Today Disqus added some super-sweet new functionality to their commenting system. You now have the ability to @mention people within your comments, and suck them into your conversations.
Basically, there’s this product called Twitter (you may have heard of it) that started this whole @mention thing. If you are talking about someone on Twitter, and you want to let them know that you’re talking about them, you just write something like this:
I don’t think that people talk about @justinbieber enough on Twitter.
Doing so will send Justin a notification in his Twitter account, giving him a nice feeling because he was probably thinking the same thing. Your tweet will also post a link to Justin, so that your followers can just click your link and follow poor Justin as well.
Well, now you have that functionality within the Disqus framework as well. All you need to do is start writing a comment and use the @ symbol. Once you do, Disqus will auto-suggest people that have already commented on that conversation for you to click on and “talk” to. This way, even if you aren’t responding to a person’s actual comment, you can notify them that you’re referencing them in your comment. They will receive an email notification if you @mention their Disqus account and a Twitter notification if you @mention their Twitter account.
But, the really great thing is that you’re not limited to just people that have already made a comment. You can write anybody’s Twitter handle after the @ sign, and they will receive the notification, containing a link to your actual comment.
Other than the fact that it’s a brand new service and pretty buggy, there’s something that you have to understand. You must click the drop-down suggestion within Disqus. You can’t simply write @lukecoburn and then keep typing. You need to write it all out and then click the auto-suggestion that matches what you’re trying to do. Choose the suggestion with the Disqus symbol if you’re trying to reference a Disqus user and the Twitter symbol if you’re trying to reference a Twitter user.
For you super-nerds out there, you don’t technically have to click the drop-down to get it to work. And actually, there are probably mobile devices and that sort of thing that won’t render the drop-down properly. Whatever the case, if you were to type out @lukecoburn:twitter in plain text, your @mention will work the same way. You will be able to see that it worked when it turns into the shiny little silver word.
This is definitely cool, but, for the record, the Livefyre team has had this @mention functionality for a while now. Within the Livefyre system, the mentions function a little more smoothly, and auto-suggestions aren’t limited to people in the conversation. In Livefyre, as soon as you start writing an @mention, it will auto-suggest everyone that you follow on Twitter and your Facebook friends as well. As of right now, Disqus can’t interact with your Facebook friends… In Livefyre, the Twitter notification also comes from the user account, not some robo-Livefyre account.
I’ve gotten some great comments from the Livefyre and Disqus development team members in my last post about comparing Disqus, Livefyre, and IntenseDebate.
What are your thoughts about this (or other) functions of commenting systems?