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Friday, October 5, 2012

Disqus (sorta) resolved

Man, this has been very frustrating. The issue was that all my comments had disappeared from my blog posts. And not once ... but twice. I will get a brief synopsis of my saga so that you will be able to avoid these problems in the first place, or if it does happen to you how you can 'fix' (used loosely) the problem.

Lesson 1: Do *NOT* upgrade to Disqus 2012.

This all started after upgrading to Disqus 2012 (like an idiot I suppose). Never happy with the look of it but improvements are coming they say. Fine. Then they introduced 'Promoted Discovery' (basically where they can put spam in your comments for revenue generation). I opt out of that immediately months ago. Fine. But early this week, the Promoted Discovery feature was turned back on for my site automatically and even after turning it off the spam comments would not go away.

Thoroughly pissed off at Disqus at this point I disable Disqus 2012 ... and all the problems begin

When I went back to Disqus 'normal' all of my comments disappeared. Yet they still existed in the Disqus Admin/Moderation Panel. Searches on this issue with these symptoms led me to: "if you had recently changed your domain and/or URL structure then Disqus will need to be mapped to your new structure"

I had not done either one (so I thought), but when I made a new test post with a test comment, I looked back at the URLs in the admin panel and all the new comment URLs had the format: http://domain/path/post.html/#commentid and all the old URLs had the format: http://domain/path/post.html#commentid (which is what you would expect). Notice the the / before the #. It seems like Disqus 2012 altered the structure of the URL resolution to place comments at. I tested this out on comments on other posts and sure enough all comments were going to this format: http://domain/path/post.html/#commentid

Accepting that the Disqus downgrade 'broke' my site I proceeded to map my site from http://domain/path/post.html#commentid to http://domain/path/post.html/#commentid via the 'Upload URL Map' in the 'Migrate Threads' Admin Section. You can download a list of all the URLs Disqus knows that it put comments on and it is a simple matter in Excel to generate a From URL, To URL .csv file.

So I do this, and with a few minor hiccups I have all my comments back .... for about half a day

When I get up the next morning to check the site again, all my comments are gone ... AGAIN!

Made a new test post and saw that the OLD URL FORMAT WAS BEING USED AGAIN! Disqus had somehow realized its error in using the Disqus 2012 URL format on my non-Disqus 2012 site and had 'fixed' it for me, after I had spent hours migrating URLs

So I decide to just reverse the From and To URLs in my Excel file, generate a new .csv and everything will be fine. Nope

That worked for 2009-2010 comments. But none of my 2011-2012 comments would come back that way.

For my 2011-2012 comments, I had to :

-- Do a URL map for each blog post one by one (and each URL is a copy/paste operation, and about 5 clicks per URL to submit and reset the URL map tool). This was exceptionally tedious.
-- That worked for about half the URLs, for the other half:
-- Do that process again 2-3 times
-- Sometimes making a new comment (you will see random 'test' comments by me all in 2011-2012) will 'refresh' the thread and bring the old comments back.

But some of those threads none of that worked. And there are some threads where the comments are simply lost forever

Lesson 2: Obey Lesson 1

Avoid this whole problem to begin with a put off upgrading to Disqus 2012. I wish I did.
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