Disqus is revamping its services, aiming for a stronger, leaner and more social platform for audience members to interact with online content. Changes include comment valuation (arrows pushing more pertinent comments up higher, and vice versa); social sharing and an article discovery feature. [Editor’s Note: FOLIO: uses Disqus as its commenting platform.]
Disqus 2012 began public testing about a month ago, according to the company’s blog. The idea of “real-time” is more fully realized in the latest version of Disqus, with comments posted seconds after submission and the ability to see when others are typing a new comment.
“We’re calling this Disqus 2012 because we wanted to build a completely fresh Disqus based on our learnings from the last couple of years,” says Disqus founder Daniel Ha. “For our publisher users, it means a Disqus that results in measurable increases in engagement. Early tests have shown an average increase in engagement of 41% on sites using the new Disqus.”
Social integration appears to be a large part of the upgrade, with users now able to share comments, tag others (with @mentions) and directly pulls reactions about the topic at hand from Twitter onto the platform itself. In addition to the socialization of the platform, a personalized “My Disqus” view is also available for users. A Community view is accessible as well, letting users see Disqus’s trending topics and users at any given moment.
The new platform will also keep the conversation on track through quality control, as the community itself is able to vote on what comments are the most relevant to a piece of content. Disqus’s blog details this, “With voting, the new Disqus encourages richer discussions to form by letting the community surface the best comments. By pairing this with a smarter scoring system, Disqus will help maintain quality discussions — but without silencing simply less popular opinions.”
Aside from social, discovery is the other key piece of Disqus’s revamp. While there is no “single feature,” TechCrunch reports, “[Ha] says one of the most important additions is a new Discovery module, which is basically a box recommending other articles on the site that readers might like. Those recommendations are based in part on the article being discussed and the comments that have been posted, and in part on what Disqus knows about an individual user’s reading behavior.”
The same article says Ha is considering monetization options (such as sponsored recommendations), but will most likely not include banner ads in the comments section on publisher sites.
Overall, these changes have been installed with the idea of a seamless conversation as the end goal. “Commenting is starting to grow up and people are realizing that the best comments need to be discussions, not the low-commitment drivel that a lot of sites see,” Ha tells FOLIO:. “The key to building discussions is making readers actually care about the community and offering that special experience to do so.”