Opened 7 years ago

Closed 7 years ago

Last modified 7 years ago

#5667 closed Question/How do I...? (worksforme)

Is DISQUS a solution for spam-free comments?

Reported by: dswanson Owned by: Ross
Priority: Low Component: Tech
Keywords: disqus Cc:
Sensitive: no


Anybody have any experience with it?

Change History (6)

comment:1 Changed 7 years ago by Ross

Keywords: disqus added
Owner: set to Ross
Status: newassigned

I've used this once. It seemed to do what it advertises. You, of course, don't need disqus for spam free comments. A little captcha should mostly do the trick for that.


comment:2 Changed 7 years ago by Ross

Resolution: fixed
Status: assignedfeedback

comment:3 Changed 7 years ago by Nat Meysenburg

Resolution: fixed
Status: feedbackassigned

This is not just about fighting spam, Disqus comes with the same giant privacy issues that you find with many web services. Essentially you are ceding some control of comment content to Disqus, as well as information about all visitors to your site, and detailed information about those who comment on the site.

You are not ceding total control over licensing, but they leave themselves a lot of space. This is from the Disqus terms of service

By posting content, you are granting permission to us and others to access and use it in connection with the Services, the Site and otherwise in connection with our business. For your content, you can label your compilations with one of several possible licenses. It is important to note that you can only copyright the compilation itself, not the individual links that make up the compilation. Please also note that just because your compilation does not have a license agreement attached to it does not mean that it is public domain. For a compilation to be classified as such, it must be explicitly labeled as belonging to the public domain. Your use of a license in connection with your compilation does not affect Disqus's right to access and use it in connection with the Services, the Site or otherwise in connection with our business.

Notice that last sentence. Even if you explicitly state that you are putting your content into the public domain, it "does not affect Disqus's right to access and use it... in connection with [their] business." So while you and your users don't lose all the rights to the content they create, Disqus never seems to lose rights either.

As far as the privacy concerns. For personal information their privacy policy states in part:

We use Personal Information for the following purposes: (i) internally to provide and improve our Site, services, features and content, (ii) to fulfill requests you may make to us, (iii) to personalize your experience and (iv) to provide you with information and offers from us or third parties that we believe you may find useful or interesting, including newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information on services and products offered by us or third parties. We may permit our vendors to access your Personal Information, but only in connection with services that they perform for us and not to use for their own purposes. We may share or transfer your Personal Information in connection with a merger, sale or reorganization of all or a part of our business. Lastly, we may disclose your Personal Information if required to do so by process of law, or if necessary in order to investigate fraud, a violation of the Site Terms of Use or in connection with any harm being caused to a third party or their rights.

"Connection with a merger, sale or reorganization" means that they are willing to give up all the personal information they have on Disqus users, including participants in discussions on your site, when Facebook (et al) comes along and buys them.

Of course, they are also willing to sell it to "third parties that [they] believe you may find useful or interesting." What makes them believe you may find something useful? They're mining data about sites with Disqus forums that you visit, where you comment, and what you say. They can sell narrowly targeted ads, because they know if you prefer guns to gardening based which sites you visit. They know how interested you are because of how much you visit and how much you post. It is a veritable gold mine of marketing data. Disqus allows your to turn your commenters into their gold.

Finally, if you are worried about your commenters being investigated by law enforcement, it seems like Disqus will hand over information, and probably not even tell you about it.

That's what they do with the personal data of the people who have signed up for their service, not just everyone they happen to catch in their net. With that info, they are clear that they "may use and disclose non-personal information for any number of reasons and with any number of third parties." Non-personal information can be collected on anyone who visits a site without turning off javascript and/or disabling cookies. A user does not have to sign up or participate in discussions for Disqus to collect this data. They unabashedly will sell all of it.

Thinking about this solely in terms of Disqus working as advertised is exactly the pitfall of today's web. We are awash in a sea of seemingly free services that are gathering as much information about individuals as they can with every page load. Disqus is not alone in this field, in fact they're not even one of the biggest players. I'm not saying do not use Disqus, I would just like to point out that this is much more complex than simply dealing with the spam problem.

In addition to captchas as Ross suggested, you may also want to look at Mollom. It is also sort of black box software, but it tightly integrates with Drupal, and last I checked had a pretty good privacy policy and terms of service (though it has been quite a while since I looked).


comment:4 Changed 7 years ago by dswanson

thanks for the warning

comment:5 Changed 7 years ago by Ross

Resolution: worksforme
Status: assignedclosed

comment:6 Changed 7 years ago by Daniel Kahn Gillmor

I'll also mention that some of us simply don't use disqus commenting systems, because we've configured our browsers to reject third-party content or javascript, often for reasons like the concerns nat alludes to above. This means that i don't comment on disqus comments, and i also don't view disqus comments.

If a web site wants me to accept detailed and intrusive third-party surveillance just to engage with the community on the site, i would generally consider that a pretty poor tradeoff.

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