Inline Commenting on non-Forum Pages

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #1

Hi, everyone!
For their new content pages, I noticed that Sitepoint switched back to using Disqus for comments - away from the earlier Discourse-based solution. There was a discussion about this here: New Articles are using Disqus? - Community - The SitePoint Forums

Their response from that thread is what caught my attention:

Hey Scott, we’ve switched back to Disqus for two reasons: we’re waiting on some Discourse updates that would make commenting inline, and to allow for engagement of Disqus users. The moderation team here are still posting the articles on the forums, so you can view articles either on or on the Forums.

The emphasis is mine. Is there a plan to support inline commenting on article pages? I’ve switched away from using Disqus to using Discourse for all of the content on, and there has been a near 90% drop-off in user engagement. The feedback I’ve heard from visitors is that having to jump from an article to a completely different place on the forums seems too heavyweight. They either no longer comment or (worse) send me a direct e-mail where the interaction is hidden away and not useful for future readers.

I’ve read Jeff and others’ thoughts on why this separation exists and is a good thing, but I am curious to know if thoughts on this have changed to accommodate inline commenting on a page while still syncing the content with the forum UI as well.


(Caue Rego) #4

From the little I know, discourse will probably never offer any official way to allow new comments outside of the main site or emailing. But since it’s open source, it will most likely get a plugin for that, eventually (if it doesn’t have one already).

And the reason is to purposely reduce sporadic engagement. We want real engagement here, and that’s one of the strong points about discourse. 90% drop off isn’t a bad thing if more than 50% of those were useless “+1” comments.

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #5

Cawas - that makes sense, but none of the comments I miss were the low-value “+1” comments. When the disqus comments were enabled, there were some really good ones that added value to that page’s topic. Those comments are sadly missing or now in my e-mail Inbox.

The only reason why I don’t get back to using disqus is that I like the idea of having all comments centralized in one location. It avoids having parallel conversations on the same topic. To clarify, I am only talking about commenting on article pages. The forums are an important part of the overall community, and I would never NEVER consider moving away from Discourse :smile:

(Sam Saffron) #6

Not entirely correct, we have strong use case at “the talking point memo” which @Josh_Marshall runs. We have not had a story around supporting embedded commenting so the code was forked and since it had not gotten an update in more than about 1 year. This hurts our brand and introduces all sorts of security risks.

We are considering this feature, but do not have a timeline.

Box comment on Wordpress articles?
(Caue Rego) #7

What kind of security risks, and how analogous are they to allowing email in anyway?

(Sam Saffron) #8

If you are running Discourse from 1.5 years ago you are vulnerable to every security flaw we fixed since. There was more that 1 of those.

(Josh Marshall) #9

An update on this. We’ve actually spent the last few weeks updating our installation of Discourse. It’s taken a bit of extra time reconciling the aforementioned forks with the new code. But I think we’re scheduled to role it out some time in the next week or so.

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #10

Josh - that is exciting to hear. I can’t wait to see it live :slight_smile:

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #11

Any updates on this? Is there an implementation that you can share, Josh? :smile:

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #12

Related, is there a place where we can vote up this feature to help influence it on the backlog? :smile:

My quick test of turning disqus comments on for a 24-hour period resulted in more article comments than Discourse comments over a two week period. There is definitely a place for having comments that stand well either alone or properly on the main forums as well.

(Jeff Atwood) #13

Did you also measure the quality of the comments, or just how many there were?

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #14

The quality was equivalent to what you’d see on the forums itself, so I didn’t notice any drop-off in quality. That’s what worries me. If the comments on the pages were “+1’s” or “Thanks!” or something not worthy of being standalone as a forum response, I would totally agree the extra layer of separation is good. By not seeing that behavior, I worry if the current design is turning away potential contributors because of the context switch.


(Jeff Atwood) #15

There’s no timeline for this. I personally have zero enthusiasm for it. (Negative enthusiasm, would be more accurate.)

The goal of Discourse is to drive people towards the community clubhouse, not pile a bunch of random asides at the bottom of a blog entry. When you do that, it does not end well. Note that Forums | The Verge is still active, however…

Box comment on Wordpress articles?
(Rick Cogley) #16

The whole point to Discourse seems to be the antithesis of Disqus. Why is viewing the comments under the post not enough? After all, people have to sign up for Disqus too, so I can’t see the signup process of a Discourse forum such a big burden.

(cpradio) #17

In short the feedback we got was that was one more account they had to keep track of versus using their existing Disqus account.

We saw a major drop in participation of our articles and have switched back to Disqus because of it.

(Caue Rego) #18

So, that’s a good thing Disqus exists. Because “increasing participation” or “improving engagement” of a blog is a different goal than “building a community”. In one of them, you just want more people talking about an article or many posts, but you don’t care so much if they talk to each other.

(Barry Parr) #19

I’d definitely like to be able to integrate Discourse for comments on my site, as well as a forum.

I operate a news site for my local community. All the community members know one another. Many are bitter enemies. I’ve maintained the civility with a real-name-only policy and a seldom used ban-hammer.

But I’ve been struggling with the best way to integrate an edited news site with an open community since I launched in 2004. I want comments on news stories, and I also want a forum where anyone can post. I’d like user-contributed content to have a common sign-on and user interface. I’ve tested plenty of different solutions on the site, and investigated plenty more. My site uses Expression Engine, which does offer a forum module, but it was obsolete when it was introduced in the mid-00s.

I’m setting up a Discourse forum, but I still really want a better way to integrate comments on news stories with topics in my forum.

(Caue Rego) #20

If you’re going for discourse @barryparr, do try to go along with it first. Tell your community there won’t be “inline commenting” anymore, but their posts will still be visible on the news article (you just have to embed it there).

The sign in process is simple enough and, yet, long enough to reduce heating and harmful commenters. You’ll probably only go through if you want to engage rather than to troll, for instance. Even because you will see how you’ll get beaten down quickly.

There’s a whole mindset built around it and it is beautiful, you’ll see! :wink:

(Kirupa Chinnathambi) #21

I still feel there is a place for having inline commenting on articles that are sync’ed also on the forums, but I can see the cases for why you all feel that it doesn’t help much. It would be nice to have the option in the future - someday! :smile:

Having to re-enable disqus pains me!

(Caue Rego) #22

I kinda agree. Web 2.0 was basically starting to use AJAX, a kind of “inline http” if you will. Things do get faster if we need to transfer less data among peers. Maybe this is the place for inline commenting.

It’s just I don’t think it’s such a deal killer nor do I feel so badly for blogs with discourse, which inherently don’t have inline commenting (yet). Especially no big deal with internet itself getting so much faster.

Would just not bother with disqus if I had discourse.

Even on a slow mobile web, there is an actual twisted advantage of not having inline discourse: for blogs that are filled (a.k.a. polluted) with ads, such as @geek’s! :stuck_out_tongue:

Although I don’t think inline would ever kill the forum, at least officially.