Skip to content


On Centralised Commenting Systems — Why I Don’t Like Disqus

UPDATE, 2011-08-29: Ben Vinegar, a Front-end Engineer at Disqus, has responded to this post. It is apparently possible for users to export their comments to a local database, display them for users without JavaScript and it is mentioned that the “scary red error box isn’t sending the right message”. These are welcome steps forward to addressing my dislike of the service.

I don᾿t like centralised commenting systems like Disqus and IntenseDebate. I am disappointed whenever I see a site using them; I want to use this post to explain why.

The Attraction to Centralised Commenting

Services like Disqus and IntenseDebate are marketed as being ‘better’ platforms for enabling commenting on blogs and articles. You essentially outsource the comments on your blog or website and have them handled by the service.

It is an attractive idea because you can outsource the more difficult things like handling spam comments and so on, and because it allows users to have a single identity with the commenting service and then use that single identity on many sites.

Making Commenting on the Web Proprietary

The primary reason that I do not like such services is because they seek to make commenting on the web proprietary. The web should be open. The web is open, for the most part, and I think it should remain that way.

Centralising commenting on your site is taking the control over the discussion over your content and handing that control to a third-party.

I think comments on blogs and so on should be as open and as simple as possible — enter a name and email address and just write a comment. Yes, that way of doing things is more open to absue such as the misuse of identity and spam and it doesn’t have the advantages of being able to connect comments from a single person together.

» Read the rest of this post…