On 23 January I received email from Disqus explaining that their new pricing structure is going into effect 8 February. These changes mean I am going to remove comments from all of my sites, at least for now.
Under the new plan, I have two choices: I can continue to use a free service by allowing Disqus to display ads on my site, or I can pay a monthly subscription price to have comments without advertisements. I have no issue with Disqus wanting to make their business viable, but unfortunately the $10 monthly rate is far too high for me to justify paying. My sites see a very low volume of comments, and I’m not even paying $10 per month for the hosting for the sites themselves. I am not willing to more than double my costs for a little-used feature.
To continue with the free version of the service, I would have to accept advertisements along with the comments after 8 February. I have recently been removing advertising from my sites, because they don’t bring in much revenue and I don’t want to do more work to maintain them in order to improve that. I don’t like most of the content available in ad networks, and I don’t want to introduce a new ad network over which I have little control, or which I have to actively manage to control the types of ads my readers see.
Several people on twitter suggested a self-hosted and Python-based comment platform, but I want to avoid complicating things by self-hosting additional software. At different times in the past I have built my own site using Zope, Django, and other tools. I no longer feel inclined to fiddle with those sorts of things, so today my blog is based on WordPress, with the software managed by the Dreamhost auto-installer and auto-upgrade bots. The PyMOTW site is static, and both the Python 2 and 3 content sections are built using Sphinx. I chose Sphinx because it makes it easy for me to produce output in several formats, and updating the site very straightforward using rsync.
I have been reluctant to use the comment management features built into WordPress because the amount of spam I have seen there in the past far exceeded the interesting comments. I will be investigating the current state of spam fighting in WordPress comment tools to see if there is hope there but, for the time being, if you have a comment about anything on the site, contact me directly via my email address (on the About page on the blog).