in User Experience

Change Disqus Comment Count Text

I recently implemented the Disqus comment system on this and another of my blogs. I am really pleased with the service. It works extremely well, allows me to moderate all of the comments on my multiple blogs and my online conversations in one location, and the user interface is seriously kick-ass. My only complaint was that there is no way to change the look of the Comments and Reactions count. Or so I thought. Thanks to Ryan at Disqus, I learned there is a very simple, but admittedly unknown, way to do this.

It turns out that in the Settings section for your Disqus approved sites, you can change the text of the comment counts. That part is well known. What is not well known is that the text fields where you change the text will accept HTML.

NOTE: You can find the settings to which I refer in this post by logging into your account. From your Dashboard, click on the site for which you want to implement this change from the section labeled “Your Sites”, then click the “Settings” tab at the top of the page. Then click on the “Appearance” tab in the left-hand side of the page. The Comments and Reactions count settings are towards the bottom of the page.

In my case, I wanted to show only the integer value that represents the comment count. I do, however, have Reactions enabled so the text output for the count looks something like this:

10 Comments and 8 Reactions.

The settings allows me to change each part but it won’t let me show only the “10” form the example above. The example above is represented in the settings via two text fields containing one each of “10 Comments” and “8 Reactions”. You can delete the contents of the “Reactions” field, but Disqus will still display the “and” even if the field is empty.

The Workaround

The work around is to add an opening SPAN tag to the end of the “10 Comments” field and a close SPAN tag to the “8 Reactions” field like this:

10 <span class="hide">Comments
8 Reactions</span>

So when the fields are concatenated in the page, the output will look like this:

10 <span class="hide"> and 8 Reactions</span>

The form even allows you to add custom CSS in the handy textarea labeled “Custom CSS”. So I can simply add the following code to hide the text enclosed in my SPANs:

.hide { display: none; }

Note that There are three text fields for comments and three for reactions.

1 Comment
{num} Comments

0 Reactions
1 Reaction
{num} Reactions

Make sure you enter the HTML in each field like this:

0 <span class="hide">Comments
1 <span class="hide">Comment
{num} <span class="hide">Comments

0 Reactions</span>
1 Reaction</span>
{num} Reactions</span>

This trick could also be used to change the look of the different parts of the string as well. You could do something like this:

{num} <span class="comments">Comments</span>

<span class="reactions">{num} Reactions</span>

The output of the above would look like this:

{num} <span class="comments">Comments</span> and
<span class="reactions">{num}Reactions</span>



  1. You can change the text in your Disqus appearance settings, see “Comment count link text”:

    Is there any limitation to this which you’re looking to address? We’re happy to take any feedback or provide some help working with it.

    • Hey Ryan. Thanks for the comment. I’m blown away you guys noticed my little plugin.

      Yes, I know you can change the text as you describe, but if you select to display Comments and Reactions, it seems that the “count” will always be some variation of ‘% Comments and % Reations’ The way I have my blog designed, the comment count appears in a 40px X 40px icon next to each blog post title. I wanted to show only the comment count. I tried setting the Reaction values to empty fields, which worked, but I still get “% Comments and “. I could change my design but I would really prefer not to. If there was an option (or if there /is/ an option) to specify which of the fields to display in the count, that would be ideal.

      • Understood — there would be more user-friendly ways to do this which we’ll keep in mind as we make improvements, but for now there is a workaround.

        You can use HTML in the comment count text which means that you can wrap certain words in a custom class for some CSS-targeting. For example, if you wanted reactions but didn’t want to display that text you could enter the following:

        Note: the comment count text areas are staggered to show the whole thing

        It ends up looking similar to this on the page:

        0 Comments and

        Now you can use some custom CSS to hide everything in that span.

        • Cool. That’s a good solution. Is that documented anywhere? How would a website developer know this is possible short of trial-and-error?

          • Awesome, man. It’s a really useful tip. I saw where a few others were looking for a way to do this too. I’m really impressed with the quick reaction and helpful attitude. A rarity.

        • Hey, this solution looks great. I’m going to pull my plugin and write up instructions on this instead. Thanks for the help. Really appreciate it.

    • What would be truly awesome would be a mechanism for theming the Comment count via a simple JavaScript callback. Your system is one of the nicest web services and apps I have ever worked with. I am a BIG fan so I’m not trying to be at all disparaging.

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  4. This post is amazing, thanks for sharing this!

    I wish I could manage disqus plugin to be WPML compatile!

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