I’ve decided to disable Disqus comments on this website. I was quite shocked recently when I saw tacky ads displayed in my blog. I’ve been using and ad blocker for so long that I never saw them, and only when I loaded my site in a new browser were the ads visible.

Advertising has its time and place. Being informed of a useful product or service can be valuable.

Like so many things in modern day society, the reality is far, far removed from the ideal. Much of modern day advertising is manipulation, trying to make you feel inadequate and lacking, so that you’ll be more susceptible and willing to consume a new product.

Adam Curtis’ documentary “Century of the Self” brilliantly lays out the development of marketing as a tool of mass manipulation.

The dominant form of advertising on the web, so-called Adtech, is outright fraudulent and user-hostile. Megabytes of JavaScript are included in webpages with the sole purpose of tracking you as you visit various websites so that they can build a more complete psychological profile of you.

In theory such a profile can help to inform you of products and services more akin to your needs and taste. In practice, it gets used to manipulate you and to reinforce your filter bubble.

I knew that Disqus is in this game as well, and should have acted sooner. I enabled Disqus comments probably about 5 or 6 years ago, when I was less concerned or aware of the problems of privacy and manipulation.

As always with information silos, the comments that were made on this website are now all locked away and lost to readers. Perhaps with the GDPR I can ask for them to be downloaded and then I can create a static representation of older comments.

Eventually I’d like to create a comments plugin with Converse.js and based on XMPP and use that on this site.

Hello, I'm JC Brand, software developer and consultant.
I created and maintain Converse, a popular web-based XMPP chat client,
I can help you integrate chat and instant messaging features into your website or intranet.

You can follow me on the Fediverse or on Twitter.