Plugin Monday: DISQUS, Kicking Comments into Overdrive

This week’s Plugin Monday addresses managing comments.  Allowing comments on your site means allowing conversations to take place.  These conversations keep people coming back to your site so they can see how their opinions were received by other readers.  Eventually, comments turn into discussions and discussions turn into communities of readers who add content, and therefore value, to your site.

But comments have their downsides too, like abusive “trolls,” people who would rather be insulting or vulgar than add to a conversation.  Comments can also become confusing when they get derailed by conversations wholly unrelated to the original topic.

Thankfully, all of this and more is solved by DISQUS, a brilliant commenting system, that includes features such as:

  • Threaded comments and replies so that readers can respond to other readers, indenting them under that comment, so it’s clear when a reader is responding to the post itself and when he/she is responding to another reader’s comment.
  • Notifications and reply by email, which allow readers to track the conversation on your post and easily contribute more comments.
  • Subscribe and RSS options, which just like email notifications, keep readers coming back for more.
  • Powerful moderation and admin tools to cut down dramatically on the amount of time you spend moderating comments.  This includes easy black and gray lists, which make the process of keeping comments civil a lot faster.
  • Full spam filtering, making moderation almost totally unnecessary.
  • Support for Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! and OpenID sign-in systems, freeing users from the hassle of filling out their name and email each and every time they comment.  This quick logins also allow for comments to become tweets or status updates that promote your site.

DISQUS also retains copies your comments in your WordPress database, so you’re not giving up ownership of your comments, making the plugin essentially risk-free to try.

Installation is also a breeze.  The plugin requires no special treatment outside of creating an account with DISQUS, which can be done beforehand or from the WordPress comment menu once the plugin is installed.

DISQUS has been downloaded over 60,000 from WordPress.org and is undoubtedly running on hundreds of thousands of sites given its cross-platform nature and incredibly functionality.

To learn more, check out this video from famed tech blogger Robert Scoble: