Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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We had to go to a new comment system on my blog, because of the glitch that didn’t allow them. If you’re like me, you don’t adjust quickly to changes. But Austin Evick, from our IT department, has very kindly written detailed directions (with pictures!) for us all. Here you go:

Although many of you have already gotten used to our new comment system; some of you are still a little confused on some of the new features so I’ve compiled a little how-to on how to use disqus (our new comment system). If you need to see a bigger version of the picture, just click it.

discus1. This is where the magic happens–where you write the comment.

2. Login button. This will take you to a dialog where you can login with a number of different login providers. We’ll get to this later.

3. People button…not quite sure what this is really called. It takes you to the community box where it shows you all kinds of cools stuff about all the comments on the blog and all the people commenting.

4. Disqus button. This takes you to your accounts dashboard where you can see all the comments that you have made.

5. This drop down list allows you to sort the comments by either the most popular or by the most recent.

6. This is a comment in case you couldn’t tell.

7. This is a reply to the comment (see point 6).

8. This is where you can like or dislike (yes, we finally have a dislike button) a story.

9. If you want, you can get email updates whenever someone comments by clicking this button.

10. Click this button to reply to someone comment (but keep it nice).

Logging in

disqus-login1. A list of login providers. If you have any one of these services you can use it to login and comment.

2. If you don’t have any of these services (or don’t wan’t to comment with it) you can create a discus profile instead.

3. This is where you  enter your email/username and password (make sure you have clicked your login provider)

4. Click this to login.

disqus-link-account1. If you logged in with Google, Twitter,

Facebook, or Yahoo, you need to click this button to OK the login. Another window will popup asking if you want to login with your account.

Adding a comment

disqus-add-comment1. This is the are where you will write out your comment.

2. If you want to include a picture you can click this button and upload a pic from your computer. Be warned, though, that it has to be OK’d by an admin before it will show up.

3. Click one of these buttons if you want your comment to also be shared on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.

4. When you’re all done click this to post. Be warned though, if it has a picture of a link it will not show up till an admin allows it.

Your profile

disqus-profile1. You name…kinda ovious

2. The number of comments you have made (this does not include replies).

3. The login providers you link to.

4.The different websites you have commented on (notice how and the blogs are considered separate)

Your activities

disqus-activityThis lists all of the comments you have made and the  stories you made them on.

The community

disqus-communityThis shows a snapshot of the comment activity on the blog.

1. The name of the blog.

2.The total number of comments.

3.The total number of likes.

4. The total number of people commenting

5. The most active commenters

6.The most liked commenters

7. New commenters


disqus-html1. One of the cool things about discus is that you can comment with html. This might be too advanced for some of you (you know who you are)  but I’ll go ahead and discuss it anyway. You can use <strong>,<strike>,<cite>,<blockquote>,<b>,<br>,<hr>,<i> and <q>. For example, say you want to bold a word like grapefruit, you would type <strong>grapefruit</strong>. Notice the second strong with the slash. This tells the browser to stop making the text bold.  Here is a quick list of what you can do:

strong =  This will make the text bold. You can also use <b>… They are basically the same thing (yes, there is a difference between the two but that is beyond the scopre of this how-to).<strong>Hi…I’m Bold</strong>

strike = strikethrough text. This will put a line through the text.<strike>strikethrough!</strike>

cite = a citation. Exactly as it sounds. If you cite a source, you can use this tag to format the citation (because I know that you all properly cite your sources).<cite>citation</cite>

blockquote = a long quote. Use this if you have a quote that spans multiple lines. <blockquote>I’m too lazy to write a long quote</blockquote>

hr = horizontal line. This creates a horizontal line above the tag. To use it just put <hr>. That’s it, you don’t need a </hr> for this one.

i = italics. Need I say more?<i>Hi…I’m in italics!</i>

q = short quote. Use if you have a quote that’s just one line.<q>Hi…I’m a short quote!</q>

disqus-html-after-postThis is what everything should look like if you did it right.


  • Anonymous

    this is good..thank you –  should help some folks but this part: “ . Disqus button. This takes you to your accounts dashboard where you can see all the comments that you have made.”

    need to explain what DISQUS is all about… and why all paths (to commenting) lead to DISQUS… and why that is a benefit to people – along with disclosure .. about what DISQS is doing

    and as I told AMY – DISQUS has some privacy issues (as well as FB) and FLS ought to disclose to people that their profile info and other info about them is being used by DISQUS (and FB)… who also share them with “partners”.

  • Anonymous

    geeze ! – the other FLS blogs are still using a DIFFERENT comment method.

    who in heck is in charge down there?

    is there a “corporate” policy here or is it whatever a particular IT guy does?

    come on FLS – get your act together.

  • Austin Evick

    well i guess im that particular IT guy. The issue is that months and months ago, there was talk of litigation against us about the comments someone had posted and  although i don’t remember the particulars about it now i do remember that we needed a comment system that did a reliably good job of forcing people to login with a real name and where the actual comments were not stored on our servers. At the time the most popular option was to integrate with Facebook and thats what we did (I remember this part cause i was up till 4 in the morning implementing it). Everything was going swimmingly until last friday when amy emailed me and told me she was not getting comments. It was weird cause i was able to comment just fine but i could tell from the lack of comments that everyone else was having issues. So I went ahead and made Amy’s blog use disqus. Since the change I’m liking disqus more than Facebook and I’m using this blog as a guinea pig to make sure people do not have any issues. My plan is if by this wednesday there are no issues, I’m gonna slowly start rolling it out across all the other blogs (it takes time…we have 67 blogs and i have to do it manually to each one).  So long story short, sorry for the inconveniences this has caused. In addition if you have any opinions about this new comment system please feel free to share them by commenting to this and i will listen.

  • Austin Evick

    also in reply to the is there a “corporate” policy here or is it whatever a particular IT guy does?..It really is a hybrid of the two.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate the reply and I’ll not whack you for being honest but DISQUS has some real privacy issues.

    and I’d point out that papers like the NYT and RTD and others do not  seem to have this litigation problem.. at least they allow commenting.. and ride herd on them.

    while I do agree with the concerns.. the solution of using DISQUS  OR ANY 3rd party that is forcing 3rd party cookies is not good.

    I think you if you are going to go down that path – you need to disclose what DISQUS (and FB) are doing with regard to people’s profile data…

    I ALSO appreciate the problems that you are dealing with… but would urge consideration of a corporate policy rather than different ones for different things like FredTalk, Amy’s blog verses other blogs and FLS online commenting…

    ya’ll ought to be pulling this together… IMHO.

    and again I thank you for stepping up and responding.

  • Austin Evick

    Well disqus only shares anonymous info with advertising partners and that is only if you use your disqus account. Disqus allows you to comment with logins from other services and they cannot get info from them (the services…although the service can get some info from disqus; such as what site you are trying to comment on). Also if people are paranoid about privacy; they can login with an open ID which disqus supports. Also most sites out there use 3rd party cookies, the only sites that may not use 3rd party cookies are small mom and pop sites. 

    In regards to other papers using a homegrown comment solution…well there huge. Our IT department has 7 people, of which only 4 people even touch the site. Also alot of big news organizations such as CNN, Fox News and Endgaget use disqus.

    In regards to the use of 3rd party cookies…see the first point. Everybody whose anybody uses 3rd party cookies. 

    On the point about letting people know what disqus is doing with their profile data…well that is not my decision to make and at this point i’d kinda assume anyone who has an account with them would know what they are doing with their data.

    And lastly, the point about having a standard comment system. Well This blog here is a pilot program so of course it is going to be different. Everything else uses Facebook (which will change). And in terms of FredTalk, well that is a  whole different animal all together. FredTalk is a Discussion Board..not a comment system. Two totally different things. 

  • Austin Evick

    we need to keep these conversations shorter…

  • Anonymous

    appreciate the feedback and appreciate the screen caps… wish we could put them in an easily accessible archive…

    in terms of privacy… check the WIKI entry for Disqus and I can confirm that my brower – Chrome complains about Disqus …

    and no, people do not have a clue – and yes.. FLS should not be a willing party to 3rd party companies that pilfer people’s profile info and not it’s not anonymous info only.

    FB and Disqus are using that info to figure out who you are and what activities you engage in and who your circle of friends are and what their activities are… 

    GOGGLE + does not do that… so we know there are better ways …

    I DO APPRECIATE the problems inherent in having humans ride herd on the blog comments… but I also think if major newspapers have found a way to keep from being sued for comments that FLS can adopt a similar approach…

    so I’m not totally buying that excuse…

    so I’ll end the “conversation” here even though I have more thoughts…
    like why is it that Amy’s blog alone had the commenting issue?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve done a little more reading about DISQUS and it’s a good concept and I support it’s use with one proviso.

    I would urge FLS to fully disclose that a persons profile info may well be used – and shared… the same way that FB is doing this.

    most people do not realize that FB and DISQUS (and others).. ARE, in fact, using AND sharing PERSONAL data.. not anonymous data and papers like FLS should not engage in partnerships with those companies without disclosing what is going on.

  • Alex Russell

    In the interest of full disclosure, here’s the link to the  Privacy Policy for Disqus:
    And the Disqus Terms of Service:

  • Anonymous

    just FYI – “ In the course of using this Site, you may choose to provide us with personally identifiable information”

    when I said “no” it kicked me out of being able to comment so I’m not sure “choose” is a fair way to describe a choice…. 

    what I got out of this was that in order to use Disqus … you MUST provide personal info and it WILL be used.

    am I wrong?

  • Anonymous

    just FYI – “ In the course of using this Site, you may choose to provide us with personally identifiable information”when I said “no” it kicked me out of being able to comment so I’m not sure “choose” is a fair way to describe a choice…. what I got out of this was that in order to use Disqus … you MUST provide personal info and it WILL be used. Am I wrong?