I scheduled my previous post yesterday afternoon to publish this morning (EST). It rolled around my head all night and I processed on the decision heavily. I’ve since turned them back on and I’ll explain why so that if you decide to read the article I posted and think about turning them off, my thinking on this might help. I pushed further into the linked articles and posts and read several points of view last night that showed both sides of the argument.
In the case of Matthew Gemmell, he writes a primarily tech focused blog and as such, not allowing comments is a good choice. Comments on a tech blog invite all kinds of responses that generally never add to the posts subject and in many ways, distracts the reader of the original intention. For example, I wrote a password themed blog entry on my old blog (no longer published) and received more than 50 comments. If I removed the ones that offered their own opinion without expanding on my post, I would be left with less than 10. Discussion is good, especially when it’s constructive and applicable to the conversation, however tech blogs generally don’t encourage those sorts of replies. The typical “You’re an idiot” themed response is more common.
In the case of Matthew’s wife though, she writes a food themed blog and as such needs to encourage comments so that recipes can be tweaked, questions can be posed and answered, and general responses on how good or bad the recipe ended up tasting. It makes sense. She has left her comments on and for good reason, as after reading a few posts, there were multiple responses on most articles that offered additional context that supported the original post.
Having weighed both sides, and waking up this morning to no comments (because I turned them off) and only a few responses on Twitter from followers, I decided that for my own blog it wasn’t worth turning off comments for a few reasons. I don’t get that much spam, if any. I don’t recall a single piece of legitimate spam in the 5 years I’ve been writing this blog. I also don’t have a lot of followers at this point and keeping up with comment approvals is a trivial amount of time. There are also a select few that I’ve taken the conversation off WordPress with and into Twitter and soon a separate chat client (have a new side project brewing that I’m excited about). I wouldn’t have made those connections if I had comments turned off. So, with that said, and after the early morning edit to the original post, I’ve turned the comments back on and will most likely keep them on into the future. WordPress lends itself to a dialogue that is often lost if taken to Twitter or Facebook in that the context of the conversation is no longer easily referenced.
To John at John Liming’s Blog, while I hope that you turn comments back on again, I understand your decision to turn them off. It is a surprisingly personal decision to make as I’ve discovered. If you do continue to keep them off, please get a Twitter or Google+ account, as I can’t in all good conscience sign up for Facebook again after deleting my account. This post explains my decision to delete Facebook. It feels like I’ve lost a connection to a fellow blogger as I can’t even click “Like” on your posts.