Note: Since this post was published in September 2011, Disqus has sufficiently improved their product that I have decided to re-enable it. But in the interest of intellectual honesty, I’m leaving this post intact.
Regular readers of this site may notice that I am no longer using Disqus to handle my commenting. And if you haven’t noticed, well, that’s one of the reasons why. Allow me to explain.
I installed Disqus to replace the native WordPress comment functionality on this site, oh, at least a few years ago. My little blogger head was filled with the promise of even more interactivity and ease with regards to commenting, as well as more traffic.I liked Disqus enough that as recently as April 2011 I listed it as one of my 10 favorite WordPress plugins.
The thing is, none of those promises ever really amounted to much. As of this writing I have 828 posts and 1,660 comments, for an average of two comments per post. That sounds like a decent ratio for a minor internet destination like mine, but I can tell you anecdotally that quite a few of those comments are mine — I do try to be a responsive and friendly writer — and that a large percentage of posts receive no comments at all.
This certainly isn’t the fault of Disqus, but it simply shows that at least for me, it did nothing spur people to leave feedback. But there are other, more concrete reasons why I went back to native WordPress comments.
Disqus, despite how easy it is to set up, doesn’t always play nice with other plugins and themes. I ran into a rather ugly layout issue several months ago that turned out to be a conflict between Disqus and W3 Total Cache. It was essentially solved with a minor coding change to Disqus, but it was a red flag for me. Disqus also tends to slow down the load time of my site — not always by a great deal, but enough to notice. And with Google now taking load times into even greater account in its page rankings, I felt that potential SEO hit wasn’t worth the hassle.
Lastly, I never really became entirely comfortable with the notion of having all my comments hosted by a third party. Disqus seems to have staying power, but in the back of my mind I was always waiting for the day when the whole operation went up in smoke and took my comments with it.
Maybe one day, when each one of my posts gets dozens of comments, I will consider moving back to a third party commenting system like Disqus (or a competitor like Intense Debate, Livefyre, or even Facebook). But until then, I will just have to hope that if someone feels strongly enough to leave some feedback for me they’ll be OK with the few clicks necessary to do so through WordPress.
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