It may be a small thing to some, it may be outdated to others in the context of a media site, but we firmly believe engagement matters. To wit, we've finally bitten the proverbial bullet and implemented Disqus on the main site.
For those unfamiliar with the solution, Disqus is a commenting offering that is either free and ad-supported or paid for and not. Guess which option we chose?
I"ve had an on-off relationship with Disqus going back more years than I care to remember. When it first came out, I along with many others saw it as a credible alternative to native CMS commenting systems. But it was clunky. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes it would sync between the CMS and its servers, and at other times it didn't. In short, Disqus was an excellent idea which seemed to be almost permanently in Minimum Viable Product stage. For may that wasn't an issue, but for me, it was a constant source of disappointment. So why the change of mind?
Two things cropped up. First, I started to hear a rising tide of people suggesting that Disqus has come of age. Second, I heard that not only is it a lot more powerful, but it is also more reliable than in the past. With thousands of comments in our system, I was somewhat skeptical but reasoned that if Disqus managed to capture at least 80% of what had gone into the CMS, I was probably on the winning side. A day or so of synching and it seems we're more or less there. Some oddities are hanging around, but in the scheme of things, it's not a failure.
What have we got? Well, apart from a commenting system (duh?) readers can rank responses, up and down vote (Reddit style) and log in with the social channel of their choice rather than having to fill in the somewhat tedious sign-in form that is usually required. At our end, we have some advanced moderation tools available to us which, apart from keeping the spammers out, should also help us on those rare occasions when folk become a tad too boisterous. There's also a mechanism for signing up for email newsletters for those who have not already done so, but we're not implementing that as we're in the middle of a rethink around that topic.
We have a few niggles to iron out but are of the view that as implemented today, we're providing people with a better diginomica experience. Agree? Disagree? Don't care? Let us know what you think.
Now - as regular readers know, nothing is every quite fixed at diginomica. If we find things going awry, then you can be sure that we'll be up tech support's tailpipes quickly. And if that doesn't work - well, it's back to the drawing board.