Announcing the linking of comments on the current and beta sites


We are now linking this and future article postings for commenting purposes on both the current and beta sites.

You will notice that Disqus is the commenting applications used for both.

Please use this article to test this out if you like, comments made on either site on the same article will appear together.

If there are any issues please click on the green “report a problem” button on or send an e-mail to about an issue on either site.

To format text using Disqus for the time being you can use tags for bold, italics, links, and blockquote by inserting the html tags for those.

If you are unfamiliar with html you can find examples here for bold and italics, and
here for blockquotes

Known Issues


Comment count on the beta site is “stuck” at one 


Notes 16-Jun

A list of allowable html tags with Disqus is here

The issue with pending approval or comments containing a url has been updated. You can now post a url and your comment should appear immediately.

continue to source article at


  1. Please enter your test comments on this thread and feel free to experiment as you’d like. Comments on future articles on both sites should be considered “real”. No matter which site you comment from, your comments will appear together in the same conversation thread.

  2. Okay, seeing as I was just talking about taking shots of Venus in phase with an iphone, here’s an attempt at posting such:

    presumably you have to click on the image to expand it? Yup, you do. You can then click to view original and then ‘magnify’ once. By the way, for those with bad eyesight, Venus is near the top right-hand corner.

    Still no gravatar? Although I see that Mike (Admin’) has one?


  3. I noted last night that we are having an issue with Avatars/Gravatars right now and Disqus. You’ll notice some people have them showing and others not. Please don’t worry about that. We are working with Disqus tech support to resolve the problem

  4. Measured response challenging axioms of original post and suggesting broader context.

  5. Acknowledgement of limitations of axioms and expressed appreciation for civil discourse.  Emoticon.

  6. Greyman use “blockquote” inside your quote tags
    There is a list of allowable tags here
    Note that to put in a link all you need to do is post the url and Disqus makes it into a link

    Excellent.  That’s most helpful.

  7. Test comment. I am delighted by the look of the new site, now at the beta testing stage after many months of hard work – congratulations to the whole team working on this major project, many of whose virtues have yet to be unveiled.


    PS Now to test the Edit function.

  8. I dig the new layout. Nice to see an improvement on a site that really doesn’t need any improvement. It shows you evolve willingly. 🙂 You progressives and your evolution!

    Testy testy, one two.

  9. Test comment. I’m almost done reading The Blind Watchmaker. The next step is River Out of Eden. Having a great time now 🙂

  10. Oh good, Disqus.

    I can’t wait to have my comment awaiting approval for no apparent reason and to reach an arbitrary reply limit right as a conversation was getting interesting.

    Disqus stifles conversation more than it facilitates it…

  11. I’m not sure that I want to join Disqus. I’ve avoided it on newspaper sites because I suspect that it might link my various activities together. Ie snoop.
    As it is, I can’t log in to the beta site using the address and password I have just used here on the original site. Which suggests Disqus is demanding a Disqus id, despite its claims that it doesn’t. Oh, and even this old site is demanding to set third-party cookies, which I block, when IIRC it didn’t before. (I’ve moved for this comment on to Opera, which I’ve set to throw out cookies when I close the browser.)

  12. Let’s see?  Shall I start a new line? 
    It should start here.
    >Block quoting could be a help.
    >> with inset further boxes as with the trad system.

    Emphasis  could help sort out sections.

    or italic.

      or a bit of bold!

    How about a formula – H<sub>2 O

    Let’s see how that worked? </sub>

  13. That wasn’t too painful…just need the wee picture sorted and I’ll be laughing all the way to the Disqus…..


    <big> Let’s see</big>
    Shall I starts a new line

    Bold text perhaps?

    Test formula H <sub>2</sub>O

    How about powers? 10<sup>15</sup>

    Now?  How’s that?

  15. And here is me having a test comment on the beta site…..

    I will have to learn html tags now

    All in all, things look quite snazzy.


    Greyman use “blockquote” inside your quote tags

    Let’s see how that worked. Is it any better?


    Let’s see how this pasted tutorial works?

    This text is bold

    This text is strong

    <big>This text is big</big>

    This text is emphasized

    This text is italic

    <small>This text is small</small>

    This is<sub> subscript</sub> and <sup>superscript</sup>

  18. Are some peoples’ icons getting loaded in the content section or is it an attached image?

  19. Richard said

    Test comment. I am delighted by the look of the new site, now at the beta testing stage after many months of hard work – congratulations to the whole team working on this major project, many of whose virtues have yet to be unveiled

  20. can’t sign in on the beta. Thought I had a disqus thingy. Was that what I had to sign up to last time?

  21. Let’s see? Shall I start a new line?

    It should start here.

    Block quoting could be a help.

    with inset further boxes as with the trad system.

  22. I don’t like the fashionable but poorly visible pale grey text on the beta site. A clear case of Hutber’s Law (“Better means worse”) – there’s nothing the matter with the old site’s readability that a bit of zoom doesn’t fix. I’m about the same age as Richard – perhaps his eyes have worn better than mine?

  23. Crikey this is a wrong turn. After the disaster that was the last site update surely you could have got in some developers who have seen the internet? Discus? Really? And what’s with the giant embossed grey text on a grey background? Are you all using ipads or something? Go find a proper web site and copy that!
    I rest my case… there was an error with your submission…

  24. testing
    new format
    <big text<b=””>
    <small>small text<small>
    Richard said:
    <blockquotei am=”” delighted<blockquote=””></blockquotei>

  25. The fog comes 
    on little cat feet

    It sits looking
    over the harbor and city
    on silent haunches
    and then moves on.

    Carl Sandburg

  26. Kipling wrote:

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Your rights were won at Runnymede!No freeman shall be fined or bound,Or dispossessed of freehold ground,Except by lawful judgment foundAnd passed upon him by his peers.Forget not, after all these years,The Charter signed at Runnymede.’

  27. Why am I getting an empty box inside my blockquote?
    Why was the poem mashed all together like that?

  28. Just like on the current site, there is no approval – moderation is after the fact – your comments are posted immediately

  29. Kipling wrote:

    At Runnymede, at Runnymede,
    Your rights were won at Runnymede!
    No freeman shall be fined or bound,
    Or dispossessed of freehold ground,
    Except by lawful judgment found
    And passed upon him by his peers.
    Forget not, after all these years,
    The Charter signed at Runnymede.’

  30. Jel/Anvil – there are some issues with Gravatars that we are working with Disqus to resolve

  31. Mike….what’s the story with the gravatar’s? I see some members are showing, others are not.

  32. Yes a great shame there is no edit function!
    I hope it succeeds but it does feel like a step backwards in  posting comments!

  33.  It’s ¼ to 11
    Scientific arguments are ≥ creationist challenges.
    33°c is warm!
    x² + y³ ≈ zⁿ

    π r²
    YECreationism ≡ stupidity!

    20 ± ¾


    It does not do subscripts or superscripts but does do alt codes.


  34.  The look is fine as far as it goes…not convinced by the actual functionality of the post section…no edit is a ridiculous omission …seems that all is for razzmatazz and  hardly used flashy gizmo additions and the removal of really useful text generation tools…bad move!

  35. Strangebrew if you want to edit you go to the Disqus control panel in the drop down menu in the upper RHS where it says DISQUS

  36. I wonder how far the quoting will go?


    x² + y³ ≈ zⁿ

    Scientific arguments are ≥ creationist challenges.


    Pasting does seem a bit fiddly!

     It does not do subscripts or superscripts, but does do alt codes.

    XXXXXXXX Editing?

  37. Mike….what’s the story with the gravatar’s? I see some members are showing, others are not.

    Good looking people’s gravatars show 🙂


    I wonder how far the quoting will go?


    I wonder how far the quoting will go?


    x² + y³ ≈ zⁿ

    Scientific arguments are ≥ creationist challenges.


    /Pasting does seem a bit fiddly!

     It does not do subscripts or superscripts, but does do alt codes.

  39. Richard Dawkins
    1 comment collapsed

    congratulations to the whole team working on this major project, many of whose
    virtues have yet to be unveiled


    mean it’s the virtues of the project, or the virtues of the team members that have yet to
    be unveiled? J 

    At last!
    Subscriptions and notifications.  Many thanks. Also the image function is nice, so long as us posters can be trusted to use it frugally. Else I fear for your servers.

    I cannot
    log in via the beta. Perhaps that’s normal? 
    Also the OK button is blank, or is it some deliberately uber-cool white on
    white design? J

  40. Trying to correct rubbish formatting. In the dropdown I can see only:
    How does one edit a posted comment then?
    Thanks, Mark

  41. Hi Mark

    I see  Dashboard, Edit Profile, Logout, About Disqus ?

    Are you logged into Disqus ?  


    EDIT: Sorry that was dumb you said you can see Logout so you must be logged in.

  42. There was a 15 minute time period where you could edit your comments on the previous system, that’s gone right now in Disqus but I’ll see what we can do to add that to the pending issues with Disqus we’ll try to address. 
    As for not being able to log into the beta site you need to register your account over there first by going to

    I don’t know what implied white on white button you’re referring to, that’s a good description though. I’ve been to some sites where there is an obvious “ok” or “enter” button you could see if you happened to hover on the right spot but the text was the same color as the background.

    As for images, that’s one of the very nice features of Disqus.  You can upload it and it renders on the page as a thumbnail which you can click to enlarge so that you can have a reasonably high resolution large image and it doesn’t overwhelm the conversation on the page.

  43. I’d guess he is as you need to be to comment on the site. The login happens in the background as we use their Single Sign On option.  I dont’ know what he means by white on white though

  44. yes, there’s an issue with the Gravatar’s we are working with Disqus to resolve. As you noted sometimes they appear and other times not.  They should automatically appear if the user has one but there’s something not quite right with the Sign Sign On option we are using where it’s all supposed to happen magically in the background

  45. Also an apparent issue with the comment display, or perhaps the way I have my Disqus account configured.  The posts below were indented as “replies to” but have now outdented.  They made sense in the context of what I was replying to but may not now

  46. Also an apparent issue with the comment display, or perhaps the way I have my Disqus account configured. The posts below were indented as “replies to” but have now outdented. They made sense in the context of what I was replying to but may not now

    I think they have always done that even back when Disqus was first introduced to the site. 

  47. Something  new always takes a bit of getting used to before deciding if it’s a step forward or backward.

  48. Yeah Chris, like a new wife, girlfriend or mistress. The secret is not to change too many at the same time 🙂

  49. Hi Michael

    I see Settings, Logout, About.  Where’s this ‘dashboard’ then? 

    I’m posting from the ‘classic’ site.  Maybe that’s relevant.

    (Hee hee: Not dumb, just late in the UK!)

  50. Agreed, Mike. I just noticed that. The ‘replies to’ work for a moment, then disappear, and are added as a normal chronological comment. 
    You’re right, it affects meaning badly. Hence it needs fixing. Good luck!

  51. I like the new domain name is nice and short. The ability to use html and upload images with the new commenting system is also a bonus. It should be interesting to watch how this post gets tweeted. Thanks!

  52. Sorry Richard, I’m not fond of the look of the site. I much preferred your changing photos alongside approachable serifed type. A chrome logo with san serifed type and a blue background with the planet earth is a bit cold, technical and lacks the warmth of your previous site.

    I do like that people can post images…

    After I switched over, it seems as if most people’s gravitar disappeared.

  53. It’s on the main sign-in page, under the text ‘Sign in with Email and Password:’
    The text boxes for the user’s e-mail and password are rendered in such a light grey it’s hard to find where to click, and the (presumably) ‘OK’ box is pure white, which does not change when hovered over.
    And yours and Mike Murrays’ Gravitar show, but few others. Do users need to change their name to Michael in order to be seen? 🙂
    [Posted on the classic site as a ‘reply to’ to Mike Cornwall’s post No. xxx (We need comment numbers!) which began ‘There was a 15 minute time period …’]

  54. Hmm? How do I edit? I also liked the comments when they were numbered — you could then refer to “comment 2” or “comment 421″…

  55. I like how my email response to Mike, about account stuff, turned up in here. And tagged as a response to him. I’m behind, so that’s totally new for me. Cool. Who’d a thought?

  56. I am not sure I  like how aquilacane’s response is sandwiched between mine. They read out-of-context. I assumed my comment to my own comment would place that comment below.  Yet we generally have one comment after another, so maybe this is good.

    I also noticed that I am now a man with a baseball hat when viewing my gravitar through the old (and more attractive) site.

  57. Yes, Kathryn, you’re right 🙂 
    (Although the Gravitar issue is apparently being addressed).  The site needs a less US-centric default male image! (Note to US webmaster/s: Over here in the old country baseball caps are known as ‘IQ-reducers’). Or is that supposed to be a cloth cap? Or Tin Tin’s quiff?  Weird.

  58. Oh! You think you could just toss women aside like yesterday’s dinner leftovers… Well, I’m a man now, a man with either a hat, thick bangs, or a disco headband, and I can kick your butt (until my near-sighted kitty returns.)

  59. I like the new domain name because it’s nice and short. It should also be fun to play with html and upload images. Can’t seem to find a preview though and my posts aren’t appearing on facebook or twitter.

  60. Yes, Michael (Murray), A comment from me which had a reply to Mike about the white-on-white  button and a link to the page was sent down to immediate moderation.
    I though I’d been banned already! 🙂

  61. Let’s try the image feature… sweet. I don’t have to upload to tinypic; that is nice.

  62. Ha Ha Kathryn – But I find yesterday’s tossed-aside dinner leftovers are often quite attractive for breakfast.
    And yes that is a metaphor 🙂
    But clearly I must to defer to your greater experience of ‘disco headbands’.
    What fun to be able to mess about on this test page without being bawled out for chit-chat.
    It won’t last 🙂

  63. Testing from I’ve just confirmed my old account, here goes. The share buttons seem to be missing here, no twitter or facebook yet.

  64. Yup, High-res works, Aquilacane. I think you’re going to enjoy it here 🙂
    Here’s an experiment with some low-res photos. Galvanic rejuvanation: highly reasonable, scientific, and hence appropriate; but it didn’t work. 12kV was not enough.

  65. Hey, webmaster, that’s interesting : I was messing about changing attached images to learn how the system works, and the site posted one I thought I’d deleted, not the final image I refer to in the text. All very informative.

  66. Hey cool, looks like I have moderator approval now 😀 My post from the new site looks wrong though, my avatar is missing.

    <img src=””>

  67. Nik Wallenda made it across the falls! He made it look like a stroll in the park. Very inspirational (if you ignore his praying like a preacher.) This is a true testimony to skill, a very very supportive family (that’s equally as experienced and daring), a NASA engineer relative,  a crew of people, a famous last name, practice, practice, and more practice, mental focus, physical stamina and strength, a passport, foreseeing all the scenarios, and of course a good pair of shoes!

  68. I watched the transit at Niagra Falls and saw a small dot start out at the edge of about 1 o’clock it slowly moved inward towards one thirty and the around sunset the sun went down beneath clouds. When it was finally visible for a brief few seconds, my welder’s glass was too dark to see anything. I heard some people say that it was then at two 0’clock, but it was pretty close to that when I last saw it. 

    It was fun to watch, but not nearly as dramatic as the eclipse I was in optimal viewing zone back in about ’94? Fabulous!

  69. I hope so also, otherwise Richard will have a field day with all of our grammatical errors.

  70. I do not like the faux metal sheen effect on the logo. The logo is strong and well designed but this additional effect makes it look dated straight out of the box. Maybe something a little more modern on the pallette choice?

  71. If I reply to your comment though, will it come up in real time or come up as a response to your comment? 

    This is a test.  I do hope it’s the former.

  72. I agree.  And I also don’t like that this will probably show up right after your comment.

  73. Susan- if I remember correctly (it’s been a while since I used Disqus on my site, and things may have changed since then, so I could definitely be wrong here), “nested” comments is the default setting. “Flat” comments (what we’re seeing in this thread) can be enabled by a site’s administrator if they don’t like the look of “nested” comments. I much prefer “nested” comments myself, as I find it very difficult to follow discussions without them.

  74. The confusing thing is that even though flat has been selected it seems to nest until it remembers it’s supposed to be flat at which point it flattens everything. So you go off thinking it’s been nested and come back to discover it’s flat.

    Not having any kind of auto quote feature is also a pain.  You can go into the Disqus control panel and cut and paste and use block quotes but that’s a bit tedious. Mind you the quote feature on the old site seemed to confuse many people and was pretty buggy. 

    Good things are: Email notifications.  Unlimited editing so I can pretend I can spel and do gramar stuff.    Being able to sort newest first so that I don’t have to scroll for zonks on the iPhone.  Best of all is being able to sort by Popular Now so all my posts stay at the top. 

  75. This seems like an improvement just as long as it does not turn me into a god bother by accident then its all fine by me.

  76. My gravatar-free comment. Sad to see the discussions go, even though it didn’t work very smoothly I suspect there is a need for an easy-to-find atheist forum that now goes unfulfilled.

  77. Aquilacane:
    Good God no! I’m no artist – it’s by a professional artist friend of mine,
    Charles Willmott. His work is primarily ballet, female form and portraiture.
    That’s the original of a 500-print series which was published a few years back.
    The model’s my partner – we rather enjoy, and collect, anything a little

    At last someone who knows about the software! Without nesting being enabled the
    site will not make sense, unless we have instead the old system of blockquotes
    and quote numbers.

    Without either the site
    will be unusable.

    (Murray): Thanks, but that link won’t accept my log in details (I have already migrated
    to Discus using the other Mike’s link). I can only log in via the main portal.
    I’m giving up for now, since the sun’s shining and I have windows to install
    today. (Real oak ones, not software).

  78. OK…

    Where can you edit the post?

    If the edit function in included…I apologise for being dumb…but cannot seem to see the tab or find the way!

  79. I’m missing the comment preview to sort out quotes and my rubbish typing.  The loss of numbered comments and easy links reduces clarity.

    I still can’t find an “edit” function.

  80. I rather liked the size of the avatars on the old website, and the fact that it displayed them bigger if you hovered over them.

  81. Why does is say ‘1 Comments’ on top of the comment section, and then ‘showing 80 of 135 comments’.
    Also: in a previous test I tested for starting a tag and not closing it (bold) tag. The word after the tag was bold yesterday, but not anymore today. How come?
    Also: what is the reason for some gravatars turning up, while others don’t?
    Also: Why are some of the commenters names links (to what?) and others not?
    Also: when it says ‘in reply to aquilacane’ to which comment of aquilacane is this reply?
    Also: why do I see a ‘Peter Grant button’ on top of the ‘Like’ button (a button that should be omitted anyhow) followed by the text ‘and 1 other liked this’ ?

    Just testing …

  82. One more:
     Why should we be able to ‘sort by popular now’ (whatever that means) or ‘sort by best rating’.
    Such a sorting would certainly destroy the flow of comments.
    My suggestion is to omit these sorting methods, together with the (childish? american? juvenile?) [Like] and [Dislike] buttons.

  83. Also: when it says ‘in reply to aquilacane’ to which comment of aquilacane is this reply?

    If you click on Reply to aquilacane then it shows aquilacane’s comment in a pop-up with a link to go to it.


  84. How the feck is did yours get up then…ya can’t even see yer mug behind that humingus cup…}80)~


    I found the above table of the markup that DISQUS supports.
    Basic highlighting. No colour. No tables. No lists. No css. No headings.

    No esprit descalier to correct posts after the fact.

    Any time you mention an URL the moderator has to OK it.

    The old site has hundreds of broken links. I hope DISQUS will stay on top of that better.

    I would be interested to know what prompted the switch.

  86. What’s the point of funneling gravatars through disqus anyway? Wouldn’t it be nicer to have them directly from gravatar (like on the old website) so that they can be shown at a size that’s more appropriate for the high-res design of the website? (and more fun)

  87. Avatar problem:

    I notice my avatar shows up when I log in to the new site, but does show up beside my posts. Almost no one has a avatar beside their posts.

  88. Formatting?

    just what HTML is permitted?

    There are links in the original post.  Don’t use b and i use strong for b and em for i.


  89. How the feck is did yours get up then…ya can’t even see yer mug behind that humingus cup…}80)~

    Don’t know it just seems to work.


  90. I just looked at my avatar on Disqus and was surprised to discover that I wasn’t telling Disqus to get my gravatar but to use one I had uploaded to Disqus.  It’s the same as my Gravatar which was what confused me.

    Can someone who is having avatar issues trying uploading an avatar to Disqus directly and skip Gravatar ?


    EDIT: Actually I’m not so sure if this was the case. Maybe I am just confused.

  91. Does the b for bold HTML command work now test . Last time it didn’t work but strong did.

  92. Hi Peter — no it’s only the links that are the problem.  There is a comment added above to the original post that they wait for moderation. 

  93. Yay, looks like my avatar is back and it’s linking to the correct profile. Thanks! Now we just need to get the sharing on twitter and facebook to work too.

  94. Just saw that, thanks!

    Is anyone managing to to tweet their comments? I had it working on the old system using my rdfrs2feed pipe. Does Disqus use feeds?

  95. Does my firefox spellcheck work?

    Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary 


    (Would advise the use of that to all).

    Poetry check.

    Those who will not reason

    Perish in the act:

    Those who will not act

    Perish for that reason.

    bold test strike test underline test

    Symbol test

    ä ä

  96. Question?  I see no ‘delete comment’ function.  Will I have to flag myself if I do a duplicate?

  97. OK – checking html limitz

    Hoping <font color=”blue”>this one</font> doesn’t work.

    or this.

    <marquee>Oh, hai!</marquee>

  98. OK, I found the feeds, the links are in posts awaiting moderation. Meanwhile, all the comments should start tweeting @rdfrsDISCUSS

  99. What a ridiculous quoting system. This doesn’t work very well, does it? “In reply to”? Bah!

    How about if the first reply is nested and then the following ones are un-nested to keep the column from squashing?

  100.  OK… I have found the little oblong DISQUS icon/button in the upper RHS where it says DISQUS

    This is found above the ‘Add New Comment’ window on the RHS

    Clicking on it drops a list with three options…

    About Disqus

    None of which mention edit function anywhere.

    This site it a tad irritating at the moment I lose comments after posting and the lack of a number structure means that I have to search all through the way the posts are displayed…damned inconvenient and infuriating.

  101. The beta-site is generally much to airy and spacey, actually. Don’t wants it.

  102. The site setting in Disqus which was posting comments to the approval queue if they contained a url has been update. If you have a comment which contains an url it will automatically be posted and the url turned into a clickable link.

  103. Corylus,
    There’s an issue we are working on with avatars – yours is fine, it’s just a problem we are trying to resolve with Disqus.  No need to change anything or try sorting it out. It’s not working on some accounts and is on others.  Once we have the issue resolved with Disqus the avatar that you and everyone else has set up on our site will show up. No need for you do to anything.

  104. Thanks Mike, just tested it. The way it’s shortening the URLs works fine in Disqus, but it breaks any longer URLs I send to twitter or facebook this way. Given time, I might be able to come up with a workaround on my side, but maybe we could get these share buttons functioning as well. How is it supposed to work, with a popup or in the background?

  105. In this Brave new world it seems some are more editable the others!

    I also have only those three drop down options…weird!

    Possibly it is a software glitch at the admins end…and although a few bugs are expected this one seems discriminatory…I always screw up formatting, context, spelling or other tis almost an unwritten law…looks like the disinherited ones, or being as ‘desdichado’ (as Ivanhoe ), we got to  be flying by the seat of ones breeches for the foreseeable!

    And the lack of numbered comments is a real pain…I see a commewnt and can’t find it again..damned frustrating whatever!

  106. Oh bother, I’ve lost my avatar and my profile again. Think it’s because I was logged into the BETA site again.

  107. It was six months ago today when the terrible news came through. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still miss him.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  108. Facebook and Twitter sharing can be set up at  On that page, go to the top right, click on “edit profile” in the drop-down menu, then click on “services” on the left side.

    After you connect your accounts, you can then choose to have all of your comments automatically cross-posted to Facebook and/or Twitter, or, if you want to be more selective, you can instead decide on a comment-by-comment basis whether or not you want to share.

    Connecting to Facebook and/or Twitter also allows you to pull your avatar from those sites, which can be a helpful option for those who don’t want to use a Gravatar or upload a specific Disqus avatar image (the only other options).

  109. My typing is rubbish, and I really miss the preview box!

    I’m not logged in to Disqus, which may explain why I can’t find an “edit” feature which others have mentioned.

    You will see I have been playing with blockquotes and other features but setting them up blind is a bit of a challenge.


  110. I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet (I saw the question posed somewhere earlier in the thread, but without nested comments, I have a really hard time following the discussion), but, if not, here goes: if you want to make your Disqus username “clickable” (so that it links to your homepage, blog, social networking profile, etc.) and/or want to add a brief bio (the words that show up next to your username on Disqus threads- see mine for example), both can be done by clicking on “edit profile” in the drop-down menu on the top right side of . In “edit profile”, you can also choose to connect your Disqus account to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Google, choose which email notifications you want to receive (if any), etc. Anyway, I hope that helps!


    The site setting in Disqus which was posting comments to the approval
    queue if they contained a url has been update. If you have a comment
    which contains an url it will automatically be posted and the url turned
    into a clickable link.


  112. I really do not understand the edit/no edit fangdango

    But if the problem with the avatars is a random one…some have nothing…some do…then I presume the same is true with the drop down list from the Disqus dashboard…some have three options…some four…then Mike from admin seems to suggest there is no edit possible anyway, well not the normal 15 minute leeway one anyway from the old site!

    Whatever…it is getting rather tiring…total bloody chaos really!…I suppose I will adapt!

  113. Entity experiments:
    chars normally needing to be entified: <> & ” 
    some common entities: “ ” ” é ⇒
    exotic chars entered with copy/paste: ‘∠¢¤÷ƒ>∞⇐‎·¬ªϖ”⌉‚⊆⊇∴ `≈ˆ†∅∀↔∫⌈‹−∉º±””›⋅∑ ℘~„♣‡ ½⇔¿“‘∇⊄⊗£√ℜ§¹×¥´¦≅↓ ¼♥∈≤< ñ¶″⟩®(-)²™‍ℵ•©⇓≡¾…⟨⌊¯–‾∂′»⌋∼³↑‌&∩↵°€⁄¡«∗—≠⊕‰∏⇒‏♠⊃⇑ ∧¸∪♦∃≥ℑ←◊µ∋∨⊥∝→’⊂ߨ 

  114. looks like HTML4 entities (e.g. &eacute;) work fine.

     See…  for a list of them. 

    Ctrl-Z does not seem to work in the editor. OUCH.  Often a highlight deletes an entire line on the next keystroke. Now there is no way to get it back. I think the DISQUS people need an alternate more advanced editor, more like our old one or like the one that HTMLValidator or JPSoft uses in their forums.

  115. Since you can’t preview, and can’t repeal a message, and since the editor is not WYSIWYG we need some mechanism to recover from a badly formatted message.

  116.  Hi Miranda,

    Yes I tried that link and it does not accept my login…

    I think a few problems here are just bugs and that the admin are doing their best.
    But it is a chaos at the moment…some folks can edit…some cannot.
    Some have their Avatars some not.
    As for the HTML nonsense…life is just to short to get dragged into that nonsense at the moment, I will do so when required…it will either work or it will not…not sure the Url links work as they once did…I have also noticed that for some reason my Lazarus text reviver app is not supported…this site is really starting to irritate…

  117. Test some HTML5 entities:
    &therefore;  &varnothing; &supseteq; &male;

    equivalent chars entered by copy/paste:
    ∴  ∅  ⊇  ♂  

    I have posted a list of HTML5 entities, their hex codes etc. at… 

    Whether you see these would depend on DISQUS and your browser. Opera 12 is good for HTML5.

  118. Looks like DISQUS does not support HTML5 entitites.  You can however get the chars by copy paste.

  119. Now my disqus dashboard is telling me:

    We think we’ve found other profiles that may belong to you. Merge them here.

    I’ve tried it but it seems to be taking an awfully long time. Anyone else had this?

  120. Strange thing is that I don’t have any access to this new profile besides posting and following, so I can’t even fix the embarrassing formatting error I’m replying to. Well, I cleared all my cookies from the BETA site, so here goes:

    Now my disqus dashboard is telling me:

    We think we’ve found other profiles that may belong to you. Merge them here.

    I’ve tried it but it seems to be taking an awfully long time. Anyone else had this?

  121. I see you got your avatar to display. It’s a matter of linking up your Disqus account with your account as others have mentioned and you’ve discovered. The issue we are working on is that this is supposed to be automatic and you shouldn’t have to fiddle with your Disqus account. I’m glad you got it working.

  122. Thats, but I did all that already. Even selected the little icons so that they turn blue. Nothing happens.

  123.  OK I disconnected and reconnected them, facebook gave some funny error, but I’m going to go ahead and test twitter again.

  124. Miranda Celeste Hale.

    edit function can be found at

    link goes to the ‘Please login to view this page’ page.



    But it will not accept my log-in details (it returns ‘We
    couldn’t log you in.’)  The password recovery
    function returns user unknown. But I have already migrated my details as
    instructed, and I can log in to Discus via the main page,
    but no edit function is visible.  This is
    becoming too tedious to bother with.



    In common with I am sure, many here, I post on several other
    forums all of which work perfectly, without any of the missing functionality we
    had on the former site, or the buggering about we have here. Apologies for perhaps
    being unkind, but I worry that these kinds of problems may convince outsiders
    that it might be unwise to accept an invitation from any atheist group to a
    drinks party in a brewery 🙂 



    I accept that this site is paid for by others, with free
    membership offered to supporters, perhaps making it churlish to complain. But
    image is important, and this simply does not look good. The sites I belong to
    run by plumbers and electricians, with equally many thousands of members, are
    faultless. Why can atheists not provide the same? 



    Or maybe there is a God after all, sitting at a screen
    somewhere, roaring with laughter as he inserts yet another intractable error
    into this site’s code.



    [Note: I wrote this post in Word, guessing at the use of -blockquote-
    and -br- tags, and the number of line breaks. With no preview I have no idea if
    it will format correctly.]

  125.  Sorry if I have already replied to this comment …but methinks that is another problem at the moment.
    First how to refer and find previous entries without a number tagging system.
    And how to string quotes from different entries.

    Spending more time trying to trace my own posts rather then getting a coherent system sorted.
    Total chaos!

    As for the edit function…in the Disqus dashboard I only have three options in the dropdown list!

    Settings…Logout…About Disqus…and none of them help in editing!
    The system refuses to accept my login when I go to the edit page previously mentioned as a link…and although I appreciate the admin are doing their best, I am not sure making purses out of sow’s ears has a long term benefit!

    Plus I discovered my precious Lazarus app…which I depend on when writing in forums  like no other is not seemingly supported by Disqus..

    The novelty has well and truly worn off at the moment!…when the site becomes sensible..if ever… I may return!.

  126. ** I have no idea if it will format correctly **

    It didn’t! Apologies for the unreadable mess below.

  127.  Absolutely agree with every word you wrote Mark…life is to ‘effing short to faff around with this nonsense!

  128.  My partner – as a child in Anglesey – was made to view an eclipse through her fathers welding mask when all the other school kids had been bought special glasses.

    She has never gotten over the embarrassment.

    We can’t look at a welding mask without breaking into tears of laughter.

    She’s sat at the other side of the office wetting herself at your post.

    Cheers, mate.


  129. Logged out and in again, looks like that worked.

    Seems I can edit my posts now as well.

  130. @mirandachale Did you manage to share any of your Disqus comments on twitter or facebook? If so please post a link as I’d like to see how it looks. I’ve managed to sort of get it working using and this feed… but there are still problems with the way Disqus handles longer URLs.

  131. So it seems like the people having trouble have had their Disqus account created from their RDnet account?  Is that right ?  I had a Disqus account already and then I created one as part of the first Disqus experiment here a few months back.  Then I merged all my Disqus profiles at that time.  I can see the Dashboard.
    Not sure this is of use to anyone. Just a data point in case it helps.  

  132.  ‘IF’ you have one it should be under the Disqus dashboard…oblong tab with ‘Disqus’ written on RH corner above the ‘Add new comment’ box.

    If you are lucky it will be one of four options in a drop down list.

    If not it will have only  three options…Settings…Logout…About Disqus and you are in the soup, like me, enjoy!

    No one from admin seems to have addressed this little inequality in life!

  133. We think we have resolved some of the issues with Disqus and will have an update tomorrow (afternoon GMT+7)

  134. Hi Michael

    This is the mystery. The Dashboard should appear under the DISQUS drop down menu on the top RHS of the editing area. But many people don’t see it when they do that dropdown. Hopefully this is one of the fixes Mike was talking about.
    Regards – Michael

  135. Ah found it.
    But only 3 useless functions. No ‘edit’ facility.
    And no Gravatar.
    (But I am comfortable with the raw html)

  136.  re: Edit

    Hopefully this is one of the fixes Mike was talking about.

    It is a remote possibility that because the site is in Beta that such a pedestrian function such as Edit would not necessarily be included  until the site goes ‘live’ in it’s Alpha state.

    If that is the case then it would be appreciated for a comment from admin that is indeed the case.

    Noticed another glitch…Logging in…

    I cannot sign in from the disqus dashboard icon…
    It gives me a …’we could not log you in’…or… ‘your password is in error’

    Exactly the same error message I get from …

    I can only conclude that again this is a Beta trial and some options have not been enacted…I have no trouble logging in from the page header

    Although HTML is available…it is a pity that function tabbed macro’s with the  general stuff like Blockquote…Url link…image link…italics….bold…this is not rocket science and it would encourage lurkers to write a comment , if they thought the format would look fine, but introduce HTML coding directly and folk will be put off…I really think it is a backward step we cannot all be coding genii…I vaguely remember breakfast this morning let alone some moody code for an url link!…Trying to code without edit is a many splendored precipice to plummet off…

    Even a drop down memory aid list with code to copy /paste would not be to intrusive surely!

    I reserve judgement on the site…not overly wowed so far!

  137. It is a remote possibility that because the site is in Beta that such a pedestrian function such as Edit would not necessarily be included until the site goes ‘live’ in it’s Alpha state.

    If that is the case then it would be appreciated for a comment from admin that is indeed the case.

    Noticed another glitch…Logging in…

    I cannot sign in from the disqus dashboard icon…
    It gives me a …’we could not log you in’…or… ‘your password is in error’

    I would guess these things are related because I can login to Dashboard and when I do that I can edit. 


  138.  Yes ..I see you actually have a tab….’Dashboard’… where I presume the edit function sits under!

    My example…(bit big) but enlargement helps to show only two of the tabs you have!

    Logout…which works and which changes to login which does not when you arrive at the site …and… About Disqus

    Settings gives me  a single page that blurbles about E-mail notification…if I want it or not with appropriate check boxes!

    So It would seem that this is indeed a Beta thing…presumably when they think they have managed to glean all contributor accounts from the main site and pesky irritations about avators  and gravitors are sorted out then they might go to full Alpha status. Which presumably means that the Dashboard icon appears under the Disqus tab!

    I think I read somewhere that you were already working with Disqus before this  site…maybe you were already set up and the Disqus options fully implemented on your system…strange that not many other folks are reporting edit functions found!

    It is a no brainer to assume that the admin team are flat out at this stage implementing the change over, but it would be a little settling for a definitive declaration that for some folks the edit function will only be installed after the other  change over issues are resolved, then we know what is what!
    But thanx for your patience M…much appreciated!

  139. The avatar problem has been corrected and tested. There may be some comments which were posted previously which do not have an avatar and will not be updated – they will always show the gray/default avatar. The next time you post, all comments should have your avatar next to them if you previously had one on

    For example if your username is XYZ
      – new comments created by you should have an avatar
      – old comments which had a gray avatar will continue to show the gray avatar even though the user name “XYZ” is the same in both cases.

    We will have more information later about sync’ing up your Disqus account so that the drop down in the Disqus menu box appears the same for everyone.


    We will have more information later about sync’ing up your Disqus
    account so that the drop down in the Disqus menu box appears the same
    for everyone.

    Thanx Mike …appreciated!

  141. -6/19 – slight edit for clarity below-
    Our goal when setting up Disqus was that you could use it without creating an account or setting up your profile on Disqus. 

    To do that, we used their Single Sign On option (SSO) which allows us to create an account for you in the background when you log in RDFRS. This is not a valid Disqus account for login and configuration purposes, but works fine if all you want to do is create a comment on our websie.  As has always been the case, you need a profile on (and the new beta site) in order to comment. 

    You may have noticed that avatars show up for some people and not for others. That issue has been corrrected and if you have an avatar/Gravatar on it will show up on your comment. If you notice it does not, please log out then log back in. That will reestablish your Disqus SSO correctly.

    There have many tips and hints as to what to click on and how to use Disqus in comments but that often assumed you had a valid account to log into. 

    To make the most of Disqus you should set up a Disqus account after which you can manage your comments and link it to your RDFRS account.  

    If you have tried to login to Disqus using the e-mail for your RDFRS account and do not already have a Disqus account, you will receive a message “Sorry, we couldn’t find anyone with that email address or username.” You may have created a Disqus a account through interacting without website. The login error is because the account that was created for you by is an SSO account and is not tied to your e-mail address.

    1.  Sign up on Disqus
    Go to the signup page on Disqus

    2. You’ll be prompted for a username – to keep it simple use the same username you have on if that username is available.

    3. Enter your e-mail address. If you use the e-mail address you use for the RDFRS site you’ll be prompted to connect your Disqus account to RDFRS on your Disqus profile.

    4. “Verify” your Disqus account – it will send you an e-mail and you’ll click to confirm the e-mail address is yours.

    If you’ve used the same e-mail address you have on RDFRS, you’ll be able to merge the accounts on your Disqus profile.

    You will have now access to the “Dasboard” panel that others have discussed in comments.

  142.  Mike…I have lost the plot spectacularly!

    No I have not got an Avatar…that was not and is not my priority!
    My priority was to find an edit function for posts.

    I did as you bid…and this vortex of nonsense has spiralled out of control!

    I signed up to Disqus.
    It would not allow me to use my RDFRS sign in name!

    So I kept it as close as possible to the sign in I use on RDFRS

    It informed me that possible profile on RDFRS could be merged…I did so!…and added an avatar so as not to disappoint anyone!

    All looked hunky dory!

    That was not quite so!

    I came back to this page…and low and behold I had 4  options under the Disqus oblong tab…yippididoodah!…thought I…Edit capability…thought I…not a bit of it!

    The Dashboard tag took me to another page that displayed past indiscretions…with only three buttons on the bottom of each post summat about ‘see context’…’Like’ and some other brain dead function…no obvious edit ability at all.
    ‘Edit’ was not there at all.

    Then I noticed I was not signed in to this page…I signed in thinking that would enact the edit possibility…makes sense I thought!

    Signed in went to the Oblong Disqus icon…back to only 3 options again.

    I give up!


  143.  Guest is strangebrew…don’t ask…I won’t tell!

    Okay seems a basic edit is possible using the dashboard icon…except it seems possible to  delete a post there…but not on the main page…I give up I really do!

  144. This grey text on grey-blue background is really really really really annoying. It would stop me from reading and posting.

    In short it will stop me from coming to the site.

    Sorry, but I spend most of the day sat in front of computer screens and I’ve learnt not to bother with ones that strain me.

    Why can’t comments be numbered?

    Are we about to lose all our previous comments from the old site?

    Can you edit your post as a RDFRS guest on a SSO?

    Why, by making the site harder to both navigate and use, will this attract more people to the site?

    Why on earth should anyone have to use html in order to post? Am I missing something here?

    The look of the old site, I agree, looks tired – but it’s functionality, (okay, wmd is occasionaly clunky) and ease of use, do not appear to have been improved upon here – far from it:

    Can I preview my comment? Reference another comment? Edit my comment without leaving the OP? Italisize? Bold? Quote? Delete?

    Will new people visiting the site still have to sign in/up – if so, what is the advantage of disqus?

    I like the ability to load an image – but didn’t we used to have that on the old site about three years ago?

    I like the ability to apply a url to your Name/Avatar.

    I like the ‘reply’ button – or I would if it ‘indented’.

    We all have a stake in getting as many people to this site as is possible. Again, the front page of the old site looks tired – but gives fairly easy and instant access to (hold on, I’ll go and count them…) over forty news-features, discussions, originals, plus a ‘latest comments’ (often how I enter a debate). The new site, whilst looking a bit whizz bang, has two featured, two announcements, four originals, and four news – twelve in total.

    That’s hardly improving access on the front page, is it?

    Hope this feedback helps.


  145. It is  far more work needed to post a comment….simples!

    The work load in  replying to a post, or quoting from it, adding citations or relevant url’s using longhand coding is just past ridiculous it has affectively doubled time required compared to the old site!

    And  HTML…really?

    That was a great quantum leap 5-8 years ago when blogs and fora started to use the technique to enhance reading and comprehension cogency in contributions…but in 2012 it is tired and almost defunct on fora that more often then not comprises of a fairly substantial contribution compared with other fora where one or two lines is an average comment.

    I take the point that change is a challenge in what ever form or sphere of life…but this strikes me as a posh step backwards in forum technology!

    Unless there are some substantial improvements in functionality, probably best not to hold the breath on that one, I cannot see the site encouraging folk to partake…this particular incarnation of RDFRS is tantamount to forum suicide.

  146. Again with this Guest sign in…I did nutink!!

    Now apparently back to strangebrew…’nuff to make a gals’ ‘ead spin!…and mine ta ache!

  147. Ahh sussed it…if the comment window has no bottom right hand tab with the posters present user-name…then it will sign in as guest…tap it anywhere in the  comment box and your present user name then displays…no one tells ya this…maybe they like inducing apoplectic fits in their contributors?

  148. Strangebrew

      So when you type your comments in the comment area your  “Post as strangebrew” is not coming up? Then you hit enter and it posts as guest?

  149. 2. You’ll be prompted for a username – to keep it simple use the same username you have on if that username is available.

    Oops! You can’t sign up with a username name like mine, or , Mike, your own, which is a real name with a space character. Space appears to be an illegal character in Discus. Many people on the forum who perhaps make a point of not hiding behind anonymity have a username formatted like that, so will migration be a problem for them?

  150. Strangebrew: Here’s an odd thing, and possibly a warning to any posters who wish to remain anonymous.
    You ‘replied’ to two of my posts. The red indicator on my Disqus page showed what I assume is your real name  (initials N W). Where did that come from? It’s not shown anywhere else.

  151. Can someone please tell me how I ‘sign in’ to the new site. My best attempts to either sign in or move the account have met with failure. It did at one point ask me to ‘transfer’ the account…but then when that failed it gave up asking me.

  152. Here’s a link to the information on the Disqus site about usernames.

    You can post your name but you can remain anonymous as well. The “full name” name on your Disqus profile can be the same as other accounts, there could be multiple “mike cornwell’s” but there can only be one Disqus username for that. 

    I was mistaken. The username on Disqus is your sign-in, much like your e-mail address is on and it does need to be unique.  The name displayed is not your username, but the name you opt to display as specified in “full name” on your Disqus profile. So there could be multiple “Mark Ribbands” but there is only one username for each and it needs to be unique.  I usually sign in to websites using my e-mail address if using an e-mail is an option, or something like the e-mail address spelled out if I have to have a username and it does need to be unique. Something like mikecornwellhotmaildotcom

  153. Hi Mark,

    Yes I noticed that also…it was a result of trying to register directly with Disqus.

    There is no standard registration form for these sites where you have to fill out their questionnaire.

    Some ask for Name…when they really want your forum user name…some ask for Name when they really want your real name…there is no distinction and very little guidance.

    I saw it after a couple of posts, and realized what had happened and re-jigged the profile immediately.

    I have no real ‘dark’ reason why I use ‘strangebrew’ just that I have done so for a few years and it is more habit then anything…although in the early days when I did use my real name I did get a few death threats for my opinion on religion and the sky fairy incarnate and although it did not bother me unduly my significant other freaked out a tad.
    ‘strangebrew’ has a first class ticket to Beelzebub’s lair apparently…might be a trip of a life time I fully intend to accompany him there…would not miss it for the world!

    Now folks are used to the moniker across several forums and know that my writing style is less then accommodationist and either read or do not…it is more a branding tool then an anonymous tag.

    Thanx for taking the trouble to point it out, appreciated!

  154. Hi SB

    Yes, I understand your reasons for anonymity are more of a
    branding rather than a hiding exercise. And once you’ve committed to something
    like that it’s difficult to change.

    I am as envious of your received death threats as you must
    be proud. Well done, sir! 

    I have yet to receive any threats at all. Clearly I am doing
    something wrong: perhaps I should get out less and spend more time on the internet.

    What I have done during my career though is to fire a large
    number of explosive missiles directly at God (see pic), but have yet to receive
    any convincing reply. I was once nearly struck down by lightning, the bolt
    impacting with a tree at the end of my drive. To give credit where it’s due
    even I was impressed by the bang, and I can do bangs (and it looks like you can make noise too). I left the shattered tree
    as a permanent testament to God’s poor aim.

  155. Hi Mark,

    I have yet to receive any threats at all. Clearly I am doing
    something wrong

    Well it sounds more dramatic then it actually was…just two…from the same poster… and I am sure by the standards that Richard or PZ get quite innocuous!

    I had saved them for posterity until a couple of years back when my motherboard fried, cos of the blasphemy stored on it no doubt, and I lost most archived stuff and a fair proportion of a book I was writing along with the research documents, gave up after that, well it was crap anyway!

    It was a ‘Christian’ forum that was set about 8 years back up as a spin off of the religion board of the beeb with a predominantly fundamentalist bent, since defunct apparently, (I doubt they made a year actually) it was chock full of crazy and a target rich environment! It has since disappeared into cyber space now whatever!

    I just remember the phrase ” You are a dead dog and Jesus will watch me do it’…I think even the admin there lost a little faith and removed it after a couple of days but long enough for all the committed see what a true xian should be like or something before taking it down, but pesky secular authority might get ratty if left up any longer…it really was a xian ‘warning’ they all seemed proud of it…no one on the forum complained let us put it that way but it was a fundamentalist nest and par for their behaviour I presume…and I did not pursue it either!

    As I say I was not surprised, the poster was clearly unbalanced just from the content and incoherency of earlier posts. but my lady freaked out big time, and I promised to only use a alter ego in future.
    So no biggy methinks!

    I still engage with theists…and I have not got another ‘love letter’ since…a lot of ‘threats about ‘hell’s damnation and how I will scream for eternity’, but nothing approaching infinity like that poster!

    Xians …don’t ya jus’ lurve’ their faith in a god where they got to do the dirty work in his name!

  156. I hate the way I can’t paste text in without it coming out as a block quote section, and you can’t edit the fact that it’s a block quote section.  What if the thing I’m pasting isn’t a block quote but rather is something I composed in another window?  What if I’m going to quote it inline in quotation marks instead of as a block?  These options are gone now because the “smart” editor presumes that if I do a paste operation this means it MUST be rendered into a blockquote which I cannot edit the formatting out of it and get back to just the raw text I quoted.

  157. Instead of making people remember the link to a page of allowed html tags, why not just have that link be present at the top of the form you type into?  “Click here to see allowed HTML tags” right near all the “Facebook like” buttons and so on.

  158. Testing from my mobile. Is it just me, or is there an issue with Firefox not loading the comments? Will try again later with my PC.

    Edit: Finally found what was blocking Disqus. Works fine now.

  159. The “Latest Comments” page (… doesn’t update with my most recent comment on the “How American fundamentalist schools are using Nessie to disprove evolution” thread.

    (I tend to scan the latest comments page first, then open any specific articles of interest.)

  160. OH…FFS.

    Lost me dashboard..don’t even know if it is needed… but this is madness gone septic!

  161. The comments section has disappeared and despite the fact that I’ve been a Disqus for years .I’m told by them they’ve never heard of me

  162. Hey, where did the cool new layout go and would you bring it back please? Especially liked the button for tweeting other people’s comments. If you are having any technical difficulties, maybe I can help. My dad died recently, so I’ll be taking a few days off work.

  163. This is a test comment to see how our changes look.  This is what it looks like them I edit it.

  164. This is a test. So is this.

    Far from the Madding Crowd is my favourite novel.

    Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my.

    Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown

    Reliant Robin.

    Jennifer Love Hewitt – standard
    Jennifer Love Hewitt – emphasised
    Jennifer Love Hewitt – strong
    Jennifer Love Hewitt – strong/emphasised

    Spanish omelette

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