If you want to comment on my or at foonathan’s blog, you will have seen that you need to tab a button to load the comments form. I want to share with you, why. While Jonathan’s blog is primarily in English, my mostly German readers can switch to the German version of the text.
I use Disqus because it gives me an audience engagement system and yet simplifies my hosting effort immensely. My old WordPress blog had a commenting system included, but required a MySQL database and active PHP. This is muuuch slower, and also a big security concern if you don’t protect your site in a reasonable manner1.
Since the moving to jekyll, my server only hosts “dead” HTML pages which have been generated once and don’t perform server action every time somebody tries to read my blog. Jonathan also uses jekyll, since he is hosting on GitHub Pages.
However, our readers cannot write comments on our jekyll posts! And that’s where Disqus comes into play:
Disqus can be embedded into static HTML pages (like this blog) and works as a commenting system for me. For my needs, the free version is enough: It protects me against Nigerian princes2 and discussion-heavy posts are featured underneath the comment section.
Disqus is super, but there are two major points that speak against this system:
For similar reasons, Heise Publishing published the Shariff library for sharing buttons in 2014 - right around the time when I designed my and Jonathan’s blog. It works quite similar to my button: The external service is only called, if you click the button!
The code in my website is pretty straight forward:
<h2>Comments</h2> <div id="disqusActivate"> [...] <button id="disqusActivateButton">Load Disqus</button> [...] </div> <div id="disqus_thread"></div>
Without doubt, this system has it’s downsides.
First and foremost: The reading/commenting ratio is much lower than it would normally be, and no conversation can evolve when the button blocks readers from reading what somebody commented..
Also, it is difficult to outsource your work: While researching for this article, I learned that Disqus has a new investor/owner and maybe, they’ll close the free tier next month and all comments on my site are flushed4.
This existing system did not get me into a lot of trouble, but how are you doing comments on your blog? Mail me … in the comments! (just hit the button that says something with disqus, I’m too lazy to update my whole layout for this English post)
I was 14 or 15 at this time and it was more by luck than judgment that my site was not hacked. ↩
Many Nigerian princes that offer me money in emails are very handsome! But some are …ehh… not. ↩
You’re loading pretty font for that page! *stands ashamed in the corner* ↩
I’ve read the part of the post which says that everything will stay like it is. But you never know. ↩