Sunday, January 14, 2024

Testing New Comment System

The Disqus commenting system, which I began using in 2012, has grown more and more annoying over the last several years, so I am experimenting with new commenting systems. Currently I am trying out Commento. It's fairly stripped down, so we'll see how moderating it goes. It is also a subscription commenting system; I have stubbornly refused to use a paid commenting system since the beginning of this blog, and was willing to tolerate restricted functionality, some minor advertising, and the like as a cost, but the advertisements for all the non-subscription commenting systems have become so utterly obnoxious and intrusive that it's a lost cause. It's either the Blogger comments, which I have never liked, or paying. Alas for the ancient days of Haloscan. But I figure that this weblog is about two decades old, so it's perhaps time just to grit my teeth and power through the inevitable pain it causes the sense of thrift I have inherited from my Scottish ancestors. Disqus actually lasted on the blog much longer than I expected when I first tried it; it wasn't very impressive to begin with, but then went through a period where it was actually fairly good, but over the past several years has been rather poor but without any obvious alternative. We'll see if this one even gets out of the trial phase and, if it does, how long it lasts.

The markup guide for styling comments is as follows (and is accessible by a little link under the comments box saying, Markdown):

italicssurround text with 
boldsurround text with 
**two asterisks**
 or just a bare URL
surround text with 
strikethroughsurround text with 
~~two tilde characters~~
prefix with 

Commento has upvotes/downvotes integrated into it, which is a con; I find the whole idea of voting comments up or down somewhat repulsive. Discussion is not a popularity contest, and unlike a very large website, I have no use for voting as a crude way to offload moderation onto commenters. So I'll just ask people to ignore the voting system as much as possible.

Disqus comments were imported over. I'm still fiddling with settings. At some point I will have a # of comments indicator for each post on the main page, but I have to insert it manually in the right place in the HTML, so that will happen only whenever I get around to it. Until then, nobody, including myself, will be able to see whether a post has comments except by clicking on the post itself. 
One very big advantage of Commento is that, since it is more stripped-down than Disqus, it loads much, much faster; I've already noticed it myself, so that's nice -- one of the ways Disqus had grown annoying was its increasingly weird loading behavior.

In any case, feel free to try it out and let me know what you think. Google, Twitter, and email address all work for login. At present, you can comment anonymously, but anonymous comments currently require manual approval. If you do comment anonymously, please do so with a 'distinguishing mark', like a signature or initials or a pseudonym, even if just made up for a given thread; one my pet peeves with regard to commenting is a bunch of anonymous commenters failing to distinguish themselves from other anonymous commenters.

ADDED LATER (for mobile device users): At the bottom of each mobile version of a post, you should see a link for 'View Web Version'; that will switch it to the web version, where the comments display. I could simply change the settings so that only the web version is visible, but the mobile version seems more readable on mobile devices, so I haven't yet decided to do that.