A Day Without Disqus

Regular commenters know that yesterday's post's comment thread was not on Disqus. I tried something new (posting from typepad's mobile web app via the android browser) and in the process accidentally turned typepad comments on which turned disqus comments off. I figured it out too late and there was already a discussion going on so I left the whole post on typepad comments.

As one commenter said:

Wow, I didn't realize how much I'd miss Disqus commenting until it was
gone. Perhaps that's an unplanned benefit from this little glitch?

I said the same thing to Daniel Ha, founder/CEO of Disqus, via email yesterday and he replied back:

What are 3-4 things that you miss?

I'd like anyone who is interested help me answer Daniel. I'll post my 3-4 things here and please leave your thoughts in the comments. I'll make sure Daniel reads them, although that won't be tough.

Things I missed:

1) Threaded discussions. If you look at yesterday's comment thread, you'll see that I was replying (via email actually) to the comments but they are not shown as replies. I found it impossible to follow and stopped replying as a result.

2) Email reply. Typepad has email reply, at least for me, the author, but I don't think it works for the person leaving the comment when someone replies to them. And the reply is not shown as a reply in the thread. And it doesn't pick up my avatar when it shows the reply. Without those features, email reply really isn't useful to me.

3) No avatars. I've got so used to seeing people's avatars next to their comments. It really allows the community to thrive. The comment thread feels so empty without them.

4) Easy login. If you are a frequent commenter and are "logged in" as I almost always am, Disqus recognizes you and invites you to leave a comment. If you aren't logged in, you can log in right in the comment thread. Those two features mean that a lot more people comment.

Here's some data to show the difference between Disqus and Tyepepad's comment system. I average about 100 comments per post. I got 25 yesterday (though it says 49, I think some of the comments may be missing). Either way I got way less than normal. And yesterday was one of the biggest days ever on AVC with 19k visits and 22k page views, four times my normal traffic. Four times the traffic, a quarter to half the comments? That's the Disqus difference in action.

Ok, now it's time for everyone else to chime in (via Disqus thankfully).


Comments (Archived):

  1. David Semeria

    It’s mainly visual. They say the most important thing about food is the presentation.

    1. Chris

      Hi David,that’s not quite correct… The saying is people eat with their eyes but taste is still the most important thing and I think that holds true for comment systems as well.

      1. David Semeria

        Sure. But if you don’t like the look of the food you often don’t get to the tasting phase.

        1. ShanaC

          Clearly you’ve never tasted food blind to see how to heighten the taste/smell…

    2. awaldstein

      Hi David. For me, the most important thing is the company that I go out to eat with. Translated from food to discussion, I missed the community.

      1. David Semeria

        Hi Arnold,That’s right. People are less likely to have a long conversations in unpleasant surroundings.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Is this still a metaphor?Agree by the way, David. It’s why you Italians chat so much! 😉

          1. David Semeria

            Hi Carl.Yes, Italians love to talk. Unfortunately, the social web won’t take off in Italy until <hand-flapping> gesticulation</hand-flapping> can be expressed.

          2. awaldstein

            True but Italy is the 6th largest user of Facebook worldwide with almost 13m users so maybe pics of <hand flapping=””> is enough 😉

          3. Mark Essel

            Howdy Arnold, couldn’t pass up a chance to say howdy to my friends here. This is why!

          4. awaldstein

            Back at ya.

          5. Mark Essel

            heyo CarlIt’s still a metaphor if you think our avatars look good ;)uh oh, did I imply image cannibalism?

        2. awaldstein

          And David, you got me into Disqus a while back with your comment ‘turning comments into communities’ on a discussion on Fred’s blog. http://bit.ly/8ySyOP. Thnx

          1. David Semeria

            Thanks Arnold. Linking back to Carl’s comment, the more darts you throw, the more chance of hitting the board 🙂

      2. fredwilson

        but what is that, the avatars? many of you were still in the comments yesterday

        1. awaldstein

          Maybe so. Without an avatar, you are faceless, and strangely less authentic.If we had to strip each of the top items on the list away, I’d be caught with Avatars and Threaded Discusssions as the two that couldn’t go.But if you have to chose between people (Avatars) and ease of conversation (Threaded) you always choose the people and sense of community that familiarity breeds.

          1. andrewparker

            The need for avatars depends on the audience. Places like HackerNews and Slashdot have had wildly active discussion threads for years now without avatars (and that’s an explicit choice to not have avatars… it’s not like they’re too lazy to implement them). By contrast communities like SecondLife or WoW are 90% about the creation and curation of avatars… avatars are the entire point of the service.Your average blog comment thread falls somewhere in the middle between those extremes and so I think Disqus does a nice job with their avatars to fit the market they serve.

          2. awaldstein

            Andrew, certainly every group defines itself. But its hard to have a community without a visual identity of some sort, at least for me. But yes its a balance, that why identity (Avatar as a hot link to my online self/blog/whatever) combined to a super easy Threaded Discussion, pull it together.Folks have been trying to get this perfect forever. In the beginning (The Palace, EC, and others) we had the image but the threads and the indentity string were hard to get right. Disqus does this really nicely.

          3. RacerRick

            I wouldn’t say “wildly active” on Hacker News. Some posts inspire a firestorm, but 95% of posts on HN go un-commented.I wish PG would add DQ to HN.

          4. Mark Essel

            Instead of stripping Disqus down, I would greatly prefer host controls, or even commenter centric views. Each of us should be able to customize the data to our preference.

          5. awaldstein

            Hi Mark.Don’t want to strip it down but trying to find the one thing that makes it work. I’m finding that it isn’t just one thing but some are essential.Personal views of this conversation? I’m in!

          6. JLM

            The avatars are quite important and add a dimension of communication — visual — in which the words become a complementary element to the entire conversation.How many times have you colored a conversation by the body language or the temperment of the other party?The avatars provide a bit of trompe l’oeil which allows the words to have a face.It also provides a bit of “Cheers” to the conversation when you go somewhere where everybody knows your name and avatar.

          7. awaldstein

            Well said. I’m in agreement.

    3. kidmercury

      yup, no doubt

    4. Mark Essel

      hiya David!It appears we never grow too full of eachother’s comments.Epic meta thread.

      1. David Semeria

        Hi Mark.It’s good to see such short comments in this thread. My #1 suggestion to Disqus would be to put longer comments in a clickable flexi box (easy)

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Cool idea. Agree.One of the best things about Twitter is its brevity. Forcing one to precis one’s thoughts. No bad thing.

          1. francodane

            Sure twitter is short and user friendly but hve also many power

        2. Mark Essel

          I concur with Carl. This is a good idea.

        3. msuster

          I agree with this. Sometimes comments get too long on blogs and it slows down the “conversation.” It would be nice if Disqus were able to collapse these and you could expand if you wanted to read the whole comment (might also encourage shorter responses!)

  2. Ajay Mehta

    Interesting that it was one of the biggest days ever. Is there any particular reason?And yes, Disqus is amazing. The easy login really is the key for me, registering at different sites and not having name + avatar carry over is just annoying.

    1. David Noël

      Probably the Google Nexus One craze

      1. fredwilson

        yes, it was the Nexus one craze, plus I had two other posts that are still getting some significant traffic. according to goog analytics, 70% of the PVs yesterday were to the nexus one post and it came largely from twitter, hacker news, and techmeme, but there were also a lot of other referring links yesterday

    2. Josh Fleischmann

      Would be interested to know the top sources of all this extra traffic, and whether some of the new visitors become regulars.One thing I just learned that I like about Disqus- if you accidentally hit cancel instead of post, then click to reply again, it remembers your comments! Yay! No need to retype.

  3. gregorylent

    disqus has been bugging me for awhile .. it seems markedly slower than a year ago .. and, say i want to comment here, as a reply to someone in the thread … by the time a get signed in, and then the page bounces back to the top, it is hard to find the place in the thread i wanted to reply to … and if i type my comment before i log in and just want to post as a guest, a bloody popup comes …. i now don’t bother commenting via disqus anymore … admittedly, my connection in asia is often slow, or am on vpn, so the extra steps multiply the time .. anyway, me thinks this was a business of the noughties, and will need to reinvent itself for the teens ..

    1. obscurelyfamous

      1. Disqus is definitely faster than a year ago. Latency from Asia is actually quite good but I do want to experience it from Asia for myself. And maybe with your connection.2. The popup lets you login after you post. You can skip it (it won’t ask you again).3. Terrible to hear that you’d comment less because of issues — how can we fix this and make you comment more? What are the most important things?

    2. maverickny

      To be fair, I have had similar issues while travelling and using a smart phone or dial-up and a VPN.I found the system faster and easier to use if before you sign in to Disqus, between the blog and comments is a little button for the real time. Pause it.Then sign in and blogs with lots of commenters such as Fred’s a momentarily fixed in time so finding and responding to a comment is much easier and the experience less frustrating.

  4. Lars Tong Strömberg

    One of the things I have come to love with Disqus is the possibility to follow up thoroughly on other commentators I find interesting just by checking out their Disqus profile and see what other comments they have provided. Very often this takes me further to new sites and interesting discussions I wasn´t aware of.I have hesitated to include it on my own blog so far because I think it looks pretty bad with fonts/colors and as far as I have understood, is quite difficult (impossible?) to tweak. But with all the advantages I am also won over now and will definitely implement it.

    1. awaldstein

      Easy to install, changes everything Lars. I’m a stickler for design and it works on my site.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Happy to hear that, Lars. The profile is one of my top favorite aspects as well, personally, and it’s an area where we have lots of concepts in the cooker.

    3. Mark Essel

      Your decision to implement it is a sign of your excellent judgment. I’ll visit.Besides, if you sacrifice function for form your commenters will do the same. What type of community do you want on your blog?

    4. JLM

      Agree completely and said the same thing above before I got to your comment. You said it first.Funny thing, I do not mind my comments being archived forever but I am very reluctant to provide any real personal information on a profile. I hate the idea of not knowing who is seeing it.

  5. David Noël

    What I miss is a way to get pulled back to a post & comments after the discussion eveolved. When you comment early after the post went up, you miss out on some great comments that were posted after yours. Maybe something like an email digest you receive from the blogs you comment on the most:”95 new comments on AVC after you posted yours. Go catch up the discussion…”

  6. jedc

    Threaded discussions to me is *absolutely key*. I never read comments if blogs/discussions aren’t threaded.(And already being logged in & trusted is fantastic.)I bet you would have had 150-200 comments yesterday if Disqus had been turned on.BTW, I’ve been loving my Nexus One, too. (I’m a Googler and got it in December.) I find Google Maps to be one of my killer apps; Street View on it is incredible.

    1. fredwilson

      all the google native apps are amazing on it. i just added google goggles which is super cool

      1. jedc

        Completely agree. I only wish I could use Google Voice with it… I’m in the UK so it’s not available here.Maybe my iPhone battery is shot, but I find I get much better battery life with my Nexus One. I love the “power” widget, which makes turning the big power hogs on and off so much easier. (TONS better than rooting around in various iPhone System Preferences for GPS, 3G, WiFi, etc.)

  7. Keenan

    Agree with you. For me it’s the threaded comments and the ability to reply to comments specifically and email reply for author and commentator.I spend a bit of time on LinkedIn groups and you can’t reply to a comment. It frickin pisses me off. The threaded feature by far is the most valuable.

  8. reece

    Fred, your list is great, so I’m going to use my list to give a few new ideas…1. I agree with @David – there are times that people reply to comments I’ve left but they do it in a new comment (not a reply, as I am doing right now) and I don’t get drawn back to that. Disqus could use a mention system with @replies (again, how I just did above) and David would be notified anytime someone mentions him.2. Disqus could also consider a comment reference tag – it would allow commenters to reference a specific comment in the discussion more easily, so if a comment thread is hectic and I am at the bottom reading a remark from a favorite member of the community (recognized by avatar) – I could click whichever comment reference tag in their comment and it will take me to the original above me in the thread somehow.3. One thing I would really like from Disqus, is including my original comment in the reply emails from others. Without that reference, I sometimes don’t remember what people are commenting about. IntenseDebate does this already…

    1. falicon

      +50 to all these ideas!

      1. reece

        haha… thanks Kevin.

      2. Mark Essel

        +50! whoa…

    2. obscurelyfamous

      One thing I would really like from Disqus, is including my original comment in the reply emails from others.We do this in some cases. Agree that it makes sense in all cases. Made a note about it, thanks.

      1. reece

        Great! But how do you determine “some cases?” Is it an option or a settingthat I’ve missed?

        1. obscurelyfamous

          It’s the case when the conversation thread is multiple levels deep and context is more likely to be confusing.

          1. ShanaC

            It would be possible to do in the hours tag. FYI that tag should be underlined. It isn’t innately obvious that the timestamp is a link. And that link can do things

          2. reece

            I gotcha.I guess I sometimes leave more than one comment on here and if someoneresponds, I have no idea which comment they’re replying to.

    3. fredwilson

      all great suggestions reece, but #3 is really important. i don’t want the entire comment in the email, but maybe the first 2-3 lines of it

      1. reece

        you’re absolutely right, Fred. important detail there.

    4. David Noël

      Exactly: see, I’d have missed your comment (and @) if I hadn’t come back.I#ve got your back for #3, should be pretty straight forward to implement.

    5. Mark Essel

      #3 would be incredible for my flaky memory and heavy commenting.

    6. ShanaC

      You are essentially talking about human centered web design. And designing around how you really interact and making it as seamless as possible, close to how you behave in real life in real space. It’s a large area of investigation: Most users of blogs are not technology centric the way you are: I see actual arguments about whether one should or should not hat-tip and link back because something has been posted already in other popular blogs about certain subjects, because the writers don’t realize that in technology centric circles it is something you do to increase your visibility, seo, and truthfulness for copy-sake.That’s who you may be developing technology for. Remember that. You are designing around other’s people’s natural behavior, not necessarily your own. It is worth studying.I do what you are talking about all the time with the @replies. It’s common because of how real people interact, we talk in groups, whereas blog comment threads are linear. I wish there were even better solutions though…

    7. msuster

      re: point 3, totally agree. I find it hard to remember context when I comment via email so I often just click on the link back to the blog to remember the context.

      1. reece

        ditto… which then makes email replies pointless.I think @DanielHa is hearing this and will make a change…———————Sent wirelessly.

        1. markslater

          i never use email

  9. awaldstein

    Fred, your list gets the top items although Threaded Discussion is the key one that drives conversations.But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The sense of place and community was gone. For me, I commented and never came back the rest of the day.

  10. falicon

    I think you nailed the most important ‘missing’ things for me too…but I probably can’t stress #1 and #3 enough…when I clicked over to read the comments, I couldn’t get a feel for who was posting (like Fred said, the Avatars have let me ‘get to know’ the regulars and there are def. threads I’ll pay more attention to if one of the regulars I really respect/enjoy is listed within it) and I couldn’t quickly jump from one thread of thoughts to another….honestly I scrolled down through about three comments, realized it was going to be WAY too much effort to follow/get involved in the conversation at that point, and so I just gave up and moved on with my day…

    1. fredwilson

      seems like we all just gave up

      1. David Noël

        I most definitely did.

      2. RichardF

        +1 ….which is a shame for that post in particular

  11. kidmercury

    the login/avatar/existing identity is the lock in.disqus’ use of ajax is awesome, hits the spot. you lose that, you will def see less comments and less threaded conversations inside a larger conversation.

  12. ErikSchwartz

    Threading and easy log in are big ones for me too.

  13. CJ

    The community and familiarity seemed to be missing without Discus. Seeing the Avatars in the comment thread is like walking into your neighborhood bar, you get a feeling of instant comfort. That alone makes me want to pull up a chair and throw in my 2 cents to whatever discussion is going on. Also, I completely loathe non-threaded commenting systems, it’s impossible to follow the flow of the conversation.

    1. fredwilson

      disqus is like the neighborhood bar.

      1. whitneymcn

        Is it the neighborhood bar, or the floating craps game?One of the things I love about Disqus is that I can and do start scrolling down the comments in a blog I don’t follow closely and find that my people are already there–there’s community, but the community isn’t closely tied to a single location (blog). Wherever the action goes, that’s where the players go. :-)It really seems odd to me that few of the people who are talking up decentralized social networking make reference to Disqus (and Intense Debate). They may not be “social” software by some definitions, but in my view they’re building the right kind of network.

        1. fredwilson

          the floating craps game – nice one!

      2. JLM

        More like an intellectual country club where the Country Club Republicans and the Limousine Liberals come to hoist a few.Disqus is merely the lubricant which makes the salon function better. The first draw is the quality of the commenters, the quality of the comments and the high degree of civility.

        1. ShanaC

          Umm yeah. Make no assumptions about the crowd you’re in, something I am slowly discovering. I don’t have the money for any of that. I’ll call you when I get my limo ride or my country club membership. I borrowed someone else’s camera to photograph the good sections of my portfolio. Joys of being young!I just come for the conversation.

  14. andyswan

    Yesterday, t I feared that if I were to comment in some slightly offensive yet overall funny way, other readers like Karen wouldn’t give me the benefit of the doubt like I get in my Disqus tavern. Yesterday felt like I was walking into a whole new saloon without my holster.I actively boycott all non-disqus comment systems. Mostly because Daniel Ha kicks ass.

    1. karen_e

      I missed you, Andy …

      1. JLM

        I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your website and the impressive body of work you have accomplished. Wow! Wish I had met you when I was developing office parks. I am now out of the game for a while — 15 years.

        1. karen_e

          Too bad you’re out of the game! Come to think of it, who *is* developing office parks right about now? {chuckle} Of course there must be a few in the works, but they hardly come across our desks every day! Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the tour of CRJA. In your neck of the woods, we recently pursued the redevelopment of the 2000-acre Galveston Island State Park (“concerns include protection of flora and fauna, public process, cultural resources, and sustainable design”) but didn’t make the shortlist. It was intriguing to wrap our heads around the idea of redeveloping a barrier island in such a way that the inevitable natural redesign (hurricane) is accommodated!

          1. JLM

            The devastation in Galveston was just incredible. It is a testament to the Texas spirit to see it come alive again. I flew over it after the hurricane and it was breathtaking to see the damage.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Was scouring the thread for this reason. Thanks Andy.

    3. JLM

      Yeah, I guess Disqus is like a concealed hand gun permit — its heft and comfort makes you feel a bit safer.

  15. Farhan Lalji

    Missed the easy login most, it’s the reason why I don’t comment (but will tweet instead) on more posts from other bloggers.Like others have mentioned it’s nice to have people’s comments on other blogs all in one spot, so you can tell if someone’s actually a moron or if they’ve just made the one off moronic comment. It also helps to discover other sites. I don’t generally comment on sites that don’t use Disqus or Intense debate, because I feel their hoarding the conversation.

  16. William Mougayar

    Are we comparing apples to apples? My understanding is that the Typepad commenting system is basic. I think you’d have to run Intense Debate on Typepad to give it a fair comparison vs. Disqus, no?

    1. fredwilson

      not comparing the two, just saying what we like about disqustypepad comments were on AVC for yesterday’s post

  17. Diego Sana

    I gave up leaving a comment on yesterday’s post because Disqus wasn’t working. I think UI/login ease/threaded discussions are the key. And by the way, Disqus needs improvements on Mobile Safari. Just tried to leave a comment using the ipod touch but it won’t let me login, so i had to leave the couch and come to my bedroom comment on a laptop 🙂

  18. giffc

    you hit the nail on the head with those 4: threading and email follow-up are my top two, but I really like avatars and easy login (as part of easy login, having the URL that goes with your name, and other people’s names, already loaded).

  19. John Minnihan

    #1, #3 and #4 above… believe it or not, #3 avatars – is perhaps the most important to me.I use avatars in Disqus (and other places) to quickly assess what I want to read. Fair or unfair, I use it like a rating system.

  20. maverickny

    It’s interesting that yesterday’s Typepad comments didn’t look like my Typepad comments, where you can sign in with Twitter, Facebook etc and get threaded replies (kinda, sorta). Since I activated Twitter and Facebook signin, more comments have definitely resulted, that I can vouch for.It’s a sore point though that I added Disqus to my personal Tumblog and Blogger blogs (both free) with a nifty bit of quick cut/paste of some code and yet Typepad don’t allow this on my paid for business blog unless you upgrade to the most advanced (and expensive) platform.Personally, I do comment more on blogs with Disqus loaded and love the service. What I like most is:a) visual aestheticsb) a greater sense of communityc) less likelihood of trolls and spammers appearing

    1. fredwilson

      typepad makes it so hard to add disqusit’s probably intentional

      1. karen_e

        Between Disqus and Tumblr movin’ into the territory, it’s easy to see why Anil Dash left Six Apart / TypePad. All interpretations of actual events are my own, of course.

      2. Frank Lynch

        It certainly does and is it probably is. I’ve been searching around for documentation on how to add disqus to typepad for some time. Would anyone here have a link ?

  21. Joe O'Connell

    The community gets to “own” their comments as much as the blogger (common identity across all places you comment, conversation tracking, and so on). This is what originally attracted me to coComment, but Disqus has executed on that vision at the next level.

  22. Doug Covey

    Recently completed Dr. John Medina Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. It was Rule #10 Vision trumps all other senses that…“vision is by far our most dominant sense…we learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words”. So it’s the avatar, then comments and finally engaging discussion creating an energetic community.

    1. JLM

      Agree completely. It goes to learning style because at its most elemental a conversation is a learning experience. Some folks prefer visual, written, intellectual, spoken learning styles. Disqus gives you at least 2 of them at any given time.

  23. Aviah Laor

    Following the discussion of distributed social functionality, it would be nice to aggregate discussions across websites. The simplest way would be to aggregate comments if a critical mass of commenter’s in one blog post also comment on another blogger post ,possibly in a given time frame (off course more sophisticated ways are available).In the DISQUS profile it’s possible to add a setting like “allow DISQUS to suggest my comment across other blogs: all blogs, only blogs which i posted, or none”. Same option for the blogger, if he wishes to allow comments mixing.Than mix the comments from several places under the same post, with a visual clue that easily tells you what was posted here and what elsewhere.This can really open up a lot of directions: The “Popular Now” will show what’s popular in much broader sense, and we will get a new real-time Discussions/Digg/Search within a community of interests and people. It will allow the emergence of content-rings grown up by the actual active readers, new kind of “web friends” , like “idea” or “subject” friend, people you might want to ask or take advice elsewhere, and much more.

    1. fredwilson

      i had this exact discussion with daniel and ro last month. they are thinkinghard about this idea

  24. iTbay

    I love disqus – so easy to use. I don’t comment without it – this is my 300th comment!

  25. Carl Rahn Griffith

    (Civilised) conversation/debate/dialogue/interaction is a wonderful thing. With the advent of (eg) Disqus and Twitter we’re beginning to see the real benefits/power of the global village that is The Internet. Until very recently the web was still pretty much Simplex.

  26. leeschneider

    In my mind, it comes down to three things:1) looks. yesterday typepad just looked sad.2) login. disqus is simple, and I already have a profile setup. wasn’t sure if would have had to create a new one for typepad. and frankly, I didn’t feel like doing that.3) threading. couldn’t tell what was a reply and what was a new comment. really makes the discussion static instead of dynamic.

  27. Mark Essel

    I concur with your top 4, although my order with my own additions would be:1) loss of commenting social glue. Now one profile doesn’t have all my feedback2-3) loss of threading and reply by mail made conversations impossible. It felt like commenting on Tech Crunch where folks rarely talk to eachother4) ease of log in prompts more feedback5) the avatars missing was terrible, but as a regular I recognize most folks by nameDaniel Ha and the Disqus team has at least one dedicated fan in me. I suggest to every blogger that they consider Disqus to help me as a regular commenter for the reasons above. That and I want to use their API in a semantic social app this year 😉

  28. thewalrus

    love disqus. my main beef is the signin acts up on me sometimes so i i’m never 100% sure if i am signedin or not. usually everything works fine if i write my comment, enter my name and email and click ‘post as guest’. even though it feels weird to click ‘post as guest’ when i’m actually posting as me, the user. then it prompts me to confirm my password and all good.but sometimes this doesn’t work, i don’t get the additional prompt and it posts my comment as anonymous ‘marko’ with grey and unhappy face. haven’t been able to figure out why i get this behaviour sometimes….is it something i am doing differently (ex. deleting cookies, typo on my email) or what?- the real marko

  29. pparrot

    Here are a few things that could be added to disqus:1) a way to collapse or expand one or more comment. The hierarchy of the thread would be clearer.2) highlight of all new comments since the last time I visited the site.

  30. marko

    and agree with everyone above that more/smarter filtering is needed. it was doable when avc had less comments in years past….but now that this discussion regularly pushes 100+ comments….it is not possible to keep up always so i would want tools to help me manage.i might comment on a post, and want to be a good citizen by replying to all replies, justify my stupid opinions, etc….but if 100+ emails hit my inbox while i’m gone for a couple hours….sometimes i just decide not to open any of them. bad me. but to stick to the crowded bar analogy….sometimes you have the time to stop by and discuss with all the ‘regulars’…sometimes its just a quick pint and go. not sure if there is a way to create a valuable a middle ground?

    1. marko

      doh. grey faceless marko happened again….

  31. Andrew S

    Thank you, David Semeria, for providing a perfect example of why threading is so important. No offense, but I was able to skip over that rather large tangent very quickly.

  32. theschnaz

    Disqus is really unique, it’s kinda a gem actually. If a blog doesn’t use Disqus, I’m much less likely to leave a comment.What I miss:1- email replies, this is the killer feature.2- easy login/avatars, this is a nice touch3- add comment to tumblr, this is an underrated feature. I have a hard time updating my blog, but I leave a good amount of comments on other blogs. For my better-than-average comments, I can easily post them to my tumblr and poof, my blog is updated too!

  33. MikePLewis

    I had the same feeling yesterday. I went to go comment on the post but saw that disqus wasn’t working and i didn’t. The reason is different than the reasons other readers mention. I like to keep all my comments in one place. Like others, i like to see what i’ve said across the internet and to share that with other people. With Typepad, my comment is floating out in the internet ether, never to be located again. And, if i’m going to take the time to post something meaningful with my name attached to it, i’d like to have it attached to a profile i actually use and care about.Some of my disqus comments get shared via twitter – which i like b/c it’s a comment i’m making on a web site which is similar to my other twitter actions. It’s not a huge feature but it’s nice and i get a feeling with disqus that my comments are more valuable and powerful than just some words thrown down on the bottom of a post.

  34. Jeff DiStanlo

    can’t track my comments in one central disqus page (comments here and elsewhere) if blogs use different commenting systems. more likely to comment on disqus enabled blog due to this.

  35. Aviah Laor

    A note about the “efficiency ideas”: filtering, efficient email replies, collapsing long messages etc.I think we should be careful with that. It might look efficient, but this can easily kill the discussion. Maybe to have a true discussion we really need to read the thread, follow the elaboration of ideas, follow the replies. Listening, not just scheming. Maybe if one doesn’t have the time today to comment or to further reply, it’s better to leave it. There is a group-theme, a tone, a process, all can not be easily replicated in a more “efficient” ways.

    1. ShanaC

      Correct. I do come back to the page multiple times a day, because the reply emailsA) Don’t remind me what I was answeringB) don’t tell me what I am missing elsewhereI’ve actually emailed Daniel about this previously: A friend of mine remembers when I was heavily tweeting out comments, and she couldn’t tell what the tweet was about because of the cutoff. he hated seeing them in his stream, and asked what to do (the person in question does blog somewhat about GBLT issues and jewish issues, and knows people who organizes in those communities, so answering those questions are sort of essential) It’s essentially for the reason listed here, you not only lose tone of the entire comment; you lose tone of the entire comment thread, and the entire blogpost.

  36. Keith B. Nowak

    What I love about Disqus is that it creates a profile which exists across blogs and it enables you to share your comments via Twitter. This allows your comments live beyond a single blog post and create/enhance your online identity. A collection of comments collected under a Disqus profile and shared via Twitter provides the opportunity to express your opinions and interests in a way that is not possible when comments live only on the blog post where they were made.

    1. JLM

      I find it very interesting to see what other blogs a commenter visits particularly when I find a particular commenter’s comments to be very interesting or even when I do not agree with them. I have found this is a way to broaden my exposure and to expose myself to more intelligent conversation. It feels like reading somebody else’s mail.

  37. markslater

    aggregated commenting and responsesometimes its easier for me to go to disqus to track a conversation on your blog – or rather my participation in the conversation. I chose not to comment because of this yesterday.

    1. JLM

      Ich auch. I did not comment yesterday because of how foreign the experience was as compared to Disqus. I talk a lot but I am intellectually lazy and want my comfort zone to be well ………………. comfortable.

  38. markslater

    i’d be kind of worried about how easy it is to churn off the disqus platform. thats scary switching. I guess they just have to keep out innovating….

  39. Jon Knight

    Viva Disqus!

  40. Mark G

    My sense is that an avatar acts as an image bookmark for the conversation without detracting from the ideas shared within the “content-circle.” However I would suggest the single image still has a significant subconscious effect on others and ones initial ability to join other content circles as this technology evolves, and Aviah pointed out so well. For example, I have never met Fred in person so his ideas that I have read over the past few months are literally organized/ bookmarked by his single image/ avatar in my mind. That is until today when I joined Disqus.Which begs the question, will video chat and the likes of Tokbox or others be able to initiate the delicate balance between image and content that it takes to facilitate useful discussions? I’m not sure yet. However we shouldn’t underestimate the power of image in relation to the discussion.

    1. ShanaC

      Umm, your avatar is creepy. Speaking of avatars.Edit: Now it is normal.

  41. ShanaC

    One of the things about Avatars: I can’t help but get the feeling that I need to switch my avatar. But I also get the feeling that Avatars are not like clothing, they are a signaling device beyond that of clothing. I don’t know why this is so, I just don’t think this is the right image for me…It may have to do with the structure of a blog against an aggregating engine (pictures went up last night of the New York Tech Meetup’s new one), but it seems that in a blog, the comments are much more non-inherent to the writing structure, each persons’ action may be separate to themselves as a though, where as in a aggregating engine, the thoughts are supposed to come together as some whole closer to a wiki, so the image may not be as necessary.Secondary issues: I have friends running a much smaller blog. it’s getting a a good deal of of commentators within its small circles- but they don’t know how to grow both the amount of hits and the amounts of comments. The guy are extremely concerned about Disqus being too techie friendly, not SEO friendly, and although I’ve told him otherwise, not friendly to anonymous commenting, since unlike here, that’s the norm for his blog and the circles of blogs and social media he works with. How do you break adoption into those circles? Email may not be what he is looking for as his all time wonderful commenting system. For a very long time, if you had to host a commenting system in those circles it was Haloscan….they may not be ready for this.

  42. sippey

    Wow, look at all this activity — lots of things to learn here about how we can make TypePad better! 🙂 But I wanted to point out a couple of quick things to hit Fred’s main points above…* TypePad supports userpics, though obviously they weren’t turned on for Fred’s blog. It’s been a while since Fred’s had Disqus on here, so it makes sense why that configuration option was turned on. For new blogs we turn them on by default, of course!* TypePad supports threaded discussion and email notifications and replies through TypePad Connect. But because Fred is using Disqus, that commenting option isn’t installed here. With TypePad Connect email notifications come to the author of the post, and replies to comments will go to the original commenter…as long as we have an email address on file for that user.* TypePad supports signing in with Facebook, Twitter, TypePad (of course) and OpenID endpoints; and as Leah Culver’s pointed out on her blog recently (http://blog.leahculver.com/…, we’re seeing a huge number of new users signing in using those services, which is great. And of course if you showed up here at Fred’s blog yesterday and didn’t already have a TypePad session, then there was friction to sign in.All that said, I love the discussion that happens here, it’s obviously a HUGE part of the value of AVC.com. And I can’t help but make the meta point that TypePad gives him the control over his blog to use an alternative comment system if he chooses. And, of course, we’re always looking at ways we can improve what we do in the product natively.

  43. RacerRick

    Yeah, it’s a ridiculously great service. Those guys have really kicked ass.

  44. scottythebody

    What I have to say has nothing to do with the question.To fully participate in all the social bling and functionality you have on the site, I have to log into and create accounts for a bazillion services. I use at least eight or nine different devices to access this site: 2 iPhones (1 business / 1 private) , 4-5 different laptops , 3 different desktops (1 home, 2 work), etc. etc. So usually, when I visit, I show up as “anonymous” in Disqus, “You!” in MyBlogLog, and so on.I have said this on your blog before, I think, but nobody seems to have solved it. but somebody needs to solve the identity issue for cross-service authentication and authorization. maybe Facebook connect will become the default, but with all of the glitches I see with their privacy protections and application platform, I’m rooting for a startup or new initiative from a big player to innovate here.As it stands, I stopped logging into a bunch of the services because it’s just a pain.

  45. LIAD

    notwithstanding the considerable number of ease of use features and functionality which disqus provides those commenting and those administering sites alike, for me disqus’s centralised store of my own comments is its killer application.when commenting using disqus you are not just writing something which you will never see/hear about again, you are adding something to a pool of your thoughts, theoeretically accessible for posterity. – increasing lock-in with every usage.out of nowhere disqus has become one of only a handful of online services i use every single day – increasing lock-in with every usage.Kudos to the CEO for garnering feedback by asking what 3/4 things you missed the most – he’s gonna go far…..

  46. Terry J Leach

    I was going to write a comment yesterday, but without Disqus I decided not to post. Because it without Disqus I felt I would be missing something and I think that something was a sense of community, even if I don’t know or read 99% of the comments. The typepad comment system look bare, harsh, and unwelcoming.

  47. DavidCohen

    Couple things: 1 – I guess disqus doesn’t work on chrome. I was seeing no comments until i switched to firefox. 2 – I see similar results on my blog (which is much smaller than yours in terms of community size) using a similar system, Intense Debate. When it’s on, I’ll see 3-4x the number of comments vs the default system. I think the major reason for this of all the ones you mentioned is the email capability. Being able to reply by email drives the conversation farther. It’s easier to comment without revisiting the blog, and so people are more likely to continue the conversation directly via email. I think that accounts for nearly all of the uptake in comments, but the other things you mentioned are minor factors.

    1. fredwilson

      it works great on chromei only use chrome these days (on both mac and windows) and i get disquscomments on all the blogs i use

      1. DavidCohen

        Hmm. I’ll try again. Is yours the mac version or PC? Mine is mac.

        1. fredwilson

          i use it on both

          1. DavidCohen

            strange. working fine now. must have been a glitch at the moment i was playing with it before.

  48. scottmag

    Ah, that comment about missing Disqus was mine, but I used Typepad’s Facebook login option and appeared as profile#676567540 instead of my name. So there’s something I miss!I’m late to comment so I will just add that the great sense of community here is really enhanced by the visual presentation of comments. Threading enables conversation, in the sense of having comments and responses. The avatars (especially when they are our faces) make us more comfortable that we are talking with real people – again you realize it when it’s gone. And the comfort that those two elements provide make us all the more interested in joining the conversation. Little enhancements complement each other and add up to a much better experience.

  49. ShanaC

    Typepad allows that, I saw facebook…

  50. ShanaC

    It was hard to tell initially because of the way Typepad comments are set up which one was my comment versus the one below me or above me.