Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tips and tricks regarding the new Disqus comments system

Dear all,

This is johneeboy3, one of your friendly neighbourhood moderators.

Atilla kindly offered for me to publish my thoughts and analysis on his site. It's clear from recent feedback, however, that you are all here mainly for Atilla's calls and analysis, and so please rest assured that I won't be soap-boxing on you any time soon!

But I will try to be at least a half-decent moderator, and it seems that posting a summary of how to fully exploit the new Disqus-based commenting system would be valuable to y'all. So here goes...

A note about speed

Yes, the disqus system is slower than the old blogger comments system, because it uses Java and Javascript to work it's magic. But the gain is worth the pain.

Special note for Mac users: I've found using the Disqus system under the Safari browser is much faster than under Firefox, probably due to the many optimisations Apple incorporated into it's Java subsystem.

Point Scoring System - give credit where it's due

Disqus has a point-scoring system - please make use of it because it provides a number of benefits, including:
  • helping the automated filters to block spammers and a$$holes, and
  • helps you when browsing the disqus system, as higher priority will be given to high-scoring posters in some views (as far as I can remember)

You can vote up (point-up) or vote down (point-down) a particular comment by clicking on the UP or DOWN arrows that are located just beside the commenters avatar. FYI: as your mouse is hovering over an arrow, the text under the posters ID changes to show you how many points the commenter currently has.
Here's a simple set of rules for scoring effectively:
  1. If the comment is spam, anti-social or aggressive, give it a point DOWN.
  2. If the comment is witty genius and made your day a bit lighter, give it a POINT UP
  3. If the comment is not anti-social or aggressive, but adds no real value to this blog, DON'T SCORE IT UP OR DOWN.
  4. If the comment has some great insight or technical analysis (whether it supports Atilla's calls or not) then give it a POINT UP (because all solid TA is welcome at xTrends)

Making best use of the threading mechanism

Please make use of the threading system - by that I mean if you want to reply to a specific comment, then click on the 'reply' link directly below the comment. This will cause your response to be posted as a child of the original post, rather than a new post.

New comment posts should only be made if you are commenting on something that no one else is already discussing. If it's already being discussed, post as a reply to the original commenter. This will keep everything easier to read.

Tip: You can reply via email

If someone posts a response to your comment, you should be notified of the response via email. In case you didn't notice, you can post a comment in reply simply by replying to the email notification, and your reply will be posted to xTrends. Easy!

Following xTrends comments - there's now many ways to skin that cat...

Here are some of the most useful ways to keep up-to-date with comments posted on xTrends:

Option A - Surf the comments as usual in your favourite browser. Here's some tips for surfing:
  • If you hover your mouse over the avatar of a commenter, it will bring up a summary of the most recent comments posted by this person. Note that this includes comments on other sites that use disqus also.
Option B - Monitor comments via your favourite feed/blog reader. Disqus makes all kinds of permutations and combinations of comments available as a standard RSS/blog feed. For example:
  • If you never want to miss another comment again, you can subscribe to a feed of all xTrends site comments, which can be found here: http://disqus.com/forums/xtrends/comments.rss
  • If you want to subscribe to all comments posted by Atilla, you can subscribe to the feed of all his comments, which can be found here: http://disqus.com/people/xtrends/comments.rss
  • If you want to track the comments of another commenter on xTrends, you can find the link to the feed of their comments by going to their "Profile Page" (hover mouse over their avatar, and click on "View Profile" link. On the profile page on the RHS will be a item labelled 'Feeds'. Click on this and some links will appear below it. The 'comments only' link is a link to an RSS-compatible feed of all comments by that person)
  • If you only want to subscribe to all comments for the current main post, you can find that link at the top of the list of comments in the link entitled 'Comments feed'.
Which blog reader should you use? One that seems to be popular for Windoze users is Tristana (Google it). One of the benefits of Tristana is that if can update the feed as quickly as once a minute, for those that want to stay right on top of the action. For those with some programming skills, try rss2email (that's what I use).

Got any other tips?

If anyone else has any speed-improvement tips or other tips and tricks that I've overlooked, please post them in the comments section.

Edit: Comments for this post are closed until I find out how to override the blogger comments system (seems like it has to be done for each post). LOL. Stay tuned.

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