New Disqus Look And Feel

Disqus has rewritten much of its comment system and is in the process of pushing it out to the blogs that use it. The main purpose of the rewrite was to make the service much faster but there are also some nice new interface changes.

Since this blog is one of the more active disqus communities, they've chosen to give us one of the first looks at the new system. We are live with the new code. Here is a description of the interface changes they've made.

Please give it a look over and let me and disqus know what you think in the comments.


Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan

    Good.Also glad Disqus understands the value of not just piling shit on. Like the Google homepage…sometimes, less change is more.

    1. BmoreWire

      yea, i’m really annoyed by the changes on igoogle….

    2. fredwilson

      They actually took stuff away

      1. andyswan

        Smart. Too bad all their potential suitors are busy burying head deeper in sand instead of making the moves that will win the next battle.

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t think the availability of exits right now matters if the company is building more value than they are burning in cash. in the case of disqus, that is an absolute yes.

          1. andyswan

            Bids never hurt anybody. 🙂

          2. fredwilson

            I could argue that point but I won’t

          3. andyswan


  2. jakemintz

    Did comment voting go away? I liked how comments at the top tended to be better than comments at the bottom, especially when a thread generated more comments than I could read.

    1. santhonys

      Now I can “like” your comment.

    2. jakemintz

      Ah, it looks like Disqus went from voting to liking.

    3. fredwilson

      It’s called “like” and its on the lower right now

    4. fredwilson

      I just liked your comment

  3. BmoreWire

    I really hope they work on getting disqus to load faster. I just launched Chartbeat on one of my sites and load times average 23 seconds because of disqus.Actually, tells me that the main page on average takes 1.69 seconds to load and the comments section takes on average 34 seconds to load so far today.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      We hope to significantly reduce that time when the new version is released to your site as well.You do receive a fair amount of comments on your site, and I think the new version handles this much better.

      1. BmoreWire

        great, I can’t wait till it updates. will i have to re-download it, or will it automatically update?Also, I’d like to note, that thanks to disqus the site has turned into a forum and discussion space rather than a blog. Users go on during a Maryland game and have play by play discussions on the most recent posts. I would love if the comments auto-reloaded asynchronously so people didn’t have to refresh the page to update comments…

        1. obscurelyfamous

          That’s great to hear. Auto-refreshing discussions are a good idea for large, live topics like sports and stocks. I’ve had a good vision on how this could play out and I’ll make sure we get to this in the future.This is an automatic update for you (I looked and you’re using MT).

          1. Ali Kuru

            This is an automatic update for you (I looked and you’re using MT).Any chance for WP users?

          2. obscurelyfamous

            Of course. Look for that in our wide release.

  4. kidmercury

    a significant improvement IMHO

    1. karen_e

      Trying it here. I’m excited to see new speed. Also I tried to figure out (spent maybe 10 minutes search/surfing), can I get Disqus on my pro Typepad account? anybody know?

      1. obscurelyfamous

        You can – TypePad is an option on the install page. TypePad install is still one of the more fickle beasts; we have a new game plan here that needs to be implemented. Email me directly if you have issues: daniel at disqus.

      2. fredwilson

        Yes, I use it on pro typepad

  5. rikin

    This is much cleaner and intuitive (though I’m a fan of thumbs up/down like Digg rather than “like” per FB). I never really understood the “like” functionality.Is there a widget tied to the new video commenting feature that allows you to display top video comments?

  6. Tony Wright

    (note: I’m a disqus fan and tell all the bloggers I know to use it… BUT:)Never been a big fan of the “mouse over a picture and a profile pops up that you have to close” feature.A) Affordance – a door handle should look like a door handle. There’s nothing about an avatar that LOOKS actionable… It’s a pure surprise the first time it happens– and probably not a happy one.B) Mouse over opens it, but you have a fairly small click target to close it that isn’t near the avatar.I’d much prefer one of two options. A mouseover could open a little context menu with some options for a layer (more comments by user, view profile?). OR a mouse over could highlight the avatar pic with a little descriptive click event (like the word “more”?) and a click could open the layer.

    1. vincentvw

      I couldn’t agree more. I find the unasked for pop-ups, no matter if it’s on Disqus or that WordPress live-view thing, super-annoying. It’s not a matter of it being useful or not, but that it can easily pop-up by accident and is difficult to get rid of.

    2. BmoreWire

      i disagree. I like that feature. The first time it happened I was annoyed but I like being able to see who someone is and access their twitter if you like what they are saying.

      1. Tony Wright

        Sorry– I wasn’t clear. I’m not say I don’t like the feature– I’m justsaying that it should require a click or some other overt action. Right nowI have to police my mouse location if I don’t want to see that andoccasionally have to hunt up the “close” button when I accidentally do it(which I still do).A separate issue (for new users) is that the avatar isn’t obviouslyactionable. NEW users get blindsided by it when it happens AND cannotvisually scan the page to understand that the option exists (perceivedaffordance:… ). To solvethis, I’d probably give it a link color border (or maybe just a link colorbottom border, like an underline) and have some sort of hover effect (which,of course, you can’t do if the hover effect is a popup window!).I don’t envy the disqus guys the task of elegantly packing so much valuableUI in such a small place. FWIW, I think they’ve done a fabulous job otherthan the minor complaint above!

    3. obscurelyfamous

      B) Mouse over opens it, but you have a fairly small click target to close it that isn’t near the avatar.That’s actually the new approach that we’ve been playing with. So, absolutely agree. I’d like to maintain the instant nature of any popup (especially when it is a concept that is not entirely pervasive/intuitive to most comments on a page) because that’s how people discover them. But popping a smaller context menu is the path we’re going down right now.(also, Liked your comment 🙂

      1. Greg Cohn

        looks like clicking “behind” the popup also closes the window.

      2. Nate

        Agree with WebWright: The profile mouseover modal has been keeping me from implementing Disqus.Suggested fix: When you hover anywhere over the gray user name bar show links to “More comments by Daniel Ha”, “Daniel’s blog”, “Twitter”, “Facebook”, etc. on the right side of the gray bar.Even with a click instead of a mouseover, showing a modal popup of someone’s recent comments is too heavy and jarring. Instead show a link to their Disqus profile page. The profile page makes Disqus rock right? It ties a person’s internet-wide commenting identity together, makes them accountable, and adds value for everyone.

      3. Phillip Baker

        Everything you guys put out is pretty stellar so congrats on this latest release!I like the way Tweetdeck reveals its context menu behind each avatar, but then on Tweetdeck, where else would it go? It might not be as intuitive elsewhere. Like WebWright, I also sympathize with how much more Disqus needs to accommodate.Definitely prefer ‘like’ but I found myself expecting to see ‘reblog’ sitting next to it since they’re both social gestures.

    4. Andrew Badr

      For B, you don’t have to click ‘close’ — you can click anywhere outside the popup to close it. Sounds like this needs to be made more clear, though.

    5. Justin Yost

      I also agree with the “Never been a big fan of the “mouse over a picture and a profile pops up that you have to close” feature.”Personally I don’t much care for the feature, though I understand it’s use. But at the very least don’t show me that information, unless I want it.While I like “liking” a comment as opposed to voting for it, with the voting it was very much there and a focus of the system. Now the “liking” has been moved to an almost secondary action and that feels like a poor move. One of the benefits of Disqus is sorting and selecting users who are more popular. Minimizing the number of votes makes the overall system weaker.Some of the JavaScript in Disqus appears to be doing weird in FF3.5 Beta3, at least for me. That and I would really like it if Disqus became XHTML valid.

    6. fredwilson

      This is consistent feedback and I think the disqus team realizes this is anissue

  7. Greg G.

    Just tried on my iPhone (w 3.0 Beta). Got passed login. Crashed while trying comment. FB Connect button disappears (probably on purpose). 3.0 has some bugs with forms in Safari though, so problems could be on my end. Ill restart my phone and try again.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      It should work with mobile browsers (iPhone especially) and it does for me, but I won’t stand here and guarantee it.Better mobile support is a different beast altogether and we will be there soon.

      1. Greg G.

        Figured as much, wasn’t sure if it was implemented into these changes. The mobile version of this site loads nicely but when you tap on the textarea it zooms a little and now the site scrolls horizontally. But at least it works. 3.0 has some sErious bugs with forms. Hopefully they get them worked out.

  8. Jon Knight

    Finally was able to get disqus to accept my login – since the 90s I have disabled 3rd party cookies and I found that Disqus requires me to accept them to work.I’m not certain I like that…(EDIT) When I submitted this comment Disqus simply sat and spun. I finally just refreshed the page (FF3 WinXP decent hardware).Disqus is one of those products I really want to use, but it aggravates me so much. I just don’t want to pass that aggravation on to my (less than tech-savvy) blog visitors.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Finally was able to get disqus to accept my login – since the 90s I have disabled 3rd party cookies and I found that Disqus requires me to accept them to work.I understand that sentiment, but unfortunately there’s much we can do about the need for 3rd party cookies. We’re a 3rd party and we need to set cookies to allow you to log in. A lot has happened on the web since the 90s, and while there are still annoyances and security issues with cookies and JavaScript, they’re much better now and many web services depend on them.As for the “simply sat and spun”, I don’t know why that happened but it’s just refreshing the page. It may be a simple case of “hey, this site is taking a long time to load.”

      1. Jon Knight

        Back in the 90s cookies were abused so much that many pc techs like me would automatically delete them all during service calls. Over the past decade they’ve come to be used more for what they were intended… I guess it’s time for me to enable the 3rd party option.Enter connectedness.

        1. fredwilson


  9. jdorfman

    I like

  10. Jon Knight

    Using a different comment box to replicate my problems mentioned above.I noticed that when I initially logged in an iframe seemed to be created where the comment box was located previously, and inside the iframe was the entire avc website. Now that I have refreshed the page it’s a comment box again, no iframe.When I added the edit to the comment above an iframe also appeared which did not go away when I posted the edit. Again, a simple page refresh did the trick.(EDIT) this comment posted quickly with no wierdness. But saving changes for the edit doesn’t kill the scrollbar on the right.(EDIT2) page refresh eliminates the scrollbar.

  11. Ali Kuru

    I’m not a fan of neither thumbs up/down nor “like”, but I’m guessing that being not able to “unlike” a comment may encourage viewer to drop a new comment describing the things he found wrong about the idea on that comment, hence will bring more conversation or, well, flaming 🙂

  12. bijan

    looks great.well done!

  13. Nicholas

    First of all, before I proceed, I love everything else but the change in rating/voting. As I am writing this rather long comment, I see the obvious need for a “Preview” button or at least an expandable reply box, if I am to avoid getting completely lost in my own reply. A “Draft” feature and optional “Post reply X minutes after pressing Send” might also help remedy jumbled, rambling comments as well. At any rate, I hope the clutter in this reply doesn’t reflect the lack of such a feature too much. As for said change:Style vs. Content – making sense of what rating and liking meansUp-rating as opposed to Down-rating always seemed like an odd fit; it never became clear what the motive for Up-rating was, and isn’t now. Being out of line warranted a Down-rating, but not being didn’t warrant an Up-rating – but Down-votes had a specific, visible impact on your commenting capabilities and single comments, depending on what responses they received, calling for the need to be Up-rated now and then. Unless a “Negative rate decay rate” was implemented. There are two grounds for voting on a comment: Style and Content. Style, as in whether the person is being an ass or a well-mannered commenter, and Content as in whether you agree or disagree with what the person is actually saying – language or format aside. You can have a good point but be an ass about it. Et cetera.Using this approach, we have two categories: Style and Content. To me, style represents the old Up and Down votes. People may have good points, but they aren’t worth listening to if they won’t act like adults. Content pertains to whether you disagree with what the person is (actually, format aside) saying. If you wholeheartedly agree with a comment, you like or reblog it. If you don’t, big deal, life moves on.If you happen to be arguing with a republican against gun control you disagree with, chances are that you might end up Up-voting him because he is presenting his views in such an enlightening and civil manner. Or, as we’ve seen on Disqus’ support form, when your average idiot takes an irate swing at Daniel in the most infantile and self-aggrandizing manner, Daniel always manages to keep his cool and reply in a tone he would use with his own mother-in-law. Such an effort and capacity is by no doubt laudable – and can be rewarded by an Up-rating, as this pertains to a code of conduct – style. The theme, and not the language, of the discussion itself falls into the category of Content.Filtering and automoderationThe removal of Up- and Down-rating has the adverse consequence on my part as an admin that I have to moderate Every Single Comment.. What attracted me to Disqus when I first saw it was the capabilities of automoderation – assuming I have a blog with a following large enough to ensure that each comment goes through some sort of vetting, as seen on such sites as Digg. I’m practically crowdsourcing volunteers to make sure that the comments on my site aren’t overtaken by blithering idiots. With the removal of the arrow-voting, this is no longer an option, save for users using Report to bring to my attention a comment that the user doesn’t want to wait for to be down-rated, before it’s removed. Or, if the other users for some reason don’t see the reason to reprimand or remove the comment, meaning that it will keep being displayed.On the, now, previous system, people mixed up Style and Content, ensuring that you would never be able to use Disqus for discussing politics, as democrats would down-vote republicans and vice versa. Back then, I called upon a feature that made it possible to disable rating on a per-post basis to avoid this. Otherwise you’d have to pander to the lowest common denominator to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, and what meager and trivial discussion would this encourage? Sure, idiotic remarks would be disencouraged, but intense discussions would effectively be killedI would like an accommodation of a system that included, and separated, voting on Style and Content, but I see the caveat of people mixing up the two, resulting in good comments being filtered, because they reflect a different or controversial viewpoint. But if there’s a place Disqus would be a godsent tool or vehicle, it’s in discussing important – and thereby controversial – topics. Just think about it might do on a global scale of enlightenment and education.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for a detailed discussion of this issue. I am certain the disqus teamwill think hard about this.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Thank you for this feedback — if I could double Like this comment, I would. I just read this and I will definitely read it again.There are a few communities that split up positive feedback and do it well. Sometimes, it becomes a bit too confusing for the most casual of users. With Disqus, we had initial trouble with getting people to use the Up Arrows appropriately in the first place, let alone categorizing the intention. I strongly believe the new “Like” replacement is more explicit and meaningful. The removal of “down rating” is key for us as well, as it’s open to a lot of abuse. We’ve already seen its usage momentum take over the arrows, though it may be the effect of being new and novel.I’ll give this more thought though, of course. Also, we’ll be making the textarea much more accommodating for long posts.

      1. Nicholas

        Good point about the potential for abuse, and one I forgot to bring up. It’s like we almost need a third system for how good people are at using the arrows system. =)My reply is by no means a suggestion of a ready-to-ship solution – just one trying to highlight some of the pros and cons of previous and current approaches. Not that you don’t know that, obviously, but just to the clarification of anyone reading my remark who risk misconstruing it.The current, albeit temporary, system is a clear sign that you are taking all input into consideration and are constantly trying to improve on and (re)innovate your own core philosophies. Keep at it.<hr/>EDITED 03/23A(n optional) local reputation point economy for every blog could be a way to tackle the issue. Another one would be to only allow trustworthy people to rate comments. The way this would work would be by the Disqus staff starting out as the only people able to rate other comments. You could facilitate this process by appointing people you know to be competent enough to perform this task. When a person receives a certain rating, s/he is able to rate other comments, and can thus carry on doing the entrusted moderation. In time, this trickle-down effect will permeate across the interwebs and allow a great many people to moderate comments, still depriving newcomers and mischievous twits the chance to ruin the system – much.At least as an experiment to run – just, I dunno, to try the model in general, aside from the interest and relation to Disqus alone.

  14. NICCAI

    Agreed. Retrieving content should be explicit. Using mouseover to retrieve anything beyond a simple tool tip is generally bad for usability – and bad for performance due to needless calls. Generally speaking, you need to watch out whenever you are using different event types to toggle something on and off. It’s most often a bad thing.

  15. Nicholas

    Regarding the the avatar pop-up, it doesn’t seem to parse paragraph breaks. Makes for a horrible read, taking my previous reply into consideration, just to name an example.

  16. Ade

    Hi, a few comments as i’m working on something that was going to use disqus1. I don’t like the ‘like’ button, its not good having ‘i like you’ next to ‘i am offended, please remove this’ in the same font. One is a positive community action that you want to encourage people to use and the other sounds very negative and boring. Also, the “two people liked this comment” font size is too small. Is like your embarrassed about the whole ‘like’ function and hidden it away in the bottom right when it used to be top left2. I don’t like have the Disqus and Facebook logins so prominent, it was better before, i think they were underneath the comment box. They are like a barrier that says “do not pass below”. My site is not part of disqus or facebook,.Its the other way round3. It feels like its being designed by a coder to make their life easy. I havent checked if the wordpress plugin has been updated, but if you allowed some style choices then that would be better, this one seems too clean and boring4. The popup from the user image is too much, usually the content is so long that much of it disappears below the page fold. I would do a 50 word summary of two or three posts and have a rollout trggger after 2 seconds

    1. fredwilson

      These seem to be the big areas of discussion in this thread so I am sure thedisqus team is thinking hard about all of them

    2. obscurelyfamous

      1. Interesting point. Our reasoning behind this was that these two actions are explicit and quick feedback items. Where would you suggest placing these options?2. It’s true that they are more prominent. We don’t care about the presence, but we do care about having these options easily discoverable. If the options exist, they should be quick to find — we’ve learned this from the many, many people who needed a better way to log into Disqus or Facebook. Of course, that’s just the power of defaults. Your site isn’t a part of either network, so you can choose to hide these if you like.3. Completely agree. Disqus has been intentionally bland to set a neutral tone on sites. Many sites have done amazing things with styling. But as I said about the power of defaults, I agree that we need to have easier styling or choices available. More seamless presence on websites is one of our largest goals in the next few months, and one of the things I’m personally most passionate about.4. I’ve said a bit about the popup in this thread already, but basically I acknowledge that it needs improvement.Thanks Ade.

      1. adriantab

        Hi Daniel.1. There’s loads of space in the blue strip on the top right for like/dislike/thumbs up/thumbs down buttons and scores.2. Ok, i missed those options will try them outThanks

  17. jaymeydad

    1. Login error message positionI read @zuffox detailed comment and liked it. I clicked on the “Like” link but the counter did not change. I clicked again but the counter did not change. I gave up and @zuffox lost my vote.Only after trying to “like” a different comment that was shorter, I noticed that the “Please login to rate” bar appeared at the top of his comment and realized that was the case for @zuffox’s comment and the reason my vote was not recorded.So, you should pop the “Please login to rate” error message as a div floating in the center of the displayable area (that already has the username/pass fields for quick login) or at least in proximity to the “Link” link (and any other link that requires a login). This should ensure the users actually see this message.2. Your popup should pop north/south/east/west based on the location of the avatar/link with respect to the displayable area; Take a look at the way we implemented SnapShots and see what I mean — it calculates in which direction a Shot should appear without becoming partially hidden or cut.3. What about adding a vertical scroll bar inside the popup so I could read more comments from a user?4. I wish there was an option to upload an image as part of the comment. It would be extremely useful in this specific case and many other posts that discuss features and usability. After all, a picture is worth a 1000 words.

  18. derrinyet

    A thoughtful discussion of Disqus and its place in the evolution of the social web:http://www.snapdragonconsul

    1. fredwilson

      Yes, a very good post. I left a comment on it