Disqus 2012 and The State of Online Commenting

So we've been running Disqus 2012 on and off here for the past month and in the middle of last week, I turned it on permanently. Many of you have left feedback in the comments and I've passed it onto the Disqus team.

But today I'd like to focus the comment discussion on Disqus 2012 so that we can collect even more meaningful feedback. Tell us what you like, what you don't like, and what you'd like to see that is not there.

And after you've done that, please take a minute and fill out Engagio's "State Of Social Conversations" survey. I just did it and it took me less than a couple minutes to complete. William plans to release the results at Blog World in NYC in early June. Since the community here is one of the most active, engaged, thoughtful and respectful of any on the web, I think we should make our opinions heard on this topic.


Comments (Archived):

  1. fredwilliam

    Boring topic

    1. BillMcNeely

      It’s Sunday! Sometimes you have to drop kick to score!

    2. fredwilson

      not to me

    3. William Mougayar

      This blog is about all commenting and community. No other topic can be closer to it.

    4. awaldstein

      Key topic to me. Comments are the language of engagement. Engagement is the gold standard of the social web. That’s as key as it gets.

    5. Cam MacRae

      This is interesting:a) Comment is below threshold so is hidden but has visible replies forcing people to unhide it.b) Comment is being down voted even though it is already hidden, and it’s score is clearly visible.Sure, it’s not the most insightful comment, but these down votes portend the kind of mob mentality that arises wherever these systems are present.

  2. John Revay

    Two comments;1. I find it hard in Disqus 2012 – to follow the comment thread – if i see a Fred Comment….I am not certain who or what comment he is responding to….I know threaded comments are indented a bit…I just find it hard to track back to original comment – older disqus made this much more easier “In response to XXXX”2. New nice to have feature ( and it may be a function how my browser is configured)…I often click through on links in comments…..and after clicking through, I have a hard time getting back to where I was in the comment stream. I some times scan huff post, when I click through to a story, I always find it is very easy to get back to the part of the home page that I clicked from

    1. fredwilson

      yes!!!!! on #2. that is one of my biggest pet peeves.i also agree about #1.

    2. bsoist

      1. I do miss the “in response to” 2. If it could hold your place, that would be nice, but I’ve never thought about it since I open links in new tabs in the background.

  3. awaldstein

    Survey done.What I like in D12:-Fluidity in the conversation seems improved. Subtle. Powerful.-My Disqus and Engagio break early new ground in putting commentor in the center of their world.-Voting up community action.What is still broken:-Email notifications of comments very intermittent. Engagio find is quicker than Disqus.-Long comment input doesn’t work. No notification, comment just dies.What I’m still pining for:-Cross blog commenter community. Better at within blog connections, nothing cross.-Cross blog blogger community. The world’s largest blogging platform doesn’t connect a blogger to other communities, to other bloggers or to Disqus actually in any dynamic way.No one could be a longer term supporter of Disqus then me. We push our friends the hardest cause we know they can do it.

    1. John Revay

      my experience was that disqus email notifications were quicker than Engagio, I thought there was a time lag sometime more than 30-60 mins for comments to show up on EngagioAgree long comment input does not work well – both platforms Disqus & EngagioSurvey done as well!

      1. awaldstein

        Should be faster from D12 logically. But there are lags on both.@915ee22847dcafb04dfa9c5466e6fccd:disqus @danielha should chime in.

        1. falicon

          without knowing the details of either platform, my guess is that the delay within Disqus is related to the volume they must deal with (and the general deliverability issues around email in general)…while the delay within Engagio is most likely related to having to constantly scan for content across their users accounts (in addition to, but on a much smaller scale, dealing with the volume and deliverability issues that come with email services these days).All I know is that when I do get the emails from either service, I engage more often…when I don’t get them, or I get them after the fact…I don’t.

          1. awaldstein

            Yup…emails are the ringtone for conversations. When I hear that someone is talking to me, I”m there.When I never receive a notification, which happens daily, I’m being rude and non responsive which I really don’t like.

          2. falicon

            Agree.Relying on email these days is a bit like skydiving with a chute someone else packed for you…sadly, no one has come up with a much better/reliable option yet…

          3. awaldstein

            Actually there is.What I like about my Skype or even Facebook icon on my desktop or phone is that it shows the open conversations that involve me.When I see 4 on my Skype icon, people are calling and I go.

          4. falicon

            hrm…those are interesting uses/solutions…I’ll have to explore them a bit more I guess πŸ˜‰

          5. awaldstein

            Don’t know the tech issues, but this type of ‘engagement ringtone’ would work for me.And I guess others as well.

          6. falicon

            those two examples are app specific, but I think a company like engagio could create an app that showed you those ringtone alert types across all your potential engagement points…There is a very fine line between useful, annoying, and overwhelming with alerts though…show me that I’ve missed 1,000+ twitter posts in the last day and I’m overwhelmed…send me an email every 2 minutes because something new is getting posted to avc and I’m annoyed…but don’t alert me to anything and I’m oblivious and dis-engaged…It all comes back to that personalization thing…the software has gotta find out what works best for me…and then make that happen. πŸ˜€

          7. Cam MacRae

            Like boxcar.io?

          8. awaldstein

            New2me. Checking this out. Thanks.

          9. William Mougayar

            I’ll email you separately, Kevin. I’m in NYC tomorrow and Tuesday. We haven’t met yet!

          10. panterosa,

            I totally agree on notification personalization. I have been asking William Mougayar for the equivalent of a mail icon for mac which showed how many new messages. To have on the dashboard bottom of my screen, like I have mac Mail, and have the new entry make a ping when I got a reply. Maybe even some custom rings for new comment vs direct reply.

          11. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          12. awaldstein

            True…not perfect.But engag.io as an aggregated view could be a possible solution if done smartly.

          13. William Mougayar

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus @falicon:disqus check the new engagio dashboard…slowly rolling it out as what @awaldstein:disqus describes as showing you an integrated view of your friends conversations, kind of a step towards the conversations ringtone. It’s not perfect and the UI needs a total revamp, but we’re hedging there.

          14. William Mougayar

            check the new dashboard as of today…

          15. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          16. LE

            Big picture people think in terms of “firehose” so they don’t view that as important. But it is and I agree with you. Same type of thinking is why many large companies suck so much. To them little problems and annoyances are like minor leaks in a big swimming pool. Just pump more water in. Eventually though companies that ignore little things like that end up going out of business. When a company is growing and big picture people are managing by numbers they ignore all of this minor stuff because they are making their numbers.I mentioned that I couldn’t login from Firefox and I mentioned before many times how in the previous versions I couldn’t even post comments from Firefox and that was never fixed. How many potential AVC community members tried to post, got frustrated, and moved on or never tried again because of that same (or other) issues. (I used Safari which I don’t like doing..)

          17. awaldstein

            The disqus team is conspicuous in their absence from this thread.This community is a dream beta team that money can’t buy.

          18. Tyler Hayes

            We’re here. Just listening first. Two ears, one mouth, and all that.

          19. awaldstein

            Hi Tyler.Having you on the wall makes me feel better ;)There are many questions from the community that warrant response, not the least of which is a detailed explanation of the SEO issue.So….

          20. Emily Merkle

            Aesthetically displeasing.

          21. fredwilson

            they will show up. it’s still sunday morning in san francisco

          22. obscurelyfamous

            This community *is* a dream team for testing. We’re thinking of ways to properly say thanks.Btw, I woke up late. πŸ™‚

          23. awaldstein

            You just did! That’s enough Daniel.

          24. Techman

            That’s good to know. Funny though that when I write about Disqus at my site, I rarely get any responses. I know someone at Disqus has Google Alerts for Disqus, so you guys are bound to see it turn up in on of the emails πŸ™‚

          25. Dale Allyn

            I feel the same way, Arnold. I’m very serious about courtesies and responsiveness to others. Like you, I try to respond to anyone who addresses me, here, in forums, or in e-mails, etc.I would prefer that Disqus remedied notification reliability and other quirks before doing most of what the new version is pursuing.

          26. awaldstein

            Courtesy and responsiveness go a long way certainly.

          27. panterosa,

            While I don’t expect I will comment as much as you Arnold, I do feel the same way even at a reduced comment amount.I agree that email notification keeps me in swim, and not getting them makes me feel uneasy after a certain time period. Both Disqus and Engagio have really lagged for me and been uneven recently, and hence my ability to comment as code to the time of receiving a reply is compromised.

          28. William Mougayar

            We are making changes to keep you more engaged. Stay tuned πŸ™‚

          29. awaldstein

            This is a really a big deal and has been echoed by a number of users.@danielha:disqus @wmoug:disqusI”m sure are listening hard.What a number of people are saying is that they take their conversations seriously whether they be many or few. The web is about people and people are social and glitches in this core capability are unacceptable.Make them real time. Make certain that we know when we are being spoken to. This is essential more than new features.At the end of the day, making conversations natural, a part of community and responsive to our needs as individuals is key.

          30. William Mougayar

            Thanks Arnold. Engagio is very complementary to Disqus. This synergy is becoming clearer every day to users like you who see value in both.

          31. awaldstein

            I use Engagio multiple times every day now. It is my lens into my social connections.The faster it gets, the better it provides a ‘ring tone’, the more ingrained it becomes in my behavior.My primary goal is to keep the conversation going. If I do that connections at a deeper level will follow.

          32. panterosa,

            Electronic communication can only be smooth when it is really working. Or else you’re in a Harold Pinter play with enforced silences. If that’s the intention – you’re gathering your thoughts, waiting for time to respond – then fine. But otherwise, if you’re not waiting, it puts an artificial lag in which then creates the discomfort of awkward silences when they were not intended.A community like AVC has by now many people who know/have met each other offline. So then that factor, with time zones, and work schedules, puts some rhythm to the commenting’s circadian rhythm. BUT for those you don’t know it puts a small unintended strain by having a time lag purport something.Having lived abroad in three languages I am very tolerant of time lag for absorbing message and finding words. And then making mistakes and finding ways to remedy misfires. But am I the norm?

          33. awaldstein

            Antonin Artaud and the idea of suspending disbelief in theatre, in life and online is a great takeaway to end this day.

          34. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          35. LE

            WHY SO MANY PLATFORMS FAIL CONSTANTLY WHEN SCALEReasons? The people in charge don’t know what they are doing. Rockstars haven’t been classically trained and they haven’t put in the time to fail on someone elses dime. The people who oversea the people in charge (and this could be investors or management etc.) don’t have a seat of the pants feel for what needs to be done so this stuff doesn’t happen. The failures create more publicity which makes more people aware of the service. Etc.

          36. LE

            Love this: “Hire some fat guys who know c++.””For a hipster, it’s easy to cut corners and overlook things (like security as only one example) when the adults above you have no clue and you can make excuses about why something worked or didn’t work.It tell this to my wife all the time. I say “you will be amazed at how much you know in 10 years even though you think you know so much right now”. Programming and computers aren’t like driving a car. You actually do get better as time goes on because you learn from mistakes you make. Anytime you can look at a situation and say “this is what I would have done to prevent this” you learned something at a point when you thought you knew everything.

          37. falicon


          38. William Mougayar

            The simplest answer to speed is to that we need “Push” in the API. Facebook and Foursquare have Push for e.g., but most other platforms don’t. It’s something that’s done typically later when the volumes are in the millions. Implementing Push is also a bit harder on both sides.

          39. LE

            my guess is that the delay within Disqus is related to the volume they must deal with (and the general deliverability issues around email in general).Disqus email has been spotty from day one. I only get maybe 70% of the emails that I should receive.I run my own email servers and nothing is filtered (in fact received spam is a heartbeat that allows me to know everything is working).As far as “the volume they must deal with” there is absolutely no reason they can’t have emails sent out literally in real time. Their architecture is not setup right. Or they don’t have enough horsepower or both. They need to get that fixed. It’s important. No excuses. It’s basic unix sysadm stuff.

          40. obscurelyfamous

            It’s a bit of both, but there’s a new system slowly making itself in there.

          41. falicon

            These are the signs of growth and success…believe it or not, the pain you are feeling means you are doing it right… πŸ˜€

      2. William Mougayar

        John- our goal with delay from Disqus is 5 mins. Sometimes we fall further, but working on it.

    2. fredwilson

      still pining for: i totally agree. the good news is this will be part of disqus 2012 soon enough.what do you mean by “long comment input”?

      1. awaldstein

        When you are the first commentor on a post, often at the end of the input you either run past the box and break the format or you get to the end and the [post as…] button is gone.Ro and team know this but still experienced it this morning.

        1. fredwilson

          thanks. i appreciate you sharing all of this with them.

        2. LE

          Same experience. Seems in some cases I overrun the box when making along comment. The box is never big enough either.Also, Firefox 12 doesn’t remember my login. And even after I am logged in, ever since the change I can’t make any comments at all from firefox 12. It just hangs. So you can’t post from F12And I just realized there is no way to attached anything. I just made a screen grab of the error on F12 and can’t attached it.

          1. Luke Chamberlin

            I also tried to upload a picture of a bug only to find that feature has been removed.

        3. obscurelyfamous

          I just experienced this myself a few minutes ago. It was pretty annoying. We’ll have to fix that asap.

          1. awaldstein

            Glad we are sharing the pain.Yup, it’s annoying.

        4. bsoist

          Ah, yes. I didn’t really know what you were talking about at first but I remember having an issue when commenting first. I’m not sure that was after D12, but I’ve seen it.

      2. mikenolan99

        I often got the the same “long comment” problem. But today it is O.K. – the box gets bigger as I type. And today, it is not accepting carriage returns for new paragraphs. Weird. Mac OSX, Firefox 4.0.1

    3. falicon

      Agree with all of this as well…I would even love a small tagline below each comment (or in the name line) that gave a link to where that user’s most recent comment was left (outside of the one they are leaving, or maybe even outside of the blog they are currently commenting on)…that alone would be a huge way to help me discover all the other interesting blogs that my favorite avc commenters are also engaged in…

      1. awaldstein

        I would forgo every nicety and atom of perfection for the grossest stab and cross blog and cross commentor community.As @ErikSchwartz:disqus puts it above, community as discovery is it, the missing link on the web.

    4. bsoist

      I don’t really like notifications of any kind because I try to avoid distractions, but I agree that the feature should be more timely. Sometimes I do actually turn my email on when I have to move away from the discussion but want to know where it goes later.On a related note, can someone explain Boxcar to me? I signed up a long while ago, but didn’t really get why I needed it. I’m not knocking it, I just don’t know what problem it solves.

      1. awaldstein

        Focus is good but once I engage in a conversation I believe in staying with it.Real time data exchange made the social web possible. Real time notifications of threaded conversations feels like the must do role of tech to maintain the courtesy of communications.

        1. bsoist

          Right. I tend to leave the conversations I want to follow open rather than risk email distraction. I do have email notifications turned on for most things because when I do check my email, I like to know if I might have missed something. The real problem for me is that email is both the best and worst way for me to get notifications right now.worst – while I don’t mind being distracted for intelligent conversation, I need to stay away from the other distractions in my emailbest – I’ve tried having the notifications I want forwarded via text – nice convenient link back on my phone, full keyboard at my computer

          1. panterosa,

            I agree with trouble of distraction.I really would love an icon for my dashboard like mac Mail, like I mentioned in above threads, for Engagio, and that would apply for Disqus too. For my phone I would prefer an app icon with a number of new notifications.When I work, meaning doing other than commenting, I’d like easy access to the number of inbox comments. I would prefer not to have those on email, but in an icon like an app, with a little number, and have it ping for new item.Either I am super lazy, or just trying to be more focused, in the context of working, and staying in a conversation. I would think Arnold Waldstein would agree to some extent. Arnold?

          2. bsoist

            By default, I turn off all badges, numbers, etc. because I don’t want to be tempted to look at what I shouldn’t. I’m fairly disciplined, but come on – all those numbers to be explored, who can resist.I agree with you that the solution is to separate those notifications to a place that is not my email. If I turn on that little badge on my mail, I will see the number increment and think that it is about a conversation I want to follow, but then when I check – it’s something else.Having the notification somewhere else would be huge. I accomplish this now by just leaving the conversation open somewhere.

        2. panterosa,

          I agree with you and with bsoist.Comments in reply to bsoist posted there.

  4. kidmercury

    i think the comment system needs to be deeply integrated with the CMS. until that point, it’s all just marketing and the warm-up. deep integration is needed for meaningful game play and superior monetization of the community IMO.

    1. ShanaC

      why? Why can’t comments be an independent cms from the main content?

      1. kidmercury

        i want to see how they introduce game play. in order for game play to work, in my opinion, it needs to unlock privileges. perhaps i am missing it but i don’t see how they are going to create a full blown game play environment without control of the CMS.

    2. William Mougayar

      Is the CMS linkage for the SEO need or something else?

      1. fredwilson

        disqus 2012 is SEO friendly. it’s a big deal and something bloggers and publishers have been asking for repeatedly

        1. kidmercury

          is it really SEO friendly? i don’t see comments in the source, still looks like a javascript embed….wondering how search bots will index it?

          1. fredwilson

            hopefully someone from disqus will explain. i am 100% sure it is SEO friendly

          2. Cam MacRae

            The noscript looks to have a link to a html comment stream, but right now it’s looking for a moderator login: http://avc.disqus.com/?url=

          3. kidmercury

            yes, i saw that — although that indexes the comment on disqus, not on the blog star’s blog.

          4. Cam MacRae

            Good point.

          5. LE

            You don’t have to wonder. Do a test and you will see they aren’t indexed. Try searching for the text in any comment from any post since it was turned on (May 2nd):http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201

          6. kidmercury

            was it turned on all for users, mainly googlebot, at that point though?

          7. LE

            No you are misunderstanding what I am saying.By “turned on” I mean when Fred turned on the new Disqus. That was 5/2/2012. So none of the comments have been indexed (at least by google which is what I checked) since that date. So in short it is not SEO compliant by that defacto measure. It’s broken.

          8. kidmercury

            okay i see…..yes if fred turned it on all for users via his admin panel and it is still not showing up, i agree it appears to not be SEO compliant. i’m sure google crawls fred’s blog frequently enough that it should have gotten it by now.

          9. LE

            As a matter of fact they crawled it about 10:30 EDT.

        2. awaldstein

          This is a recurrent theme forever.A claim that would go a long way with a detailed explanation.

        3. LE

          It’s not working and the comments aren’t being spidered.I took a random sample of comments from the Friday thread and googled them. Even added “avc”. Nothing comes up. (Googling your words of course will come up).Ran the same test with a control, a blog that I read with a Friday post. If you google a comment on that, (and that blog is way less popular than AVC) the comment comes up.Take this comment from yesterday by @paulroales:”Makes me think about this video with Dwolla Founder Ben Milne laying down some truth in it.. some fucking truth…”Google it. First hit comes up as “secure.disqus.com/explore” But google has no idea of the comment on avc.com

          1. kidmercury

            so it shows up on disqus but not on avc? that relates to what @cammacrae:disqus and i discussed elsewhere in this thread, in that the HTML source code suggests it is getting indexed on disqus but not on avc.

          2. LE

            Actually now that I check that that’s ephemeral anyway. So if you search for the Paul Roales comment “Makes me think about this video with Dwolla Founder Ben Milne laying down some truth in it.. some fucking truth…” you get a link to secure.disqus.com but if you click on that link you get the most current page. So that’s not even working correctly.

          3. kidmercury

            oh i just saw secure.disqus.com/explore….. think they are on sketchy turf, because they seem to want to get their social network indexed for comments made on blog star’s blog…..i think it is a property rights problem waiting to happen once someone drops a dollar bill into the mix. they’ve got to find a way to enrich bloggers, that is the meal ticket the are looking for. i think it is going to be tough without the whole CMS. moreover, i think they would be better off focusing on developing the social graph of each individual blog star, rather than focusing on creating the big social network by connecting them all. the blog’s stars graph is a huge opportunity and should not be glossed over under the belief that bigger network = more profitable network.

          4. obscurelyfamous

            On our end, the new platform is built to be compatible. Full coverage will rely on the new Google JS crawler to be fully rolled out. There will be those gaps in the meantime, but it’s an upcoming target.

          5. LE

            Full coverage will rely on the new Google JS crawler to be fully rolled out.I can’t find anything at all, nothing, that indicates there is a timeline for that roll out. Do you have access to a date when that will be that isn’t available to the public?

          6. falicon

            …and what about DuckDuckGo? Aren’t we all switching over to that these days anyway? πŸ˜‰

          7. fredwilson


      2. kidmercury

        i wasnt thinking that, although i think it will help immensely with SEO as well. my expectation is that disqus will need to introduce game play to advance monetization — perhaps this is a false assumption, in which case the rest of my perspective is invalid. but if we assume they need to introduce robust game play, that game play and monetization capabilities are positively correlated, i don’t think they have enough to work with to create a meaningful game with just comments. i think game play relies on unlocking new privileges which means being able to do different things. i suspect this is much easier when there is a robust CMS that has more permissions to offer.

  5. ShanaC

    LIke:I love the autotagging when comment chains get too long. (actually, tagging in general is great)I like the fact that it now shows you who is replying to what instead of “one new comment”Dislike:SpamSlow emailsFontLike Arnold, I want better discovery of other sites and better ways for owners to partipate.I still can’t find the “link to original comment” in long threads, it can make things hard to follow

    1. fredwilson

      i agree about “link to original comment”, i want that back too.

  6. John Revay

    Left field – native spell check – I use chrome, so there seems to spell check functionality in chrome that I use,#SpellingChallenge

  7. JLM

    Sometimes the comment block is too small and it just keeps over writing the page below. Very odd.The “edit” box is too small. It should be the same size as the comment being edited.It is difficult to follow the thread from commenter to commenter.All in all, it is a wonderful piece of software and makes commenting a joy. Thank you, Daniel and the rest of the team.

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with you more than you agree with yourselfi can’t resist using one of your best lines on you JLM every chance i get

      1. JLM

        I am starting to think we were separated at birth.

        1. fredwilson

          i was born at the military academy at west point. distinct possibility πŸ™‚

    2. William Mougayar

      JLM, you’re one of the few that haven’t tried engagio yet…You can sign-up with your Disqus or Twitter account. That easy.One thing we do well is really clear threading of the comments when you view them in your Inbox, so you can focus on the mini-conversations and direct replies to you.

      1. JLM

        I got on it this morning. I thought today was Monday and got up very early w/ a piss pot of things to do and my wife said — “Hey, Dopey, it’s Sunday.”So I worked my engagio.I went to the early service this morning and they had a public baptism. It made me think of the “new life” we are enjoying every day of this wonderful time.

        1. William Mougayar

          I see you there http://www.engag.io/JLM Hooray! as @fakegrimlock would have said. Lucky that /JLM was still available. Looking at your profile tells me that we have had 307 interactions since Nov 6 2011. Cool. Here’s my profile looking at you: http://www.engag.io/wmougayar

    3. matthughes

      “It is difficult to follow the thread from commenter to commenter.”^2

  8. William Mougayar

    Thanks Fred, and here’s my blog post on why it’s important and where you can copy/paste a widget to share on your blog so that more users take the survey:http://blog.engag.io/2012/05/0…At BlogWorld, on June 6th, the panel will discuss the survey findings and online commenting communities and will include surprise AVCer’s as panelists (details later).And don’t forget to tweet that you took the survey as well so that others can take it too. This is a suggested text: Took @engagio’s survey State of Online Conversations/Social Web. Be the first to see the results, take the surveyhttp://svy.mk/J03YOr

    1. DanielHorowitz

      Hey William in the first part of the survey you ask me to tell you how important commenting is in a variety of different social destinations…I may not use all these destinations/services so perhaps you want to give me an option to say this rather than give an uninformed opinion.

      1. William Mougayar

        Ah. The assumption was that you’re active on one of them. But point taken. I just added an OTHER choice there with an open field, so you can add comments. Thanks.

  9. Luke Chamberlin

    I already left a bit of a rant on the day that the new Disqus was turned on, and received some thoughtful counter-feedback from a member of the Disqus team which I really appreciated.After spending more time with the product, here are a few additional observations:1) The personalized tags are gone. I liked the “bartender” tag next to Fred’s name. It gave the community a real sense of personality.2) The site-specific rankings are either gone, or I can’t find them. When I broke into the top 100 on AVC I did a little dance. It was part of what kept me coming back. It also helped me figure out who was new and who was an older timer.3) I used to be able to see who “liked” my posts, which was nice. I can’t see who has upvoted my posts (probably to prevent me from seeing who has downvoted my posts, I’m guessing). This is a bummer. FAKEGRIMLOCK liked one of my posts once and I went out and bought a sandwich (a nice one).4) In my activity feed, replies to my posts are headed with: [disqus name] wrote on [name of blog post] where [disqus name] links to the person’s profile and [name of blog post] links to the blog post, not the comments section. No link to the actual post once it has expired in the new notifications section! This means that if I want to reply to them, I have to go to the blog post, find the comments section, and then hit “Control+F” to search manually for my own name, which I often can’t find until I hit “load more comments” several times. Talk about a poor user experience! Easily fixed too with a “reply” button on the comments addressed to you in your activity feed.5) Repeating myself now, but it’s very difficult to find your place in a long conversation. They removed the “in reply to…” text and link, decreased the indentation, and removed visual guides all at the same time.In the end, I still think it’s the best commenting system on the web. But I feel like it took a step backward in terms of usability.

    1. fredwilson

      that is a ton of great feedback. thanks so much.

    2. Cam MacRae

      I liked those personalised tags too, but given down voting is allowed I’m glad they’re no longer around.

    3. falicon

      Agree with all of this (especially the being able to see who ‘liked’ your comments)…in fact I would argue that supporting annoymous down voting is just asking for abuse. If you are going to click the down vote, you should be willing to stand up and defend your down vote (actually I’m fascinated to watch if/how often the down vote gets used around avc…my guess is very little).I also really liked the ‘in reply to’ bit as it really helped me to figure out the context of certain comments…especially here in avc where threads can get pages long and you can easily lose track of who is responding to whom/what (though avc and the volume of engagement is probably an outlier in the disqus world)

      1. Luke Chamberlin

        I can’t think of any scenario in which I downvote someone on AVC. But this community is probably an outlier compared to Disqus’s other sites.

        1. falicon

          Agree.Though I can imagine if a site like techcrunch or pando put disqus on, the down vote button would get worn out from over clicking…

        2. Cam MacRae

          There were quite a lot of down votes in yesterday’s thread.I was super disappointed not to be able to attach this image in a reply to one particular comment: http://pbh.pbhmedianetwork…. πŸ™‚

          1. Cam MacRae

            @danielha:disqus It’s not a good feature, and the down votes on the comment above show why – it’s a weak signal, used to convey disagreement by someone too lazy to roll up their shirtsleeves and make a counterpoint. It’s also a magnet for groupthink and the mob mentality.Further, your implementation fails to take into account any of the lessons learn by PG @ new.yc, which is far and away the best study of the pernicious effects of down voting as a community scales.It will be all beer and skittles on AVC until we again attempt to discuss something of real weight, at which point down votes in lieu of robust debate will make this a very unpleasant place to be.Yesterday’s comment thread should be sufficient evidence that the AVC community is not immune to the negative effects of down voting. I for one do not wish to be party to a popularity contest for the intellectually deficient – the other 99.999999999% of the web fulfils that niche quite adequately.Edit: For those wondering what I mean about yesterday’s comment thread, @JLM:disqus made some points that I disagreed with, and might have taken offence too had I been inclined. Some signalled that they felt the same way by down voting. What nonsense – the man has the right to state his case, and did so eloquently and with insight as is his way. I’m not sure @JLM:disqus really cares what some anonymous coward on the internet thinks, but nor should he or anyone else have cause to temper or censor his thoughts lest others play a little karma game.

          2. fredwilson

            how did the downvotes play out in the gay marriage discussion on saturday? i don’t think they hurt it at allthis comment by siggy was pretty harsh http://www.avc.com/a_vc/201… and it is standing with one upvote right now

          3. Cam MacRae

            Depends when you looked. @JLM:disqus copped quite a few of down votes across multiple comments, for example. Now, he’s a big boy with a big voice, but it ain’t always that way, and from a personal perspective I’d hate to see any little voices seen off by anonymous down votes from passersby.This site is only one of a handful of its size in which the comment stream elevates the discussion. Reading between the lines, it seems the community here is self-healing e.g. returning negged comments to a neutral state. I’ve done it, @donnawhite:disqus has admitted to it also. This means that we’re up voting comments that we’d likely not up vote if not for coarse effect of down voting.When votes assume the values “I agree”, “I disagree”, and “Fuck me, a famous person commented!” the overall comment quality declines.

          4. falicon

            I will admit to also helping to break the system, as I up-vote things I would not care about either way simply to help it ‘break even’ and have it’s own chance to be heard.I do believe the old ‘like’ system worked better in showing what comments people thought were of great quality and/or agreed with…while the number of replies/comments itself does a good enough job of signaling what is controversial/debatable (ie. lots of people agree/disagree)

          5. Cam MacRae

            I agree with you. If more signal is required than what is implicitly available in the stream (I wonder how much of that they’ve objectively evaluated?) they could look at any number alternatives, for example weighting likes e.g. by the community standing of the liker.

          6. falicon

            In Animal Farm the rest of the farm “didn’t think it hurt” at all to have the pigs in charge either…

        3. fredwilson

          the guy who said this was a boring topic at the start of this discussion got downvoted 5 times and the comment disappeared

          1. testtest

            now we can all wallow in confirmation bias.on a serious note, it would be interesting to understand the thinking behind adding a ‘down’ vote.

          2. obscurelyfamous

            The short answer is a) an additional quality signal, b) extending power to the community.I believe that the downvote is a really good addition. We’ve seen very positive results so far, but it’s been somewhat controversial in the way downvotes are handled.The goal is to increase quality, but not silence different opinions. We’re already working on improving this so we can maintain this goal.There are a couple sensitive points to downvoting: a) a negative number sucks for indicating participation value; b) downvoted posts too quickly plummet and collapse itself.We knew this when we first went into testing β€” there were 2-3 key components not implemented to smooth this out. But the decision was to get it out quicker and see how it’s being used/misused.

          3. bsoist

            Agreed. Down voting is okay – but you should be required to login.

          4. Dave Pinsen

            I had a similar idea a couple of years ago with the “premium ranking system” on Short Screen. The only thing missing was commenters. :)On another topic, it looks like you guys fixed the bug that occurred with Firefox users where you couldn’t see what you were typing after a comment got to a certain length. Thanks for fixing that.

          5. obscurelyfamous

            Glad that fix helped you.

          6. Dale Allyn

            This was a reply to @fredwilson, but didn’t show as such.How do readers learn then, when a comment that is out of favor with the community (or possibly just 5 people) disappears? Also, does this lead to content which becomes group-think or “sycophant-ish”? Does a down vote correlate to abuse in the eyes of the community? Sounds like potential for elitism. Just some thoughts…

          7. Matt A. Myers

            It’s horrible for discussion. Absolutely terrible. For content browsing, it’s fine, at least on the surface.

          8. Dale Allyn

            Replying to myself here: I see the comment to which Fred referred and now understand that the comment is still present, but marked as “below threshold”, so that it is collapsed. I would prefer that it simply remains visible because it requires more work to read (I have to click it to open), and I may find the content useful from some personal point of view.

          9. JLM

            Hey, Dale, thanks for the cards. Wow!You have some awesome photographic talent, my friend! Truly awesome.

          10. Dale Allyn

            You’re very welcome, Jeff. Thank you for your very kind words.

          11. ShanaC

            I don’t know, I do know I don’t like elitism.I hope, but don’t know, that amounts of comments not voted down also affects what happens. I also hope that newbies who aren’t so popular aren’t downvoted by all of you….

          12. Dale Allyn

            Shana: these sensitivities are very important. Also, different people will use down-votes in different ways. Some will down-vote to express disdain for the content of a comment, someone else might simply down-vote because they “don’t like the taste of beer” so are expressing a difference of opinion.Possible case in point. I received a down-vote to a comment I posted in this thread in which I acknowledged clarification of something I had not fully understood. I then added that I prefer not to have to click to see it (referring to viewing “sub-standard” comments). It was even a reply I made to myself, but I wanted to clarify that I now understand the process better, even if I prefer a slight modification. Huh? I get down-voted for a comment to myself, one which says “oh, I get it, and that I would rather I wasn’t required to reach over to my mouse to click to read??? That simply reinforced my preference to remove the down-vote element all together.A more user-sensitive solution is to change to “agree” and “disagree” labels. And I’ll mention again that we should know WHO did either. Also, I would suggest that only registered and logged-in users can agree or disagree.cc: @danielha:disqus

          13. falicon

            to use Fred’s latest favorite catch phrase (via JLM)…”I agree with you more than you agree with yourself!”

          14. Dale Allyn


          15. Donna Brewington White

            See, I’m already misusing the voting mechanism. I just voted that comment back up to zero because it made me mad to see a -1 there.

          16. William Mougayar

            I think down votes shouldn’t be allowed to send a comments score to go under zero. Its use is to bring a comment a bit lower in visibility, but not to bury it.

          17. Dale Allyn

            I’ll go one further, William. I don’t think down votes should have any effect on up-votes. They’re not related (at least not directly and inversely proportionate). Its the wrong mechanism if people are seeking a better gesturing system. It’s copying an already flawed system. Let’s do better.

          18. William Mougayar

            I agree. Its very definition & function is subject to interpretation & misusage. Therefore it must be clarified. It works in many cases as is, but it can also be misused.

          19. Dale Allyn

            Haha, Donna, I was also down-voted for suggesting that clear labeling of the sort order would help those who didn’t understand the current method or didn’t find it. I stopped participating in AVC comments (including reading the comments, which are the main reason I’m here) starting on the day of the current change because I didn’t find that sort setting. Yet still my suggestion of reducing user anxiety received a down-vote. πŸ˜‰ I’m confident it will get worked out, but the current system is very vulnerable to many issues.

          20. fredwilson

            that’s a good thing. it signals that you think it belongs

          21. Robert Holtz

            I agree with you… but I also think non-anonymity of upvotes and downvotes solves the issue. If someone downvotes something because they are trying to suppress you, it should not be anonymous. And I also agree with you that non-registered users should not be able to manipulate the vote count. They both go hand-in-hand at preventing people from “gaming” the up/down voting system.Also, and I said this elsewhere, but I think the up and down arrows should be replaced with thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons. It is more intuitive. Perhaps internationally it doesn’t localize as well but that should at least be a webmaster-level control and in terms of AVC I think it had a lot more style and character.

          22. Dale Allyn

            Robert, it’s not easy to design such systems which work across all networks, so I’m sympathetic to the Disqus team in their endeavor with a broad range of system users. You mention various complications that fit such a thought process. My preference (as I mentioned elsewhere, so sorry for the redundancy) is that up-votes and down-votes (whatever their labels) are more meaningful if they are both shown, rather than showing the average or net effect of the “votes”.And if I haven’t been clear, I’m for non-anonymity for voters as well.

          23. Robert Holtz

            What’s not easy about it? Tags were THERE in the version before DISQUS 2012 so was the ability to know precisely who the likes were without anonymity. We are talking about bringing back something that was eliminated.As for up/down votes being thumb graphics instead of arrows, I assure you that is not hard at all to implement (even if a webmaster setting, as I propose is implemented)… To be clear, I am not talking about going back to the old LIKE system but using the ICONS of thumbs up and down instead of just an arrow on the new up/down voting system.What I AM saying is whereby in the new system, all could see who liked a comment, we need that functionality back PLUS a way to see who downvoted. Anonymity makes people “game” voting systems like these. Visibility builds community. It is especially noticeable here on AVC because we HAD this function and many of us really liked it. Now, it absolutely feels like it is missing.

          24. Dale Allyn

            Robert, perhaps I wasn’t clear. What I meant by “it’s not easy to design” is that different networks or communities have different dynamics, courtesies, cultures (i.e. attitudes, not ethnicities) so that designing such systems will need to consider variances.Regarding web interface elements and graphics: trivial.Regarding anonymity and seeing who liked or disliked a comment: I think we’re saying the same thing. I want to see all participants, and while I’m interested in who reacted to my comments, I’m just as interested in who reacted to comments of others.Hope that clarifies.

          25. Robert Holtz

            Thanks. Yes, that clarifies. We DO see eye-to-eye on the issue of visibility and non-anonymity of votes.That said, respectfully, I could not disagree with you more about web interface elements being somehow “trivial.” Not only are they far from trivial — they are literally make or break. The UI and UX MUST be optimized AND optimizable. Making the tool adaptable to all these audiences is DISQUS’ exact value proposition to webmasters and the communities/blogs they host.The reason they are taking the care and concern they are with this selective soft launch is because DISQUS clearly already realizes this. That’s also why Fred is making sure he raises the topic here. DISQUS is a portfolio company plus many of the folks are regulars on AVC.In my opinion, the catch-all solution is to give webmasters control of some of these tweeks with default settings that might conform with the general direction DISQUS would like to guide things.

          26. Dale Allyn

            Robert, wow, I guess I’m not at all clear in my comments tonight.Web UI elements are NOT trivial at all. I’m passionate about them. My point was intended to say that changing arrows for thumbs-up or whatever graphic is deemed best to serve the UX goal is a trivial barrier. I hope I’m more clear now. e.g. if we agree that our UI needs a different graphic symbol to express our intension, it’s “trivial” to make that adjustment. I’m a UX/UI freak and really appreciate great design nuances. I was trying to say that such a modification is not something to cause difficulty for the tech team, i.e. “trivial”.Maybe that’s more clear. πŸ˜‰

          27. Robert Holtz

            No worries, @daleallyn:disqus . We’re totally good.You meant trivial as in “easy to put into effect” rather than “not worth anyone’s time or attention to do” — which is how it came across (at least for me).I fully appreciate your frustration. Brevity sometimes backfires. Like Einstein wisely said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”Thanks for clarifying. Peace and good DISQUSing to you! πŸ™‚

          28. ShanaC

            agree and disagree would be a better system – it also means more in terms of communication and doesn’t create these weird “threshhold effects” it invites pondering about the subject.

          29. Donna Brewington White

            I can’t help but wonder if the prospect of being down-voted will discourage contrarian views, especially from newer would-be commenters. Not all of us are @andyswan:disqus.

          30. Dale Allyn

            I’m quite sensitive to such possibilities as well, Donna. There are timid people who struggle with mustering up the courage to comment for any number of reasons (language, intimidation, new to a community, etc.) and the designs and moderation should remove as many barriers to participation as possible… so long as community standards of respect and conduct are met.

          31. Matt A. Myers

            I can’t imagine how many hundreads of downvotes would have occurred to Kidmercury’s “9/11 is a conspiracy” statements closer to the actual event, when that was a highly contrarian view of mass media. We’d probably never hear of him.

          32. Luke Chamberlin

            I am always amazed at your patience in dealing with certain commenters. I just feel like downvoting them away promotes negativity.I flag obvious spam but I don’t think I’ll downvote anyone, on this blog at least.

          33. falicon

            So that’s a HUGE problem for me right there…You are completely breaking the internet if you make stuff disappear (without me taking any action ever to ask for that)…move it to another tab or push it down to the bottom because the group agrees it’s of lesser quality…fine, but disappear before I even had a chance to know it existed does not feel right to me at all…I don’t want ‘the group’ censoring stuff for me…organizing, yes. customizing, yes. ranking, yes. censoring, NO.

          34. fredwilson

            well it didn’t totally disappear. you can see it if you click on it.

          35. falicon

            OK saw that and feel better that it’s at least visible/findable by me…I’m in a tough spot here overall…one the one hand, as evidenced by my building knowabout.it in the first place, I want better filters, search, and discovery across the whole internet…and on the other hand, I want access to every bit of data (good or bad) that is created.I think the real problem is that it’s using the power of the anonymous crowd to sort, organize, and filter content for me…that’s a bit like relying on the general population to vote on issues…it’s great in theory, but often works out to be a bummer for me personally. I don’t want the internet to be a bummer for me personally.Maybe a better solution would be to allow me to set/define my own filter group…let me say “Fred, Shana, Arnold, William, Charlie, David, and Mark are the only votes I want you to consider in sorting, filtering, ranking comments for my view”…this would give me the power of the (personalized) crowd, without mushy middle ground that comes from true crowd-think…none of us want the ‘average’ experience, or the ‘average’ opinion…we want to know it, we don’t want to experience it…

          36. ShanaC

            way too complicated a filtering system.Actually, I think filtering systems need to act like the filter in your dryer – you have to clean them out every once in a while to get what you need.

          37. Techman

            Well you know the voting works! The up and down voting definitely surfaces the best conversations in a thread, provided that you have the sort set on “best”.

        4. awaldstein

          Agree…I’d love to see a list of the top 100 Disqus sites listed by levels of engagement cross context.My sense is that avc is more of an outlier than we might think. Be an interesting bit of data to see.

      2. gorbachev

        I attended an interesting talk about how Facebook thinks about product development at F8 last year.The product manager pretty much said that negative reinforcement doesn’t work, if your goal is to encourage discussion and social interaction. She said that that’s why Facebook will never have a dislike button.I would tend to agree with her.

        1. andyidsinga

          I agree gorbachev – up vote is good to have. down vote ..not so useful.”down votes” can happen through the discussions themselves.

        2. obscurelyfamous

          I remember that and I always remember it, but I do think that it’s a little bit different. Facebook is a social network and they’re encouraging chatter amongst, for the most part, friends. The goal is to promote more activity.Disqus is a public discussion forum. Done right, a balanced feedback system reinforces the notion of quality discussions, not just idle chatter. We’re not there yet, but that’s the philosophy we’ll support with the design choices.

          1. ShanaC

            Some of what you’re asking for comes from the community managers behind the scenes.What you are asking for is like a debate – someone needs to make the rules, and make sure people follow the rules. And that requires training and time.

          2. awaldstein

            On avc there is leadership and dynamic participation but no rules except civility and no community manager.I believe in community managers wholeheartedly but do you consider his blog community an exception?

          3. ShanaC

            no, i think what happens here is that there is a diffusion of that role, but various people take up parts of it at various points in time.EG: There are at least two not-me people who make it a point to respond to new commentatorsThere are other people who make it a point to enforce community norms about politeness.I also know factually (from an acquaintance of mine) that in some very large sites, people are not taking on that role, and that the people places in charge of systematic use of disqus don’t know what to do. There really needs to be a step up in that regard to get the system more widely used.

          4. awaldstein

            To further clarify, can you provide an example of a non-corporate, as in a blog community of interest without a transactional structure that has a community manger? I can’t.Once you have commerce or once the community is sponsored by a company, then community managers are key. No essential!

          5. ShanaC

            Yes, heshy fried acts as the moderator of his own site to some degree (frumsatire.net) He makes 0 money at it.Also, I love your new site and am reminded that I am wayyyy overdue for an overhaul.

          6. awaldstein


          7. falicon

            The challenge for you guys is that everyone mentally maps the votes to the ‘likes’ you used to have…and as a few mentioned throughout the board here, people use likes (and dislikes) to mean different things.If I’m understanding your intentions, the upvote and downvote stuff is really meant to be ‘relevant’ and ‘not relevant’ buttons…in which case, I think it’s part labeling problem and part implementation problem with the current version…Related to this slippery slope…should all votes really be considered equal? If yes, the system is very open to people gaming it…if no, the system is very open to elitism/censorship…Very tough stuff to figure out…glad you guys are at least attempting to tackle it…but suspect you have only taken the first step onto the massive mountain you are about to climb πŸ˜‰

          8. David_Ragone

            That’s a problem right there – you’re assuming one particular meaning for the votes, while others will assume something else. No one is wrong, but not having a unified understanding will just cause noise.

          9. falicon

            yep, agree.

      3. bsoist

        I’m not a big fan of the anonymous downvote.

      4. Donna Brewington White

        context is critical

      5. Mark Simchock

        Perhaps it’s just me but similar discussions happen every week or so on Quora. Perhaps Disqus should check in there for a valid reference point?



      1. Cam MacRae

        No, it is still available on old disqus – just click on the “x likes” link for a popup list.

      2. Luke Chamberlin

        I still can’t find this button. Sad face.

      3. obscurelyfamous

        My Disqus will be fixed to support this.

    5. obscurelyfamous

      This is helpful. Are your 5 points the main things that make things less usable for you? Here are some specific responses:1, 2) Rank titles were intentionally removed for this version, but it will return in a slightly different form.3) The whole voting system is a new thing for Disqus 2012. It’s likely that we’ll soon display who has upvoted comments.4) This is my current biggest pet peeve about using My Disqus. You can’t see the actual replies and reply to people from this interface. We know this sucks and it’s pretty high on the list to fix it.5) I think following threads can get pretty hairy. It’s a design flaw in the product that was only truly surfaced a few weeks back when we ramped up the live testing.This one will be improving. Our team has a couple innovative ideas that I think will really help this one.

      1. JLM

        Not wild about the down votes.Need to be able to follow the threads a bit easier.Great product, Daniel, keep crushing it. Thanks.

      2. Luke Chamberlin

        Thanks for your feedback Daniel. I like it when designers have pet peeves about their own products. It usually means that the product will continue to get better. As a UX designer I know what it’s like to balance features vs release schedules. Glad to know some of these changes are already planned.On issues like the upvotes/downvotes I have my own opinions, but I don’t have access to the data you have access to so I’m really not in a place to judge those decisions. Are you using an algorithm similar to the reddit upvote/downvote algorithm (i.e. the system itself is adding upvotes and downvotes to balance scores)?

        1. obscurelyfamous

          Yeah, that’s the algorithm behind the idea. We still need to work on it a bit before it starts working at the right scale.

      3. Techman

        So do you know how ranks are going to be re introduced? And is ranks going to become a core feature in Disqus 2012?

    6. bsoist

      I agree with all of your points.I don’t know why, but I loved some of the names for people.I also like being able to see which commenters have been here for a while, and I’ll admit to looking at my rating occasionally, but I probably won’t ever dance about it. :)”best commenting system on the web” – couldn’t agree more

    7. RichardF

      You nailed it Luke, for all the reasons you stated above the old disqus was a community enabler, the new disqus is just a sterile version of reddit or YC and does not encourage engagement in the same way.

    8. CJ

      I agree with all of this!

    9. Robert Holtz

      I wholeheartedly agree with every single one of @twitter-41899343:disqus’s comments. Rather than write a whole post, I just want to underscore two of my favorite items from Luke’s list along with my own remarks:Luke’s #3 – It really feels like something is missing not knowing who liked (or should I say upvoted?) posts. It added a real extra dimension to the conversation and I liked it as a means to make a non-anonymous gesture of saying “Yeah I agree” without wasting everyone’s time on a post that doesn’t contribute much else than that. Also, even if they are UP votes and DOWN votes, a thumbs up and thumbs down had a lot more personality. It should at least be a webmaster choice what imagery to use to represent up and down voting.Luke’s #1 – When tags were new on AVC, they were kind of a culture shock. But under DISQUS 2012 when they were suddenly gone, it is interesting how I quickly came to miss their presence. I’d really like to see them back again.

      1. ShanaC

        I’ve seen custom skins of disqus elsewhere….so this should not be an issue.

    10. Techman

      From what I know, ranks are not available in Disqus 2012. If I didn’t already, I’m going to pass this to the Disqus team. CC: @danielha:disqus

  10. Cam MacRae

    Like: *Nice clean layout.*Autotagging.*”User is typing” notification*My DisqusDislike:*Still hate the negs, and will continue to do so until someone shows me when they’ve ever worked at scale.*Can’t attach a file to the comment.*Having to find which of the two “Load more x” bars to click. Gimme all comments, eh?All up it’s pretty good thus far.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, the attach file is gone. i hope it comes back soon.

      1. LE

        You’re so nice about all of this. I’d want to know why it was left out and an exact date it will be put back in. It was an important feature.

        1. fredwilson

          i know how hard the disqus team is working. i want to be positive and encouraging.

          1. Dale Allyn

            That’s really important, Fred. And they deserve it. They have a great product/service and their users care enough to give genuine feedback to help them continue to improve.

          2. fredwilson

            for better or worse, i try to always be positive about the startups i work with. every once in a while my patience is tested and i break that rule. its rarely a good result.

          3. falicon

            The only thing we can truly control in life is how we react…and even controlling just that one thing is often a real test….

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Attaching media is just a missing feature at the moment.

      1. JLM

        I love the attach file, it makes the discussion deeper and it exposes more of the commenter. It creates depth.How about a Pinterest connection?.

  11. DanielHorowitz

    Might be me, but in My Disqus -> Activity, the username link doesn’t always take me to the persons profile. Same place, blog post title, I want to go straight to the comment, not to the blog post. Do you want to let me reply to a comment through the disqus interface, so I don’t have to even go back to the blog? (Maybe not, just a thought.)Is it possible to follow a thread I have not commented on?

  12. Tom Labus

    This has been said but want to re enforce.* You’re lost if you click a link.* The comment reply stream is too cluttered, Who is replying to who?* Are “rankings” gone? Is this deliberate?

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      Agree with #1. I have to remember to open links in new tabs or I lose my place completely.

      1. falicon

        Yeah…wonder if that could be a user setting option within disqus (ie. open new tab when I click a link vs. follow link in same tab when I click)…

        1. panterosa,

          Yes please open new tab when I hit the link so I can stay in the same place in my comment stream.I do like the engagio link posting feature. William Mougayar has put that feature which I really like. Easy to go back to afterwards.

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Ranking is based on # of comments now, it seems….. Clearly quantity is far more important to highlight than quality..I’m guessing though, because they removed “Likes” – the way to differentiate people who actually like a comment, enough to apply their own feeling that they Like it, versus the people just clicking an up-arrow would affect quality in some way.

  13. Ronen Mendezitsky

    What I’d like to see is an application of Disqus on any website I visit that allows comments. I realize that it requires the website’s themselves to agree to that, but how about an extension that’ll send any reply I make from any platform to my Disqus profile

    1. fredwilson

      hmm. a browser plugin?

      1. Ronen Mendezitsky

        In Chrome we call them extensions, but to each his own. It’s preferable to have the websites install Disqus on their own and I bet that it’s makes more financial sense for Disqus if they do, but if the user base grows I assume the demand will grow with it.

      2. falicon

        I’ve toyed with building a version of this in the past…basically something to let me take disqus with me around the web…the trouble is that no one really uses the disqus follow features or portal (at least in my experience)…so I would really just be out there talking to myself (guess it could still be an interesting plugin for note tacking/thought tracking)…If there was a plugin/extension that centralized the discussion powered by disqus around a link instead of around a Disqus account…that could be very interesting…I may still play with this idea at some point (if someone else doesn’t get around to it first)…

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. LE

            Maybe not. I think the community aspect is missing. The familiarity of getting used to a particular character and their shtick is what makes it all work (for me at least). Same reason people watch any TV show. Becomes more enjoyable once you know the characters. In the case of random graffiti on any website that is all missing. You just have a bunch of people saying shit.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. falicon

            People are still trying to invent better mouse traps…I believe/hope it will always be this way

          4. falicon

            BTW – my whoclicked.it service is in this general realm as well…the idea is to help foster conversation and engagement around link shares…I’ve only built the basic core, and it’s only got like 5 users who even know about it yet…so not sure if/how it will work out…but it’s an area I continue to explore and think about…

        2. Matt A. Myers

          I have this included as a part of future plans of mine, just not there yet. Due to it being a de-centralized factor with a common anchor point, it’s super easy for a user to be mobile and switch to any service offering this – while maintaining the exact same core value (as @FakeGrimlock:disqus referred to, the critical mass already exists) of using the Disqus platform; Maybe I should talk to @Disqus – perhaps there are some resources they might have available (@fredwilson:disqus ?).So, this leaves you with having to have some other value-added props. I have enough of it figured out. Hope I can start building it out soon. I’m getting better at explaining my big huge massive holistic plans. πŸ™‚

  14. ErikSchwartz

    For me the big missing piece is cross blog community. From a publisher standpoint cross blog community is discovery. If I don’t usually read someones blog and many people I often interact with are commenting on an article there the publisher wants me to know my AVC community is engaged with their content,The hardest thing for a publisher to do is to get a new reader.

    1. awaldstein

      Community and engagement as discovery is the golden ring yet to be grabbed.No one has the reach like Disqus.

    2. fredwilson

      yup. i am super excited about that. it is coming.

    3. JLM

      Brilliant insight, really. Well played!

    4. William Mougayar

      Erik- You should check out the new engagio Dashboard- it’s all about discovering where your friends are engaging elsewhere:http://www.engag.io/users/1…let me know what you think.

    5. David Fleck

      We agree that discovery is a critical feature for both users and publishers. We have been working on how discovery should play into the whole ecosystem. You will see our work in the not too distant future.

    6. matthughes

      That’s awesome feedback.I trust disqus is working hard on this one…

  15. Aviah Laor

    Twitter brings you closer – but DISQUS 2012 will get you there.DISQUS 2012 is awesome, a huge leap, and the best “social network” paradigm for me. Give people the tools to connect, instead of all the “interest discovery” algorithms.Small issues:1.Personalized tags2. Like and see who, instead of upvote3. I’m not sure about that: allow to scrape the comments for reading only (Instapaper, getpocket). It’s not a conversation, but maybe when the comments are already closed4. Better mobile experienceAnd thanks for the blog and DISQUS, both increasingly become a focal point to all the Jedi knights out there.

  16. David Semeria

    – The edit box is too small, and the auto-expand frequently doesn’t work properly (Chrome / Linux)- The edit box doesn’t have scroll bars (at least for me) which means I have to press up arrow to see the top of a longish comment.- I wrote a lengthy reply to JLM yesterday and before hitting post I realized I wasn’t logged into Disqus. When I clicked login, the comment disappeared. Most annoying.- I now find it much harder to track who is replying to whom.- Related, I don’t really like the new visual layout, although this is a subjective point. I preferred the larger summary bar per user comment.- I agree that it was cool to be able to see who liked your comment. Maybe just hide this info for down votes?- I’m not really gaining much value from the community tab. I’ve always liked the summary Disqus offers where you can see other blogs where a user posts, but I don’t see much added value from seeing the whole stream.Hope this helps

    1. awaldstein

      Loosing comments is a big fail. Happens to everyone. Happened to me on this thread this morning.There are niceties and there are true annoyances. Fix the latter first is always a good strategy.

      1. David Semeria

        Agreed Anrold.Also, it seems like the new visual layout is strongly influenced by Hacker News, which I always regarded as looking very amateurish. But, again, that’s a subjective viewpoint.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          They’re trying to be over-minimalistic – in an attempt to be a non-discriminatory “fit for all” – meanwhile killing personality.Sure, it’s a tool but the people using it aren’t.

        2. Dale Allyn

          David, I agree with your comments. I, too, found the edit textarea problematic, such that I opted not to edit my typos. I just exited the edit dialogue (although there is no cancel, so I refreshed the page).Regarding the visual layout: Previously I felt that Disqus was doing a pretty good (but not great) job. Aesthetics are personal as you state, but following any visual queues from HN is never a good idea IMHO. I do feel the actual Disqus site is truly excellent visually, so I’m quite surprised to see the new visual design and layout of the disqus comment system. To me, it drops the system visual into mediocrity.

          1. David Semeria

            I agree with all you say Dale and I certainly hope the Disqus guys see that these are comments are given with a positive and constructive spirit.

          2. Dale Allyn

            Thanks, David. My input is certainly intended as constructive. I personally know (as I believe you do, too) how much work goes into software development and creating a good user experience. I wish the Disqus team well, and hope that my feedback is received in the positive nature that it’s intended.

    2. JLM

      Agree completely with everything you say. I feel cheated I did not get your reply.

      1. David Semeria

        You missed nothing JLM – just the usual drivel…..

  17. DanielHorowitz

    What is this Star thing in the top right hand corner? What happened to liking at the post level?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      They hate Likes now. Putting intent behind anything (even through language) apparently is too fixed and not fluid enough for the user experience. They’re attempting to help kill all human-feeling (slight sarcasm) through online gestures and interaction. Dumb it down quick! We need evolve to Idiocracy asap!!

      1. obscurelyfamous

        That’s a pretty silly way to twist what I said, @mattamyers:disqus

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Hi Daniel – Sorry, I certainly wasn’t trying to refer to anything you specifically said. I’m in a bit of a cranky mood today. It’s just my non-analytical opinion on it. I have a longer-form writeup, I may or may not post it. I don’t think people care about the subtleties as much as I do. I think downvotes and “dumbing down” communication is the wrong direction, even though I realize upvotes/downvotes increase the amount of reactions that will occur. There are drawbacks to that higher-level of activity.

        2. Matt A. Myers

          Going to take a break from the internet today. Seems I need it. Thanks for pointing it out. Not my usual character.

          1. obscurelyfamous

            No prob, I 100% appreciate the feedback, criticisms included. I just care a lot about the decisions we make and, even if they’re the wrong ones, they’re not made frivolously.

    2. Techman

      To like something like before, you click the up vote arrow. To like a thread, click the star button at the top right above the post box at the top of the thread.

  18. Barabare

    I love that avatars load instantly now. In the old Disqus I had to scroll slowly so that the avatars would load.



    1. Techman

      I think that is there for other people to share your comments.



  20. kirklove

    There is a ton of good feedback here and I agree with most of it. I don’t care for the new look or functionality very much if at all. I particularly don’t like having to hit load more comments.I admire what they are trying, it’s just not for me.The most telling piece of feedback I can offer is I engage much less now on AVC as I find it near impossible to follow threads and visually it’s just off-putting.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve asked to be able to turn off “load more comments” and just have all the comments load initially

      1. JLM

        You’ve got my vote. The load more comments often jumps backwards for me. It is annoying. I liked the old system.I will cut my stickiness short if I have to repeatedly load comments.It’s not your fault that you get almost 400 comments on “intolerance”.

      2. Techman

        While that sounds good to some people, it can create some serious performance issues with your site. On browser such as IE9 and Opera, seriously long pages can make the browser slow down dramatically, and eventually the browser will eventually hang unresponsive and you’ll have to kill the process (IE), or restart the browser (Opera — it can catch itself before it crashes).When loading a comment thread of just 200 comments in IE8, the page is already too long and it eats up my CPU with a consistent 100% usage. Just a specific reason not to use IE.

    2. William Mougayar

      Kirk, I’m going to email you. Let’s have coffee tomorrow or Tuesday?

    3. panterosa,

      I agree on loading more comments. Why have to go this step?I also agree the new format is challenging. In fact, just commenting on what bugs me is work.

  21. Varun Shetty

    Two small thoughts:1. In the “My Disqus” section I’d like to see my original comment along with the reply that someone left on it – saves me a click in case I forgot what I originally wrote.2. Would it be possible for Disqus to Tweet at me when someone leaves a reply on my comment? Email notifications like that tend to get filtered into a separate folder in my inbox and sometimes I’ll forget to come back to a site to see if anything came of my comment.

  22. Robert Thuston

    “show one new reply” embedded in the comments is a good new feature.

  23. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    We use Disqus to discuss discussions relating to how Disqus supports my so doing. Let us not forget that Fred is in this case my trigger !A Disqus commentary should retain access to the original blog or source of origin – as the meta-meta – Discussion if you like ( I just love the self-referential http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Obviously, if comments are taken out of the context of how they were stimulated they are Semantically impoverished. – A great example consider “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, described at http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… – the essence of what was (or more accurately was not said) by Marie-Antoinette is wholly meaningless without a public starved of nourishment.Many who visit AVC do so as they hunger for something – How would they respond if Fred said “Let them read Disqus” ?This observation in mind – I feel that Disqus should be primarily an enabler behind the scenes (and it is brilliant as that) for the casual user. However if I am interested in why one of: fredwilson29609 comments, ShanaC 6719 comments, JLM4310 comments William Mougayar3563 commentsChose to respond – it is great to have the tool set to do so !

    1. William Mougayar

      James, are you asking why are some users so active on AVC?

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        No not at all – I am saying that for casual users Discuss should be unobtrusive – but if I want to know more about those who are more interactive that is important too ! So I am on balance a happy chappie !

        1. William Mougayar

          I use both Disqus and Engagio together. Engagio helps me stay focused on the replies and that makes me more productive and allows me to participate in the discussion without having to sift through all the comments every time.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            So William – I am now an Engagio user ! – and from a very early look it is interesting. I will see how it goes and certainly give feedback to my contacts.

          2. Techman

            I use both Disqus and Engagio together.Well of course πŸ™‚ You created Engagio.

    2. ShanaC

      that’s a long story in my case

  24. Dale Allyn

    I’m really happy to see this post. I have been thinking over the past few days of sending the Disqus team a detailed note because I am so disappointed with the UX/UI changes to Disqus. I’m sorry to be negative, but I really dislike most of the changes. I’m extremely focused on user experience, number of clicks to accomplish a task, legibility of content, ease of use of interface elements, etc. and I feel that the new version takes a step backwards on most counts in those regards.I’ll just offer a couple of specifics here, as I’m sure that there’s a lot of feedback provided already since I’m arriving here so late. Normally I read every comment before adding my own, but for reasons listed, my process is now different.1) The sort order of comments is unbearable to me. I’m not even sure what it is based upon. It seems inconsistent as it does not seem to be indexed on up-votes, time, or much of anything. I’m sure it is indexed, it’s just not meaningful to me. In a community in which I’m ENGAGED such as AVC I want oldest first ONLY. I have no interest in what’s “popular now” or equivalent. The latter is fine for a blog or community about which I don’t care, e.g. NYT, TC, etc.2) As Luke mentioned in his detailed comment, I really miss the opportunity to see who “liked” a comment. It helps me to understand what others relate to, and brings me closer to understanding the values of others.3) Following the threads are very difficult without some boundaries. I’m referring to UI borders to compartmentalize conversations.4) The “in reply to” element is very helpful to maintain context, as it the link to the comment to which is being replied.5) I’m not a fan of any community where up-votes or down-votes affects placement in the comment thread. It ruins context for me.6) And if comment voting is offered at all, I prefer that they are separated, eg. 6 ups and 2 downs. It yields better information to me.I appreciate the work that goes into developing software and I’m passionate about the user experience. I was going to send Daniel and Tyler et al at note expressing my point of view just a data point for them. We each like different things, but a successful design should not leave anyone behind if possible.Bottom Line: A VC has been one of the most rewarding experiences in a web community for me. Disqus has contributed that. Prior to the change I was so engaged that I read every comment of every thread. I check the progress of conversations throughout the day, or go back to posts which I missed due to time constraints, business requirements, etc. a day or two later. I work with at least two 27″ monitors on all day and almost always had an AVC window open in the background. It served as a good distraction when I need a breaks from building for a few seconds.Since the change I have spent not more than five minutes per day on AVC. I have not read the comment threads more that a cursory glance through to grab a few highlights. I miss it, but it’s too much work to try to sort through it, let alone the legibility issues. Today I will study this thread though. I do care what AVC’ers are saying. I’m interested. I just really do not feel the Disqus changes are successful at all with regard to user experience or engagement. The old version had quirks that needed attention, but the ability to follow context, learn from others, get to know each other, and understand fellow AVC’ers values was much more naturally achieved FOR ME. I’m sorry, but I’m disappointed.

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Good feedback @daleallyn:disqus. Let me see if I can answer some of these. Some of these thoughts are shared with @twitter-41899343:disqus and I’ll copy some of responses over.1) The sort order is based on quality signals. It’s not perfect yet but it’s being worked on. You can change it by clicking the “Discussion” dropdown button at the top. It doesn’t remember your choice right now, but it will.2) The whole voting system is a new thing for Disqus 2012. It’s likely that we’ll soon display who has upvoted comments.3, 4) I think following threads can get pretty hairy. It’s a design flaw in the product that was only truly surfaced a few weeks back when we ramped up the live testing.5) Choosing a chronological sort order can fix this for you.6) Yeah, that’s pretty interesting β€” we’re making a change that may address this better.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Daniel, thank you for your reply. I looked for the sort order preference earlier in the week, but didn’t locate it. I’ll find it now. That will help me for sure.I would also like the option to show all replies without the need to click to show. I’m either engaged in a community and want to see all, or I simply want to see a very small sample of popular comments. The former applies to AVC and similar communities, and the latter applies to NYT, TC, most news blogs, etc.I’m a big fan of Disqus and truly wish you much success.

        1. obscurelyfamous

          It’s not in preferences, actually, but at the top of this discussion thread.

          1. Dale Allyn

            Got it. Thanks. I saw that the day the system changed here and ignored it I guess. (might have opened it while on the phone or distracted) I suggest you add guidance that states “View by…” or “Set Order To…”. The current concept does not take the “Don’t make me think” path. I always suggest that UI remove as much anxiety from the user as possible. Make it dead simple and obvious. πŸ™‚

      2. JLM

        It is interesting and creates stickiness to see who has voted something “up” and it provides a bit of an imprimatur. If the Pope voted something up I would want to know that.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      The two major takeaways I had from your thoughts were: a) downvotes need to be treated better and b) it’s hard to follow threads. Is this right?

      1. Dale Allyn

        If true engagement is the goal, I suggest that knowing WHO upvotes is important. In the old system I looked to see who “liked” a comment on nearly every comment (not mine, but those of others). It helps one “get to know” community members. This type of interaction should be the goal IMO, not bubbling comments to the top, etc. True engagement is different than “mechanical interaction” so nuances matter.

      2. Techman

        Being able to see who up votes and down votes comments would be good. Perhaps a time-delayed hover card could be a solution?

    3. William Mougayar

      What’s popular is an interesting feature. It can help to surface where the activity is, especially when you’re a late comer and there are 100+ comments, no?

      1. Dale Allyn

        William, I think it’s a good feature as an option, not as a default. Well, for me, it can be the default if it can be overridden. For AVC.com I never want to see what’s popular. Same for Chris Dixon’s blog, Brad Felds, etc. I want every comment in chronological order. When I visit a news site which shows comments, I’m fine with sorting on popularity because I really have little interest in most comments in that environment anyway, so just read a few. I have no engagement there.So to answer your question more directly, if there are 100+ here at AVC or on certain blogs, a coding community, a security blog, or any community in which I’m engaged I will not use a popularity filter at all. 100+ comments suggests interest and if I care about the group I want to see it all. I often learn a great deal from “unpopular” posts – not necessarily what the commenter intended, but I learn something none the less.Please understand that I am not suggesting against offering the different sort orders. Just be sure to offer options for different needs/prefs. I thought it was totally removed on the new Disqus, but was happy to learn I was mistaking.

        1. William Mougayar

          True that having the option is a good choice. I’m not sure whether the user or the blog owner controls the default setting. This is covered by one of the questions in the survey actually, so in case you haven’t had a chance to take it, please do because you seem to have a strong opinion about this! Thanks.

          1. Dale Allyn

            William, I will take the survey. I hadn’t gotten to it yet, but will do so.Yes, I do have strong opinions about UX (and UI). The most important being that the user be nurtured regardless of their technical expertise or lack thereof, and a respect for different types of needs and preferences for engagement style.

  25. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fred “less than a couple of minutes” – if a couple is two then this is a little unrealistic.None-the-less – people should contribute because with rights comes responsibility.Just finished re-reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… (the book not the wiki entry πŸ™‚ – and it says much – interesting reading for the 99% I would say.Also TP was ( like yours truly ) originally a man of Sussex and “Sussex won’t be druv !”http://www.highbeam.com/doc…

  26. Richard

    With display real estate being the limiting resource on the cell phone, I’d like to see posts exceeding 10 lines fold up. I’d also like a “read” button, useful for both the commentor and the reader.

    1. falicon

      it’s a VERY rough hack (I threw it together over a weekend for my own use-case)…but check out http://mads.ly for experiencing disqus via mobile…might help with some of what you are asking for/about…

      1. Techman

        That link appears to be broken.

        1. falicon

          Sorry about that…it was a hack that I built to play around with some ideas/uses for myself…never really went anywhere with it, so I shut it down in favor of other things.

          1. Techman

            That’s sad. I wanted to see what hacks for Disqus you hand in mind. Was it CSS hacks?

          2. falicon

            It was mostly jQuery Mobile stuff…the threads were drill down instead of all at once…so only the top level threads where shown at first (along with a count of how many responses there were to that thread)…then you click that thread to see those responses and each level was treated in much the same way (all pre-loaded so after the initial load of a conversation, you didn’t have to keep hitting the internet connection)…Nothing too fancy, but worked well for catching up on avc action via my mobile during my train commute (but I only commute into the city about once a week right now, so I wasn’t using very much at all and rededicated the server/services to some of the other things I wanted to hack together)…

  27. Donna Brewington White

    I too am really happy to see this post, except I have less than 5 minutes before I am out for much of the day so rushing to add in my .02. @twitter-41899343:disqus ‘s and @daleallyn:disqus ‘s comments pretty much summarize my concerns with a couple of exceptions. @awaldstein:disqus has captured the positives.I do like having the most popular comments rise to the top. I don’t like that someone can up-vote or down-vote without logging in. It seems that I have been able to vote (inadvertently) more than once on the same comment from different browsers — I am on about 2-3 a day — but I’d need to verify this.There are at least three aspects of Disqus — overall blog community (flow of conversation, ability to engage or respond in some way, etc.), interaction between individuals, and ability for the individual to receive feedback/notifications. The first two will be determined to a large extent by the latter. What I experience will influence what I contribute.I am a huge Disqus fan and I want Disqus to win! I will need to come back later or just respond to the Disqus team.

  28. jason wright

    Voting, voting up, voting down. I would like to see a necessity to write a comment in brief explanation of an up or down vote. No comment, no vote. It has been a long democratic tradition to make our vote in silence, but we don’t have to do that now.

  29. smartone2

    I am baffled why they disqus hasn’t created global search-

    1. fredwilson

      i want it badly too

    2. Techman

      What exactly do you mean by global search? The comment thread?

  30. Dale Allyn

    Someone mentioned liking the “Show X new reply” anchor on the right and would reply there, but can’t find the comment now. Sorry.I do not care for this feature, especially on AVC where I have felt very engaged, because I must open every one of them to read what others have contributed. This is a big miss IMO if genuine engagement is the goal. In my case, I want to read what each person contributes to the conversation here. I’m sure I will miss many. This and other design decisions are in direction conflict with sincere engagement IMO and should be carefully evaluated.

    1. Dale Allyn

      I’ve now seen how this works while reading a section and a comment is posted while reading the section. I works much more nicely than I had previously recognized because I had only seen the “show 1 new reply” as I had scrolled and never seen it pop into view in real time while reading. That latter event is quite nice, and I compliment @disqus for it.The previous sort default sort order of Disqus 2012 drove me away, but finding the sort order option (thanks @danielha) has remedied that (please make the setting stick) and contributes to my appreciation of this “show new” feature. I was just not liking it if I was having to open a bunch of posts that I thought were being hidden for space-saving reasons or such. Another item about which I was confused.

  31. bsoist

    I took the easy way out and looked for comments I agreed with and replied to those.re: likes, votes, etc.1. If the up vote is the same as the like, I’m okay with that. 2. I did like being able to see who liked, can we see who voted? Maybe we should see that and then enforce logging in before voting – or at least down voting.3. I have noticed even before D12 that I could like something before I logged in, and then when I logged in, I could like again – and both would register. Not a big deal, I guess, but at least one comment here indicates the same thing is possible with up votes.

  32. Donna Brewington White

    One way to do this is just to get our feedback on the features, but another way would be to get our feedback on the intent of the features.It would be helpful to know what the Disqus team is trying to accomplish with the features, and the purpose behind the changes.Also, much of our feedback is from the perspective of “commenters.” I haven’t used it enough as a blogger to give feedback. I have a sense that some of the changes from the blogger’s perspective might be more helpful.

    1. falicon

      Love the idea behind that approach…Disqus has the unique and golden opportunity (with this post) to give a large number of it’s most passionate/engaged fans the “proper story” to go forth and spread…

  33. Emeri Gent [Em]

    My two points from this are1. Let the order emerge by watching what works – using a long-term observation – what works and how the community evolves.2. Change the nexus of digital interaction by focusing on the developee, as much as we focus on the developer today.I think that watching what people do over the longhaul vs. listening to what they are saying in the present moment are two very different things. Listening in this form assumes order, but the watching part is fundamentally more important, because that becomes emerging order from the chaos.Digital micromanagement isn’t going to help the Disqus development team, and this thread is probably more full of observations because the transition from old Disqus to Disqus 2012 is stark and perhaps jarring, because the difference is vivid, rather than emergent.Change, digital change should emerge over time, such change should not be a snapshot balance sheet of good and bad. What I think that change should look like is subtle. That is one of my two chief observations about this change exposure to Disqus 2012.The other is focusing on big picture rather than digital snapshot. Even the voting button choice has a big picture implication i.e. secret ballot vs public vote. To me, such a shift in thinking is phenomenal – we have all been brought up to believe that democracy requires a secret ballot, but there is a fundamental change in Disqus 2012 which needs a greater narrative attached to it. I want to immerse mysel in these big ideas because I am not the developer here, I am the developee.So my other focus then is to urge the strategic team at Disqus to think in terms of the idea of the “developee”. Anyone that has observed that the observer is the observed (See Jiddu Krishnamurti), will notice that I am not a fan of broadcast mentality, I am proponent of thinking about our own thinking. That is why I utilize Disqus – because it is fundamentally the most democratic platform of online reflection that I have come to use. Online reflection requires us to step backwards to see what we have written before, to escape the tryanny of the timeline.That is not my 2 cents, it is just my 2 points …[Em]

  34. David Fleck

    Thanks for all the great feedback, particularly the criticisms. We will never be done making Disqus better. I’m surprised more people did not mention liking the sharing functionality, particularly sharing other community members’ comments to twitter, Facebook, gplus. I like sharing other members’ thoughtful comments.

  35. jim

    D12 has really missed the boat and took a big steps backwards. I do not read/engage with the comments much anymore because it’s tooo difficult to follow threads.Disqus team need to ask themselves: “what can we do to make the conversations in comments better”. It seems like what you asked yourself was: “what new features can we add/change”.Rather than tell you specific features, I tell you my use-case:I read Fred’s new post early in the morning – around 5-6am. I then wonder what the community thinks about it so I’ll stop back 2 hrs. later. JLM has dropped another nugget. i really like JLM’s comment so I hit the like link Kid has a 180 controversial comment to Fred’s post that made me go hmmm….. So I wonder what other people will say about this..2 hrs later, ShanaC and Andy has chimed in on Kid’s comment- great comment, I wonder what Fred is gonna say. And I wonder if anyone else has liked JLM comment so i go and check – what do u know, williamM and Brad liked it too – hey, I must have good taste if they liked the comment also.2hrs later, I check the conversations – hey they Grimster has a coupla good comments – I wonder what Fred thinks.3hrs. later, let me see what Fred’s responses are – So I quickly look for the green title bar (old way). Fred as usual, is short and to the point but he has a interesting take on Kid’s comment. Man, what a great thread Kid’s is – I wonder where this is going… I enter a comment on this thread, hit the like link (hey – don’t act like you don’t like your own comments!) and I wonder if anybody else will like my comment so I’ll check back.I do this ALL DAY everyday until late at night. Also, since I check the comments 10x a day, I want to quickly see what NEW comments are here (up in the front like it use to) so I don’t have to look all over the comments again.You see, the comments are a living conversation to me. Disqus Team – can you make this EXPERIENCE I described any better, not what new features can you add.

    1. Emily Merkle

      DISQUS: Comments as Experience is nice focus.

    2. fredwilson

      wow, what a great comment. i do pretty much the same thing. i hope we can iterate D2012 so you can continue to do that.

      1. jim

        Fred, these new D12 features/changes took away this experience and my ability to wonder/follow conversations. therefore, lately, I read the post once and may check back once a day rather than my normal 10.-The comments are not multi-threaded/indented anymore so it’s hard to follow.-My ego is not fed cause I can’t see who likes my comment and who liked the comments i liked.-When i come back the 2nd-10th time, I can not see the new comments quickly – remember “sort by newest” in old way. The comments were also tagged with “reply to X” so I knew the conversation stream of the new comment w/o having to scroll down to the thread.- I can’t quickly find JLM, Grimster, Andy, ShanaC,you, kid, etc anymore. In all communities, well respected people will arise and people wanna know what they said and how people responded to them. It’s too hard to find these guys now cause the comments now looks like a big block of text. My eyes can not quickly pick out users – the bold name isn’t enough.-I added a comment, then added another comment and it didn’t remember who I was – I had to reenter my name and email address – I don’t have disqus account.The new D12 would be fine if I read your post once – at the end of the day when all the comments are there – but that would take away my experience and make it boring.I hope you and Disqus team take this constructively.

        1. fredwilson

          you can count on it

        2. sprugman

          Dammit! Disqus just wiped my long comment when I went to log in via twitter in safari on iPad. DON’T DO THAT!!I don’t have the patience to write it as well as before. Here’s the rough version. my use case is exactly what the comment above described in penultimate paragraph.- can’t tell sort order, and setting doesn’t save between sessions- threading display difficult to use — easy to go deep, but tough to back out- slow and a little buggy on iPad.

          1. falicon

            Twitter enforces a 140 character limit….disqus just throws out your work/thoughts…different approaches, but both teach/stress brevity (or at the very least, to write offline and copy/paste when ready) πŸ˜‰

    3. William Mougayar

      That was funny. You should try Engagio – it’s a good complement to Disqus for efficiently managing your discussions across the various destinations.

      1. jim

        William, I’m a lurker – I follow AVC, Techcrunch, HackerNews, etc. closely, but not really get involved. I rarely comment but I read/follow these blogs religously.By the way, I LOVE the fact that you and Grimster met up with JLM, even though he couldn’t take you guys for a ride with the top down. Is he the chap in-person as he is on AVC – he’s one of the most interesting person I’ve encountered. And did Grimster look/act anything like you expected?

        1. William Mougayar

          Lol. No, actually he’s not. He’s 10X the chap he is in person. As for Grimster, my lips are sealed and fingers are frozen.

  36. caretakerbob

    Down-voting is a worse than useless feature. If down-voting was simply a harmless feature that was seldom used I wouldn’t complain, but I’ve only ever seen it reduce the range of opinions in online communities where it was used. Members with contrary, or just different, opinions get down-voted more often resulting in their feeling unwelcome and leaving. By comparison, up-voting works brilliantly to help identify posts worth reading, particularly in popular forums like this one with too many posts to read them all.

    1. Dale Allyn

      One of the things I don’t like about down-voting is when used in combination with up-votes to create one value, a provocative comment can end up with a neutral “vote status”. For example: Kid Mercury makes a brilliant comment (as he often does) seasoned with a bit of controversial stuff or a paragraph that is off-putting to some. He gets six up-votes for part of his comment, and six others down-vote it for the part that stood out to them in a negative way. Net result, the comment shows no “flavor”. My feeling is that such mechanisms create a bad metric.And most importantly: I’m not wanting to pick on our beloved Kid. I just used the example because of his celebrity for comments that might help illustrate.

      1. fredwilson

        but what if the algorithm amplified comments that had a lot of both. but not comments that have only downvotes?

        1. Dale Allyn

          Fred, I think that there needs to be a clear definition of the goal first – and not just “better engagement” or similar. (I’m not saying that’s the case here, but really specific description of the goal will help IMO.) And I think that “upvote/downvote” is a very crude instrument, which can be at least partly refined with labeling.If amplification is a goal, then yes, I would agree that at least one measure could be considering the “interestingness” of a comment that elicited reaction from the community such that people bothered to “vote” on it at all, i.e. combined votes actions.Generally, I think that the feature is potentially a very slippery slope, and will have different potential “benefits” in different applications. i.e. a respectful community like AVC will likely use it so that those too busy to read the whole thread can cruise through and get “the meat”, but on some blogs it will just be means to elevate the cool kids or the ones that expressed the edgiest F.U., while burring a dissenter’s remarks. To be fair to Disqus, while I’m not a fan of “downvotes” for communities which I care about, it could be argued that it does have a place sometimes in some kinds of online communities. Hence the design should be carefully considered. To me, the best communities have very active moderation and downvoting isn’t generally needed though.Edit: dropped “not” in front of ‘saying” which changed the meaning. Ugh.

          1. falicon

            I am clapping in agreement/support for everything you say over here!

          2. Dale Allyn

            Thanks, Kevin. I always read your input here with respect. I appreciate your comments. The topic of this thread is important and very delicate, i.e. solutions will be nuanced if the goal is to produce something meaningful and an improvement over the various options currently in common use across the web.

        2. Dale Allyn

          @fredwilson:disqus I dropped a word and didn’t catch it quickly, so you may have misunderstood my intention. I meant “I’m not saying that’s the case…”.

    2. fredwilson

      i wonder if that is because nobody has implemented it correctly.

      1. Techman

        Down voting is not very helpful at all on political blogs. If you say something that is not in the majority view of most people, then forget seeing your comment. Moderators either remove it to prevent flame wars, or the comment gets down voted so much that it ends up being the last comment in the thread.

  37. Vinod

    I am a reader (for six years) and not a writer at AVC. From that perspective, the single most complaint is the new “Load more comments” feature that makes you to push a button . for every 50 comments?…this makes it real hard to browse through comments made by favorites such as Fakegrimlock, JLM etc…guess change isn’t always good …would appreciate if all comments load at once…

  38. Prokofy

    I really hate downvoting, especially if it makes a comment disappear. The other day there was a guy on here who had a VERY long discussion and it was very interesting, but it was hidden under a line that the comment was not visible due to downvoting. When I read the entire long back and forth, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what happened to downvote him — it was just some nit or possibly even a mistake, which can happen from clicking on the wrong thing.I think geeks are just too thin-skinned all around and they are harming our democracy and eroding our freedoms as they make these platforms where public life is taking place. It’s no good saying that are private companies and therefore they can “do what they like” or “we can leave”. That’s not an option when they become ubiquitous like utilities.Other than that, I like Disqus for saving all my comments. What’s I would really appreciate if it would save every single comment I write, REGARDLESS of whether some thin-skinned geek blocked it. Then I would have a nice collection of blocked comments that would speak volumes about them, not me : )I also wish I could run a feed on my blog of all my Disqus comments everywhere, that would drive readers to those other blogs and save me from having to write a separate blog post or even not remember, which is what happens most of the time.

  39. panterosa,

    I have a big complaint which is mirrored in the comments below, by many people.The visual demarcations of avatar, tag line in a bordered rectangle above the comments made the distinction of commenter info easy to sort thru versus the comment itself. Now its all borderless, and just a sea of text.I have double vision, so I’m not your core audience, but I do graphic design so I always try to lead my viewers eye in a simple, elegant and intuitive way to where their eyes should go. Disqus 2012 is a mess of unhierarchized info, buttons, text – it makes my eyes cringe.I want to be supportive, and I adore change, so I’m not interested to just be a downer here. However, I really feel my TIME, my visual time, is important. Don’t make my eye search all over for things. It’s like trying to find info on myriad receipts when you check your CC bill. Why all the same, almost same, size text?Why no banners? I liked being reminded of people’s self tag lines as I got to know them.

  40. panterosa,

    My space ran out, continuing here….Why no placements? I’m not competitive, but I am curious, more about others than myself. I don’t just want to see the top 10 people in the community box for VC or other blogs, I want to see the whole group of commenters. Why else be on AVC 2.5 years and have my engagio box filled with new people? I’ve met 20% of my engagio AVC contacts in person. That’s about AVC and about how Disqus made the engagement happen. I really want easier visual real estate. I love Edward Tufte for his rigor in this aspect.

  41. James Poling

    I really dig the new login UI and how it’s laid out, it makes it easy for people to connect or just fill in a name to comment. The community tab is probably my favorite new feature, it’s a great way for people to see who is involved on your site and lead them to other active posts.That being said @twitter-41899343:disqus has a lot of great points as well about some neat features that were taken away, although I can see why the reasoning behind it.All in all though, I really like the look and feel of it so far.

  42. awaldstein

    I’ve just reread this entire thread. Too much amazing info not to memorialize in memory. But as a note to@danielha:disqus and the Disqus team. It is really hard to read and follow the strings here. Take someone who isn’t a community member and ask them to read this comment string and report back on the top 10 items conversations. My bet is that they will miss much.Food for thought.

    1. Tom Labus

      No question.What is the Disqus game plan? What is the objective with replies? Is this half way?

      1. awaldstein

        That is a question for @danielha:disqus .

    2. leigh

      Yeah i feel that way too. Not sure what that is — maybe the comments used to say reply to X and it was easier to follow — but seems like it’s a UX issue that could be solved with colour or something……(clearly i’m not a UX person and my ECD hubbie just spiritually groaned I’m sure)

  43. DanielHorowitz

    You need to let me reply from within disqus and/or go directly to a comment in a thread. The current system only takes me to the blog post, and then I have to find the comment I want to reply to. Super inefficient.

  44. bsoist

    So, I started a little rabbit trail about distractions, and that reminded me of one thing I’ve noticed. I am not sure it’s entirely new but it jumps out at me now.”My Disqus”I read my RSS feeds sometime before 5a.m. and then again after lunch. Since I was always missing the heart of the discussion here (though the comments are worth just reading, I have to tell you), I decided to make reading AVC part of my morning routine. I get a text sometime after the post is up (via ifttt.com) and I vist the site.The conversation here is worthwhile enough for me to “disrupt” my routine for it, BUT I am occasionally involved in other discussions that can wait, and I see that yellow? number telling me about those conversations.Perhaps that is something I could turn off and I’ve wasted everyone’s time here. If not, that would be a nice addition (but low on the priority list for now).

  45. OurielOhayon

    Fred. They missed a branding opportunityI would have named the first tab disQussion πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson


  46. McKay Thomas

    Most of my Disqus experience comes from my own blog. So, as someone who uses Disqus the way the majority of blogs use them, the two big features that I depend are:1) Email replies. When I get an email saying someone commented, I hit reply, offer my thoughts, and hit send. Many of my readers get a response to their comment before they’ve even left my blog.2) Threaded replies. This is one that surprised me the most as my blog community is tiny (teeny tiny compared to AVC) and so I wouldn’t have thought that anyone would have a need for it. Yet when I get a popular post out there usually two or three conversations start around the post and the conversations gravitate toward two or three original comments, the others are all replies, sometimes two deep (not sure how deep they go, but I know I’ve seen three deep before at least).Not terribly insightful here, but alot of the comments on this post seemed to not know how Disqus worked in more normal circumstances and so I thought I’d share.

  47. McKay Thomas

    Also, the reactions kind of suck. Twitter integration is a good thought, but without a sorting algorithm it is broken. Product idea: It should group actions together in families, like “27 people retweeted this” and “163 people shared this link” with then actual tweets that share a thought on it. Pasting the title of the blog post and a link on Twitter is hardly a reaction.

    1. Techman

      I agree. CC: @danielha:disqus

  48. CJ

    I like the new interface, I miss the labels and I don’t like the thoughts of downvoting comments – here at least.

  49. Emily Merkle

    As a relative newcomer to this community, and having spent a good deal of time engaging, I want to weigh in rather frankly. The layout is visually and functionally unattractive and unwieldy; it does not flow. I can see the utility in a “like” button a la Facebook, but I do not see the value-add in the vote up/down functionality at all.

  50. Andreas Kopp

    Hi everybody, I am a long reader of AVC but was never really active in commenting.

    1. ShanaC


  51. Andreas Kopp

    Hi everybody, I am a long term reader of this blog but have not been an active commenter yet. As I am just starting my own blog I learned about dofollow and nofollow links when your are commenting. Is it with Disqus 2012 possible to make the links dofollow?At the moment I am thinking about integrating the facebook social plugin instead of disqus. because I think “normal” internet especially non US Internet User that do not own a blog haven never heard about disqus and would not even click on the little facebook link here on the left. I nice option would be if you would be automatically logged in with Facebook and still have the option to switch to another service.

  52. Otto

    How many lurkers took the Engagio survey? There are many more of them than active commenters on the web.Also, comment “voting” is a step backward for Disqus. It reminds me of the web circa mid 2000s or the ranking of friends on MySpace, it’s not progressive and it discourages social engagement. I don’t need the group telling me what is good or bad. It also makes it too easy for the non-engaged, or the lurker, to censor the people who are active. Comment voting is a narrow minded group think enabler and a community/idea destroyer.

  53. Max Wendkos

    Am I mistaken or does Disqus 2012 strip me of my ability to stylize their commenting system to fit my blog? If so, this is really, really disappointing.

    1. fredwilson

      you can still use the old version if you want a ton of customization features

      1. Max Wendkos

        Yeah, I downgraded after the fact. It’s just a shame because I was pretty excited to take advantage of the improved system.

        1. fredwilson

          i think they will improve the customization options in the new system but they aren’t focused on customization as the central value proposition

          1. Max Wendkos

            Got it. Ended up having a conversation re: this with Daniel and one of Disqus’ front-end devs in the comments of a related blog post I wrote and they gave a similar explanation. (Post is at http://maxwendkos.com.) I’ll be curious to see what options they add, but I still think it’s a mistake that they’re not allowing custom CSS for advanced users in the admin panel. When the front-end dev explained their reasoning, I pointed out a solution that would easily allow them to offer custom CSS without sacrificing their original goals when they eliminated it. Not sure that they’ll act on it, but it would be huge for those of us who had relied on this functionality. I, for one, would instantly upgrade to Disqus 2012.

          2. fredwilson

            thank you for taking the time to talk to them about this

          3. Max Wendkos

            Of course. Hopefully they thought it was helpful.

          4. Techman

            What was your suggestion?

          5. Techman

            Which is sorta a fail because I see complaints all the time on the Disqus blog stating to add CSS or the rest of the Disqus sites out there won’t adapt. I really miss my old customizations at my blog, perhaps I should attach a screenshot of what it looked like.