Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to spend some time speaking with Daniel Ha of Dispus . Disqus is an advanced blog commenting system, and Daniel was nice enough to give me a pre-launch tour. I’ve been biting my tongue, so to speak, because I was asked not to post anything before today’s launch of the public beta.
This is the first page you see when you log in at Disqus .com. From here, you’ve got a number of options. You can join discussions (disqussions ?) that are already in progress. You can add your own blog to the discussion. You can create a forum. Or you can view and monitor comments you’ve made.
Creating a new forum is dead simple. Choose an interesting title. Your forum gets it’s own permanent subdomain at yourforum.disqus.com.
The look of your forum is completely customizable , so your forum can look exactly like your blog. The forum structure is also flexible, allowing you to add sub-topics and categories to your forum.
This is a shot of Disqus in action. There are a few things to point out here. First is anonymous posting. Anonymous posting is an option that is controlled by the forum owner. Also, the user can register without being distracted from their post. The menu below this allows you to navigate straight to the forum for this discussion. You can also sort comments. (As opposed to a traditional comment or discussion that you would view chronologically.) This is a really great touch because it allows you to keep on top of the parts of the discussion that are moving without wading through tons of dead end commentary. I should mention that what makes a comment “Hot” or “Best” is a user rating system. If you hover over a user, you are shown their current reputation. A user’s reputation carries across theDisqus network.
This is Daniel’s user page. There a lot of things happening here. (Including one of the better profile pics I’ve seen!) This page shows how many people are following you and how many people you are following. You’ll see comments from friends in the Disqus network. This is basically micro-blogging type stuff, except it offers a lot more flexibility in how you interact than does, say, Twitter, in that you see everything that you or your friends post across anyDisqus forum from here.
Daniel also walked me through a few things of the back side of the forum. Comments can be easily removed, active users can be assigned as moderators, and spam is killed by a double pass through their own spam filtering software as well asAkismet .
Honestly, when I was first contacted about Disqus , I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t see a need. After having spent some time with their product, I have to say that I’m impressed. I like how micro-blogging is integrated especially. When I asked about the beta label, I was told that the only reason their calling it a beta is because they plan to just keep rolling out more features and making the product more robust. I’m sure that there’s a few features that Daniel pointed out that I didn’t go over here, so feel free leave any comments on my brand newDisqus forum.