Disqus Comments on MediaWiki

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Since I use this wiki sort of like a blog sometimes, I was looking for a way for visitors to easily leave comments on a post. I like Socialtext's commenting system -- a big "Comment" button next to the "Edit" button, which pops up a comment form, then posts the contents with attribution to the bottom of the page.

Wikipedia uses an entirely different convention, a separate "Talk" page associated with each content page. All comments and discussion are supposed to be added to that page, through normal wiki editing.

I browsed through the available MediaWiki extensions which provide commenting functionality, and noticed AvbDisqus. Disqus is a third-party comment-hosting service commonly used for blogs. AvbDisqus is a lightweight MediaWiki extension by Alexey Beloblotskiy which implements a <disqus> tag. Place the tag on a page, and poof, you've got a very full-featured commenting system on that page, courtesy of Disqus and its JavaScript magic.

Many of the MediaWiki folks who install some sort of commenting system still prefer to have the comments go on the associated Talk page. I'd rather see them on the page itself, so that's how I've started doing it here.

Here's a typical use, for at the bottom of a page:

== Comments ==

Feel free to comment on this page using the form below.
<disqus></disqus>

I've abstracted out the text and tag to Template:Disqus, so now I just add:

== Comments ==

{{disqus}}

There's still some cognitive overhead having the "edit" affordances of the wiki and the commenting features of Disqus in close proximity. But I'm expecting Disqus to be easy enough and familiar-looking enough to blog readers to be able to pull in people who just want to comment quickly on a page, while providing a very full-featured commenting system.

-- Peter Kaminski 10:34, 8 October 2009 (PDT)

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