12 Aug, 10 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. As well as being used by The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and CNN, we have now installed Disqus on all BMJ blogs (including this one!). The Disqus comment system can be plugged into any website, blog, or application. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.
How does it work?
Disqus offers great opportunities for both bloggers and readers/commenters alike in that it expands the available functionality far above and beyond the traditional text-based commenting structures normally associated with blogs.
This includes the option to link to personal profiles elsewhere on the web, connect with friends and colleagues and ultimately retain far greater ownership over your comments as everything said is aggregated against a profile on the Disqus website. For a basic introduction to the service, have a look at the video below:
Network and community formation
One of the key outcomes of this framework is the opportunity for network development at both the blog level and the user level. This is because blogs and users are equally represented in the framework and can thus become nodes in their own right.
As part of the set-up process, each blog is given its own community area on the Disqus website. This blog’s forum is at the following location: http://disqus.com/comments/moderate/bmjwebdevblog/. Not only does this enable users to quickly view and respond to comments (which are tied back into the blog), the community area also displays statistical information regarding Top Commenters and Popular Threads. The increased focus on the individual in this framework means that readers are able to connect with one another – thus facilitating the development of networks and communities within and across blogs and sites. Effectively the users start to become hubs for the discussion as much as sites are.
Of critical significance for WordPress users is the fact that Disqus synchronises comments between your WordPress blog and the Disqus site. In the past, when you replaced the native WordPress commenting framework with Disqus, all comments were stored on the Disqus website and therefore carried with it a certain amount of risk. With comments stored on both Disqus and WordPress, if you decide to revert to the native comments at some stage – or otherwise need to deactivate the plugin – you are not going to lose all the discussion that took place when Disqus was implemented.
There is a plethora of information available on the Disqus website so I encourage you to take a look if you’re interested, or take a look at the comment area of one of the BMJ blogs to see the framework in action (see below).