Switching From Disqus to Commento(?)

So have you noticed that I’m now using Commento instead of Disqus for providiong comments under all my posts? No I’m serious, go take a look and then come back.

Oh, is.. is something wrong? It’s still Disqus, you say? Indeed it is, for pretty much, two reasons.

Commento Vs. Disqus

Commento is a paid if not self-hosted comment platform that this Hugo theme just added support for a little bit ago. Only consisting of around 11 kB of files and included with just a single <script> and a <div id="commento">, it promises to be good, fast, and to keep your private data private.

Disqus (“Discuss”) is the older and more well-established platform, existing only as a service to drop into your website to add comments, reactions, and a few other pieces. Disqus comes with a few plans from free, starting at $10/mo… Sure, sounds maybe reasonable for some advanced features.

Then you go to $99/mo, with the features I’d like for half that at most, many of which I’d have expected at the previous level, and then finally a business account, with a price tag of “Request info”… fun. Call me picky, but that’s just too pricey for me. And Disqus is everywhere.


Personally, I like the idea of Commento much more, with the ability to have discussions without needing to buy “ad-free” paid plans (don’t worry, I’ve taken care of it), and constantly being reminded again and again that if I want something more than just a list of comments to moderate on the backend, I should upgrade to the $99 per month Pro plan! I’ll pass on that one, and (begrudgingly) continue using the service.

Commento on the other hand has no free plan, and a better privacy policy. However, with “non-trivial” contributions (or just self-hosting), you can have it for free. Self-hosting is a nice feature that I love, but it also means that all the other parts it integrates into, like OAuth (Google sign-in, GitHub sign-in…), Akismet (bot protection), a CDN for delivering content and stuff… all that you have to manage yourself.

Commento looks good for what it is, but what it is, for this moment, feels, well… incomplete. Like the fact that it assumes any profile photo I upload to them is a JPEG, when, well, this is the web here people, PNG is what dominates the web image format not JPEG. And yes, it doesn’t matter what you pay (or don’t), you all have the same features.. which are actually slightly more basic than the Disqus free plan at the moment, and as for customizability… well I couldn’t find any. You register domains by website that can’t be changed, and attempting to use any other name (like, say, localhost:1313) will give a big bold red “Your Commento account has been suspended” error message… apparently this is the default for not having a domain of that name registered? That’s just bad design. I spent $5 on a product that I had for less than an hour because I couldn’t tell if some of the issues I saw was because it was complaining I hadn’t set up a card yet. The money isn’t even something I care about, just the entire experience. It’s promoting features like nested conversations. They’re promoting the fact that you can reply to people.

Now, yes, I’m obviously biased, but that’s why I put that under the “opinions” heading. Really, both choices that I can use have some glaring downsides. And that leaves me with a few options.

  1. Fess up and pay Disqus, and give up things like.. car insurance in the process.
  2. Start contributing to Commento, fixing bugs and getting a free service in return.
  3. Look for another comment platform, make sure that it’s compatible, and then add a contribution to the theme to add that in too.

Yes, number 2 is what most people of the open-source community will say, “if you don’t like it, pull requests are open,” and I’ll admit I’ve used that line on people in the past more than once. Really though, just… I’ll be keeping an eye on it, I want Commento to become something good. But right now, it feels like a project straight from a Ludum Dare — it gets the point across and does what it needs to do, but it’s basic and not polished up yet.