I recently realized that the default wordpress commenting system lacked a few things:
- It wasn’t user friendly and quick. Users had to type their name, email, etc. before submitting their comments.
- It was bland and not very interactive.
- It did not do much to attract more traffic to the site.
So I set out searching for alternatives and discovered a whole new world of commenting systems. There is intense debate (which has been around the longest), disqus, livefyre, facebook comments, among others. From the surface it looked like all of them provided similar functions. I thought I could decide based no other’s experiences and reading the descriptions. There are several blogs that discuss this topic.
While they showed me what options I have, they did not help me with the final decision. I had to try them out. I recommend you to try them before you pick one. As it happened with me, you will find something you do not like which may not have been mentioned by others, which may influence your final decision.
First I tried facebook comments. I used the Simple Facebook Connect plugin and I was really impressed.
- Once configured it is simple to use.
- Simple interface – visitors just click “Connect with Facebook” and type in their comments.
- Syncs easily with Facebook Fan page.
- Not very easy to setup. As a newbie to this, I had a tough time understanding facebook apps, configuring them, etc. I took me a few hours to get things working.
I liked facebook comments so much that I have it enabled on one of my blogs and is tightly integrated with the Facebook Fan page. This is setup is working great for my purposes. However, it did not fit this blog.
I see Disqus installed in several of the websites I commonly go to: Computer World, Bleacher Report, etc. I have also read that several other big websites have adopted them.
- Easy to setup – just open a Disqus account and install the wordpress plugin.
- Good interface with real-time updates.
- Provides several ways for the visitors to login (Livefyre, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, OpenID, etc.).
- Provides options to import/export comments.
- Mobile commenting looks and works well.
- Huge user base – about 35 million at the time of writing this.
- Several moderation options (more with paid memberships).
- Android app provides easy moderation of comments (a big plus for me).
- Relatively easy for visitors to comment. Registered users can long with one of the several ways and unregistered users can supply their name, email, etc. and submit their comments.
- Option to display login buttons with comment box.
- Deceptive practices (?) – I am not sure if this true but it definitely appeared that way to me. It would not allow me to delete a site. The “Delete Site” button appears on my settings page. But nothing happens when you click on it. Similarly, I could not delete my account. The “Delete Account” button does not work.
- Poor customer service – when I emailed them about the problem stated above no one responded. Deleted my account on the 2nd day but still no confirmation or response.
- Unless I am missing something, there is no option to sync comments with a Facebook Fan page. In fact, it is due to this reason that I decided not to use Disqus for my other blog.
- I could not permanently delete comments. Upon deleting a comment it went to the “Deleted” category but it stays there forever (unless I am doing something wrong).
- The interface may intimidate some people. But most of the visitors on this blog are tech savvy and are comfortable using complex commenting systems.
- The android app has bugs – some comments imported from wordpress had anonymous as the name and some had their avatars missing.
As you may notice, I decided to use Disqus for this blog. See below for my reasoning.