Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I Have Thoughts About Commenting Systems!

Hello, and welcome. If you're here, it's because you have something to say about commenting at this site, about changes to commenting, or related matters. Let it fly! And thanks.


249 Comments / Post A Comment

metoometoo (#230)

NO FACEBOOK, please.

realtalk (#233,030)

@metoometoo seeeeeriously. NO FACEBOOK.

skywalker (#240,350)

It should be noted that whilst ordering papers for sale at paper writing service, you can get unkind attitude. In case you feel that the bureau is trying to cheat you, don't buy term paper from it. handbags

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Oh god, don't take away our precious commenter numbers.

Seriously though, seconding the no Facebook verification.

@Murgatroid Yes this. My commenter number is really the only thing I have here…

And seriously, no Facebook. If you did that I would never comment, ever again. (Not much of a threat, sure, but it would make me sad.)

sigerson (#179)

@Murgatroid – If it ain't broke don't fix it. that's what I say!

jfruh (#713)

We must keep our avatars or else HOW WILL ANYONE RECOGNIZE ANYONE???? But otherwise, who cares. I'd be a lot more attached to the numbers if I had lower numbers, admittedly. Also, will we have access to on-the-Awl pages where you can see all the comments and liked comments from different Awl users? 'Coz I liked those.

And yes, I echo the "no facebook" thing. Not just out of general irritation with Facebook but also because sometimes when you use those your comment shows up on your own Facebook wall and then your friends start replying to it and it's confusing.

riggssm (#760)

@jfruh You have a pretty low number. I saw some Choire Facebook commenter trolling with six or seven digits the other day. Hilarious stuff.

@riggssm That was really me! I'm RIGHT HEEEEERE.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

@Choire Sicha@facebook TROLLLLLLLLLLLL

gaytheist (#929)

Please please no Facebook. And how will people know to take my comments more seriously if there isn't a sub-1000 commenter ID attached?

tigolbitties (#2,150)

@gaytheist but I thought the 2000s were the ones to take seriously? also, no facebook por favor!

eta: I couldn't remember my number and thank allah I was in the right number neighborhood

garge (#736)

My Baby? My Baby Needs To Grow Up But I Am Also Scared About My Baby

cherrispryte (#444)


growler (#476)


whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@growler But isn't change the only thing we can depend on in this crazy fucked up world? Sure, why the hell not 'What a World'.

@growler I hate change too. But every cheese gets mold if it sits out long enough!

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Mold makes cheese great!

liznieve (#7,691)

@Choire Sicha@facebook
Moldy cheese is the only cheese

David Cho (#3)

Change is not that bad.

mathnet (#27)

You will have my commenter number when you pry it from my cold, dead heart. Or when I incorporate it into my new commenter name.

If this were The Future, I would totally subscribe to this Disqussion while jamming to the new Laser Grooves.

Diane47 (#2,911)

Yes, please, no facebook. I can't access anything Facebook-related at work so I would not be able to read the comments, much less make any. :(

On a positive note, I seem to have finally memorized my password, so can we keep those the same?

@Diane47 Oh that's interesting–in a mixed comment thread, does it actually block the Facebook stuff??? (I've never been in a real office!)

Diane47 (#2,911)

@Choire Sicha@facebook You know, I'm not exactly sure – I can see the comments here that are apparently entered via facebook logins, but there are other sites where I can't even see that comments exist (BoingBoing, for instance)(which is perhaps for the best since commenters there make me angry at times!). I suspect it's all or nothing but how would I know?

@Diane47 Intriguing, I shall ask around.

Diane47 (#2,911)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Ah! I see that BoingBoing apparently also uses Discus for their comments (but does not require a FB login from what I can tell). But, while I can see the comments in the example thread you sent out in your newsletter, over on BoingBoing I can see the word "comments" but not a number indicating how many there are or the comments themselves.

There are a couple of local newspapers that use FB sign-ins for comments and I ALSO can't see those comments or log in to make one.

#56 (#56)

yay! my commenter name is my number! so no one copy me, ok?!

#56 (#56)

@#56 And Choire can use me for "mining diamonds" anytime.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@#56 Hmm, we should keep everything as it is so you do not lose out on this awesomeness. Oh wait, I just realized how you did that.

brianvan (#149)

You need to install something that AJ Daulerio can delete in a month and infuriate everyone

@brianvan That's easy.

mathnet (#27)

On the TRIAL PAGE, why are some commenters' names in red?

@mathnet Looks those ones have links to personal blogs, I think?

tim@twitter (#10,793)

Commenter numbers are adorable and I will miss them, but that is because I am judgmental, with Elitism.

I hate to be that hipster but DIsqus is so PREDICTABLE. I always liked the quirkiness of the Awl system! But I will welcome our new comment-system overlords with open arms.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@tim@twitter Wait, our numbers are in the 10k's, I could've been elitist about that? I beat you by 143 (edit: exactly), nah nah nah nah boo boo. I will miss the numbers but I suspect the number-as-status-jokes will persist.

melis (#1,854)

You know there's an automatic filter for anyone with commas in their commenter numbers, right? Nobody with three digits is even reading this.

What's with all of these "Deleted by user" entries?

melis (#1,854)

@Clarence Rosario all i want is to be like you

zidaane (#373)

@melis David Cho (#3 – never forget)

David Cho (#3)


thematt (#222,196)

I vote no! Your tech is maybe a little wonky but I really like the aesthetics here – it's clean and simple and readable and fits with the Awl aesthetic in a way that I can't see Disqus doing. Also: some workplaces block Disqus, specifically.

Anyway I never comment so you should ignore me.

koko (#11,361)

I was a little nervous when I read the newsletter, but the sample you provided looks pretty good! I like the nesting and sorting features.
Agreed on the no Facebook verification, though. I don't like posting any personal info on Facebook, and I like being able to put anything in the comments here.
PS Your cat pinterest board? LOVE. I only wish it were updated more frequently!

mathnet (#27)

(#TNFF obvs)

MichelleDean (#7,041)

Guys this feels really insidery.

My only request is for a system that actually forbids people from commenting from their Facebook accounts.


Tulletilsynet (#333)

If we all just used our full legal names and social security numbers as commenter IDs, that would get rid of the two main problems I have noticed: anonymous trolls and foreigners.

Hez (#147)


spoondisaster (#189,637)

Noooo Facebook, to echo every one else's sentiments. I don't have any specific tips BUT I really like the format/layout of The A/V Club's commenting system. It seems to work pretty well for them and might work well for you!

riggssm (#760)

Oh, hello, #760 here. I don't know (care?) enough about Disqus. I strongly discourage any Facebook Solution, though. I'm having a "dialogue" with the New York Times about being an approved commenter sans Facebook verification.

Facebook is useful for me to poke a very small and select group of friends, but that it is not the identity I wish to cultivate across the web. When sites (try to) force me to use my FB identity, that's when I close tab and do a shot.

So, your instincts are right, you're onto something. Don't do it, please!

Oh wait, one more thing: I like that the newsletters now have an author attached. I wasn't sure if Choire or Balk or Cat (may he rest in peace) wrote those first ones. It's nice attribution.

cuminafterall (#163,544)

Yeah, please don't make us link up with Facebook. Disqus looks fine, I don't care about losing commenter numbers (obviously, since mine is so high), but can you keep the alternating thread colors? Makes it easier for those who have trouble following indents (me, I mean me, it's all about me).

jfruh (#713)

@cuminafterall Oooh yes! Alternating colors are good.


hazmathilda (#839)

@cuminafterall yeesssss alternating colors. I think actually the new comment system should LOOK as much as possible like the current one, even if it doesn't ACT like it. and I will miss my number. <3 you nummie

Bittersweet (#765)

@hazmathilda: YES TO ALTERNATING COLORS. I'll miss my number too. *sniff*

liznieve (#7,691)

What would happen for replies to replies within one thread? Does it get double indented? Then triple? Because I hate that shit.

@cuminafterall But the alternating-color thing doesn't work if you change the sort order to "Most popular"! :-( Then you get alot of "gray, gray, white, white" etc. and it actually makes sorting out threads more difficult.

So … um. In the new system, don't do that.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Jesus guys, look at how high my number is and even I don't want to get rid of them! I need my shame!!!

And Facebook: No. We are all snobs here, but the comments are often so awesome and I fear taking away their anonymity would make them suffer. I mean, look at other sites with Facebook-only commenting and most of the comments are "REALLY?!" and variants thereof.

Mr. B (#10,093)

Also I DON'T SEE ANY THUMBS ON THAT SAMPLE PAGE. The word 'LIKE' is not the same!

Multiphasic (#411)

@Mr. B Also, no awls!

whizz_dumb (#10,650)


SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@Mr. B I agree with everything here and I have a considerably worse number.

Multiphasic (#411)

We need to make sure the new system doesn't waste Joel Johnson's time and money.

I love my commenter number, but somehow I might be ok with growing up and commenting without it. I'll just take a bunch of screenshots of it or something so that I can use it as a credential if I ever actually get to attend an Awl bash.

And also – adding to the chorus of Please God Not Facebook. That's all well and good for some people, but I like having jobs, and if anybody I worked with ever noticed one of my short-burst commenting sprees on any of the Awl sites, I would likely be fired almost immediately for not doing any work, and also for being a nutjob.

Also – with the potential loss of commenter numbers – could there be a thing like there was on WAY OLD gawker where you clicked on a commenter name and saw a "commenting since" date thing? Because then I'd still be able to know who I should take seriously and who is probably a robot trying to get me to sign up for a dating website.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@HeyThatsMyBike Yes, that "commenting since" was a nice feature.

Also, would you like to meet Christian singles in your area?

SeanP (#4,058)

@HeyThatsMyBike That's actually a pretty good point – commenter numbers did serve the useful purpose of making it easier to detect spam. Count me among those who don't really see what's wrong with the current system, but I won't be crying too hard about a move to Disqus. and yeah, no FB please.

WindowSeat (#180)

I like having a three digit number :-(

Do what you need to do, but tread lightly. G***** has innovated themselves into a sewer.

David Cho (#3)

Whoa, people really hate Facebook commenting!

@David Cho Isn't that fascinating? I've never known this.

HereKitty (#2,713)

@David Cho If you're not 100% sure why, I heartily recommend a turn around the comments on the "White Music Stolen by Black People" story.

@HereKitty Omg. I haven't looked at those. DARE I?

That's good evidence.

bronwyn (#3,351)

@HereKitty Oh yes, great example of why it's a bad idea. Anything that makes it easier for people to use their fast typing fingers of misunderstanding is not a great idea.

melbakit (#9,087)

@bronwyn Agreed.

jolie (#16)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Oh my God that's the best argument FOR Facebook commenting what even are you talking about?? "Slacks Jefferson"??? HOWLING.

David Cho (#3)

I always thought Facebook commenting encouraged accountability, which maybe The Awl userbase doesn't necessarily need, but I've never had any qualms with the actual execution of Facebook comments.

SeanP (#4,058)

@HereKitty Another good example: any article that mentions the words R o n P a u l. The Paultards come out of the woodwork (via, you guessed it, Facebook).

Multiphasic (#411)

Okay so: threaded discussion, yes. Even better, ways to see if you have comments with new replies. Sorting is okay but make sure it defaults to oldest first (or newest first) because I won't remember what I did fifteen minutes ago (I never do).

Also, a dating board.

wb (#2,214)

Going to get a tattoo of my (relatively high) commenter number, brb.

Moxie (#81,363)

I am also anti-'book. The disqus option would be kind of cool in that I wouldn't need separate accounts for your site, but I'm for keeping this as-is (are?).

limeonaire (#1,011)

Noooooooo! I love having a number on here, and beyond that, I actually really like this commenting system. I'm not sure I understand how this system is "reaching the end of its natural lifespan." Think about sites like MetaFilter—it's had the same basic commenting system for more than a decade, with minor small improvements here and there, and it works just fine. Sometimes newer isn't better! What about hiring someone to update your system for some amount of money (or prestige! I would do it if I could) instead?

And yeah, Facebook commenting would pretty much count me out, since it would require me to use my real name, rather than my current username (which is my handle pretty much across the Internet). I have never used Facebook commenting and hope I never will.

Disqus, on the other hand, is OK—it's what I would choose to use, should I ever actually add commenting to my blog—but I don't think it's any better than this commenting system right here, and it has the downside of no user number.

Oh, and yeah, I don't care about sorting at all. I think that's the sort of feature that can actually lead to a lot of people missing information or misunderstanding the actual course of conversation.

I vote against changing the commenting system.

@limeonaire Well, Metafilter was built and rebuilt from scratch and it's like an enormous labor of love. And it works! But we're… well we're not a tech company, and building everything from scratch when you're not often leads to evolutionary unchangeable cul de sacs. Like blog dinosaurs! I do hear you though…

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@Choire Sicha@facebook As an Internet creationist that subscribes to the Young Internet theory, I don't believe in blog dinosaurs.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@limeonaire I do not know much about coding, but I am also willing to take a look at it for free. Since I do not know much about coding, I am not sure if that is of any help, but I guess I am just trying to encourage people to volunteer?

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Are you currently using something like TextPattern or NucleusCMS?

limeonaire (#1,011)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Well, I bet you could find some people interested in building a sustainable, updatable commenting system for you. People who are not me, and who know how to do it, even! It's up to you whether you want that, of course, but it looks like there are already a few people interested in trying.

I like the alternating shading on the comments- makes it easier to read.
I like the commenter numbers bc mine is low, but would settle for what HTMB suggests, a "commenting since" date instead.
I don't like FB commenting. If you do need to comment via FB, is there a way for someone to create a username instead of seeing Person's
I also like the idea of knowing who "liked" my comment or replied to my comment. That would've helped a lot when you guys were posting stuff about helping people get jobs.
I love my awl newsletter and the awl at the top. I wait breathlessly – ish for it to arrive each week.
I like that our commenters are a pretty civilized bunch for the most part.
I don't care about sorting. I like to read the comments in order the way that they were made.
I wish that there was a mobile version of the site. The font is soooooo tiny on my iphone, that it looks like ant eyeballs and kill my human ones.

Bittersweet (#765)

@dinosaur_senior: All the thumbs up to this comment.

katherine (#10,025)

No Facebook no Facebook no Facebook no Facebook forever no Facebook.

My only concern, for reasons that should be obvious, is my commenter name, which I'm so unduly proud of.

blily (#1,411)

Nesting! That's exciting. I like commenter #s, but I think nesting is a greater good.

As far as legibility goes, I'm not sure the sample comments on Splitsider are a huge improvement. The font size of the comment-text itself doesn't look much larger to me, but now each comment takes up much more space. I don't think of myself as someone easily overwhelmed by text-length, but I was only able to read a couple of comments per scroll, which made me scroll a lot, which made me less interested in reading the comments. And I like to read comments. Maybe you could make "Like" and "Reply" smaller? That'd help with vertical compression.

Please don't make FB identities mandatory. And I second dinosaur_senior's request for a mobile site.

pemulis (#903)

Disqus is a pain in the ass on the admin and implementation side, though have no idea how much your current system is a pain in the ass.

Currently in the middle of a migration to Livefyre*, and it's actually pretty great? Like, I didn't know there could be a great commenting system, but there you go. Importing avatars and old comments has been pretty easy (the pain has been exporting them from Disqus).

Facebook does not seem like a good fit for you guys.

Alt: one Tripod Guestbook for The Awl. Could dig up the code from my old Shadowrun Fan Pages Ring.

*Worst name ever in an industry filled with shitty, shitty names. My Christian screamo band in college opened up for Livefyre.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Also, another thing that might be a problem only I have is that my Disqus username is some horrible thing that has numbers at the end because the one I usually use was taken already and oh god, will you guys judge me if I have a username with numbers at the end? I'm not 14, I swear.

Unless you have a thing like the AV Club that lets you use a username unique to the website or whatnot, then go ahead.

@Murgatroid This is a thing we were just talking about! "Merging" identities has to be really controllable for each of you…

Diane47 (#2,911)

@Murgatroid What's wrong with numbers at the end? I've been using my first name with a number at the end since before the internet was invented!

eggplant (#2,003)

I feel like my low-number license plates are being revoked from a car I hardly ever drive. But I guess Choire knows what he is doing.

@eggplant He does not really.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

Will there be editing? Please let there be editing, I make hasty mistakes that require a 3 to 5 min. countdown window to fix. Without editable comments I will refuse to "be less stupid" and "be more stupid" out of spite.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@whizz_dumb spite laziness

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

out of laziness by default

Blackcapricorn (#4,791)

The worst comments are always from FB. I mean how hard is it to "get" Balk's moon rage?

Also keep the numbers, for some of us, its all we have.

Cord_Jefferson (#2,111)

I do not use Facebook, and not being able to comment on the internet without it would not compel me to start using it. Please do not make us use Facebook to comment on The Awl!

HereKitty (#2,713)

@Cord_Jefferson Are you still not wearing cords?

@Cord_Jefferson Lol you're safe! We would not go to a Facebook-only system.

wb (#2,214)

@Choire Sicha@facebook God, will you stop commenting with Facebook already, Chorie.


Mr. B (#10,093)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Awl Commentators-bait right there.

@Choire Sicha@facebook This just in! Choire wants to get rid of commenter numbers because he is now #232,115 and this is his website.

riggssm (#760)

@HeyThatsMyBike If he went from 2 to 232,115, does that mean we all move up one?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@Choire Sicha@facebook
Yaaaay! — I did NOT want to make a separate Facebook account for all my commenter names.

deepomega (#1,720)

I will just say, please find some way to keep the gray/white alternation (or some variation thereof) so we can have any hope of being able to skim for comment threading. The tab inlining isn't any good for this once the thread is more than a laptop screen long.

Also, I think we should give special privileges to people with commenter numbers under, like, 2,000. Superpowers.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@deepomega I already have superpowers: flight, x-ray vision, and the ability to go to the side of the elevator where the buttons aren't. Can I get a different prize?

Leon (#6,596)

@deepomega wait, is this supposed to be grey? I always thought it was a really light purple?

Am I going to learn from a comment thread exclusively about comments that my color vision is wonky?

Annie K. (#3,563)

@Leon Saint-Jean I think it's a light dusky grape-color, myself.

melis (#1,854)

I just think it's time that the Awl allowed women to comment. This all-male system is really unfair.

melis (#1,854)

Plus when are Choire and Balk just going to kiss already, I hate it when they draw out the will-they-or-won't they thing, it's been three years just do it

zidaane (#373)

@melis I think once, Choire was holding two 16oz PBR's in both hands and Balk needed to get a lighter out of Choire's front jort pocket and it was extremely awkward because Balk reached around from the back.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

It's so adorable how they're both pretending not to notice your remark.

Just buy more servers?

If it ain't broke, etc.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Clarence Rosario I concur.

@dntsqzthchrmn Heh! Oh we have. It's not like a server load thing at all.

@Choire Sicha@facebook I meant like people who bring you things.

Matt (#26)


@Clarence Rosario INTO IT

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Choire, I just noticed the post has no tags.

josh_speed (#97)

LOL "How you going to get a heart transplant when you never had one?"

also: no facebook +1,000; no loss of commenter numbers +1; nostalgia for current commenting with avatars +1.

BobbyJim (#1,942)

If you go with Disqus, do I have to use the same username/account for all Disqus-powered sites?

'Cause I'm different people at different blogs, and I don't want Awl-commenter Me to be associated with CatFancy-commenter Me or Me or whatever.

My vote is keep the existing commenting system. It's straightforward and it does the job, plus the numbers are sorta cheeky-elitist in a fun way. Which, very Awl-appropriate? (see what I did there?)

@BobbyJim Oof, super concerned about the identity thing more and more, hearing this.

cherrispryte (#444)

@BobbyJim THIS X1000.

BobbyJim (#1,942)

@BobbyJim *checks to see if actually exists* (it doesn't, phew. But maybe it should? [arrgh now I can't stop with the tonal uptick questionmarks])

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@Choire Sicha@facebook
Yeah, actually I didn't know we were allowed to say keep it like it is? But do keep it like it is.

Because what BobbyJim said.

Neopythia (#353)

No Facebook. I am waiting for one of the current Facebook commenters to post that same thought.

I'd also be sad to see the numbers go. I'm not terribly clever. It's all I have.

Anything that makes it more like Gothamist CAN'T go wrong. Talk about the standard-bearer in commenting communities!

Matt (#26)

I would really like Choire to expand on "and we'd do it a little better than this." The regular Disqus that gets plugged into websites (my stupid Tumblr blog included) is hokey and, honestly, not much of an improvement over this system, if at all.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Matt You have Disqus on (one of) your tumblr(s)? This is me, judging you a little.

@cherrispryte LOL!

Well, it's infinitely styleable. We would not just slap that puppy on. We could even make it look just like this!

Matt (#26)

@cherrispryte I feel as though people who are not on Tumblr should be able to have their say but at the same time I don't know how to work computers at all. (JUST KIDDING POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS I CAN ADD DROP SHADOW AND BLINK TAGS TO ANYTHING)

Multiphasic (#411)

@Clarence Rosario Should have a semantic autopost function so that there can be 57 "Fucking asshole made the F train late" comments every time someone mentions "suicide".

cherrispryte (#444)

@Matt "people who are not on Tumblr" …. this concept confuses me.

mishaps (#5,779)

I like the current system, but if a move to Disqus could allow for single sign-in across the vast and glorious Awl empire, I could learn to live with change.

riggssm (#760)

@mishaps This!

@riggssm THIS TOTALLY.

melis (#1,854)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Anything to keep me from having to explain commenter numbers to the Hairpinned hordes again ("You need to respect SayThatsCool, okay, his number is so much lower than yours").

cherrispryte (#444)

@melis bb I think that's more of an "explaining STC to the HP masses" problem than a commenter number problem.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@cherrispryte He doesn't even own a windowless van.

@melis Fun fact! You can actually see Hairpin commenter numbers by clicking on usernames over there. The user number is hidden in your commenter page web address. I'm even fancier over there with my #174.

melis (#1,854)

@HeyThatsMyBike YOU know that and I know that but they won't learn!

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@melis I'm #4361 over there in ladyland. Just learned.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

… anymore.

bshep (#746)

Sounds like you can use the facebook thing as threat if things start to get out of control, eg "Ok kids, do you want me to pull the car over right now and make you use facebook commenting? Because I'll do it!"

Seriously, though, I love the current system– it's clean and easy to follow. What's broken?

zidaane (#373)

Disqus is crap. NYMag has a pretty nice commenting system. No refreshing. Comments show instantly as well as likes.
Whats's the benefit here? You have umpteen dedicated Awl commenters that would write whatever system you need. Create an Awl google code repository and people will contribute to making it better for free.
You'd have a new business model minus the goulash.

@zidaane Omg, that's an interesting idea. Github this shit.

Also: since you seem to have solved that pesky time travel thing, seems like fixing the commenting system would be a walk in the park.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

What brought this on, anyway? Is it the supermoon? Where's Balk?

jolie (#16)

@boyofdestiny Balk is probably having his superperiod right now, and as a result is facefirst in a pint of Ben & Jerry's while The Notebook streams on his sad little Dell.

cherrispryte (#444)

Maybe it's just me, but websites that use Disqus always seem a little clunky and, well, unprofessional? You mentioned in the newsletter that the commenting system is reaching the end of its natural life, but didn't really explain why/how, which I guess is none of our business, but it doesn't really make a compelling argument as to why moving to Disqus would be a good thing?

Also, obviously, Facebook commenting is the worst. I think most of us are really skeptical and distrustful of facebook, and would like to delete our profiles there if possible, but can't because of whatever stupid reasons. So we use it as infrequently as possible. Stay away from Facebook, they're starting to harvest your organs. Or something.

I like the commenting numbers, a lot. Obviously.

@cherrispryte I know, I was kinda vague–it's complicated but also REALLY BORING. In short: the mechanism that comments use is actually literally holding us back from fixing anything else.

cherrispryte (#444)

@Choire Sicha@facebook Well that seems like a legitimate problem. I guess, if you can make Disqus look pretty much exactly like this, and somehow magically keep the commenter numbers, then I'm good with it?

Also let me possibly be the first to say that it's really awesome of you guys to ask us for our input, rather than being all dilettantey like every other website out there. This is why you're the best.

garge (#736)

@Choire @ Just give me a bit more time? To say goodbye? And time to get screenshots all of my favorite comment threads, to turn into a slideshow music video, perhaps to an instrumental of Rod Stewart's Rhythm of My Heart?

@cherri: oh haaaaaaai, miss you!

jolie (#16)

@garge You just had to mention "Rhythm of My Heart" didn't you? Fine. If you all need me I'll be reading Cat's obituary for the rest of the night.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@jolie : (

Tulletilsynet (#333)

As a compromise, if whole multiples of 111 could keep their commenter numbers…?

Matt (#26)

My commenter number is the only concrete, everyday evidence I have that a time existed on the Internet when not everyone on the Internet hated me; you don't want to be responsible for pushing me over the edge into pure evil, do you?

Really though, look. I am no expert from a marketing or sales or keeping up with the Jones' perspective but one of the things that drew all of us to The Awl Brand was the niche, the almost kitschy disregard for such concerns. As far as we know, Alex is still blogging from an IBM 486 in a bunker somewhere, and that's part of the appeal.

These comment systems that either hold everyone's hand through the act of commenting or get wrapped up in their own Byzantine sensibility of of seamless anti-intuitiveness (Mr. Denton) are all their own little slaps in the face. This system is not perfect, but it trusts us to be smart enough to follow a comment thread without being coddled or distracted with whatsits.

I may be coming off as a pedantic old fuddy-duddy (CDs? Choire, some of us still buy vinyl. Often), but it's part of why I still comment here. To be a total snob, Disqus just feels kind of … disposable.

@Matt I hear that too!

The funny thing though about this janky system of ours is that it's basically a Porsche under the hood.

Don't worry; we'll always be a bit musty. Or a lot musty.

@Matt (And yeah we're not like, INNOVATING here. We're actually sort of deinnovating? And it has been THREE YEARS. Heh. We're not about constant change.)

Matt (#26)

I just hate change.

sigerson (#179)

@Choire Sicha@facebook – I like seeing all the comments on one screen, without any clicking to expand replies or see more than the first 20 comments. I like the little avatar images. And I like the color-coded dividers for a comment and replies to it.

I do like the NYT version of comments, which can be edited by selecting either "Reader Picks" or "NYT Picks" (both of which are interesting for their respective perspectives).

As for commenter numbers, I have a pretty low one because I faithfully followed Balk to Radar and you to your tmblr and then to here. Why would you repay that kindness with disdain?

NinetyNine (#98)

Kinda don't want to say this since I'm afraid it will invoke __________, but I've never done enough research to determine if it's easy to maintain multiple Disqus IDs (or even something you can do). I'm sure everyone thinks the worst of this observation as the anti-commenting rage these days places it right around a NAMBLA membership, but I would prefer the ability to continue commenting with a pseudonym.

Also: to pile on Disqus (which I actually like in principle). Go look at a long nested thread at McArdle's blog sometime. Literally unreadable.

Matt (#26)

The only thing I really use Disqus for is VV comments (SOR– uh, opposite of sorry, Maura?), and the Disqus account I set up to comment on Tumblrs who plugged Disqus into their frontface works for that, pretty seamlessly. It even keeps track of all my activity on a profile somewhere that no one would ever think to look at. And, as you can create new accounts for different emails, it would probably still work the same way this system does. Would be nice to be able to comment here or on the HP or whatever and not have to login multiple times, sure; but also still have the option to have different "identities" (AND PEOPLE CALL *US* CREEPY WEIRDOS, AM I RIGHT?).

But, seriously, the nesting on Disqus is a crypt of rays. I like this system. It trusts you to be able to follow a conversation without being force fed and it doesn't clutter everything up with itself.

If there's any clutter, we, the commenters, create it. Which, I thought, was a good thing.

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

The only issue I have with the current system, is that in a post like this where we are over 100 comments long it is kind of hard to find the latest ones. This may actually exist, but I am kind of slow at times, and it is not a big deal as I get to reread some of the wittiest comments.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

just please don't do what Wonkette did. God, I used to love reading Wonkette comments (even though I never posted) but then they switched to some format where you have to expand the replies, and then there were replies to replies that required further expanding and it just ruined the whole goddamn thing and oh yeah no facebook or twitter please.

WindowSeat (#180)

@IBentMyWookie This. I don't know if it's the comments or the ads that are messing with my ipad but Wonkette takes forever to load and reloads when I open up the comments. It's damn near unreadable now.

hockeymom (#143)

@IBentMyWookie I was on Wonkette for years. I loved Wonkette…still do, actually. However, once they made the change I got kicked off. Ken Layne HIMSELF tried to get me back in and it worked for only one comment. Then I wasn't able to sign in again. It's probably my fault somehow, but I blame the robots running their site. I agree that it's hard to navigate, as well.

delrayser (#319)

I rarely comment, so I don't know how much I have to contribute. I actually just decided to comment here because I couldn't remember what my commenter # was and wanted to find out. Also, to be a part of a secret comment thread, how fun is that?

I will say that I've used other sites that have Disqus and it's not terrible? But it does always seem like it takes extra time to load. Like, the post will load normally, then there's a delay while Disqus fills in below. I don't know enough about code and whatnot to understand why the current system is bad, but it never gives me any loading issues.

Also, now that I've written Disqus a couple times, I think it's a silly and sort of awkward name. Disqus. Disqus Disqus Disqus. Great, now I hate it.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Might as well get this started. Last!

Multiphasic (#411)

@boyofdestiny I will sing you off with the stirring soprano of Maria CalLAST.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

@boyofdestiny Please don't go advertising this on your tumblr one year from now like, I don't know, STC.

lovelettersinhell (#13,711)

I hate Disqus. Other than facebook it is the wooooooorst. Also please no WordPress login.

s. (#775)

So maybe it's just because Canada is pretty much a third-world country when it comes to the internet, but there's always a really perceptible hesitation when the Disqus-powered part of a site loads. And I don't know if Disqus is any more or less reliable than the current system (or anything else you might roll out) but commenting seems like too integral a part of The Awl to outsource to a system that already seems to sputter a bit. I mean, maybe two years from now we'll all be talking about the Great 72-Hour Disqus Failure of '13 or whatever.

s. (#775)

But it would still be preferable to a) a Facebook-based system or b) a system that lets people use their FB or Twitter logins to make drive-by point-missing comments. The requirement that people invest a little time to create an account is a feature, not a bug.

BobbyJim (#1,942)

@s. Yes! The pros of Disqus: indented replies and sortable comments. Good things, absolutely! But the cons are severe: lack of privacy (Disqus is well on its way to becoming the new facebook; see my privacy concerns upthread) and terrible load times (my browser spazzes when Disqus comments load).

Choire, Balk, "business" guys/gals: if you can solve your problems by updating the in-house comment system instead of selling out to a third-party monster, by any means do it! Disqus is not worthy of The Awl.

Kate Croy (#973)

I have a secret Hairpin identity that is not this one (kind of like a super hero, oooor a serial killer) and I like having them separate. It wouldn't be disastrous if they merged, but I would HATE having one Disqus name across the Whole Internet, for the slashficky reasons mentioned by another commenter above.

Anyone else pronounce Disqus "discus" rather than "discuss" in their head? *whistles* Ok then.

Oh also no FB obviously.

cherrispryte (#444)

@katalist I just realized I pronounce it Dis-kiss, because I'm an idiot.

bronwyn (#3,351)

@katalist I have always pronounced like that too! In my defense I have a way different accent to you American types so that makes it OK kinda?

Craig Brownson (#4,257)

@cherrispryte aaand so did I

@bronwyn – I also (mis-?)pronounce Disqus this way. In my head, which is the only place I ever pronounce it.

@katalist OMG. You wrote the Bob and Eli letter, DIDN'T YOU?!

blily (#1,411)

@katalist It actually never occurred to me that "Disqus" was a pun on "discuss."

City_Dater (#2,500)


I realized it right away and it made me hate the very thought of this potential change because cutesy mispellings are infuriating.
My personal issues with the name "Disqus" aside, Choire & Co, carry on as you see fit, though I wish to register the 500th vote against Facebook and Twitter comments. UGH.

s. (#775)

@cherrispryte I thought it was pronounced diss-KWISS.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Okay, then I am going to say "discues," and that is going to mean "deliberate miscues."

thegarden@twitter (#14,543)

I was going to say that disqus doesn't actually work on Chrome, but then I forgot my awl login (<2000! Will not be sad to relinquish it). [Sorry, I am too busy reading comments to comment]. I was also going to add that awlmusic stopped working in Chrome, but then I checked and it's working again! So, basically, ignore me.

Except that disqus doesn't usually load on various Chrome/Mac machines.

sakade (#52)

I keep thinking that one day I'll be able to utilize my double-digit commenter number to impress a cute guy, but that day HAS NOT YET COME*, so, you know.

*I know, you're shocked.

nzle (#6,611)

I vote that we ask Paul Ford for a solution and immediately implement whatever he thinks of.

Multiphasic (#411)

@nzle I vote that we ask Tom Ford for a solution and immediately implement whatever he thinks of.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

Edsel Ford.

bronwyn (#3,351)

Another vote to say thanks for asking us about this. Youse guys are the best (and also smart and good at working out strategies so people don't get angry with you.)

Another big NO to Facebook commenting. I've deleted my Facebook account and I know that with some systems you can comment with both Facebook and not-Facebook but I usually don't even start as it's often quite a boring process to try and do that.

It would be super, if one wanted it, to be able to just have one login for all the Awl-kingdom sites, but also have the option to have different identities if one wanted to?

I like being able to follow replies to comments – nested or not. If the numbers aren't going to be kept, how about something like a count of comments made next to a commenter's name?

It would be great to be able to post videos into the comments thread but I guess that might lead to a host of complications?

I'm willing to forego commenter numbers going forward as long as we can get an appropriate–and obviously super-lengthy–Listicle Without Commentary as a valediction. (Compilation of this could be crowd-sourced; I'll volunteer to assist.)

Otherwise, I second all the no-Facebook, keep-a-similar-appearance comments above. I can't speak to Disqus's technical merits or lack thereof, so I won't.

carpetblogger (#306)

I am VERY CONCERNED about my ONLINE BRAND so please for the love of all that is good and holy, no FB or twitter comments. My low number is a constant source of validation for me (and my online brand) and I am not sure I can live without it.

As usual I'm late enough to the party to echo in less clever ways what everyone else says: colors are great (for the olds!), it would be better if you could see who likes comments (see above), and keep the commenter numbers. Did I mention no FB?

Tully Mills (#6,486)

My only suggestion is that you change the colors to differentiate comment threads to a red and green spectrum. I'm sick of dogs commenting on here with their rawhide bone complaints ("gets too mushy!") and anecdotes about when they used to not have a yard to pee in.

pearl (#8,156)

This is just a post to see my commenter number… before it goes away :(

pearl (#8,156)

@pearl Oy. Four digits?! Not that I comment much anyway

Rod T (#33)

I would like more time during the day to comment on things. I don't care about the format. Thirty-three … I was so full of promise once. Pretty thunderstorm rolling through this morning is just like me.

Leon (#6,596)

@Rod T – oooh this. Get my boss to give me an awl-network break period.

Oh wait, jk. I have that. It is called "whenever I smoke". Which is why it being able to display on mobile is important to me.

I think a unified comments thing would be nice. I really liked a couple billfold articles that were cross-posted, but don't go back cuz honestly, I'm just too lazy to make a new login, and participating in a longtime community of commenters is what makes me keep coming back to the awl/hairpin. (Note that that is, of course & obvs etc predicated on the content being good to me….commenting is fun but only cuz the webblog I'm commenting on is something I love to read).

Oooh can we do the email thing still, where I get emails when people comment on my threads? As mentioned, I don't get to look at websites anywhere near as much as my commenting makes it seem like, but without the validation of knowing that people said "lol" to my pun and then made a pun of their own, I dunno, ill be sad.

@Rod T Miss you, Sir!

You know, there are easier ways of finding out who is reading the newsletter.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@Clarence Rosario
Well, this looks like a fairly reliable way.

Apparently secret comment threads are the only bait Awl commenters fall for anymore.

Leon (#6,596)

Also, there should be a system where each month some commenter gets some cheese or a mango or something. Maybe just annually. And random, but no lameasses.

bmichael (#213)

I think I would have had a 'better' commenter number, but I didn't sign up at the first moment I noticed The Awl's existence. I think it took a day or four hours for me to be convinced of its potential.

David Cho (#3)

Is this an insult???

Balks Mom (#1,921)

I can't live without commenter numbers. I would, however, like something fancy. Mother's Day is coming up, after all.

hockeymom (#143)

So late to this party. Agree on the FB thing. I'm paranoid that any connection with FB on commenting will come back to harm us. Not sure how, but I DO NOT TRUST MARK ZUCKERBERG. Plus, some of the FB comments I read on other sites scare me.

Second, I would like a system that makes Choire's and Balk's lives easier. The Awl is special and I would hate to see it go away because managing the commenter system became a full-time job for them and the writing became something that they could only do in fits and starts. (See also, management sucks.)

Third, I like my number, but it's a small thing.

Fourth, if you (Choire and Balk) hand us over to someone else to manage, you won't forget us, right?

melis (#1,854)

@hockeymom Oh my god, fine, I'll do it, I'll take on comment managing as a full-time job with crazy good benefits, Jesus, give it a rest

hockeymom (#143)

@melis *i'm sorry?

melis (#1,854)


hockeymom (#143)


rzokeefe (#152)

re: commenting, whatever you do will be fine and your fans will keep coming back. Except for Facebook. Facebook commenting is bad. Random Facebook commentors are bad.

I want to know why my work blocks The Awl but not your other proprieties. I would assume you have similar platforms. My vast unidentified government agency I work for wouldn't arbitrarily pick The Awl as something that should be blocked. Did you pick up an old porn site name? Really, This has been bugging me since you started the Hairpin.

Like the current system, like the commenter numbers, will be sad to see both go. (Only thing wrong with current system is shaded/non-shaded thread order gets messed up in "popular" sort view. Fix that, then perfect.)

Don't know why dropping personal pronouns and articles here. Too lazy to type many words guess. Tired today. Type like Hulk when tired.

Suggestion: Nobody should be allowed to delete their own comments without posting some kind of explanation.

"Deleted by user" … Why??? Explain, in 140 characters or fewer.

I like "secret hidden comment threads" like this. You should do more of these! Put one in every newsletter. People can come to the secret thread each week and chat, or tell jokes, or discuss issues of importance.

Or make "acii pictures." That's always fun!

(. \
\ |
\ |___(\–/)
__/ ( . . )
"'._. '-.O.'
'-. \ "|\

@MisterHippity Suggestion: new comment system should not mess up ascii pictures by deleting spaces. :-(

NinetyNine (#98)

Wait, we have to use quotes when saying ASCII art now?

Multiphasic (#411)

@NinetyNine Yup. ASCII "art". I mean, it's a cat, but what does it say?

melis (#1,854)


Commenter numbers are part of what makes the Awl a fun community. That seems like a good enough reason to keep them around.

Not that I… care about my number or anything.

Leon (#6,596)

I am aware that this has nothing to do with the commenting system, but could we maybe get the poetry section to sometimes include audio of the poets reading their poems aloud?

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@Leon Saint-Jean
Audio + video of different Awl writers reading the poems aloud, and then you get to vote.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

Didn't read through this, but basically the commenters would all like the commenting system to stay the same, right? NICK DENTON WAS SOMETHING SOMETHING

@MikeBarthel Here, I'll summarize the thread for you:

NO FACEBOOK COMMENTS Disqus sucks NO FACEBOOOK COMMENTS Disqus isn't that bad actually NO FACEBOOK COMMENTS if it ain't broke … don't take my number away! NO FACEBOOK COMMENTS.

That was the gist of it.

danielb (#203)

Wait wait!!! Let me see what number I gottttttt firstttt

danielb (#203)

I'm just gonna let the coolness wash over me for a minute, and you can go ahead and change it to whatever you want…mmm….

brent_cox (#40)

Well, if you do away with the numbers, you should publish a spreadsheet with the first two hundred and thirty thousand commenters, in order.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

In reverse order.

Multiphasic (#411)

I'm in the Fellowship of the Ring, along with Aragorn and Gimli and LegoLAST.

MattP (#475)

I don't like the disqus comment systems I've used in the past, though I don't hate them the way I do FB comments. I like my low-ish number, but losing it wouldn't stop me from reading or make me comment less frequently than I already do. Also, I really appreciate being asked for my opinion, as it reinforces the feeling of community I feel for the Awl/Awliverse. I'm not sure I added anything to the discourse with that, but it felt good to write.

Whoa! After the 2 days it took me to finally make it through this thread, I realized that I was magically logged in somehow by linking through the newsletter? This is a treat, since my being intermittently logged out is an annoyance I've come to resent. Something that might fix that would be nice, maybe?

And yes: No Facebook. Disqus can be annoying. Nested comments can get unreadable. My commenter number is the best commenter number! You guys are the greatest.

cherrispryte (#444)

@DorothyMantooth Um, in honor of the fact that Mantooth here is #69, I would like to even more strongly state the importance of KEEPING COMMENTER NUMBERS. THAT IS A DEAL BREAKER.
…. she said, without any real power behind her words. What am I going to do, go back to reading Jezebel obsessively? Please.


WellThen (#1,251)

Well, I like the current system, so I am in favor of keeping the new system fairly similar also? But nesting is nice. I do like the alternating thread colors, as others have mentioned. Editable comments would be nice! I think you've already hit on this, but the accountability thing you talk about with facebook commenting doesn't really seem necessary here. Generally the comments are great. There are so many sites where I say, "Don't read the comments, don't read the comments," but here I'm always like, "don't forget to read the comments!" So I guess I'm weighing in more as a comment appreciator than a person who actually makes comments.

cherrispryte (#444)


Tulletilsynet (#333)


Hey, what about a commenting system where anybody who wants to comment on The Hairpin is required to come to The Awl and comment on something first?

Etruscan Duck (#9,366)

Disqus does not play well with RSS feeds in my experience, and takes a real long time to load.

So, um, when's the next Bawl?

garge (#736)

@Clarence Rosario Well, I just finished my first year of law school and need to drink for two hundred thousand. How about right now? Also, I always thought you had the best commenter number because it means "I love you" in pager lingo. Remember pagers? Remember when we all had commenter numbers?

jfruh (#713)

Don't know if anyone is still reading this, but one of the annoying things about Disqus on Splitsider is that it seems to default to "sort by popular now." Any way this can default to "sort by oldest first"?

areaderwrites (#592)

Obviously I don't read the Awl newsletter in a timely manner. Please, what ever you do, don't make us log in with Facebook, I don't even use Facebook.

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