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Our experience migrating from Disqus to Facebook comments

Before we moved the comments system on this site from Disqus to Facebook about a week ago, we had thought about it for a while and the decision wasn’t any easy one to make. Eventually we decided to move.

Here’s why:

  • A few anonymous Jackasses. These guys are by far the biggest reason. They spoiled the beauty of anonymity for everyone, especially the good anonymous guys that just prefer anonymity with no unscrupulous agenda driving the preference. These jackasses say anything to spite anyone. They don’t care how it made hard working tech entrepreneurs feel. We try here whenever we can to celebrate mobile and web content and solution creators in Zimbabwe. Whenever we have something to say in the negative, we stand behind every word we write because we believe it to be true. These guys were basically pulling in the opposite direction and it was frustrating.Sometimes they even used obscenities and we had to be on our feet making sure we’re editing and removing the bad comments. It’s a full time job we don’t have the resources for.
  • Pageviews. One of the things we have been doing a bit more aggressively lately is getting more pageviews especially via Social Media. It pays the bills. Facebook comments are a great opportunity for this. A tip to fellow bloggers; it works wonderfully.
  • Site load speed. We thought Facebook comments would load faster. Didn’t happen.

So what’s been the experience so far? There have been some positives and some expected negatives as a result of the move.  Here they are:

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The good

  • Our pageviews improved significantly, by about a third more. When most people comment, the comments are posted to their walls and this attracts more clicks back to the site.
  • The jackassery has disappeared.
  • We also had an issue making Disqus and the Internet Explorer web browser like each other on Techzim. We tried having Disqus help us with this and they wouldn’t. Moving to Facebook eliminated these issues entirely.

The bad

  • Our comments have reduced in volume, drastically. Where we would get an average of 35 comments, we’re down to around 15 per good story. One of the key things about Techzim is that it has managed to become the central discussion platform for tech issues in Zimbabwe. We still want to maintain this and FB comments seem to not help in this regard.
  • Along with the Jackasses, the good anonymous guys are gone too.
  • FB comments have been horrible on usability. Moderation is quite the chore. It’s also not straightforward configuring and customizing to specific requirements. Also don’t expect to get a community of people ready to help. The FB comment system is not widely used and lacks answers to common problems faced by its users.
  • Contrary to our expectations, the FB comment system actually loads slower than Disqus. It was kind surprising but that’s what’s happening.  We already have issues with site load speeds so this is quite a worrying issue.

At the end of the day, active discussion here for us is more important than pageviews.  Pageviews pay the bills but active discussion keeps the platform ‘alive’. We believe the discussion also provides valuable feedback to the entities we write about.

We’re giving FB comments until the end of the month to give us more than just better pageviews and anti-jackssery tools.  If you’re thinking of moving your platform to FB comments your situation and objectives may be very different from ours, but we hope this helps with the decision.


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30 thoughts on “Our experience migrating from Disqus to Facebook comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. Personally I have never been a big fan of Facebook comments. I thought people aren’t keen on mixing social with business so I’m pretty surprised your pageviews increased. Maybe it’s my personal disposition but I don’t want to bore my friends who aren’t into tech with stories of what’s hot in tech! Those FB “Circles” take too long to create so my friends aren’t even grouped. Sharing on Google+ is more fine-grained…it’s damn smooth. They should think about a comment system. 😀

    If I may ask, does your analytics show if these new pageviews engaged any more with the website passed the linked article?

  2. Hey correct me if i’m wrong,(didnt hev a chance to use the facebook comments u tokin bout) but wat bout sumthn lyk that Facebook like button that lets u add a comment and post (like that one on http://techcrunch.com). Meaning thoz that like commenting on techzim can do so in this column and those who want to share on facebook can do so as well…as for the jackasses,man they part of the business i guess,luck they ain’t hackers.lol lol…kip up tha good work.

    1. Wow, reading your comment was arduous. If you’re in some kind of professional line of work, I’m confused how you wouldn’t be accustomed to writing in an easily readable form.

  3. I am too happy to see Disqus return and fast.

    If Facebook commenting had been removed say after a year, all the comments resources (very valuable user generated input) would have vanished and visitors would have no archived resources to refer to + it would mean less stuff for SEO. With Disqus old comments are still there.

    In my view only obscene words need to be deleted rather than whole comments etc.

    I read Forbes.com a lot (and i love it very much because people there engage in really deep, constructive, and well thought-out comments with some comments very detailed rather than just two word sentences.), and on Forbes.com they have a system where people can report a comment for example. This means action will be taken only when a post has been flagged.

    Some comments may seem uninteresting or irrelevant or out of line etc. etc. and therefore get deleted when maybe everyone who uses this blog would not mind reading them. Kinda like “One man’s jack ass is another man’s best.” – so long as the comment does not have obscene words, defamatory content, etc – or violate the terms of use. People also need to know what options they have to lodge a complaint about a comment for example.

    Too much censorship can discourage people who really want to participate with constructive intent; and by “constructive intent”, i do not mean being always agreeable or yes-readers.

    As this site grows, I can imagine the resources needed to delete comments one by one when it now has, say 20 000 visitors a day. I am happy there is not even 1 Facebook comment of mine remaining! I don’t want some people having my personal details out of a simple FB comment.

    Lastly, in a similar post to this one i mentioned how some venture capitalist said “all pageviews are not equal” indeed they went up you say, thanks perhaps to FB notifications, but the cost/price to content and SEO looks huge. I actually discovered i could find a Techzim Disqus comment via Google, unlike with FB comments.

  4. In all fairness I found the Facebook comments had a swifter notification to threads I commented on, although email notification works, I’m to lazy to follow email links. I leave my Facebook page idle amongst the numerous tabs I run 18 in opera and 5 in I.E. at the time of this post. Also Facebook comments meant I had to closely consider the the words I type so that I’m accountable to the things I say with disqus you can put any handle and say things that maybe offensive one and two that are falsehoods that go unchallenged.

    Anonymity is good I don’t doubt that, I guess disqus has provision of using your Facebook identity I just hope that the switch will help drive traffic to techzim with increased pageviews, it’s a reliable blog I think that deserves attention and meaningful comments, so whether disqus or Facebook comments does the job why not! I know for sure that if something catches my eye I wont fail to comment regardless of what option to comment is presented.

  5. people aren’t keen on mixing social with business so I’m pretty
    surprised your pageviews increased. Maybe it’s my personal disposition
    but I don’t want to bore my friends who aren’t
    into tech with stories of
    what’s hot in tech! Those FB “Circles” take too long to create so my
    friends aren’t even grouped. Sharing on Google+ is more
    fine-grained…it’s damn smooth.

  6. I guess disqus has provision of using your Facebook identity I just hope that the switch will help drive traffic to techzim with increased pageviews, it’s a reliable blog I think that deserves attention and meaningful comments. Thanks.

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