[2007-08-06] Blog Comments

Joel Spolsky links to a post by Dave Winer on blog comments as well as providing his own views on the subject.

Dave opines:

If it was one voice, unedited, not determined by group-think -- then it was a blog, no matter what form it took. If it was the result of group-think, with lots of ass-covering and offense avoiding, then it's not.
Well actually, my opinion is different from many, but it still is my opinion that it does not follow that a blog must have comments, in fact, to the extent that comments interfere with the natural expression of the unedited voice of an individual, comments may act to make something not a blog.

while Joel adds:
When a blog allows comments right below the writer's post, what you get is a bunch of interesting ideas, carefully constructed, followed by a long spew of noise, filth, and anonymous rubbish that nobody ... nobody ... would say out loud if they had to take ownership of their words.
Dave is absolutely right. The way to give people freedom of expression is to give them a quiet place to post their ideas. If other people disagree, they're welcome to do so... on their own blogs, where they have to take ownership of their words.

The timing of Joel's post couldn't have been better as I was recently wondering about the same issues myself. I was seriously considering disallowing comments on my blog posts. Some of the main reasons were:
However, comments are not all bad, of course. Some of the main reasons I continue to allow comments on this blog include:
On the whole, blog comments appear quite useful to me despite their obvious warts. I will continue to allow comments on this blog, even those posted anonymously, as long as it remains manageable. I hope I continue to remain small enough to escape the attention of the trolls.


(Originally posted on Blogspot.)

Other Posts from 2007