Programming Blog

Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

How Disqus Is Going to Change the Web

By: Jeremy Morgan

The web has had a problem since the early days that’s just starting to get solved now. People want to talk back and they want to be heard. They also like joining communities and participating them, especially now. In the last ten years it’s possible for the average person to have created hundreds, if not thousands of separate accounts on different websites. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have one or two accounts to use everywhere?

disqus commentsWhat Disqus has done

If you haven’t seen Disqus around, you will. It’s spreading to sites all over the place, and as of today I installed it on this one. What Discus has done is create a sort of single sign on for websites. You can make a comment on this site if you have an account on:

  • Google (Gmail)

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

Who doesn’t have at least one of those? In the past people had to create accounts everywhere, and the simple fact is nobody wants to do that. People have to really love your site, and be very compelled to discuss things with others, to create an account on it.

Nobody wants to remember 1000 accounts, and people don’t want to give their email address to every site in the world, especially if they just want to make a comment and leave.

Discus has now connected them so you can log in to many websites with accounts you already use. This is so incredibly convenient and simple it’s amazing it wasn’t done years ago.

How Disqus changes things:

If this service takes off the web is going to be a different, better place. Here’s why:

1. More people will participate

Because they already have an account at one of these services, it it could be seconds to log in and make a comment. Once someone has decided to do this, they’re logged in whenever they visit another site with Disqus comments too. The people who have something to say but would never dream of creating an account on your blog (or don’t know how) will gladly post a comment if it’s made really easy. You’re rolling out the welcome mat for everyone and inviting them to your site.

2. People will be nicer

****If people commenting have some accountability the chances of them acting foolish diminishes greatly. Think about it, if you have a “badboy69” profile with fake info and a picture of a middle finger you can pretty much say anything you want and act inappropriately without it affecting you much in real life. You would say and do things you wouldn’t really do offline. But if your comments are tied to your REAL name, photo, school, employer, friends etc are you really going to act out of line? It acts as sort of a jerk filter on your site and someone could create a fake profile on Facebook and comment but the amount of people willing to do that are reduced. I think you’ll see more rational, respectable comments.

3. You’ll have people seeking reputation

****This ties into #2 slightly in that people will be more conscious of their image and reputation as they are posting. When all of my posts say “Jeremy Morgan” and have my smiling mug next to them you can bet I’m going to think about my reputation more. Do I want to post this? Is it helpful? Am I contributing positively here or just making a mess? These are things people think about more when their reputation is on the line. When people care about things like this they tend to make better decisions and contributions when posting something. You will get people willing to jump in and help.

4. You will take advantage of herd theory

Surely by now you’ve figured out the great forum/discussion problem as a webmaster. Nobody will comment on your stuff if nobody is commenting. Nobody is going to sign up for a forum if there is nobody on the forum, it’s an endless cycle that’s very hard to break out of. When it’s made this easy more people will comment. When more people comment, others see that and decide to jump in too. Soon people are spreading the links and talking about your site. More people on your site will lead to bigger improvement to said sites. By actively promoting engagement websites can improve and evolve for the better.

5. It will reduce spam

This one is one of the best benefits yet. Twenty dollar automated bots can create accounts and spam WordPress sites with ease. Every time I log into my panel I see another 100 or so comments left by spammers. They can do this with Disqus too, it’s just more difficult. Not only do they have to create an account on Facebook / Gmail / Twitter but they also have to take an extra step of connecting through Disqus as well before commenting. Also it doesn’t appear that links posted in Disqus comments can pass any link juice (though I don’t know that for sure) so that would eliminate some motivation to spam. ( Spammers don’t post links on forums for the traffic, they’re usually doing it for the backlinks to game search engines).


So after consideration I think that if Disqus takes off, we all win. From what I can see it’s being adopted all over the place and I hope this trend continues. It’s nice to have one login you can carry around with you and use everywhere and I’m sorry but OpenID is not easy enough for the average web surfer. I really hope this site takes off, if you have commenting on your site you should really consider it. You can even migrate all your old posts to it.

Check out the Disqus website

Disqus for WordPress (or you can just add it through plugins)

Have fun and leave a comment!

_ Note: This is not a paid endorsement of this service. I have not been paid or compensated in any way, and have had no contact with Disqus before doing this article. This is 100% my opinion only and I want to disclose that here._