Blogs, at their best, are like finely tuned forums. Authors serve as moderators, starting discussion threads with posts. Some get particularly heated. But after two months of tuning in beta, Y Combinator’s Disqus is launching to make the forum comparison concrete. It looks like a great addition to heavily trafficked blogs thinking of enhancing their comment system.
After installing, every post you make becomes a new thread in your own forum at yourforum.disqus.com. To keep it from not being a mirror of the blog, registered readers can also post new threads. All blog comments are posted to the forum and vice versa. Readers can post new comments under their own Disqus profile or anonymously. Fred Wilson’s blog is a good example of the service in action.
Disqus commenting system adds threads, comment/user ratings, spam control, and user identities. The system can either replace all your comments (starting from nothing), or only be activated on new posts. If you find it’s not what you want, you can just deactivate the plugin to get back your old comments.
The forums are fully skinnable and RSS enabled. You can follow threads or comments from other commentors. Frequent forum users will he happy to hear that you can receive updates and post replies by email as well. But Disqus isn’t just a community of commentors, it’s also a community of forums. Diqus’ main site serves as a hub for the hottest or most recent stories across all Disqus blogs.
The forums need to go through some greater evolution, though. Currently all threads are created equal and lumped into one overall category. What the system needs is some stratification between the best and worst commentors. Good commentors tend to be mini-blogging in blog comments and deserve a higher profile corner of the forums. Their system should reflect this.
But the move to greater engagement in the blogosphere echoed by Disqus and the other commenting startups (Intense Debate, SezWho) is a good one. However, each is only as good as the blogs they sign up. With each of the services being mutually exclusive, there are only so many strong blog communities to compete over. Growing big is much more complicated than other blogging community add-ons like MyBlogLog, which offered a much lower friction way adding interactivity to your blog through presence.
You can try their commenting system after the jump.
var disqus_url = \’http://techcrunch.com/ \';