We have received some feedback from readers concerned with our commenting platform. The concerns were around the privacy it offers and/or ease of use. The concerns have been few, but it made us think. If these people are reaching out to us about it, how many other readers have the same concerns and are not speaking up?
So we want to open up the floor for discussion concerning our comment platform. If you like it, please let us know and tell us why. If you do not like it, please share that information as well and explain why you do not like it. Maybe there are some simple things we can do to make it better.
It is preferred that you leave a comment below to explain your thoughts, but you may email us as well via the “Contact” section. We are not planning on a change back to our native commenting platform at this time, but we would like to hear from you and we will make decisions depending on the feedback we receive.
From our perspective Disqus has been a great platform, it does a fantastic job of blocking spam. This saves us a lot of time during the moderation process. We also like it for many other reasons which will probably bore you. The comment section is for you though and we want to be certain that you are happy with it.
Let us talk about security.
From your Disqus profile you certainly have the option to disallow others from seeing your commenting history which is a nice feature. We also have “Guest Commenting” enabled so you do not need to have a Disqus account to comment (registered users may edit comments). You simply enter a name and an email address of your choosing and off you go. Keep in mind, if we did migrate back to our native commenting platform you would still have to enter a name and email address before commenting.
The privacy concerns we received surrounded Disqus and their database where comments are stored. Databases are not evil in of themselves, that is how websites work. However, the concern arises when entities like the government get involved and if a request was ever made to Disqus, the government could potentially end up with a list of all the comments you ever made. Disqus certainly collects data and uses it for figuring out the best type of ads to target for their audience. Disqus Commenting is a free platform, however as we all know, nothing is truly free in this world. Of course we have ads turned off for our site, but they still do gain some information from your personal account. Is it dangerous? I certainly do not believe so or we would not be using it.
If we did migrate back to our native commenting platform there is still a database of comments that are stored on “our servers“. “Our servers” simply means the servers we pay for that host our site which is located in a data center like the rest of the web. Is it more private than Disqus? Yes, slightly. But our data can still be captured by the powers that be if they wanted it, with or without our permission. So, yes, our native commenting platform would probably add a little more privacy in that regard.
However, let me remind everyone, if you use an email account that information and all of your conversations are also in a database on some server which is probably more damning than the comments Disqus has stored. That is not even considering the large amounts of personal data people place on social media sites.
Let me add, how do you comment to begin with? You use your computer, tablet or phone. So right from the get go your data is being intercepted by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and for those who do not understand networking there is no hiding. Your IP address is transmitted to each and every site you go to and that is how you are able to load a webpage. The server you are accessing is able to send the data back to you as it has your IP address, the same as a house address and how mail delivery works. So when we really get down to it, once we decide to open our doors and step into the online world we have lost all of our privacy.
I am certainly aware of proxies and the like, but let’s face it once we use an electronic device we have shelved the entire idea of privacy no matter what promises of privacy we have been given. Trying to hide is like a locked door, it keeps the honest people honest, but the government knows no bounds.
Now I will turn it over to you.