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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
Quick NetOne, Telecel, Africom, And Econet Airtime Recharge
If anything goes wrong, chat with us using the chat feature at the bottom right of this screen