On Comments

John Gruber responded to someone crying that he didn’t have comments on his blog and that that was unfair and boo and that.

Now that DF has achieved a modicum of popularity, however, what I tend to get instead aren’t queries or complaints about the lack of comments, but rather demands that I add them — demands from entitled people who see that I’ve built something very nice that draws much attention, and who believe they have a right to share in it.

They don’t.

Derek Powazek adds to this with a somewhat calmer analysis. I particularly like this bit.

I don’t think the problem is that people are stupid. I think that people, when given crappy tools, with almost no oversight, no incentive to behave, and no semblance of real identity, often behave stupidly.

I was quite tempted to turn off comments on this new blog but have settled for the strange way the P2 theme obfuscates them, the logic being if someone really wants to leave a comment they will. It’s not that I don’t want comments, it’s more that I they don’t really seem necessary.

To put it crudely, this is where I write and share, Twitter is where I converse. More subtly, blogs create a networked conversation. I write here, you respond or expand on your blog, and so on.

If your site has a vibrant and valuable community in the comments threads then that’s fantastic. You should treasure and nurture that. But I don’t think you need to have that facility.

2 thoughts on “On Comments

  1. Your network of Blogs only works if everyone reads all the same blogs, though, and possibly in the same order. This entry is (in part) a response to John Gruber’s Blog – but people who follow John but not you will never know it’s here. And I’d guess that if everyone who follows your Blog was to comment on this post in their own bit of cyberspace then there would be people who having seen your response to John would miss the response to you elsewhere.

    Now for some posts, this probably doesn’t matter. John has made his decision, and is unlikely to change his mind because of anything you or I say. But sometimes comments can help to expand and illuminate the original post, or demonstrate a strong sense of community support for an idea, (or offer an alternative viewpoint, although that might not always be what you wanted!)
    Is it really a “networked conversation” if everyone is shut in their own room talking away, and can’t be sure who is hearing what parts?

  2. @Tim It’s how Twitter works and Twitter works very well as a conversational space.

    There are many ways to skin this cat. As Gruber says in this post, it depends on what the author is trying to achieve. I’ve quite liked the relative silence of this new blog where it’s not obvious how to leave a comment. It’s oddly freeing.

    Anyhoo, horses for courses…

Comments are closed.