Likes In The Comments

I don't exactly know why, but I've noticed a significant increase in the amount of "liking" going on in the comments recently. And I've responded to it by starting to "like" comments myself instead of or in addition to replying.

This is great for me. I often reply to a comment that I like without adding anything to the discussion just to signal that I liked it. I'll just like in that scenario going forward. I will continue to reply a lot and engage a lot so don't think that will change. And the double like/reply (which I'd like a button for) is also a nice move which I find myself doing a fair bit.

I'd like to encourage everyone who wades into the comments to start doing this as well. Many of you call yourself "lurkers" who don't like to comment. But if you like to read the comments, then please get a disqus profile and start liking. Every bit of engagement, every bit of social signaling makes this community better and stronger. 

I like liking. I hope you do too.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Andrew Stern

    As a frequent lurker who tries not to comment unless I have something productive to contribute, I agree. And yes, I realize the irony of this comment…

    1. RacerRick

      I wonder if it reduces the number of overall comments?

      1. ShanaC

        I wonder this to- yet I strongly believe in a ramp system of public involvement. I can’t expect everyone to want to comment- I can give them a lead in to want to comment eventually.It’s an open question, and a practical one. It matters in large in person groups too. Without a variety of ways to get involved, people feel distanced from what is going on. If your driving force is to get everyone involved and doing on a very equal plane- you may not get anything done. Not everyone is equally capable of all tasks or want to be involved in all tasks- however those people are impactful on the greater sense of organization. If your drive is to slowly build up skill and expect that people change and grow with organizations over time (and may end up leaving them) it may not be unreasonable to expect change in dynamics rather than just equal growth as one scales up.The question for me is if liking is enough, is commenting enough, or are we looking for some other systems for people to contribute in smalls ways? And if so what? What do you/me/we think the end result of all of this should be, especially if we consider that there is large impact to what is said in the private or less public actions of people’s lives.

        1. Mark Essel

          I like escalating systems. They appear as incredible simple frameworks for first time visitors. But as usage and interaction grows there’s emergence of incredible utility and many more user options under the hood. As an example imagine a form of feedback engine that:1) first let us like or comment2) then begin linking comments by dragging a connector between them on a site (the strength of the connectors depends on the number of folks who reinforce the link), they can be visible or invisible depending on a user setting3) enable linking comments across sites, or linking posts across sites4) enable drawing, doodling or doing design stuff in comment spaces (youtube has video responses, now disqus shows them-> righteous )5) enable editing, adding, detailing around the borders of assigned sectionsAll of these processes can use a virtual currency that is earned by contributing to a site, and having that community recognize and reward the value you add to it. The host could even sponsor contests or events where they give out more virtual currency/points.What you have at first appears to be a simple liking system with comments, but eventually you have an interactive art, and information linking tool.

      2. fredwilson

        it might, and if it reduces the number of comments like +1 or “i agree” then that’s cool with me

    2. ShanaC

      I think your situation is common. What makes you feel engaged, and how do you want to feel engaged online in say a discussion like this if you have this feeling?What was the tipover to post this comment? (and thanks for posting it)

      1. Andrew Stern

        Shana, I just responded to your questions, but my response appeared at the very bottom of the comments, as though it was a response to the OP. Odd glitch, perhaps because I authenticated only after I typed in the content? Anyway, see below…

  2. Louis Berlan

    There should also be a like button for posts. As in “I don’t necessarily have anything to contribute to the debate, but I like this post, thanks”.Might end up with too many buttons though!

    1. fredwilson

      Howard Lindzon has been asking Disqus for that too

      1. whitneymcn

        Funny — I was reading this post through Google reader, and the first thing I noticed was that five people had “liked” the post in that context:…I favorite (favor?) Tweets, like comments, like posts on Tumblr, like posts via Google reader…the fun really starts when we can tie more of these things together.

        1. falicon

          I do the exact same thing (like/comment/share via a variety of social tools)…and it DOES get interesting when you start to tie some of these systems together…seems like there could be a business around it somehow eh? (Disclosure: Whitney and I are building together and as luck would have it, this stitching is just the sort of thing many of it’s apps are being built to do!) ;-)BTW – I too have started using the ‘like’ button a lot more the past month or so…there are so many times when I feel like someone else already put a comment in that was so much better than (or at the very least the same) as I would have wanted to…and in those cases, I just ‘like’ it (and if I can, I often ‘share & like’ it..especially if it’s a really good thought nugget).

          1. Mark Essel

   is looking excellent Kevin. Wish I could design landing pages that well. Don’t be ashamed to link it. I really enjoyed keep up the great work ๐Ÿ˜€

        2. Jamie Lin

          There should somehow be a way to aggregate all the “likes” (on the post) from Google Reader, Facebook, etc. And in addition to Twitter reactions, if Disqus can also pull all the discussions going on around the post on Facebook, it’ll be more than amazing.

        3. fredwilson

          sweet. disqus added inline embedding the image/video if it is linked to in the comment.

      2. howardlindzon

        not only should there be like button for a post, I should be able to create what the button should say ie.’meh”putz”smiled”shizzle dude’i want to know how many people grunteed, lurked, smiled

        1. Mark Essel

          Excellent metrics

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Blogger has something like that — it lets you add three check off boxes underneath your posts. On my old blog I labeled them “good”, “meh”, and “bad”. Still had a number of lurkers who didn’t even bother to click one of those boxes though.

        3. fredwilson

          I like the idea of changing it up. Makes it fun and engaging

    2. Laurent Boncenne

      it would be nice too if it was included in the post like the zemanta button !

    3. Mark Essel

      You could always auto comment under your post, “what do you think of this post”.Readers could bump it if they like it.

  3. vacanti

    Perhaps “liking” has increased because Facebook has promoted the “like” feature so aggressively on its news feed. Now that “liking” happens on Facebook, those users are taking that learned action to other services.

    1. falicon

      I could be completely wrong here, but I would *guess* this blog does not have a heavy ‘facebook’ user crowd…I think it’s more a Twitter/tech/early adopter crowd…sure we probably all have facebook, but I don’t know how many of us pay much attention to it (or maybe a better way to put it is, I don’t think many of us are often ‘swayed’ by it)…again just my gut/guess about the crowd around here…

      1. Mark Essel

        I check in to Facebook once every week or two. But I spam my poor friends there incessantly with my comments and other aggregated stuff from friendfeed

  4. Dave Pinsen

    Could the increase in likes have something to do with the apparently new Disqus feature where it now shows the name of the first person who gave the like? E.g., that could be leading to more reciprocity.Incidentally, I mentioned this earlier in the week, but on my blog I have launched a comment contest which is going to be determined by who has the most likes at the end of the one-month period. Big prizes and excitement for the top three scorers.

    1. fredwilson

      that is what happened. daniel told me after i posted this that they added the avatar and name. it’s amazing how a simple change like that can alter many people’s behavior

  5. Kevin

    I am a former lurker. Now I just make dumb comments from time to time. When I do, I use Disqus as often as it’s available. It is great. I get annoyed when it’s not on a site now.In the past week three people have contacted me directly because they ended up on my blog via Disqus and liked something we are up to. It seems like there is a chance we work on something together. That’s pretty cool — and it just comes from commenting on things or people that I find interesting and letting the technology do the rest in the background.It takes a little getting used to the idea of writing on someone’s blog if you’ve never met them. Sorta like commenting on a conversation you overhear at a restaurant. Difference is I think the comments are pretty welcome online. Glad I stopped lurking.

    1. Mark Essel

      I’m an interrupter by nature. Asyncronous messaging keeps this in check so I dig blogs, emails, etc. If I’m not interrupting, asking questions, or making connections that’s a sign I’m disinterested.Commenting, by Disqus is powered by the new rules of Kevin Kelly’s network economy. An isolated comment on a blog, nice feedback for a single conversation. A billion comments all interconnected by users, blogs, topics, is a force to be reckoned with.

    2. Aviah Laor

      Pure DISQUS work. People are bullish about DISQUS here.

    3. Emeri Gent [Em]

      Kevin, I have a great respect for lurkers and lurkers are visible because modern web metric and dashboard systems make that visible. IMHO we don’t value lurkers as much as we should. It is a shame that we use language that is based on social conditioning, otherwise I think the word “lurker” would have had a much more noble meaning. I am not for any form of social engineering but etiquette and manners are important, but participation, that is a personal choice and you are right, whenever we engage in a “new” environment, it does take some “getting used to”. What I like about your comment is that comments should be jumping off points to travel or surf the web (for the few explorer kind like me rather than the larger tribal gatherer kin) and this is easier for me because I view online activity as a personal exploration rather than as a following. We are all different people, we simply need to find ways of respecting this bell curve of imagination and decision difference.[Em]

      1. Mark Essel

        How would you like the term Uatus?You’re right, there certainly is a negative connotation associated with Lurkers. I hadn’t really considered it before. They are the silent majority.

        1. Emeri Gent [Em]

          Mark, my word for lurker would be “The Great Society”. I hasten to add that my use of term “The Society” would be in honour of Guy Debord :…The problem with the word “Uata” as with the word “Silent Majority” is that it has too much of a “big brother” feel to it. Calling lurkers “little brothers” would also be too patronizing. Plus “Silent Majority” reminds me too much of Nixon”And so tonight-to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans-I ask for your support.” see:…Now the question is what makes “The Society” become “The Great Society”?[Em]PS Thanks for also the note on virtual currency below. If you ever watched the movie Braveheart, there is a fighting Irishman called Steven who claims Ireland is his. I noticed you used the word “Fredland”, but this virtual space I am claiming “It’s Mine” ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Mark Essel

            I don’t believe Fredland would grow if it was only Fred’s. The concept is shared by all of us that care for it so much, even though this blog will always be Fred’s space.

          2. Emeri Gent [Em]

            Mark I just like Steven’s character in the movie and the particular way he says “It’s Mine” but I fully understand and appreciate your expressed sentiment. There is a barbarian like quality to Steven’s character that simply reminds me of a “freedom” I seek at a personal level; and freedom is a way that can never be enslaved or captured, it just is. I do believe in the power of “AND” but I never quite really ever find the words to explain it.[Em]

          3. Mark Essel

            Yes! his character resonated with me as well. That rebellious nature, the entire movie screamed of rebellion. And how did it end, with the factual gutting of William Wallace blood curdling scream of “FREEDOM!”I prefer the dead can dance version of the song…

          4. Emeri Gent [Em]

            Did mean to sign off for the day, but did want to leave you with this picture:…That is what happened after the movie, a statue was erected in Scotland that now makes tourists think that William Wallace looks like Mel Gibson – it is great mythic stuff, and for sure there is also the romantic in me (though my DNA can be construed as barbarian nobility), so the song was great :-)What the movie Braveheart shows is how real and in love we are with our myths. “Emeri Gent” is nothing but a mythic sense of imagination defined as exploration. The best myth today is “be real” – in my life I have met merely a handful of truly “real” people, the rest is simply brand, marketable lies, persona and a brave face in an otherwise image based ugly world.What real means to me is no different to the way Jiddu Krishnamurti saw it, that there can be no relationship between image. William Wallace, the real William Wallace is a far different historical figure than the one that lit the fire of Mel Gibson’s imagination. Wallace is simply a victim of the branded world we live in, but no need to weep for him.EMBRACE THE MYTH MY BONNIE LAD !!! . . .but don’t ever mistake it for “freedom” :-)NOW definitely Signing out for the day. [Em]

          5. fredwilson

            i’m really digging these in line youtube embeds. makes it so much easier to watch them in context

          6. Emeri Gent [Em]

            Yep, it threw me at first to see the face of Steven of Ireland suddenly appear yesterday on the thread, but I soon caught on the drift of the how and why it appeared. It is a pretty neat feature I do most completely agree. I am only an occasional shooting star that comes this way (much more akin to the Silver Surfer than Rodin’s statue), so I will finish off that which was yesterday’s exploration and then melt away again into the ocean of the digital mind space. Incremental and continuous improvements are always a welcomed sight to see, no matter what port of entry my virtual Disqus passport is stamped.[Em]

          7. fredwilson

            I am not sure about where they put it. Seems oddly placed. But I love the feature

          8. ShanaC

            This comment gets back to the question of what is this space. Underneath it all it is code, on the top level not so.A koan I came up with: If the website is loaded up and metataged to never appear linked to anything else, does it exist?

          9. Mark Essel

            If no one ever reads a post did you write it?

          10. fredwilson

            Yes because I read all my posts at least two or three times

          11. Mark Essel

            Blogging is a great memory assist. I get to pull out prethought idea riffs on the fly and see how my views have stayed the same or drifted over times.I try to read my posts at least a couple of times.

          12. ShanaC

            How are you read Guy Debord? I see him promoting fractionalism in that the spectacle. In as much as there is a Society, it is moved along by the dialectics of different groups in it, which is what causes the Spectacle to begin with?

          13. Emeri Gent [Em]

            Look at this, I mean really look and feast your eyes on the picture in this Globe and Mail article : is sufficient evidence for me. May Mr.Debord rest in peace. He is as dead as dead could be and its 11pm and I want to go to sleep now Shana. I don’t see myself promoting fractionalism so I am pretty cool on that score. Love anything or anyone who points out that we live in an image ravaged society but a spectacle about a spectacle, that’s not as interesting a speculation, even if it looks spec-tacular :-)I will respond to one more then I will go to sleep – turn the current off (as to speak) and dream my happy dreams. I won’t even bold the [Em] below.[Em]

      2. ShanaC

        I wish I could get more out of the lurkers, who I respect very much. We in fact don’t know how they are using the information.Just because they are not interacting with you does not mean they are affected by you. The ideas could pop up elsewhere and produce something that you and I haven’t thought of yet.

        1. peonsguide

          As a loyal lurker, I can tell you how I use the information.I’ve been a small time entrepreneur up until now (have done locally-focused non-profit startups and a little consulting work) but am in the planning stages of something that I know to be the next big thing. I read blogs like Fred’s for insights I won’t get anywhere else. I want to benefit from his experience, his stories and his advice so that by the time I am at the point of pitching to him (or another VC of equivalent stature), I won’t make the stupid mistakes that a lot of first-time entrepreneurs make and, more importantly, I won’t be [as] surprised.

          1. ShanaC

            I think this is helpful information about the way people interact online.Have you found your use helpful to you? Thanks!

          2. peonsguide

            I definitely think it’s helpful. Even though I’m mostly lurking, I’ve learned a ton. This is like a Business School of Hard Knocks.

        2. Emeri Gent [Em]

          My favorite people on this good Earth are complete strangers. Not knowing them is the point and the beauty of knowing this is what makes lurkers and strangers people I adore & respect.There is something magical about ships that pass in the night and yes we may effect someone in ways we can barely imagine. There is beauty in that if one can envisage it.Now lights out. Nighty, Night and sweet dreams to all.[Em]

        3. WA

          After a few years on AVC this lurker took a sabbatical and grabbed a graduate degree at a university in Florida that recruited a Wharton Chair as dean of its business school. Truth be told I have asked a question or posted something few dozen times between here and GothGal over the past 6 years…This community is amazing. No Lurker Left Behind.

          1. ShanaC


    4. fredwilson

      that’s how howard lindzon and i got together and worked on wallstrip

  6. Harry DeMott

    Fred, any reason why you cannot connect your 4square profile to different blogs etc… so that you check in – not only to physical spaces – but to virtual ones as well. Become mayor of AVC! Easy way to contribute likes etc…

    1. Mark Essel

      I think Shana, Kid Mercury and a few others are already playing this game (if not actively then by partcipation).Look at to see the most actively liked? commenters (down for maintenance at the moment).

      1. Mike

        Personally I think this would cheapen the experience. “Liking” might substitute for certain kind of crowd-sourcing of the comment section, but the spoils should go to the person who has had the most “likes” bestowed upon them, not the person who “likes” the most.

    2. ShanaC

      Interesting conception of space. Where do you think you are located in this space. I mean if you had to physically describe it- where are you?

    3. fredwilson

      i’m not sure that’s where the foursquare team wants to go. it more like where the team wants to go

  7. Mark Essel

    I always thought you were saving your likes for a rainy day. I use them without restriction. If I enjoy a comment, bam it gets liked. I’m pretty active in pushing other blogs to pickup disqus for this reason. I want wordpress to make disqus their default comment engine.I even like strong opinions that echo “Mark you’re out of your god damn mind, and here’s why” comments. Like is a very potent group curation tool for the comment section of any blog.

    1. Emeri Gent [Em]

      Mark I beginning to see the wisdom in your thinking. I have never thought about apportioning “likes” but I have tried it just now and it actually makes me want to read the comment more thoroughly – I had not thought of that way before, focusing my intent more on avoiding sycophancy rather than acknowledging appreciation (even as you said if the comment might be lets say thought provoking in nature).[Em]

  8. awaldstein

    I’m a big ‘liker’ for three reasons:1. Easier and more efficient and let’s the ranked/like comment float to the top.2. Carryover of common learned behavior from Facebook.And 3. Gives non commentors a reason to be Disqus users.”I Like Liking”…I should have a tshirt made for you Fred.

    1. Mark Essel

      So far I’ve given 955 likes in the past year or so. As you can see, I “like” a lot.

      1. awaldstein

        You can’t say ” I Like Liking” without smiling.I vote for a Tshirt.

        1. Joe Siewert

          Haha, that would be great for some Disqus schwag.

  9. Jeff DiStanlo

    i thought there used to be arrows next to disqus comments at one point where you could vote a comment up or down in the list. basically ‘like and dislike’ functionality. i preferred that to only a ‘like’ feature. did i dream this or was that a prior feature?

    1. obscurelyfamous

      It existed. The down arrow was used far more than the up arrow because, hey, it’s the internet. :)It was a mistake to make it so easy to arbitrarily swipe at someone just because you disagree. We felt that disagreements should lead to more interesting discussions, not a massive drop in someone’s points. But there should also be a good way of representing a disagreement in a light “Like” form. We’re working on that.

      1. Tom Hughes

        I know what you mean about how “dislikes” tend to overwhelm. How about treating “like” and “dislike” as two different values, hypothetically something could be “most liked” and “most disliked” at the same time. Amazon does something similar with the “most helpful positive…” and “most helpful negative…” reviews.

        1. Ro Gupta

          Interesting thought. Also wonder if overuse of the down arrow wouldn’t be as much of an issue if each dislike were also attributed visually.

          1. Guest

            What should I do to stop receiving this bunch of emails (comments to my email address ?. It si annoying !!!

  10. andyswan

    OK so now we need to know how often different people like things. It’s one thing to get a compliment from Paula Abdul, but strikingly more meaningful from Simon.p.s. I’d love it if I could bury my own comments.

  11. Emeri Gent [Em]

    Is there a point where all “likes” become more akin to frequent flyer miles, and if that should be the case how does one redeem these “likes”?I have heard the term “penny for your thoughts”, but what would happen if each “like” was accompanied with the additional option to give that thought we like a virtual penny?[Em]

    1. Aviah Laor

      In beta. DISQUS will add “dislike” button, and when your balance drops you pay.

      1. Emeri Gent [Em]

        Whopee Aviah, then we will have society based on credit. Nah! sounds too much like the society we already live in. Of course I am open minded, thinking of credit makes me think of a Mastercard commercial, for then a “likes” becomes a PRICELESS trade mark, (it would be nice if “priceless” actually did mean unconditional love) but always do read the terms and conditions :…[Em]

        1. Aviah Laor

          Amex plans are also great. ou spend $100,000, and you get a free towel!But I agree. “Likes” are the currency of the web.

          1. Emeri Gent [Em]

            That is a nice one for me to personally ponder as I sign off my cyber jaunts todayWhat is the currency of the web?Why not current of the web? (computers and neural pathways are electrical connections)That is for me to dwell on. Thanks for your contribution today Aviah, it made me think.Signing Out[Em]

          2. ShanaC

            I don’t see current/currency as being opposed to each other- we describe actually money as stocks and flows and with blockages in the system.

          3. Emeri Gent [Em]

            First of all I have given Aviah a “LIKE” not because he started this thread but this thread rewarded me with thinking about my thinking. I view currency and current in the same way one would see making a living and making a life. They are both different ends of the same continuum and so they cannot be removed from the essence or unit of existence that they represent. I view it this way because I am an extension of that currency, I am an extension of that current.Last night as sleepy as I was, there was mention of lurkers and strangers. This morning I had the pleasure of taking my mom out to Friday morning shopping. As I pushed the quickly accumulating shopping cart, the shoppers represented “currency”, but that I was observing the shoppers meant that I more represented the “current”.Mom busily checking through her shopping list was focused on the currency of the shopping environment (no different to the currency of a virtual environment), but I was more fascinated in all those people that were going on about with their daily lives. That is beautiful in my estimation, my mind was registering the current of this flow, as the shoppers (strangers) themselves were in the flow of currency.The mere fact that this thinking emanates like a fresh waterfall of connection is merely my predilection. Why would I want to be bound by or buy definition when I have the personal choice to engage the current of life. That few do this is simply to respect that reality that for the vast majority, the work of making a living comes first (and that is what I respect so much about lurkers and strangers – they do go about their own business).So now I must leave this wonderful little shining oasis of beautiful lurkers and Shana you can visit them (the lurkers) here:, I am off to waltz with freedom. I recognize that when I was at school, there was a strange vote in my class as to the person in the class who won’t make it past 21 years of age. I was overwhelming voted as that person. That next year I will be turning 50 is something I consider as a milestone, that in November I celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary is another – that Fred Wilson will be 50 next year also, as well as Obama is not my concern, but simply a reminder to me of the class I am in.My ultimate goal here is to explore in my Freedom Oasis, so what better way to sign off here than to listen to the music of the person chosen to represent the theme tune for this years World Cup to be played in South Africa – I refer to K’naan and Waving Flag I must be off. Try to resist asking new questions :-)Cheers Shana, Aviah – please excuse me for me being me and now I am off again . . .[Em]

          4. Emeri Gent [Em]

            One more thing before I disappear Shana, as I think of this the most important example of the contrast between currency & current is John Lennon.Watching The Wheels Lennon was singing about letting go of the currency in order to find his current. Someone who was lost in currency alone came along and killed him. That is why I value current while understanding that currency is a part of life too.I don’t want to belabour this point too much, but John Lennon was the answer I arrived at once I pondered my question to its nth degree at my present level of awareness.Got to go now. Thanks for your input Shana, for it helped stir my creative juice – and my dear with that you deserve a LIKE :-)[Em]

          5. ShanaC

            And thank you back. I’m going to think about what you said.

          6. ShanaC

            and how is likes as monetary units supposed to work?

          7. Aviah Laor

            reputation, reach, influence. Seth Godin writes a lot about it.

          8. ShanaC

            I prefer harder assets to measure vis a vis MBA mondays. Creating reputation currency is hard because it can all disappear in an instance if you do something stupid. What’s the asset?

          9. Aviah Laor

            I’m not sure it’s lost so fast, and it’s not only a web issue. If you get bad service at a restaurant or bookstore you like it will instantly affect you as well. Reputation are a crucial step towards monetarization. They are an asset if you consider the alternative costs – advertising, mass media marketing etc.BTW, Wall St. proved that they can fume ANY asset in no time, that reputation is not that different ๐Ÿ™‚ Git Shabes.

          10. ShanaC

            I don’t think its only a web issue: I just think the web speeds up theseprocesses. It makes mass media reputation even more expensive? because ofhow impactful those reputation issues can be. It makes those restaurantseven more vulnerable to reputation issues in a way.Now how do you price them? Just because Wall St can fume an asset doesn’tmean that the assets they fumed didn’t have some sort of underlying value. You have to actively destroy houses (or let the weather and time do it foryou). Even still, the stuff the house is made of is still valuable. Thatdoesn’t change. Reputation is more ephemeral. I can’t transfer myreputation…And a Gut Vuch to you.

    2. Mark Essel

      Emeri, you are connecting likes to virtual currency. Something Fredland will surely be founded on. See Kid Mercury’s comment stream for well thought visions of the blogstar future.

  12. falicon

    Don’t know what they are actually doing with them yet, but likes also contain a lot of potential ‘discovery’ power…if you think about them in terms of a simple tag, it’s a great way to attach more meta data to a blog post (ie. add the keywords from every ‘liked’ comment to the post URL along with the content from the actual blog post and you’ll have a great set of meta data to search against).It’s also got a lot of potential to connect people and new content…for example, if Mark and I ‘like’ a lot of the same comments, then it stands to reason that I would be happy to be alerted on the comments/posts he ‘likes’ that I haven’t (yet)…especially if they are on completely different posts/URI than the ones I ‘like’ are on (because there’s a good chance I don’t know about those blogs/posts yet)…and of course if Mark and I ‘like’ a lot of the same comments, it stands to reason that I might also ‘like’ Mark and so Disqus could/should maybe make a recommendation or a simple introduction?Really a lot of directions you can go with this data set…and that’s not really even getting into the fact that this all spans across multiple sites/blogs or all the content that’s actually contained within a given comment…

    1. Mark Essel

      Right on Kevin!There’s all kinds of different connective possibilities for Disqus and other “glue” type applications of social media. We hang out in Fredland’s bar and grill often enough, and get a good feel for other folks’ outlook. But why not leverage those shared views for serendipitous search? It’s a great idea, it’s already happening and the experience can be improved. I’m lazy about it (I don’t check my subscribed disqus commenter streams too often) but when I do it’s highly informative (and entertaining).I generally catch wind of a shared post on twitter from David Semeria (@hymanroth), Dave Pinston Arnold (@awaldstein), Shana (@shanacarp), Carl (@egoboss), Howard (@howardlindzon), Vlad (@vukicevic) or Chris (@cdixon). Then when I finish reading it I’ll see that they commented and jump right into the conversation. Good times.If the community here feels it’s worth commenting on another blog, then there’s a high likelihood that I will as well.

    2. ShanaC

      I feel like this is a Hunch problem. Weird dataset, what kind of correlations do you get?Also how do we conceive bringing people together around blogs where we don’t comment very much. Is it important when doing this to spread the network, or to concentrate it?

      1. Mark Essel

        I think it’s important to inspire multiple concentrated networks with lots of interconnections. That way there are still identifiable communities and also broadly connected groups. The network effects grow with the size of the network, hence the success of Facebook or Gmail right now.

  13. Doug Covey

    Like option is a great touch point indicating I’m here, I’m listening, and I like what you’re saying. Similar to an in person head nod in approval of what you are saying. Like button = virtual head nodding

    1. fredwilson

      do you think when the author of the post likes a comment that should be shown differently than when another reader likes it?

      1. Keenan


      2. Tom Hughes

        Ideally the post author would have a different capability, a “highlight” or elevate instruction (like moderating, but moderating up instead of moderating to remove); this would be in addition to or instead of the “like” option that all the audience has.Then the reader who comes to the post days or weeks later can choose to view only the author’s highlights, or the unadulterated discussion-as-it-happened version. This very thread would be a good use of this; strong though the discussion is generally, it would be valuable to have a few comments picked out for posterity. I know that I often find myself checking the vertical scrollbar when I get to “comments” on a post. If that bar is too long, I’ll skip the comments. If I knew that an author I follow had selected a handful of comments, I’d be more likely to read them; especially if time is past and the main discussion itself has slowed or stopped.

      3. Doug Covey

        Yes – life of a community is created in levels of engagement, provoked by the author. Primary relationship is w/ the author and then other community members which morph into future relationships.

        1. fredwilson

          That’s how it happened here

  14. Doug Stewart

    I’m sure the number of “likes” on this post’s comments will be much higher than the norm.

  15. lazerow

    This is coming to the web in a big, big way. Facebook is going to let publishers allow their users to “like” any piece of content on the web and have that action published back into your FB stream.

    1. fredwilson

      they will not be the only ones to do that

  16. Andy

    I was thinking of Disqus the other day – It is enjoyable to read the first few dozen comments, but once a post gets more than that – it becomes cumbersome to wade through all – I am certain I miss some awesome comments that are buried only because 100 others posted first… I propose that Disqus structure (as an option) commenting such that the newest comments start out at the top (first to be seen) – and other Disqus users can then rank them up or down…ultimately the comments ranked highest (perceived by readers to hold the most value) rise to the top – and noisy comments deemed not important by readers will wade to the bottom.

    1. Aviah Laor

      Either you miss 50% of comments or 50% of you working time. No compromise here.

  17. JLM

    I notice that the LIKES do not post correctly to one’s Disqus profile. Mine has shown a fixed number for a number of months though there have been a number of LIKES in the interim.

    1. Aviah Laor

      Nah, it just overflowed and then started from 1 again

    2. fredwilson

      daniel’s reading this thread (he left a reply above) so he should address this

    3. obscurelyfamous

      Hola. I see that you have 80 liked comments and it should show that. Do you see something different?

      1. Guest

        What should I do to stop receiving these bunch of notifications (comments) sent to my email address. It si annoying !!!

        1. ShanaC

          when you post (the first time generally) there is a tab clicked on that will send the entire thread to your email. Turn that off.

        2. obscurelyfamous

          You can click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Sorry for the annoyance… hope to improve the obviousness.

      2. ShanaC

        See what I mean about learning curve…

  18. Chris Swan

    It’s cool that Disqus now names the first liker, but I suspect that author likes are worth more than commenter likes, so perhaps Disqus needs some special flag for when you reach out and bless a comment.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s the question i asked in a reply a few comments above this one

      1. RichardF

        I guess that depends on how important you perceive the “game” aspect of liking to be.I can see that a special “author likes this” flag would appeal to some commenter’s (and authors for that matter) ego and that some readers may give extra attention/value to a comment that the author liked but on the other hand it’s now pretty obvious to see whether you liked something or not.Personally I don’t think it’s necessary, whilst I always enjoy seeing certain posters comments on here I just as much value the vast majority of the comments I read here. I don’t need anybody else’s validation, for me it’s interesting to see who liked a particular comment but that’s about it.Having said that maybe it’s because the quality of the commentary is particularly good here. So taking that a step further perhaps the ability to filter comments based on the likes of the people I like! would be useful on blogs where the there is alot of noise (to put it politely). Techcrunch, particularly, could benefit from this type of system (or maybe it couldn’t!)Off topic – a feature I’d like to see is some sort of preview before post button.

        1. fredwilson

          That’s great feedback. Thanks

  19. James Alonso

    I’ve noticed a similar trend in facebook liking as well. I’m not sure which rehaul of the news feed made it happen, but sometime in the last year or so liking has really taken off. I would bet that the increase in liking on your blog is largely due to people becoming more familiar with liking there.Also, I’m for it as well. There are certain situations where a written comment is socially inappropriate or more than you want to commit, and the like option allows you a lower level of commitment while still engaging. All in all I think it leads to higher engagement.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t generally comment on my daughter’s facebook pictures, but every once in a while i will like one of them. i feel it’s a lightweight way to engage without “joining their party”

  20. Aviah Laor

    I just got the beta invite. GetGlue – they are right behind you.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Aviah Laor

        maybe I rushed a little. It’s another take on the “topics web” ( included). Something like Stackoverflow for everything. They are more open and flexible in that sense. The idea is similar: there are subjects (people start), there are likes (and unlikes). You want likes, popularity and badges. GetGlue looks more polished, but they should consider if the “Forthsquare” experience can be scaled to the entire web. Maybe the should add some community or narrower circle for subjects/topics.

        1. fredwilson

          Thanks. I got your trial but what I really want is an invite

  21. liked and commented

    it’s fine to like anything and everything, but if you’re to be considered a guru, you should earn that title based upon ability to discern between what is good and what is not good. If i can earn guru status because i like and comment on everything, what good does that do anyone?

  22. Fernando Gutierrez

    Another nice effect if we like instead of empty-comment is that comments will be more interesting to read because all them will have something new.

  23. Aaron Klein

    One thing I wish Disqus would do is send the blog moderator a once-a-day e-mail notification of any comments that were liked. I often am looking at a two week old post and notice that several people “liked” a certain comment and I never knew.Great post Fred, I “like liking” too!

    1. fredwilson

      good suggestion

      1. Aaron Klein

        While we’re at it, being able to put your e-mail signature into your Disqus settings so that it knows what to automatically strip out of e-mail replies would be awesome as well.I’ve been reduced to getting my Disqus comments twice – one to my regular account on my desktop, and one to a special signature-less BlackBerry account I can reply from. It’s a kludge.

  24. Keenan

    it would be interesting to have a dislike button too. Nothing punitive, but 360 degree feature set would round out the value. there are two sides to every story

    1. Shyam Subramanyan

      I agree. I’d be more inclined to click on like (to show which side I fall on) if there’s an option to dislike something.

    2. Aaron Klein

      Keenan, I agree with you most of the time, but in this case, I don’t. I actually like that Disqus doesn’t have dislike, and if they ever do it, I hope I can turn it off for my blog.Here’s why. I’ve seen it on a bunch of newspaper web sites, primarily on political issues. It’s easy enough to just say “right on” without adding anything to the conversation if the author nailed it. You let people off the hook if they can dislike without explanation.I think it’s better for our public discourse to make people explain why they disagree with something.

      1. Keenan

        fair point. so what you are saying is accord with out explanation is OK, discord without explanation isn’t. Interesting point, need to think on this one.

        1. fredwilson

          ‘Aaron’s law’ I’m going to use that. Great insight

        2. WA

          From writing classes to other team and group meetings and discussions we always emphasize what we like in a member’s contribution. When you are exposed to recurring positive feedback on certain things and none on others it becomes apparent what should be edited/dropped/changed over time. Most usually get it pretty fast…after all who was it that said “No one ever built a statue honoring the critic…”

          1. Tereza

            Reminds me of a NYT article that made the rounds a few years ago: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage. principles are equally applicable to business, comments boards, parenting, and pretty much everything else.The takeaway: emphasize the positive, and you’ll get more positive behavior back. Creatures of all types, over time, do not continue behaviors which have not been recognized.

      2. Tereza

        Aaron I agree with you violently on that one. If someone disagrees publicly — nothing wrong with disagreeing — but they do owe the courtesy of an explanation, for everyone’s benefit.That’s the underlying purpose of dialog.

  25. HowieG

    Mr. Wilson your kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and you care about helping entrepreneurs in a mentor like way. Most people wouldn’t take the time, especially since you once stated working 70 hour weeks. And we appreciate it immensely. I was watching my sister try to help her 6 year old son with his math homework. He threw a fit (not sure why). Your blessed with a bit more attentive students =)

  26. Charles Birnbaum

    Anything that helps us manage our time consuming media more efficiently is welcomed. Reading only comments that have additional value to add will be akin to getting rid of classmates who never add anything new during discussions, but only piggy-back on others. I like.

  27. Isao

    Even though I actively marks “Likes it” on my Facebook when I do not have enough time to comment, I did not apply it to my own blog. Thanks I will add that function. You are right about the role of “Liking”as the great filler in the chasm between passive reading and active commenting.

  28. burningfp

    Yes, good, I “like” a lot..

  29. Donna Brewington White

    Once you’ve liked, you’ve liked for good. No unlikes for accidentally hitting the wrong button. Oh, well. Not referring to present company or likes issued tonight, of course. Note to self: Remember — it’s the button BENEATH the comment.

  30. Noah Fleming

    I like this a lot.

  31. valto

    I think “like” as feature overall is great, it’s that “something in between” reading and commenting. Also if someone is already added a comment what you were about to say, no need to comment again (I guess I should have read comments before writing this, but I will now write this anyway and read after I have send this).The only thing I sometimes don’t like is if in facebook I like something and then automatically will get notifications of all followup comments. But then again sometimes I want and sometimes I don’t – “how would the software know” :)I also think this is a great model to think about in all other applications as well. The smallest step that can be created for the first interaction should be the starting point and also there could be steps in between some bigger actions.

    1. fredwilson

      Small is good

  32. Andrew Stern

    I feel engaged because of the quality of the commentary on the blog, and its relevance to me, not because of any particular technical or formatting features. However, the are certainly ‘hygiene’ factors that would get in the way if they were not well done.Why did I post this time? I guess because Fred spoke more or less directly to me (a lurker) and I welcome the opportunity to say “I’m here, Fred!” and “Just because I don’t post for the sake of posting, it doesn’t mean I’m not really engaged in your blog.”

    1. ShanaC

      Ok what for you makes this engaging? What would make it more engaging? Less engaging? How are you describe your engagement now?

    2. fredwilson

      You know you are engaged but I didn’t. I do now. Thanks

  33. Wikwikit

    User participation follows more or less a 90-9-1 rule: * 90% of users are โ€œlurkersโ€ (i.e. read or observe but donโ€™t contribute). * 9% of users contribute from time to time. * 1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions.You can find some other interesting insights about the nature of user participation here:

    1. ShanaC

      Yes but: The user no matter who the user is is likely to interact with the object more along the lines of the Bartle Square from MMOG. We don’t know what the user is doing, we just know it should have an effect on them.Systems should be designed around the fact that there a multiplicity of interaction points- if you want one particular action, you are going to need guidepoints to get there.Otherwise you could end up like me- thinking coffee cups are perfectly good vases…in the internet sense!

    2. fredwilson

      Is that true in a private network like facebook?

      1. Wikwikit

        Probably not. The main benefit for the users on sites like Wikipedia or Wikwikit is the consumption of content. The benefit users get for producing content (in most cases earning a higher status within the community) is something that only a minority would consider worth the effort. In private networks like Facebook, people want to participate, to share, to communicate with other users. That’s the reason to join one in the first place. Chats like MSN or ICQ are extreme examples of this situation. It is interesting from a business perspective, that traditional advertising is less effective on sites with a focus on interaction between users compared to sites where the focus is the consumption of content (Source:

  34. Jan Schultink

    My “liked” score is actually a bit scary: zero.Disqus gave me some great conversations, Disqus introduced me to some new online “friends”, I moderate my blog using Disqus getting a lot more reader engagement, still Disqus reminds me all the time:197 commens, 0 liked, 15 points is a bit depressing. (* smiling *)

    1. ShanaC

      You got a like! You sound like you need one.Also- I have to say I don’t know why I like certain things more than others. I also don’t know why other people like things more than others. Weird dynamic in there.Is there certain kind of content that people are liking more than not? That would be interesting to surface- is it related to LCD or something totally different?

      1. Jan Schultink


    2. Mark Essel

      that’s how many likes you’ve given.

      1. Jan Schultink

        OK, got it..

    3. Tereza

      yeah – jan — you have to “like” others (that’s your 0 for “liked).go spread a little Like around to others and it’ll surely bounce back.

      1. Jan Schultink


        1. WA

          Here’s click of a like for the “gipper” to speak, Jan! I wondered what those “points” were myself…not that I am rolling in “likes” at this present time…

  35. Tereza

    Feeling the love from the ‘likes’.Particularly helpful if you feel — or are — different from the general demographic of the group. Because when you say something that for most of the crowd is out of left field, and no one answers — it’s kinda hard not to wonder if your comment was totally moronic. The silence can be deafening.Or — is that just a girl problem?We all need a nudge sometimes. “Likes” are a digital nudge, and much appreciated.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m reading this on my blackberry email. I want to reply with the word ‘like’ and generate a like. Feature requested already

      1. Tereza

        Sometimes I also feel compelled to do a Like in Twitter, but cannot.I guess the question is in that environment would Likes increase the feel-good effect and maybe psych barrier for lite users….but dampen the network effect by fewer RTs?

        1. fredwilson

          You can favorite in twitter. Its the same thing

  36. WA


  37. David Kadavy

    Liking is what I call Thin Ice Interaction.But what happens if you like your own comment? Is that called “masturbating?”

  38. Tereza

    FredI’m getting better at DISQUS and my needs around Likes are getting more sophisticated.I want to use them as an analytic tool. Is there a way to track back, in a single click, to which of your comments were Liked, and who Liked them? If there is, I can’t find it. And while they’re at it, I’d like that access on-the-go as well.I want to pay attention to which of my comments were well-received, so I can write better comments over time.And I want to have easy visibility (a Leaderboard or pushed notifications) on Likes I get. Those are definitely people I want to follow, read their blogs, etc.Does DISQUS do this, or is it planned?

  39. Mark Essel

    I sell likes $5 each, tweets for $9.95, massages for $45/hour and break dance lessons for free (I’m interning there)

  40. whitneymcn

    Good point. I was just about to say that I don’t think that Disqus exposes who “liked” your comments when I saw that it’s exposed on the page now–congratulations, Mark Essel liked your comment! ;-)I’ve been thinking about this a bit, because a while ago I noticed that I have “points” associated with my Disqus profile, which I assume factor in “likes” of my comments somehow, but I haven’t found anything on the Disqus site that shows me who liked which of my comments.While it was a little frustrating to not know who thinks I’m smart/funny/insightful/whatever, I came to the conclusion that I’m actually happier with the system with the underlying data hidden.Since it’s a positive-feedback-only situation, if a “like” doesn’t get anything for the…um, “liker,” it greatly reduces the social pressure and incentive to try to game the system. I’ll have to see what I think after paying attention to the attributed likes for a while, but my immediate reaction is that an anonymous liking system actually provides greater benefits in this situation.

  41. ShanaC

    That might not be a bad thing- reciprocal favors are a big form of social glue. Creating pressures might cause closer knits in a variety of communities.Also, depending on how points are calculated, it might increate the value of the points- seeing other people believe in the like, and considering the points are reflective of the likes, it might be that the points value are reinforced by the liking. We can see who we trust/don’t trust when it comes to the likes, so it creates a common basis that points may be valuable (after all, we know how we’re making them and if we trust the other person) (not that I am sure how they work….or how point systems should work in the long run)

  42. LScott

    Not only do I “Like” this comment… it was unexpected and freakin funny… my kind of humor. No charge.

  43. falicon

    Off and on for while now I’ve talked with Daniel at Disqus about building a game on top of Disqus comments…without giving me any real details, he has said that it’s been debated and thought about internally…and so there’s a very good chance that the points stuff could/would be used for that (though I think it’s initial purpose/design was related to ‘reputation’).If you stop to really think about it, Disqus has a TON of quality data passing through their system (I actually think it’s one of the four best social data sets out there right now – Twitter, Facebook,, and Disqus)…they don’t really expose very much of it via their API yet (but I continue to pester them about it from time to time).

  44. Mark Essel

    Anytime L!I got the sarcastic cork pulled out by reading plenty of AndySwan and HowardLindzon comments.

  45. LScott

    I like to claim sarcasm or smartass as my middle name… Since I am Canadian, also originally from Toronto, I “get” Howard’s humor and have met Andy since he lives here in Louisville so I know he has the best sense of humor…. never a dull moment if you follow those two.

  46. fredwilson

    any friend of howard and andy is welcome here