Disqus

Disqus is a hosted comments platform that can be inserted into WordPress sites to take over the management of comments. We use it on many Global Voices sites because it has several interactivity benefits over the default comments.

Only the Tech Director or the Lingua Manager should activate Disqus and manage settings, this reference is intended for them. Regional and Lingua editors should get in touch with these people if they have Disqus-related questions.

Creating a Disqus Site Profile

The first thing to do when adding Disqus to a new site is to create the profile on Disqus.com. By creating the profile and configuring it before activating the WordPress plugin, you ensure that it will be correctly set up from the start.

  • Go to Disqus.com.
  • Log in as gvlingua. The login credentials are shared by GV adminstrators, contact the Tech Director, Managing Editor, or Lingua Manager if you have lost them.
  • Go to Dashboard and in the left sidebar click the ;+Add button next to Your Sites.
  • Enter the site URL
  • Enter the Site Name – This should be the same as the title of the site, like “Global Voices en Français”.
  • Enter the site “Shortname” – This is like a twitter name, something like globalvoicesfr.
  • Click Continue
  • Click Continue again on the Quick Setup screen. We will go over these settings as part of the full configuration.
  • Go to the Settings tab and begin Configuring Disqus as described below.

Make sure you do not enable Disqus 2012 features for the site – the box is checked by default and It is important to uncheck it at the beginning of the setup process.

Configuring Disqus

If integrating Disqus into a new Lingua site it is important to have it configured properly. Please ensure that all the settings of the Disqus account match the values listed below. Settings are organized by the sections of the Disqus.com Settings panel (each is a tab under the Settings tab) in which they are found:

If a setting is not mentioned then leave it as the default.

Remember to always push the “Save Changes” button at the bottom after making changes! It is subtle and easy to miss.

General

  • Language Set this to your language if it is present. If your language is not present just don't use Disqus, normal comments still work.
  • Time Zone Set this to UTC +0.
  • Twitter @Replies Set to the twitter account of your site if you have one.
  • Enable Like Buttons UNCHECKED. We don't want voting on a post-by-post basis.
  • Enable Trackbacks CHECKED. We want blog replies to our posts to display.
  • Enable Reactions CHECKED. We want twitter replies integrated.

Save your changes with the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Moderation

  • Moderators This must have the ‘globalvoices’ and ‘gvlingua’ accounts set up so that GV admins can get in if necessary. Also add any editors/admins from your site who will be moderating comments, they will want to be logged in with their personal accounts so that their comments are attributed properly.
  • Pre-Moderation YES. You should screen all comments, at least from guest commenters.
  • Flagged Comments “Email moderators when a post is flagged” should be CHECKED.

Save your changes with the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Appearance

  • Thread Max Depth Set this to “5 replies.
  • Pagination Set to “20 comments per page”.
  • Default Sort Set to OLDEST FIRST, this will simulate normal comments behavior.
  • Avatar Pictures Set to “Show avatars” and “Large (48px)”.
  • Comment Count Link Translate the labels as necsssary.
  • Reaction Count Link Again, translate these as necessary.
  • Custom CSS Paste in the following line. This is important to make the Disqus comments match the GV theme:
@import url(http://static.globalvoices.s3.amazonaws.com/css/gv-news-disqus.css);

Activating Disqus

Inside WordPress Disqus is controlled by a plugin called Disqus Comment System. The following steps should be done to get the plugin going, though only after the Disqus.com profile has been created and configured as described above.

Before activating please moderate all comments! If your site has any pending comments, handle these before activating Disqus, this will ensure that the initial export includes all the most recent comments.

  • Go to Plugins and activate the Disqus Comment System Plugin.
  • Go to Comments > Disqus and type in your Disqus credentials (probably the gvlingua account).
  • Choose the website profile you just configured from the list and click Next »
  • Once the message says setup is complete click on the Advanced Options tab in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Go back to Advanced Options and use the Sync Comments button, which will make sure that comments posted to Disqus are synced back to the GV database.
  • Go back to Advanced Options and push the Export Comments button, then wait patiently for it to say that export is completely. This is vital.
  • Check posts on the site to make sure that old comments are showing and that new comments can be added as expected.

Note on PowerPress Podcasting plugin

Unfortunately the Powerpress plugin inserts stuff into RSS feeds that make the Disqus importer not work. To make the initial process work we thus need to disable the feed enhancements in Powerpress:

  • Go to PowerPress > Settings then to the Feeds tab at the top.
  • For the Enhance Feeds option choose Do Not Enhance Feeds.
  • THIS MUST BE REVERTED AFTER for the feed-based podcasting to work: go back to PowerPress > Settings > Feeds and choose Enhance all Feeds.

Moderating with Disqus

Once Disqus is set up on the site all comment moderation will happen from their console, which is available either by logging in directly to Disqus.com or in the WordPress admin by going to Comments > Disqus. You can see the built-in/old comments list by going to Comments > All Comments.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • To moderate Disqus comments moderators should be logged into their personal Disqus accounts which have been given moderator status (see above).
  • To avoid a particular commenter being moderated in the future (e.g. because they are a GV contributor) you can ‘whitelist’ them. In the Disqus moderation list you can click on a user's picture, which loads their profile on the right. At the bottom of that profile is a button that says ‘Whitelist’. Clicking it will make all their comments auto-approved.
  • It is very cool to be able to see the history of comments made by a given user. You only need to click on their names and a window will open to your right.
  • Restricted words: Comments containing these words will require moderator approval before being published.

Trackbacks

Trackbacks are a special case in Disqus. They are not imported to their servers, but instead kept like normal in the WP system and shown below the comments on posts.

  • Trackbacks are moderated in the normal WP system.