The folks behind Disqus are brilliant. They have taken the concept of leaving comments, souped it up, tricked it out and turned it into a lean mean community building machine.
This is truly one of the most perfectly designed plugins I have ever used. It is easy to install, easy to manage and makes starting or joining a discussion insanely easy and enjoyable.
BTW, while this article is mostly about the Disqus WordPress plugin this system will work on nearly any sort of website or blog.
Under The Hood
One of the main components of Disqus is the totally kicking Disqus profile. Think of this as your universal management tool for your other online identities. You can pre-authenticate your Twitter, Facebook, or Open ID and reblog your comments across multiple services such as Tumblr, WordPress, Movable Type, and Typepad.
If you have left comments using your Twitter, Facebook or OpenID all those comments will be automatically merged into your Disqus profile.
The Dashboard: Moderating
Disqus integrates right into the built in Comments section of your WP dashboard. However, you also have the power to moderate and control comments/discussions on multiple sites from a single dashboard or even your mobile phone.
You can choose to read and filter comments before they are posted, get email notification of new comments or setup additional moderators to help you keep an eye on things.
Their moderating tools are just too numerous to list, suffice it to say that make things as slick, flexible and as streamlined as possible.
Power Steering: Commenting
Commenter’s can post quickly and easily. They don’t need to subscribe to anything they can sign in using their Facebook, Twitter or OpenID with the click of a button.
Not only can comments be posted on your website, commenters can easily share the discussion with their friends and followers.
Hit The Nitrous (NOS)!
A particularly sweet feature is the pop-up profile. Just the other day I ran across a very insightful comment about a problem I was having with a website I was building. The commenter was obviously very well informed and their expertise fell in line with my own. A simple mouse hover on their avatar and I could quickly choose to share their comment, follow or friend them and/or see what other conversations they taken part in recently. It was this last ability, to see other conversations that led me to discover a great new website I was totally unaware of.
Another is the ability to enable Disqus to give readers a comprehensive list of comments, mentions and the like related to your post from across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FriendFeed, Digg and more. This gives your visitors the “big picture” all in one place without them bouncing around from site to site or being isolated in one place.
There are tons more features and cool bells and whistles with Disqus. I hope I have intrigued you enough to at least give it a test drive. I guarantee you won’t be sorry.