Incorporating the “Wisdom of the Crowd” with Doc-To-Help and DISQUS

If you would like to gather user feedback (such as comments and ratings) — and build a user community — you can do so with Doc-To-Help’s new DISQUS integration.

DISQUS (http://disqus.com/) is an online discussion and commenting service for websites that uses a networked platform. You can integrate DISQUS into NetHelp 2.0 Targets and then manage all settings, comment moderation, appearance, etc. through your DISQUS account.

And you can start building your user community fast — because it only take 3 steps to integrate your NetHelp 2.0 Target with DISQUS.

To see an example of NetHelp 2.0 with DISQUS enabled, go to Doc-to-Help NetHelp with DISQUS.

Enabling DISQUS in NetHelp 2.0 Targets

  1. Create a DISQUS account at http://disqus.com/register and define your DISQUS shortname. In your DISQUS settings, verify that the Enable DISQUS 2012 features for your site check box is not selected, because Doc-To-Help does not support those features.
  2. In Doc-To-Help, open the Help Targets dialog box (Doc-To-Help Home tab, click the dialog box launcher on the Target ribbon group) and select the NetHelp 2.0 Target on the left. In the Comments section, set the Use Comments field to DISQUS, and enter your DISQUS shortname.
  3. Click OK and click the Rebuild Target button.
  4. Post your NetHelp 2.0 on your website. At the bottom of each topic, DISQUS commenting and rating options will appear.

DISQUS commenting

DISQUS works in all popular browsers, including: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

By default, DISQUS comments are enabled for every topic in your NetHelp 2.0 Target, but you can exclude specific topics, or entire topic types from commenting if you wish. Doc-To-Help makes short work of this also.

Excluding Individual Topics from DISQUS Commenting

  1. In Doc-To-Help, choose the desired topic from the Topics window. Right-click on the topic and choose Properties. The Topic Properties dialog box will open.
  2. Select the Disable Comments check box.
  3. Click OK and click the Rebuild Target button. Post your NetHelp.

Excluding Entire Topic Types from DISQUS Commenting

  1. In Doc-To-Help, open the Project Styles dialog box. (Project ribbon group, click the Topic Types button.)
  2. Select the Topic Type you would like to exclude from the pane on the left.
  3. Clear the Use Comments check box.
  4. Click OK and click the Rebuild Target button. Post your NetHelp.

That’s it! Now try it out and see what your users have to say!

Further Reading

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe

Note: This functionality is available in Doc-To-Help 2012 V2, which you can download here.

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About Nicky Bleiel

I am the Lead Information Developer for Doc-To-Help and a Doc-To-Help trainer. I have 19 years of experience in technical communication; writing and designing information for software products in the documentation, media, industrial automation, simulation, and pharmaceutical industries. I am the President of the Society for Technical Communication and have presented talks at the STC Summit, WritersUA, tcworld, CIDM (Content Management Strategies/DITA North America), and LavaCon on many topics, including embedded help, tools and technologies, user assistance design, single sourcing, wikis, social media, agile, and convergence technical communication. I have been published in STC's Intercom, Tieline, STC conference proceedings, tcworld magazine, TechCom Manager Newsletter, and the WritersUA and the Content Wrangler websites. Additionally, I teach Technical Writing at the Community College of Allegheny County.

4 thoughts on “Incorporating the “Wisdom of the Crowd” with Doc-To-Help and DISQUS

  1. chethertz

    Hi Nicky,
    I get errmsg on my pages: “We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide.” OK, so when I examine the troubleshooting guide, the nearest likely applicable issue (I think) is “you’re testing locally…use the disqus_developer configuration variable.” Is that something that you had to do to get your example working? If so, is the placement of the variable something you put into layout.html so that it would propagate to all pages during the helpfile build? Or…? Any advise on how to get this configured and working in my test helpfile — based on the experience you got from building your example?
    Thanks. –Chet

    1. Nicky Bleiel Post author

      I just checked it, and it is working. Are you having an issue opening the NetHelp, or viewing the commenting? DISQUS commenting should appear at the bottom of each topic. If it does not, let me know.

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