The Community Box

Those who hang out in the comments frequently may have noticed that Disqus has been slowly rolling out some new features in the space at the top of the comment thread. The latest new feature arrived last night and looks like this.

Community box

If you open the comment thread and click on that button, you'll get a popup called The Community Box. This is a real-time dashboard of what is going on in the community. The data is still getting filled out on the back end so it is not entirely accurate yet, but based on my quick look, it seems pretty accurate.

The leaderboards are based on a trending algorithm so they will change over time based on who is active and who is not.

Let me know what you think.


Comments (Archived):

  1. David Semeria

    I think a good metric for comment quality is #likes / #comments.

    1. RichardF


    2. kagilandam

      Yes. As the top level measure.If required to drill down… we can use the following as well.Replies received also is another measure (right or wrong it has generated a debate) so the user can be categorized as a wrangler.”I Agree” “spot on” “awesome” in reply could be searched for within the replies.

    3. Scott Carleton

      I remember watching that metric myself when I first started out on Disqus but eventually stopped caring (or tried to). Every commenter here has a different personality with a different style of contributing. Some one-liners will appeal to the crowd and get a great deal of ‘likes’ where as other comments may be less poignant but important for the discussion as a whole.Regardless, just as with Twitter ‘mentions’, it’s always feels good when someone likes your comment and makes me want to comment more.

      1. Mark Essel

        You captured my feelings on it.The likes are an attempt to measure community appreciation. If the community prefers whitty one liners, then we’ll see more of them. If most folks like comment bloggers than we may see more of it here.I want a cannon sized Like super soaker. If I read over an interesting idea it’s getting a like.

        1. Scott Carleton

          Big fan of comment bloggers like JLM. Disqus made comment blogging possible.Also, disqus, tumblr, twitter, foursquare et al, I have come to appreciate greatly for one reason. It’s the equivalent of the diary I always wish I had written but never could slow my mind down long enough to write it out. I like looking through my histories and getting my memory jogged by specific actions which were fun to do at the time and allow a posterity marking.

      2. ShanaC

        It’s called community engagement. Mostly because we’re stuck having to engage with real people, so this/her personalities shine through. To be totally honest, my metric was (and still it) Can I get people talking, can I get them to respond? I actually wonder every day. Maybe I’m doing something right, something wrong?Honestly, in some ways, the metrics make me nervous. What if I am bad at this?

        1. Tereza

          You’re not. Just do what you’re doing.

          1. ShanaC

            Thank you Tereza. You’re doing a great job too 🙂

    4. ShanaC

      David according to that list I’m not well liked. According to that metric, I suck terribly.

      1. RichardF

        Shana, just goes to prove that numbers don’t always give the full picture. You don’t suck.

        1. ShanaC

          Doesn’t mean when I first saw the leaderboard, I got a bit of “OMG, what if people hate me” moment. Things that are labeled “Liked” screams “High School Popularity Contest”Which I did not win.And I don’t want to turn here into a “High School Popularity Contest”*on winning in high school: It was next to impossible, and in some ways from what I can tell, is next to impossible for a lot of women. It’s why Gossip Girls is so popular: Even the Queen Bee types have the misfortune of losing and winning popularity all the time, and it relates to a lot of oddly female experience.

          1. RichardF

            Actually it relates to a lot of male behaviour as well particularly in a team sports environment.Likes and comment ratios are mildly interesting but that’s about the extent of it as far as I’m concerned.Regardless of any system there will be people I empathise with and like more than others. I like the comments from people such as JLM that impart real knowledge and experience. I also like the banter (not sure if that’s a peculiarly English term) and chat, which is far harder to measure. Some people don’t like that banter element, they just want “smart” comments but for me that’s part of being in a community.Life’s a rich tapestry and it sure would be boring as hell if we all “liked” the same thing.

          2. Donna Brewington White

            “banter” is a wonderful word…but then I am a bit of an Anglophile…

          3. RichardF

            Are there many British expats where you are Donna? California is popular with us Brits I know.

          4. Tereza

            Don’t take it so seriously, Shana. It really doesn’t matter.What matters is what you’re learning and what we’re learning from you. Which is a tremendous amount.

      2. fredwilson

        it’s hard to compete with people 20-40 years older than youit is JLM’s wisdom (as well as his ability to provide it so well) that gets him so many likeswisdom has to be earned

        1. ShanaC

          Not worried about getting there, that’s oddly the advantage of youth.

      3. Tereza

        Shana I Liked this, because you are putting yourself out there and not because I think you suck.A couple things.First, this is a community and not a line of people whipping it out to get measured. That means interaction. Interaction means there are setups and responses. You ask a lot of questions. That sets up many of JLMs responses. Certainly mine and others.We get a kick out of a question being asked that we fancy ourselves knowing the answer to. Those questions are critical to the conversation and frequently unquantified.Great comedy needs the funny guy and the straight guy. The funny guy gets all the credit. But relies totally on the straight guy for the setup. No straight guy and the funny guy gets nuthin’.When Sonny Bono died Cher said at his funeral, “You were all laughing at him, but what you didn’t know was, Sonny wrote all the jokes”.Right now you are figuring yourself out — as you should be — and that means you taking yourself and all of this very seriously. And you must be applauded for putting yourself out here every day. It’s really awesome. (and as an aside, as a female, made me feel welcome starting to comment a number of months back)You are essential to the flow at this cocktail party and the numbers don’t reflect that.

        1. fredwilson

          what a great response Tereza. so true

        2. ShanaC

          I’m (mostly) fine with all of these things. I most stated what I stated asa statement of fact. It’s like the old problem of the SATs- what youmeasure only reflects what you measure. And then you can have gamesmanship.I recognize that I changed hugely, will continue to change because of what Ihave done here, and have become a better person for it. And I still ambecoming a better person. (thanks everyone).I’m happier as a person.(And you’re welcome, anytime, it goes for anyone here, fyi, just holler.)

    5. Mark Essel

      Some favorite comment metrics: -how momentarily dumb founded I feel, followed by how inspired I am.-how hard I laugh, Disqus is going to have to start integrating my mic for ratings.

  2. Nikhil Nirmel

    Pretty cool feature. I’m pretty fascinated by how much people can be motivated by such things as leaderboards and reputation systems. Any content a system hopes to elicit from its users necessitates a time cost from the user. Apparently community recognition for having incurred that cost to the benefit of the community is a sufficient benefit for many to become highly engaged contributors. This leaderboard would, in theory, heighten that effect.Being paid minimum wage to do something you volunteer for would probably make you think twice about wasting your time. I wonder at what point do explicit reward systems such as leaderboards actually discourage use due to users wanting to impart to themselves and to others that they are contributing selflessly, and not in order to get some ancillary benefit. Cognitive dissonance is a ridiculously crazy motivator… and de-motivator.

  3. RichardF

    I like the new faces section, although would exclude guests. The community box icon could be larger (or give the blog owner a few different options) because for someone new to Disqus or to a blog that has implemented Disqus it’s not obvious enough imo.Great to see Disqus implementing more community tools, making it easy for blog owners to create a community. It will be interesting to see how/if IntenseDebate respond. (also interesting to note that Techcrunch appear to have dropped IntenseDebate)

  4. Scott Carleton

    Whoa! That’s awesome. It’s also gonna lend a whole new dimension of competition. What’s more coveted, the ‘most active’ or ‘most liked’? Soon we can add in high school style superlatives for everyone.

    1. fredwilson

      most liked seems better to me

      1. Scott Carleton

        I wonder if Disqus will release one major community box on their site, showing whomever is most liked overall.

        1. Mark Essel

          The King of the Comment Mountain!

      2. Mark Essel

        I’d prefer more active, but that’s only because I have a low traffic blog.With hundreds of comments most liked makes filtering easy. Great way to scale attention too. If you are swamped with comments (you will be) you can defer attention to comments with at least one or two likes.I suspect that would pull you into a conversation thread though.

      3. ShanaC

        Some danger to that. I rather be the one disliked for certain things I’ve said, but at least willing to say them.Not every opinion is crowd popular, but if it isn’t said then we have Bay of Pigs like thought processes.Though to be honest, it is so tempting to become sweeter to get more likes. I think?

  5. Guest

    I think it is especially great for this blog since entrepreneurs tend to be competitive people. My first thought was “Ok, I need to get two more likes to take down Charlie”… LOL. I’m not sure I’d want to be the most active or the most liked on a self help blog. Which, by the way, is the section they directed me to when I went to buy “The Four Steps to the Epiphany.”

    1. JP Tucker

      Not just entrepreneurs either – you can see the effect of competitive social gaming in technology being effective across the board with all the badging/achievement elements spurring participation.Best part about these features, on blogs particularly, is it really cuts down on the time it takes to read the most relevant comments. My extra free time thanks you, Disqus.

      1. Guest

        I disagree that it gets to the most relevant comments. Group mentality. Once one person likes it, then their friend likes it, then it has traction and everyone starts to like it. It might not be the most relevant or useful, just the most popular (or the funniest) comment. Popularity and relevance are two, very distinct things.Also, some people just like to comment. So, most comments made doesn’t really get you to the most relevant either. The great thing is that we can read all the comments and decide for ourselves what we think is relevant to our lives and businesses… even if it takes a little extra time. Great feature, but even better is the fact that we don’t have to use it.

  6. Aviah Laor


  7. andyswan

    Winner = highest (Likes / Comments).Edit: David beat me to it below.

  8. andyswan

    Suggestions:1. Batting average (likes/comments)2. Simon Cowell effect: “Like” weighting…..a “like” by blog owner is worth more. A “like” by someone that likes everything is worth less. 3. “Most liked comments of all time”4. Timeframe toggle (today, last 7 days, month, all-time)5. Ability to permanently block assholes that give suggestion lists THE DAY that a cool new feature is released and is working well.

    1. Harry DeMott

      Not sure how the system measures comments – but I think it should probably just capture the original comment – rather than the whole stream of back and forth on replies.So first comment counts.First reply to a comments counts (so this one would count although it isn’t an original comment) – but nothing else .

      1. Antonio Tedesco

        Is the second reply to a comment chopped liver? How do you score the first reply to the first reply?

        1. fredwilson

          no valid comment is chopped liver in my book

      2. Mike

        I actually disagree. I find back and forth comments more interesting than a well “liked” comment with no response.I say add a “conversationalist” award for the commenter who sparks the most conversations. (although this could unintentionally lead to more controversial comments simple to spark a response).

        1. ShanaC

          It’s really hard. if you don’t force people out of their hidey holes and have them risk being shot down through extensive conversation, then you lose out on essential knowledge that comes from outsider and near outsiders.If you allow too much of that to happen, you end up creating partisan behavior *cough*partsofthecongress*cough*I’m not sure how to weigh this problem. It’s basically a problem of knowledge diffusion and how we come to agree what knowledge is. If I had an answer, trust me, I’d be a billionaire.In some ways this is why the internet is both so successful and such a failure. Everyone is here, the partisans and the people willing to come into contact with others. I’m at the edge of my seat waiting for parts of the dust to settle.It’s only going to happen once we start figuring out how to weigh knowledge (and if you say pagerank, that hurts…)

          1. Mark Essel

            I try to learn from people who’ve had success in the area I’m most interested in. Along the way of my stumbling I share every bone headed idea and perception. This way I can look back in a year or two and gauge how much my views have changed. If they haven’t, I’m not risking enough or learning fast enough.

        2. Harry DeMott

          I started to reply at work – then got caught up and lost my train of thought.I do like your comment.AVC is sort of like a great dinner party. Fred has us all over and sets the topic of discussion and then occasionally pops a comment in here and there. The beauty is having such a diverse crew of opinions and thoughts that the comments never get dull.I didn’t mean to cut off conversation in any way – but I also figure that a quick back and forth with 5 comments each should probably be counted as 1 conversation – as opposed to 1 comment. So if you write an original comment – that’s a conversation. If you reply to another comment – that’s a separate conversation. However, if you reply to another comment, and the original writer comments back and you go back and forth – to me, that’s still one conversation.I think we all want as many good conversations as we have time for in the day – but I’d hate to turn the comment section into Foursquare – with people writing short comments replies just to move up the ranks.To get back on the dinner party analogy – there are some people who come to dinner and talk all night – and there are some who sit there, listen, smile and nod their head. Nothing wrong with either – and I’d hate to have any system that somehow discourages people from dropping in and listening in on the conversation – who knows – maybe they’ll become talkative.

          1. fredwilson

            i always thought of it as a bar, but a great dinner party may be a better analogy

      3. fredwilson

        not sure i agree with that Harry

    2. Antonio Tedesco

      I like where you were headed with suggestion #2. It would be interesting to weigh the likes received. Although I don’t think owning a blog makes you a more discriminating liker; it may be the opposite.I think replies to your comments should also be a factor and those should be weighted too. Getting the blogger to respond should have a multiplier effect.What do you think Fred?

      1. Tereza

        I actually (respectfully) disagree.I think we can (or at least in the past have?) seen if Fred liked the comment. And that’s cool. Particularly for a new commenter.But I wouldn’t want to discount the Liberal Likers. They bring great positive energy into the conversation and that should be encouraged.Also remember Likes aren’t a perfect measure because as yet you can’t register them over email, which most of us power users use.But most importantly it would weigh my personal score down significantly and I’d have to pay my supporters even more than I do now.

      2. fredwilson

        if a like from me had more weight, i would use it more carefully (and possibly more often)

    3. Mark Essel

      We may be able to build some of these stats pages ourselves with their API.Makes life easier on the core team.

    4. David Semeria

      Also, comment likes / comment character count.To encourage quality over quantity, etc.

      1. Tereza

        That was a very short comment, Dave.Please elaborate.

    5. obscurelyfamous

      Asshole blocking is priority #1

      1. ShanaC

        Don’t get too much of blocking. I happen to actually like hearing from Prokofy Neva on occasion. Despite her tone, she does occasionally say some important things.

        1. fredwilson

          Prokofy is not an asshole. she’s opinionated and disagrees with me and calls me a bolshevik and a technocommunist. doesn’t make her an asshole

          1. ShanaC

            I like her comments! I just know that she gets a lot of negativity. Notalways deserved either. Sometimes stirring the pot will get an importantpoint across that would have been ignored because there are too many yesmen.

      2. Satish Mummareddy

        1) I think Most Active & Most Liked are redundant. They look almost the same.2) I would prefer one leader board with more people. I think there are a bunch of super consistent people like Kid, Dave, Harry, David who didnt even show up. I think there should be about 10 people who are the soul of the comments section on It should kinda reflect that.3) Can size of pic increase as you rise up the leader board?4) You should have more space for the leader board and just one column of new faces.5) Only people with pics on their profile should be in the new faces section since there is not even a name there.

        1. fredwilson

          yup. bigger leaderboard and more ways to view it (more categories) are on my list tooi see this feature as alpha stage or early beta. i love that disqus is putting it out there and letting the users help define what it should be

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Disagree that most liked and most active are the same. Not so true on AVC — thankfully — but “most active” could translate to “noisy” without the “most liked” qualifier.Do agree on the leader board idea and other great ideas.BTW, was really enjoying the convo between you and Tereza last week on Web 2.0 conference post. Appreciate your thoughts.

          1. Satish Mummareddy

            I agree they are not the same in definition. I meant to say that on avc ifyou have only 5 people for each of those metrics, most of them will becommon.:)

    6. Tereza

      I think comments that throw off a torrent of comments are pretty valuable.Often people respond instead of Like.

      1. fredwilson


  9. Dave Pinsen

    Fred,FYI: Tim Knight just replaced Disqus on his blog with another comment system (which he may have built himself, I’m not sure). I don’t read a lot of blogs, but that’s the first case I’ve seen of a highly-trafficked blog that used Disqus dropping it for something else.I’m not sure why Tim switched, but he gets huge comment volume — 400+ comments aren’t uncommon over there. Maybe there were issues with Disqus handling that volume? I don’t know, but you might want to look into it.

    1. Mark Essel

      Not too long back both Chris Dixon and myself had a case of closed comments without setting it. I swapped until it was remedied (a few days later it was fine).

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Large comment threads are actually nontrivial to deal with, but I’m proud of the way we’ve approached this engineering problem. 3-5 thousand comment threads are very regular and Disqus handles this volume just fine.I know Tim and I believe he decided to write something of his own.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Could be, Daniel. I never caught the explanation of why he decided to write his own though.________________________________

        1. David Semeria

          I also wrote my own comment system for a project – not because I wanted to, but because I had to.I needed a cross between Disqus nested comments and Stack Overflow / HN votes on each comment.

  10. Alex Murphy

    I like how I can see comments and feedback from all of the Disqus blogs. It would be interesting to see where I stand compared to others. Not interested in “winning” per se, just interesting. We all know that this community is active. But on other blogs, it lets someone know how “wide” the playing field is which indicates a level of diverse thought (a good thing) and acts as an indicator of where to invest more time participating.

  11. Mark Essel

    I commented on the Disqus blog back to Daniel how I was closing on his stats. Then I looked at JLMs, who doubles my points with far fewer posts. I’m sure Andy Swan is killing it too, he’s on a hot streak.Checkin’ it.My favorite Disqus feature is the feed I use to see what everyone’s saying that I follow (only check it weekly).

  12. Mark Essel

    Oh hey, are heavy “likers” getting rate limited now? I noticed I’m unable to like things anymore.Well the box just goes grey.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      It goes grey and says “Liked” to indicate that you’ve already liked it.

      1. Mark Essel

        It appears I have to lay off on the clicking.”Like”, “Like”… “LIKE!”

        1. Donna Brewington White

          No, don’t stop!

    2. Tereza

      AVC Haiku #3, Ode to Mark Essel (re-commented from June 2010):Mark Essel, so kindDoling out “Likes”, like candyto desperate children

  13. Satish Mummareddy

    Damn this community dashboard makes me feel like the middle child all over again: Never going to hit the leaderboard and never going to be a new face. 😛

    1. andyswan

      Satish your humor always gets a chuckle (and often a “like”) out of me!

      1. Satish Mummareddy

        Thanks Andy.I still struggle to live openly online and shareg my thoughts/strong opinons even now. And this community has helped me get over most of my inhibitions. I didn’t have an online presence (well not if you count linkedin and facebook) before I started to read I left comments anonymously for a year or two and finally said screw it, this is who I am.Without you guys freewheeling your thoughts every day and saying all sorts of stuff: some well thought opinions, some provocative stands and right out comedy, I don’t think I might have started to share my opinions. I think I even put together a best of andyswan comment a couple of months ago. :)One of these days, I might start a blog. 😛

        1. andyswan

          Skip the blog, it’s a pain in the ass to keep up with.I think you’re onto something with this “best of andyswan” idea though..

          1. Satish Mummareddy

            Lol. 🙂

          2. Satish Mummareddy

            Here you go andy:andyswan 1 year agoWhen Nancy Pelosi smiles, my natural reflex is to check my wallet.andyswan 7 months ago in reply to druceNo…the government wants to kill you (reduce deficits), the free market wants to keep you barely alive (increase revenues). 🙂

          3. Satish Mummareddy

            And herez a funny snippet from JLMJLM 1 year ago in reply to fredwilson………………….Someone needs to tell Obama the campaign is over. I understand this will be difficult, seeing as he has done little else in his adult life….but at this point, it’s time to throw down.

          4. Mark Essel

            hahaha, great ones Satish.

          5. Evan

            satish got a few chuckles here as well.

        2. Tereza

          Satish, you can totally do it. I mean, I’m a 40-yr-old housewife. None of my friends have any clue that when they’re looking the other way I’m living out the secret fantasy of comment whore.You’re one of us now!

    2. ShanaC

      Satish, you are important. I notice you. You have good ideas. 🙂

      1. Satish Mummareddy

        Lol. Appreciate that.Middle children are often go under the radar, but they are the glue in the family, are super loyal and when they decide to go big they go all out. 😛 Well at least my kind of middle children.

        1. ShanaC

          I’m an oldest of two. Can’t really comment on middle children, so I’ll just have to listen to you for that.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Without middle children there would be no “oldest” child so yes they have tremendous value. 😉

  14. Jan Schultink

    I think we should separate 2 things here:1) Who are the best/most-liked commenters.While a ranking adds a competition element, I think still the best way to reflect this is to sort good commenters to the top of the pile in the comment thread without explicit scoring.Or even better: after reaching a certain “quality treshold” (whatever that maybe), make your avator/comment stand out in the ocean of commentsMaybe you can introduce a “super like”, something that only the moderator can hand out and mark a comment bright green.2) Getting to know the community betterThis has nothing to do with rankings, it would be interesting to have a simple user interface to browse around profiles of regulars here, to see what people to connect with.It would be interesting to cluster commenters into sub-network that discuss frequently with each other. like the network that Xobni collects for you based on email conversations.Random thoughts…

    1. fredwilson

      agree very much about #2we need to dig deeper

  15. kirklove

    Interesting and novel.I wonder if it will get any prolonged use by “regulars” to a blog (not just AVC) as I suspect the names in the Most Active and Most Likes probably won’t change much. The one thing that is most interesting to me is the New Faces. Hopefully that will encourage lurkers to comment. I’m continually impressed with the comments of first time folks. It’s like they’ve been sitting on the sidelines itching to get in the game and then finally a topic forces them to and their personality shines.

    1. fredwilson

      i want to see the face roll on the main pagei miss mybloglog and want something akin to that back

  16. Evan

    I’m curious as to whether this community has directly spawned business deals, especially without meeting in real life. C’mon Disqus, get on it.

  17. Joe Lazarus

    Cool. Would be even better as a widget in the right rail of your site. Also, I’d personally prefer that clicking on a person’s name linked to their site, not their Disqus profile (unless the person doesn’t have a site listed on Disqus, in which case the link would point to their Disqus page).

    1. Ro Gupta

      That’s already how usernames work, Joe.And you can paste the widget code provided in the admin panel to show top commenters / recent comments / popular threads in a rail if you wanted to, but real estate is valuable. The expandable box let’s us show community info to users in hopefully a more economical manner. Would love to hear ideas on how to elegantly increase discoverability of it though.

      1. Joe Lazarus

        Thanks Ro. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but when I click the “expand community box” button, then click on “fredwilson” in the Most Active Users section, the link opens a new browser that points to……instead of All the user name links in the community box open people’s Disqus profiles for me.I’ll check out the widgets in the admin panel. Nice work!

        1. Ro Gupta

          Oh, misunderstood – thought you meant usernames in the thread________________________________

  18. Tereza

    This is very dangerous. I have lots of work to do yet the ability to check my status against JLM and Andy is impossible to resist.Could I set up SMS alerts for each time I get a Like? Please? Please?Come to think of it, we may need to set up Disqus Anonymous meetings.”Uh, hi, my name is Tereza, and, uh, I’m addicted to commenting…”

  19. William Mougayar

    Glad to see this feature. I hinted that we needed something like that a few weeks ago.Can the blog owner control how many Commenters show-up on the board, and over what period of time is this ranking based on?

    1. fredwilson

      that would be great

  20. Donna Brewington White

    Fun feature.I thought the comments about this creating competition were interesting. I’d like to think this feature will merely reflect what’s happening in the community and not necessarily influence it. My guess is that what’s not authentic will somehow get booted out. Pretty discerning crowd, here.

  21. andyidsinga

    I’m not sure I really like the the “leader board” aspect of the community box. If I’m already part of the community I have my own personal impression of who is who. If I’m new to the community it still doesn’t seem to tell me much except who posts a lot and who gets liked a lot.I do like the “new faces” feature.Maybe ‘most liked’ turns into a revolving ‘highlighted comments’ or something of the sort. Something where the highlights are ‘most liked comments during a period of time’.yo ho ho.

  22. ShanaC

    They should tie it to the multiplicity of online currency (facebook credits, there have got to be a number of others)- they you have a basket of currencies and can do all sorts of fun things to them in relation to dollar or yen currency

  23. Tereza

    Shhhh Charlie. That’s part of my evil plot.

  24. fredwilson

    reputation and game dynamics ultimately lead to currencyhow that is executed is the trick