Five-year-old commenting platform Disqus is beginning the release of a dramatically overhauled version of its product today. The new edition aims to improve the quality of online conversations through speed enhancements, comment-voting capabilities, and personalized and community views.

Disqus is the commenting system used by 1.3 million blogs, websites, and news sites (VentureBeat included). It’s designed to help publishers better stimulate community conversations and competes with startups such as Echo and even goes head-to-head with Facebook’s commenting system.

Disqus 2012, as the new version is called, is noticeably different from previous versions in both look and feel, and has been reworked around four themes: frictionless, quality, personalized, and discovery.

On the frictionless front, Disqus 2012 is said to be truly realtime, meaning that conversations should feel faster and more fluid. The startup believes it’s tackling the comment quality problem with the addition of voting and scoring actions, tools that better surface top-notch contributions. A “My Discuss” tab, the new personalization feature, will give commenters a view of their own conversations, and a “Community” view will highlight a website’s hottest threads and most active contributors.

“The new Disqus is nicknamed Disqus 2012 because we’re working to make it the platform that we’d personally want to use in today’s world,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Ha told VentureBeat. “It’s about pairing what already works with new, exciting ideas — but most of all, it’s about refining the core Disqus discussion experience that people care about.”

The user experience has been especially designed for driving traffic and commenter participation, and the plug-and-play comment system is now indexable by Google right out of box, Ha said.

The Disqus 2012 update is being released Thursday on a rolling, invitation-only basis before the public launch in June.

Disqus, a Y Combinator alum, has raised $10.5 million in funding to date. The San Francisco-based startup, which has 7.2 million monthly active users, says it measures nearly 700 million uniques per month across the platform for a total of 4.5 billion pageviews.

Photo credit: Shutterstock