DISQUS vs Intense Debate

Frequent visitors probably already noticed, but I’ve changed the comment system on this blog from the default WordPress comment system to Intense Debate, then finally, to Disqus.

I’ve kept the original WordPress comment system for so long because of its simplicity. But I’ve always wanted more features so I can better manage posts and pages with hundreds of comments. The main problem I had with the default system was that it would create a new page once it reached the set number of comments (ie. 30 parent comments). This meant that once the number of comments reached 30, all the previous comments would disappear into the ‘previous comments’ pages. This made it hard to follow conversations and replies to older comments which would be hidden in previous pages.

I’ve thought about disabling comment pages altogether, but that would increase the loading time of the page significantly, and no one likes a really long page.

So, finally, I’ve decided to change the comment system. I had tried Disqus before, but I was unsuccessful in installing it properly. It just wouldn’t work (it did work this time). Consequently, I tried Intense Debate. There aren’t many to choose from. It looks like it’s either Disqus or Intense Debate.

Intense Debate

Pros

  • Highly customizable. CSS style sheet is easy to work with and more importantly, I could add ‘Rules’ section to the footer.
  • Well integrated into WordPress. It’s made by the same company, apparently.
  • Can add a bunch of add-ons to the comment system, such as CommentLuv.
  • Feels simple and crisp.

Cons

  • Does not render properly under IE9 and Opera (just one button misplacement in Opera).
  • Importing comments process is buggy. The first time, the progress was stuck at 84%. So, I reset the plugin. This time, it was stuck at 0%. Then, I did a clean import. Now, it was stuck at “Queued, waiting for import”. I could never get it to import all the comments.
  • Replies are hidden and you have to click the ‘Replies’ text to expand them. Replies were already shown for pages with few comments, but were not shown for those with many comments.

I had a good first impression of Intense Debate. But as I went through the installation process, the cons were too significant to overcome. I spent a lot of time customizing it, too. Argghh…

Here’s the CSS style sheet I was working with. I added line by line within the ID control panel on their website.  These are readily available from their help section. I customized them to fit the theme of my blog, but it should be a good starting point for most. I hope it helps you if you do choose to use Intense Debate.

DISQUS

Pros

  • Lots of login options. You can use just about any of your login credentials (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Of course, you can still post comments anonymously if you choose to. I’ve allowed that on my site.
  • Looks nice and clean, though it took me a long time to customize the CSS. Still not 100% satisfied.
  • It’s popular. Lots of websites use it; therefore, many people know what they’re dealing with when they see Disqus logo in the comment section of a blog.

Cons

  • Not as customizable as Intense Debate. I couldn’t add any content of my own to the layout. I wanted to add the Rules section.
  • By default, it inherits the blog’s main theme style sheet. This meant that I had a lot of work to do to redefine styles for each class. Editing CSS for Disqus took much longer than customizing Intense Debate. Even then, I still couldn’t get it to look just the way I wanted it to. Some aspects of the layout are only editable if you pay, it seems.
  • All URLs in comments are auto-linked. Disqus creates a hyperlink to all text that ends with a typical suffix ie. “.com”. This is kind of a big issue for me as the blog deals with scam websites, and I don’t want commenters linking to scam sites. It is nofollow, but I still want the hyperlinks disabled. Before, with WordPress comment system, I told commenters to either omit “www” or use “www-“, but this doesn’t prevent Disqus from creating a link. There doesn’t seem to be an option to turn the auto-hyperlinks off.
  • Doesn’t integrate well with WordPress comments. Once you install the plugin, you export your WordPress comments to Disqus system. This syncs the two comment systems for the time being. Once a new comment is posted using Disqus, Disqus will export that comment to the WordPress system after a few minutes. Thus, it is synced. However, as an admin, I can no longer reply via WordPress comment within the admin panel as Disqus doesn’t import future comments from WordPress. Also, my sidebar that shows recent comments doesn’t work properly as clicking on a new comment will not take you to that comment but only to the page where the comment is posted. I will have to work on this to integrate Disqus further into the current theme.
  • Comments count within the WordPress dashboard is different from the actual number of comments. I’ve lost about 200 comments after Disqus was installed. I still don’t know which ones are missing. I’m hoping that it’s just omitting the trackbacks and pingbacks from the comments count.
  • The Help section is lacking. There just isn’t that much information in their knowledge base, especially for CSS help.
  • More at the bottom (see Update)

Download my style sheet. It should help you get started if you choose to use Disqus.

As you can clearly see, I have far more cons for Disqus than for Intense Debate. Why did I choose to keep Disqus? One reason is that I just don’t want to spend any more time fiddling with this. However, the main reason I can’t use Intense Debate is that although I’ve only listed three negatives, they are very significant for me. Disqus has many flaws, but I can work around most issues. The only major concern I have with Disqus is the auto-hyperlink problem. I’m hoping that there’s a solution I’ve yet to discover.

For both systems, I couldn’t find much information on any search engine. It’s not like I have terrible search skills. Getsatisfaction.com seems to have the most discussions regarding the two comment systems.

If you have solutions to any of the problems I’ve listed, please leave a comment. Also, please let me know if you experience any problems with the new Disqus comment system. Thank you.

UPDATE: Well, I’ve disabled Disqus comment system. I started getting more spam and it labeled me as “anonymous”. I think it has something to with “KVNPark” vs “kvnpark”. I also changed the WordPress commenting settings so that the latest comment is at the top, which does solve my problem a little. But I would still like a dynamic comments page. I think I’ll try out Intense Debate once the bugs are fixed. Their rep responded very fast to my questions and that made me want to give them another shot.

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6 Comments

  1. shanw voge says:

    i will prefer disqus over all of the other commenting application in the market as its for its robustness as well as providing connectivity through all the latest application

  2. [...] I recommend moving onto one of the more popular comment networks.The two(2) biggest competitors are Disqus v. IntenseDebate which have been written about many times over. I personally enjoy Disqus as I’ve found a lot [...]

  3. James says:

    Thanks for a good comparison article. I’ve been reading up on WP comment systems and am seeing that there seems to be a move for some WordPress admins back to the internal WP comment system from outside services like Disqus.

    How’s it going for you now with WP comments? What do you think of Facebook comments?

    • KVNPark says:

      Hi James,

      I’m quite satisfied with the WP internal commenting system. I designed it the way I wanted. I can always easily change things up, and it’s the least demanding commenting system relying only on your WP. It also works the best with the recent comments sidebar I have to the right.

      The only thing I have a problem with is the way it handles many comments. I want all the comments to appear on one page. But on some pages with a few hundred comments, I have to put them into separate pages. This causes the URL to change and it makes it somewhat hard to follow if a new comment page is started.
      There are issues but I still prefer the WP comments system.

      I don’t know much about Facebook comments, but from what I understand, it doesn’t allow anonymous posts. Also, it seems to take a while to load. Not a big fan of FB to begin with ;)

  4. T.v Serials says:

    Main advantages Disqus has is the adeptness for users to login with Facebook Connect area the comments as well arise in the commentators newsfeed. Disqus is Great! Currently there are some “comment plugins” which can let a page accept action of comment. T.v Serials

  5. linoralow says:

    Good review of the two commenting system. i’ve been having issues with my Disqus as well to the point i wanted to shift to intense debate. i found after uninstalling and reinstalling it again.. the import seems to be working.. however i’m abit weary about it.

    • KVNPark says:

      Thank you. I think I’ll stick to my current WordPress commenting system. Not sure if Intense Debate fixed its bugs since then. Let us know if you get Intense Debate working properly. I’d like to take a look. Can you tell me your URL?

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  1. [...] I recommend moving onto one of the more popular comment networks.The two(2) biggest competitors are Disqus v. IntenseDebate which have been written about many times over. I personally enjoy Disqus as I’ve found a lot [...]

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