Looking for feedback on comment system.

Currently we are using the built-in Drupal commenting system on this site, which requires that people get a drupal account to comment. This seemed like the right thing to do when the site was set up, and we wanted everyone to have accounts so that they could also more easily send letters to their MPs.

I now wonder if the extra step to sign up, and the use of a simplistic editor forcing people to use HTML encoding, is no longer the right choice. From the comments I see on Twitter, Google plus and elsewhere talking about articles from this site, it isn't a lack of interest that has meant there isn't comments here. It is likely the commenting system.

I've seen alternatives on other sites.

I have an IntenseDebate account which is used by CBC's Spark and The Mark News for their comments. There is a Drupal Module to integrate IntenseDebate which only has a single version for Drupal 6.x, and has no betas or versions ready for later versions of Drupal. I'm currently using a 6.x version, but have hopes to upgrade soon.

I have a Disqus account which is used by BoingBoing, the ITWorldCanada series of sites,TVO and the Hill Times. There is a Drupal module to integrate Disqus which includes 5.x, 6.x and 7.x versions for release and development. This module also includes an "export" option such that existing comments on Drupal can be imported into Disqus.

I'm not remotely interested in Facebook integration, which I know exists: I don't want to be encouraging more people to be putting more content onto this relatively closed 1980's style BBS. I wouldn't mind if Google's commenting system used for G+ could be integrated, but it doesn't appear that they are trying to do anything similar to what IntenseDebate and Disqus are doing.

I am looking for feedback, including whether I should change the comment system at all, as well as if there are more options or more details about the above two options I should know about.

[comment on Google Plus]