Disqus now powers my comments

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POSTED: September 26, 2012

This morning at the Content Management Systems course I raised a question about WordPress plugins. I have been saying that they are a bad idea unless they are used carefully. Firstly, creating a site by banging together a collection of plugins can lead to all sorts of problems. You rely on the developers for a lot of your site security. Secondly, if you don’t understand how your plugins work, you may be left with major problems if a plugin stops being developed and then breaks.

I have been suggesting that you should only use plugins when you understand them yourself and could replace them with your own functions if necessary, or when they serve a specific, sandboxed non-core function that could be removed from the site without affecting its overall look and functionality. An example of the latter might be a plugin that lists your latest tweets in the sidebar. If it breaks you can be certain that another one will come along, and if one doesn’t then you can put something else in your sidebar.

The front page of the Disqus site on the day this was published!

The question I raised this morning concerned comments. I invited the students to look at Disqus and tell me whether, by my own criteria, I should use their plugin or not. Since I have had comments switched off since my site was attacked by malware they are not currently a core function. Since I can export all my comments from Disqus I can presumably (with some work) reincorporate them in the site in the hopefully unlikely event of the company ceasing to exist. The consensus was that I should use it.

So, as of right now, this site has comments enabled again, and they are being maintained by Disqus. The good news is that it took less than twenty minutes to set it up so that the Essays and Notes accept comments and the Album doesn’t (because the album serves a different purpose). The bad news is that it has been active for twenty seven minutes and I still haven’t had anyone leave any comments…

Update 1

Someone asked me how likely Disqus is to go away so I googled. According to a Crunchbase post that I looked up twenty minutes ago, Disqus was “was founded in 2007 by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan”. The post says that

Disqus is a networked community platform, reaching over 700 million people a month, 1.3 million registered communities, and over 70M active commenters. The service offers a networked comment system used to foster engagement and connect audiences from around the web.

So it seems pretty likely to stay. Indeed, it seems more likely to be bought by Google than to suddenly drop dead.

Update 2

After installing Disqus, I tweeted the urls of two recent posts. Within six hours I had five comments. I am happily impressed.