Follow up to Comments or no comments

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.

Comments or no comments

One of the blogs I follow recently went comment-less and the idea has merit. I don’t have a lot of followers despite having a 5-year-old blog and only recently did a handful (less than 10) become regular commenters. Most of the time I get likes and views, but generally no comments. With that, I’m going to go through the mental process of deciding if I keep comments on or turn them off across the board. I have not determined if I can turn off comments (and still keep the ones already made) or if it will remove comments completely. Will hit up WordPress dude for an answer to that question as I’m being lazy today and not searching for myself.

Inspiration: John Liming’s Blog
Source: Comments Off by Matt Gemmell

To keep them on…

Who doesn’t like to get comments on the stuff they post? I certainly love to see what others write in response to what in some cases can be a hard subject to author let alone comment on. This is a blog written by me though, and although I have yet to get spam, I have had a few comments that met the trash can because they weren’t appropriate. Matt’s article goes into detail about how he encourages thoughtful conversation through re-blogs and posts written as a long response to a post he’s written. He uses Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to continue the conversation while keeping his original post intact. I follow several blogs as well that will get 200-300 responses on every post that I admit I almost never read past the first page. I certainly don’t get that many response and often get none. At this point in time, my burden of comment moderation is a small one. If I got featured on “Discover” at some point, I’m sure that would be overwhelming almost immediately.

To turn them off…

What am I really missing anyway? The followers who comment on a regular basis, also follow me on Twitter as I’ve done the same thing. Find a good post, I tag them in a tweet. Feel strongly about a good post I have re-blogged and written my own response to it in lieu of leaving a comment that would certainly have been way too long. A re-blog is tagged as a comment I believe even if comments are off, but I’m not sure and will need to test around with that. Looking back at the comments that have been left, there are maybe a dozen posts out of over 250 from the last 5 years that had comments that actually resulted in contributions to the conversation. It makes sense then to turn off comments that generally don’t add much to the post itself other than agreement or a one liner that confirms a point made. Twitter is good for that. I’m guilty of the one liners myself and will need to start limiting that *or* take it to Twitter or Google+ (refuse to sign up for Facebook again).

What I decided

(see the edit)  I’m going to turn off comments for a while and see what happens. I’ve provided the links to both my social accounts to share your thoughts and comments on any of my posts on this blog. If there is a post that prompts a strong response, I encourage you to re-blog and craft a response on your own blog. If the ping back doesn’t list, please make sure to let me know so I can read it (that is if I don’t already follow you). This will be an interesting experiment that seems to be an increasing trend on the Internet.

EDIT:  I thought about this post overnight (scheduled it yesterday) and decided that turning off comments, for my blog, was the incorrect decision.  I almost never get spam because of the fact that I require a user to be logged in to post and I moderate every comment (more so I don’t miss them than anything else).  They’ve been turned back on as of this edit, but I still encourage you to follow me and comment on either of the two sites below if you feel so inclined.  I’d like to have 100 WP followers by the end of the year, a goal I thought unattainable even a year ago.

You can reach me at either of these sites: