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The Winter 2018 Disqus HackWeek Recap

Posted by Tony Hue on January 11, 2018

To kick off the new year, Disqus hosted a hackathon recently where teams worked on various projects to explore new ideas, solve interesting problems, and build something cool. At the end of the week, teams demoed their projects to the company who voted for their favorites.

Here are four of the most interesting projects that came out of the hackathon. Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you missed the recap of our last HackWeek, visit this blog post here to learn more.

Custom Rules for High-Volume Spam

Team: Lauren, Dan, Adam, Greaves

The winner of HackWeek, this project developed a prototype service that could identify spam comments based on known patterns of high-volume spam. The team trained spam patterns like “Google work from home” and “Celebrity sex tape” that are known for utilizing slight variants of every post. This provided an opportunity to identify additional instances of spam that fit its profile and have not yet been moderated.

spam-project.png

Since spammers evolve their tactics constantly, this service was designed to be flexible and dynamic. As new patterns emerge, the training model can be adjusted easily and scaled instantly across our network. As a result, spam detection improved dramatically with high accuracy and a very low false positive rate.

Disqus Universe

Team: Jeremy, Dan, Kim

The Disqus network is huge. Over four million sites huge to be exact. To truly grasp what that looks like, one team created an interactive visualization where you could explore the farthest reaches of this known universe, to boldy go where no Disqus user has gone before...

disqus-universe-3.png

The results were truly breathtaking. Rendered using igraph and MapTiler, the Disqus Universe covered a prolific scope of communities from anime, sports, cooking, and countless more. The size of each community, or planet, is determined by the number of shared connections it has with the wider network. As a result, communities with overlapping audiences would cluster together with lines that connected them. Eventually, the team hopes to evolve this into a more interactive 3D experience that you could explore in VR.

disqus-universe-2.png

Pamlexa

Team: Dmatt

"Hey Alexa, ask Pam to read my recent replies."

Thanks to a new skill for Amazon Alexa, you can now catch up on your latest Disqus activity while on-the-go. Aptly named Pamlexa, this project was built using Node.js, Glitch, and the Disqus API and reads your latest replies on command. Here's a demo of this in action:

Two-Factor Authentication

Team: Kash, Trevor, Tony

One of the most requested features, two-factor authentication makes your Disqus account more secure. It adds a second layer of security in addition to your password during the login process by requiring a verification code you must enter. It supports code delivery via SMS, phone call, or using an app. You can also download and save a list of access codes as backup in case you lose access to your mobile device.

Tell us your favorite projects

If you found any of these projects to be interesting, share us your thoughts on why it would be valuable to you. Or better yet, share ideas of Disqus projects you think we should hack on next. We read every comment here and look forward to hearing from the community.

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