Alternative to Disqus Needed More Than Ever

:wink:

Hopefully, some clever people will sort out the complexity for us just like Bep does with Hugo!

What is it that you like with Discourse as a commenting system?

Do you have in mind that it would look and work like Discourse forum topics? I.e. flat layout. Or indented-threaded and best comments first?

Talkyard (which I’m developing) has an option to not require people to create real accounts. This typically works okay for smaller places that don’t get many comments. (Spammers? Somehow there’re really many spammers at Disqus although Disqus requires “real” accounts. I think a better solution is manual approval of the first say 5? comments by each new user. If they actually say something meaningful and that adds to the blog post — then most likely not a spammer.)

Sorry but I’m unsure what “connecting a Discourse entry to a blog post” means? If you have time maybe you’d like to clarify?

If you have any thoughts about how Talkyard (link in my profile) can be improved it’d be interesting to know :- )

I’d like to have the commenting system auto-detecting and auto-posting links to discussions happening at places like Mastodon, Pleroma — and also Reddit and HackerNews. These links would be posted as comments. So the blog author would get auto-notified about them. And the blog readers could upvote those link-comments. This combined with best comments shown first —> others readers would easily find interesting discussion happening in, say, a sub-Reddit.

And the blog author could reply to the link-comment with a comment that summarizes the discussion happening over at e.g. Reddit or Mastodon about the blog post (so blog visitors needn’t go to discussions happening at all those different places and find out him/herself). — If a discussion over at Reddit was “destructive”, the blog author could just delete that comment.

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I think that you need a few options. The ability to link to 3rd party auth via OAuth, etc is great for sites where you are happy that you are commenting from your public personas and this can cover Facebook, GitHub, Google, etc. The ability to as you describe is also good. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution by any means.

So when you use Disqus on a blog or similar site, each post has a separate “discussion” that is linked to that post/article/page. When you use Discourse, each discussion thread is its own thing, not linked to a post/article/page. So Discourse is a forum system whereas Disqus is a comments system. Two different sets of requirements.

I would agree with you that it would be great to have a commenting system that could also “absorb” as it were comments from elsewhere as well as direct comments. Under Wordpress, I used a plugin that incorporated Tweets that contained a link to an article in that article’s comments. You also get pingbacks and I could show those as well.

Above all, though - it all needs to be simple to implement, run and maintain.

You can have a category in Discourse set for external posts, then each new instance created (blog post, event created, etc) would create a thread within that topic. Essentially creating a modular comments section that can be set to copy the title of the page it’s created on.

Replies would be ordered by most recent, as our replies here are. That could mess up the home page in the forum as many comments wouldn’t make sense without the context of the page get were posted on. Fortunately Discourse has the ability to hide categories from the main homepage, so with that set they wouldn’t be visible there.

The main advantage honestly, is the Discourse community. You can’t easily replicate that many people actively supporting and developing a smooth, functional and beautiful open source project. Anything we built or found here would almost certainly be lacking that.

But how would the thread that belongs to a page be shown on the page itself - in context? In Disqus - which, despite any privacy issues, is the de facto standard to measure page/article/post discussion tools against - this happens automatically via a minimal set of JavaScript. Does Discourse have anything similar?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “dissing” Discourse, it is a great open source project and a nice environment for discussions like this - just trying to highlight the differences between a forum/community discussion tool and a commenting tool. While there are some common requirements, they are not the same thing.

it doesn’t exist yet, but there are a truly staggering number of people asking for it on their forums. perhaps we should bring everyone together to build it, or chip a little in a crowdfund it?

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I too have quit Disqus. First contemplated the AWS API Gateway + Lambda + DynamoDB approach, as well as the StaticMan approach.

Then I came across https://just-comments.com/ and really like it’s simplicity and low cost. It’s not free, but nothing is really free, even Disqus. The creator is German and has GDPR covered.

Example on my blog: https://jiridj.be/posts/working-remote/

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Hypothesis.is looks interesting. It’s an annotation engine, which basically means comments wherever people want to put them (doesn’t Medium have something similar?). I don’t know if there’s a way to pre-provision a comment space at the end of a post, or if that would just have to happen organically (if people can comment anywhere, they can comment at the end).

The JS embed is only about 5 KB, but I think it ultimately brings in a bunch of other stuff like Angular, KaTeX, and some of the KaTeX fonts for math or formulas that people want to type. The good news is that KaTeX is much smaller and faster than MathJax.

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I lost track of what the consensus was about Isso. What’s wrong with it? Is the Python stack too heavy on the server side? Does it use a f***-ton of JavaScript on the browser side?

I’ve been exploring the Discourse option and it seems a fairly modest API upgrade to their current comments plugin would give us all a robust opensource alternative, backed by one of the best open-source communities on the web. Its exactly what everyone here is asking for.

If you want to bring this into reality you can join in the development, or donate a few coins so we can set up a bounty and have it built.

Come over and share your opinions and hopefully coding skills. If enough people join in we’ll all have this tool available by the end of next month!

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If anybody’s feeling adventurous, you can try Stapsher. [Disclosure: I’m the developer]

It’s like Staticman but with some differences in the features.

I launched it mainly because Staticman currently only supports GitHub (so, no private repositories for free). Stapsher supports both GitHub & GitLab ( BitBucket support planned for future).

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What’s the difference between Stapsher and Staticman?

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What I can remember at this moment:

From the consumers (site-owners) perspective

Stapsher doesn’t yet have (but Staticman does):

  • Comment subscription
  • Comment Author authentication

Stapsher has (but Staticman doesn’t):

  • Support for GitLab (free private repositories)
  • Some other small improvements

From development perspective

Stapsher’s codebase is relatively easier to extend. So, adding new features will be easier (or at least that was my intention while developing it :joy: )


So, if you want to keep your site’s repository private (and want it for free), you can consider using Stapsher.

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I don’t think there is something really wrong with Isso. I’m using it for 2 or 3 years and it is very lightweight and stable. It’s quite easy to install and tweak. Just checked now, on my cloud server it allocates 6.5% of RAM (which is 33MB for my server) and loads CPU by 0.0%. For the client, it loads 68 kB .js and 7 kB .css if I’m not mistaken. The development is not super active, but something happens. From the listed above open-source commenting engines I also like Mouthful and Commento, though never have used it.

Thanks for explaining.

(You don’t happen to remember the name of the plugins? for tweets & pingbacks. If they worked fine for you)

Ok, yes that’s an important advantage. Thanks for explaining.

With Discourse, blog comments are shown read-only. And if you click a comment, you’ll navigate to a page in the Discourse forum, with all comments for that blog post. And there you can read all comments, and reply. This is what @AndyatFocallocal wants to fix (so one can post, directly from the blog post). — Talkyard (I’m developing it, link in my profile) is different: One can post & edit comments directly on the blog post page itself, without switching to the community forum first.

How complicated would it be to add support for arbitrary Git repos? Maybe not possible, there has to be a database with user accounts somewhere? like GitHub or GitLab? Does it work with self hosted open source GitLab b.t.w? (I’d find it interesting with an issue tracking system with public login and that auto-saves in a Git repo)

It was called “Twitter Mentions as Comments”.

What do you mean by arbitrary Git repos? Git repos that are hosted in any platform? That would mean cloning the repo, comitting and push to the remote (which would mean the application would need to have your login credentials or some other method for acquiring permission). That just isn’t flexible and it would introduce trust issues.

Yes it does. It supports both self-hosted GitHub (enterprise) and self-hosted GitLab.

You might wanna take a look at Utterances. It doesn’t store the comments in the repo, but uses the GitHub Issues for storing comments.

I’ve found 2 projects in the early stages of working on a proper comments system based on Discourse, in some way or another (and hiding the comments from the forum homepage to so as not to flood the main community hub with content out of context without the page/event/article its commenting on being present - the main issue the main discourse community has with creating an official comments system).

I’ve also had 50 or more replies on different forums saying they wanted to see this brought in and discussing that it is feasible. finding people who want to actually join the build has been much slower. Not too sure what to do, the interest is there but i’m not skilled enough to build it myself. Perhaps a crowdfunder?

Any suggestions would be welcome

Re: @Russell_Ballestrini 's Remarkbox, Email notifications are available. Not sure when they were added. But you can’t comment without submitting an email address. For good or bad.

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