Disqus: Bad for Public Discourse? - Comments Page 2

Category: Social-Networking




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Posted by:

David M. Hodges
20 Oct 2014

Interesting article. Nothing in it inclines me to stop using Disqus, however. When I interact online, I pay little attention to comments posted anonymously or under obviously fake names. If persons posting the comments aren't willing to stand by them by correctly identifying themselves, why should anyone take their comments seriously? Besides, if I want to see a lot of unthinking hostility, profanity, and vulgarity, I can just pick up the latest HBO original series on DVD or Blu-ray.

I also wonder why someone who wants to keep his real identity "secret" and who doesn't want his comments generally available to anyone who wants to read them (who wants comment "privacy") is posting a comment rather than sending the Webmaster or article author an email or direct message. Public discourse, it seems to me, is called "public" for a reason.

Re: Disqus' public pages for users. I notice that Disqus' "Edit your profile" has a "Keep my profile activity private" option. I don't know if or how well this function works (I don't use it), but it does seem to address one of your concerns.

Finally, concerning the tracking by marketers/advertisers....I thank these money-driven people daily for making so many worthwhile things available online free of charge.

Posted by:

A
24 May 2017

Great article, thank you! I had been generally suspicious of Disqus previously, and your detailed article confirmed it.

The current 'conventional wisdom' that we should all post under our real-life identities is just flat out dystopian-level scary:

a) it silences anybody who has opinions that aren't mainstream in their employment and social circles, and thus muzzling originality and new ideas
b) people over time will literally tailor their opinions for public consumption, consciously or unconsciously deciding how they *should* think based on how it looks to others.


Posted by:

A
24 May 2017

I also just read the comment above mine, and I have a question for @David Hodges.

Say you were at a cocktail party, having a wide range of interesting discussions on many topics, and the host brought out a tape recorder and said "Tomorrow I'm going to post everything you said, with your real name, on the Internet. This will be a handy searchable database for your r employers, your friends, and anyone who wants to know what you think to look you up and get to know you. If you want to opt out, just raise your hand now and let me know what pseudonym you'd like to use."

Would you, at that cocktail party, decide to rule out the opinions, thoughts, ideas of everyone who chose the pseudonym? Or would you think, yeah, that's just smart.

The thing about the Internet is that it is, in fact, just like that cocktail party, at least to me. I am not ashamed of my opinions, nor am I nasty or p**nographic. But I don't want every single thought I have on the Internet compiled in a "dossier" which can be searched by anyone who has access to Google.

I'm not ashamed, for example, that I'm gay. That I voted for Bernie Sanders. That I think we should spend more money on public transit and tax cars heavily to do it. That I think Obama sold out to Monsanto. But all of these are things that I don't necesssarily want linked to my real name when I go to a job interview, or when I meet with a client. I don't lie about myself in those cases, but I mostly choose to not bellow out my personal views and info on my sex life in a professional context. And commenting publicly basically does that exact thing...creates a big linked trail of who I am for anyone to see, and snatches away the option for me to choose when and how to disclose parts of me.

Also, remember, not all of us have names as common as yours. Even with your middle initials, there are a lot of David M. Hodges on the Internet. If you Google my much more unusual name, you find me pretty easily. As a special bonus, since my home address is readily available on the Internet, you could show up for pancakes on a Sunday morning! (But if you do, please call first. Just look up my home number on Google....)

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Posted by:

me-me
14 Sep 2018

This article needs to be updated. Many changes made by Disqus make this article obsolete. Users can now delete comments, make their Disqus comment history "Private," block unwanted "followers," etc.
Disqus still has some problems but these changes should be noted, if you intend to keep this undated article on a live webpage. (PS All pages online should be DATED!)

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25 Apr 2019

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