ability to claim their comments (by matching email addresses), would be one way to do this.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Hi Lawrence, we’ve sort of handicapped this part for the time being as we completely smooth it out for a launch. We haven’t been encouraging “verified users” at this point because of that, but changes are afoot. πŸ™‚

  24. Robert Dewey

    I also like comments to be in chronological order. It seems that most of my comments within this system get pushed to the bottom, or are out of place from when I originally commented.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      There is a default sort, but we’ll have the option for readers to easily set their choice right on the page.

  25. obscurelyfamous

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. We’ll have a lot of these things addressed as we move toward an open launch. We really appreciate Fred being an early tester for this, and we’ll do our best to make sure the discussion on A VC is better, not worse, than before.I’ll be going through and making notes. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

  26. NICCAI

    I made this comments about your comments system during your Taste Neighbors post:One comment about your new comments system. As a UI person, I dislike the field labels being in the field only. This approach works well for a single field item like search, but not so for multiples. I found myself tabbing out and back to see which field was what when leaving my name, email, and website.

  27. Ian Wilson

    Looking at the time stamps it seems that time zone is not taken into account? They dont seem sequential? That could be an interesting feature, especially with a globally read blog like this one, seeing people log on and comment as time zones change.Comment feeds would be the killer app for me, but the thought of subscribing to a single post is a non starter, how would you do that in an easy and intuitive fashion? How about a Firefox sidebar reader that you can drag and drop temporary feeds into…”My Comments” aggregation will drive adoption of this system, we all have big egos and like it when we get to be part of a conversation and not just a commenter so I think bloggers will add this to their sites as a way of spurring adoption on the sites they read and comment on.Kill the email requirement, it is not necessary for users, or cookie the data.

  28. Ian Wilson

    Second post. I see you are using a cookie to store my data, so I dont have to enter my name again, not sure what “Jackson” is reffering to then?If this is javascript, why the page reload, surely the comment should just be added to the DOM and the DIV extended with no need for a (AVC length) page reload?My comment appeared several posts from the end of the thread, not at the end, that is confusing. Something odd there.No negative comments on this system but also no “wow” factor yet. But no reason to dump the system.One request, please, please make your system end to end UTF8, there is a big blogging world out there and most of it is not in English/ASCII. Do your self a favor and set everything by default to UTF8.utf8 test -> γƒ†γ‚ΉγƒˆBTW your home page is down, server error 500.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      That’s a good point with UTF8. I’ve just made a note of that.

  29. harpos_blues

    This is my third post in this thread and I apologize for the longish post — but I’m annoyed. Here goes:Disqus folks: Your implementation isn’t working well with my “assistive” technologies; you’re not compliant with US accessibility guidelines. Please see: . Section 508 is the US interpretation of the the W3C WAI and WCAG guidelines, as translated into law. Other international entities / organizations have similar accessibility requirements, many far more stringent than Section 508.For example, in the UK the equivalent of the US Section 508 and American With Disabilities Act (ADA) is the Disability Discrimination Acts (DDA) of 1995[1] and 2005[2]. One of the principle differences between the US and UK is a matter of enforcement. In the US lack of information technology accessibility compliance is a largely a civil matter, in the UK it’s a criminal offense[3]. Thus in the US, the Federal gov’t has chosen to use the “power of the wallet”, as the largest information technology purchaser in the world:Section 508: Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22) states[3]:”The standards apply to Federal web sites but not to private sector web sites (unless a site is provided under contract to a Federal agency, in which case only that web site or portion covered by the contract would have to comply).”Basically this means that all vendors participating in a US Federal contract or sub-contract (trickling down to the State and Municipal level, including educational institutions) must be Section 508 compliant. Believe it or not, it’s been a remarkably effective approach. All major US information technology hardware and software vendors have complied with Section 508. Compliance statements are available from the vendor websites.There’s no need for Disqus to re-invent the wheel here, many of the major US vendors have released their accessibility development toolkits as “free” or “open source” (including Linux implementation). IBM is leading the charge here, please see:… and… .Disqus will want to use the Dojo toolkit:…Again, I apologize for the rant. But the dichotomy between the so-called web 2.0 memes of “community” and “conversation” and the associated technology implementations that have largely neglected the needs of the disabled, have begun to *really piss me off*[1] UK Disability Discrimination Act – 1995:… [2] UK Disability Discrimination Act – 2005:…[3][4]] Section 508: Summary of Section 508 Standards:

    1. harpos_blues

      oops! I screwed up my footnumbering, as I said I am greatly annoyed.The third footnote above (UK criminal offense) should read:[3] Accessibility 101: http://www.accessibility101…and”Section 508: Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22) states:” should correspond to footnote [4]My apologies

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Okay, I’ll look into this right now. Thanks for bringing this out; I was not entirely familiar with it. We didn’t want to be neglectful.

  30. greenskeptic

    I’m with Jackson. It should remember commenters past and I shouldn’t have to fill out the name/email/web form everytime I comment. Like the thread idea and the feed-link concept. But why do only some commenters get pics? Do I have to sign in? Please, not another password to remember!

  31. bijan

    i like the new system. Yes, it’s raw but kudos to you for trying it out early and letting avc.blogs folks give feedback to the developers early. that’s good for everyone.Traditional comments are in dramatic need of improvement. i like where this is going. Keep it up.

  32. riozen

    control is the old terrestial paradigm – facilitation is the new online paradigm. so go ahead and change brother especially if it enhances ease of use.

  33. Guest

    ζ΅‹θ―•δΈ­ζ–‡test chinese

  34. jackson

    Wow! 58 comments. Is that a record? Seems there was once a 92 or something like that. Anyway, I appreciate the proactive approach you’ve taken, let’s hope Danielha gets wise and uses his time fixing my concerns instead of replying to the unwashed masses herein.I am the comment kingI will say anything…..Oh, hey look! It remembered me!Love ya Danielha!This system is awesome.Fred, it’s easy to see this is a ‘keeper’.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Love ya too. ;)Thanks for the patience.

  35. RacerRick

    Fred – I just put disqus on three sites… these guys have done a REALLY good job of figuring out how to make it simple to put on other sites. Drag and drop and ANY Page on the web can have comments.

  36. Test


  37. obscurelyfamous

    We haven’t forgotten feeds. :)There’s going to be a number of different feeds for comments, and we’re wrapping up that feature now.

  38. obscurelyfamous

    Hi Ewan, we currently have a way for readers to change how the sorting is displayed. We’ll try to push that out live really soon.You’re right – a main point is to be able to claim and track your comments. We haven’t emphasized that yet (the register/login is obscure) since we haven’t fully launched. But since this here is as public as one can get, we’re going to address this issue asap. Thanks.