On 8 June 2014, I switched the comment system from Facebook based to Disqus, a different kind of commenting system. There were a few reasons for this decision:
- Facebook allowed too much spam in here. Because of Facebook’s tracking system, spammers could target fake comments that might be attractive to readers of various articles. It was almost creepy in how this spam fit with what was written
- You have to be on Facebook to comment in a Facebook environment, and there are a lot of people who did not want to set up a Facebook account. I empathize with that, so Disqus allows for several types of login, including setting up an account that is not on any social network.
- Disqus allows for threading of comments, which cannot be done with the Facebook system.
- Facebook constantly changed it’s programming which would break the comments section for a day or two every few weeks. It was frustrating, and because Facebook refused to publish its changes, they would happen without warning.
- Facebook had a binary moderation mode, either on or off. Disqus has a more vibrant one.
- You can up vote and down vote Disqus comments. This let’s the casual reader know who has contributed something useful to the conversation.
I pulled the switch on the change this afternoon. There are a few issues here and there, including a boatload of missing comments. I’m trying to recover them, and some have shown up, but others are being recalcitrant. They’re not lost for me, as I can see them in my database, but making the database talk to Disqus has been a challenge. Eventually it will be all worked out. I want to be able to see all of the antisemitic remarks for the Oberführer of whale.to.
A lot of websites now use Disqus, and it’s pretty easy to remain logged on, so that you can comment to your heart’s content across the internet. Because you know, one day, we will correct all of the mistakes on the internet. OK, maybe correcting the mistakes on Wikipedia will have to suffice.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or complaints, leave them here. Maybe I can fix them. Maybe I can’t. Maybe in a year, I’ll switch back to Facebook Comments. Probably not.