After posting this entry I was contacted by Disqus via Twitter & Blogger. They offered me help, because the duplication was something that shouldn't occur:
"The duplication error only occurred during a specific time period which is why you can't reproduce it. We're looking into a more automated way to remove duplicate comments for forums so you don't have to go through and manually remove them. We'll be in touch again once we know more about that. "
17 days after this e-mail they informed me that they had removed the duplicated comments. I asked them if I could remove Disqus just by removing the widget and the answer was positive:
"Nothing will happen to your Disqus account -- if you'd like to remove the widget you will just need to find the Disqus widget in your Blogger layout editor, open it, and then click "Remove" along the bottom, and your Blogger comment box will be restored.
Sorry for any hassles, we do plan on some major integration improvements with Blogger so keep us in mind :-)."
Last night I opened Disqus widget and clicked "remove". I didn't even know if that was the official way to get rid of the system (because they don't have proper information about it), but after some serious issues I just had to do it.
I'll describe my experience with Disqus because I know that the Blogger comment form is terribly basic and a lot of people will tempted to change it.
First, the good things. Disqus nails it with its:
- Overall clean interface
- "Reply" button that forms threads inside the flow of comments
- Cool system to show "Reactions" or who shared your post over Twitter or other sites.
- System to display attachments like pictures or videos linked in the comments.
- Option to save a copy of your comments in your Blogger dashboard and also an option to Import/Export your comments.
- Help reply timing: if you have a problem with Disqus and write to the staff during working days, they answer you really quick.
Now the things that make you want to kill yourself:
1. It doesn't fetch all your Blogger comments:
I was really happy with Disqus until I noticed some weird things. Before it loaded I could see the original Blogger form and noticed that it said, for example, "10 comments". Then when Disqus officially showed up, it said "9 comments"!! I checked my Blogger dashboard and noticed that there were some comments correctly added there but not in Disqus and therefore not in my site.
I wrote to the staff, and after following some steps like checking the "Spam" folder they informed me that:
Perhaps these were made from a phone or other mobile device? Blogger doesn't yet allow Disqus to work on their mobile templates, so that would be one way to get comments on Blogger and not Disqus. If you do an import from Blogger again that'll bring them in. Blogger will also be adding Disqus support soon, so they say.
Why didn't they inform me about this tiny issue before installing the system? Well, I know why.
2. Importing comments can be tiring:
So each time I noticed there were some comments that weren't correctly published I had to go to my Disqus account and re-import all the comments again. Sometimes this didn't take more that a few minutes, in other occasions it did.
This meant that if someone left a comment he/she had to wait for me to notice the problem (because if Disqus doesn't save it, you obviously don't get a notification via e-mail) and then for the import.
Importing comments on a daily basis was something I didn't have to do with my old Blogger comment form.
3. Disqus comment form is not really easy to get:
I remember when I first saw Disqus in other sites I thought I had to create an account to comment or use my social media accounts. And that's what a lot of my readers thought too when I installed it in my blog. Some of my readers told me that they preferred to send me e-mails commenting a post than using Disqus; others took part of their time to create an account; others didn't see that they could leave their url when posting as guests (the option font was too tiny), etc.
So, extra task: I had to invent new ways to clarify all these issues, like adding a description box on the top of my site, creating posts, etc. I think that they should modify the design: leaving a comment using just an e-mail and an username should be the main option, embedded under the form and not in a pop up window, because this leads to confusion. If you want to use your other accounts then you should click a button like "Use an account".
4. It adds some extra seconds to your site loading time.
5. Importing comments can go crazy:
This was the last straw! Last week, as usual, I noticed that there were two comments that weren't published so I tried to import them. After some hours, I checked my site and noticed that ALL THE COMMENTS I'D EVER RECEIVED WERE DUPLICATED. That meant that if I wanted to change to another system and export my comment file they would be duplicated anyway. So, again, I asked for help to the staff. The answer, another challenge:
Unfortunately this was due to an error that we made. There's no way to remove the duplicates automatically, but if we can put together something we'll contact you. Otherwise they can be deleted manually -- we're very sorry for any hassle this has caused.
Yeah, I have the time to manually delete more than 2,000 comments!
The good news is that I noticed that my Blogger comments dashboard correctly showed my comments, without the duplicates.
6. Getting rid of Disqus means losing information and formats
The bad news is that after removing the Disqus widget all the direct "Replies" to users I wrote using Disqus are now messed up, because Blogger displays them in chronological order (TIP: if you're using Disqus and replying to your readers, address them, like @Someone to have clearer comments in case you uninstall it). Of course, I also lost the "Likes" the readers' comments or my posts received, the "Reactions", etc.
After all, I guess I made the right decision, Disqus wasn't really making my blogging experience easier. I only hope the guys at Blogger can work on their comment system, to make it more functional and pretty. I modified a bit the basic form, hope you like it :)