A Visual Way to Navigate Among Comments

In a post on the company’s Web site, the new feature is described as a “live feed of trending discussions happening across the galaxy of sites that use Disqus.” There are 700 million people who engage with the service a month.

By Nick Bilton
April 30, 2013

When it comes to comments on the Internet, there are often two distinct buckets. One, a sludge of vitriol and anger toward the author of a post or story. The second, too many comments to navigate where the good input from readers is often lost in Bucket No. 1.

A number of start-ups have been trying to solve this problem for some time, including Branch, which entices people to start a longer, more in-depth conversation about a specific topic and invite others to join the discussion.

Now Disqus, a comments platform for bloggers, is trying to help people find unique conversations using a data visualization, Disqus Gravity.

In a post on the company’s Web site, the new feature is described as a “live feed of trending discussions happening across the galaxy of sites that use Disqus.” There are 700 million people who engage with the service a month.

The data visualization looks like a bunch of marbles floating around on a shiny floor, with round circles shimmering about, each belonging to a genre of commentary: sports, news, celebrity gossip. The larger the circle, the more people involved in a conversation about the topic. Comments that have seen the most interaction by readers are highlighted, and stand out from the rest of the chatter.

That is, providing people want to read the comments in the first place.

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