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Is a "blog comment system" from Disqus and IntenseDebate really necessary?

Which blog comment system is better - Disqus or IntenseDebate? That's the subject in Scott Jangro's great post: "Comment Systems Review Redux" as well as his earlier post about evaluating such systems.

I admit that I'm still a bit cautious about using either. I understand some of the arguments for using such systems instead of just the "regular" comment system of your blog platform... but I'm not yet convinced it's worth doing. Scott's review is very helpful, yet raises these questions:

  • Comment Spam - As Scott notes, human spammers will get through most anything. Part of my question is what do you get with Disqus or IntenseDebate that you don't get with, say, Akismet?

  • Community - One of the more compelling arguments for using a system is that it will help create a "community" among those who frequently comment - yet Scott seems to indicate that this isn't terribly useful so far. So what, then is the value of such a system?

I guess my other concerns include:

  • Load Time - Are there any metrics out there on what, if any, time is added to the load time of using a blog comment system? One of my concerns right now across all my blog sites is that by including all these various other services, I'm increasing the amount of time it takes to load the page. Look at the right columns of this page... content in some of the blocks there is loaded via pulling RSS feeds, which adds to the display time.

  • Availability - How "available" are these systems? i.e. what assurances do I have that they'll be up and running? What happens if they are not available? Will people still be able to leave comments? Will the post still load?

Obviously I need to do some more digging and research. But I guess I'm still not clear on the exact problem that Disqus and IntenseDebate are trying to solve. Now I don't deal with zillions of comments on this site, so perhaps I'm simply not the target audience.

Regardless, I'm still watching and monitoring... and I'm very glad to see articles like this that help differentiate between the different systems.

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