I am tired.
I have spent literally all day trying to get the people at Disqus to do one thing, and that has been to help me fix the Disqus-to-Blogger comment back-sync on their end so that I can explore more migration options because pretty much nothing accepts Disqus comments as an import.
Unfortunately, because Disqus migrated everyone on earth to their new system last night, they've been swamped with emails and tweets and have only been able to tell me that they're "taking a closer look into this". I don't know if that means they're looking at my problem specifically, or or multiple people are having problems with the back-sync or if they're just thinking about whether they'd like to address this someday.
The options, as I can see them, is to either (1) stick with Disqus and learn to live with their comment threading (as they've strongly stated several times now that they really, really don't want to change it) or (2) migrate to Intense Debate. There is a demo board up here. Here are some concerns:
Intense Debate Pros:
- Nesting is less painful for me to read.
- Comment box is at the bottom, like nature intended, and there is less of a temptation to use "Reply".
- Downvotes can be turned off.
- Upvotes do not mess with the order of comments.
- CSS customization is allowed, but how flexible it is I do not know.
- There are smileys.
Intense Debate Concerns:
- There is still nesting, it's just less horribly painful for me to read. Example.
- There does not seem to be a support team or at least not one that has responded to my emails. (Note that this is also a problem with Disqus.)
- There either isn't mobile commenting/moderating or I can't figure out how to turn it on. (Note that this is also a problem with Disqus.)
- Migration could mean losing some comments; potentially the last 4,000 comments which are still not back-synced to Blogger.
- I don't know of a Recent Comments widget for this system.
- The comment box is trapped between the post and the first comment, which makes it hard to find if you want to add to the existing conversation. Example.
- Upvoting/Downvoting affect comment order from mobile devices (and for new commenters who don't know how to change the default sorting).
- Downvoting cannot be turned off, despite being an anxiety trigger for many.
- I literally cannot read the threads without getting really painful headaches.
- The comment notifications sent to the moderators are poorly formatted and hard to read now.
- Em and Strong are not supported in Disqus, and this is an accessibility issue for some.
- Disqus has implemented ads at the bottom of the page some of which may be triggery. (Such as weight loss ads on the fat acceptance posts.)
- Comment moderation is now harder to accomplish in both systems. Specifically, moderators can no longer moderate from the same page as the discussion -- we have to go to a whole 'nother panel to make edits, like adding content notes. This means, frankly, that comments which used to be borderline on the edit-or-delete conundrum are now going to be deleted rather than going through a bunch of panels to fix.
- Comment flow is now harder to follow in both systems. We'll have to rely on people to remember to not "Reply" to comments.
- OpenID has been disallowed as a login for both systems, which sucks mightily.
- Mobile commenting and mobile moderating are not very functional in both systems.
- No robust support for both systems.
I think that pretty much sums up the situation and the decision I'm facing. It sucks.
On a side note: I have been dealing with this literally all day and I didn't sleep last night for real anxiety over this. There have been times today when I have felt like just throwing in the towel and not blogging anymore because I feel so frustrated and anxious about having my community physically barred to me over this accessibility issue. I'm deeply frustrated that so many online businesses are so cavalier about information processing disabilities, and I hate-hate-hate my body right now. And that is not conducive to stress mitigation. I just had to get that off my chest.
I want to also note that every member of the moderation team has been amazing supportive through this and I love them all so much. Thank you.