May 7, 2013

On Removing Comments

I haven’t had comments enabled on this site for quite some time now. The previous, very light-weight version of TDH.me did away with the comment block. Obviously there are no comments now either, and I’m seriously contemplating taking similar action on other sites I run.

Removing comments have had these effects, both immediate and long term:

  • The conversation rate has increased, but moved. We’re now talking on Twitter and to some extent on App.net.
  • The tone of the conversation was always pretty decent here, but it has improved nonetheless. Criticism is constructive, praise is just as nice as ever.
  • There is no moderation, and no missed comments, to manage and apologize for.
  • I don’t have to worry about spam, which includes both it spam bots and the occasional trolling.

This would’ve been the perfect opportunity for a graph of some sort, but I’ve got no numbers to share. Sorry. 

Photo by Connor Tarter (CC)
Photo by Connor Tarter (CC)

Some claim that a blog without comments isn’t a blog. I don’t care about this, as I’ve never really bothered too much about what you call a site. I publish stuff on TDH.me, how you categorize it is more your problem than mine – at least that’s my approach.

Others think that removing the comments is a way to distance oneself with the readers. Since the conversation has increased, and I’m easier to get hold off than ever, I disagree with this notion. The same goes for the argument that removing comments is a way to not stand up for your content. Again, I’m available, and I give you more power to criticize me since we can talk on even ground, as opposed to within a comment box where I, the publisher, am in complete control.

Should everyone remove their comment boxes then? Probably not. I’m actually having a hard time deciding wether the next version of my Swedish site will have comments or not. There are so many good discussions in the comments there, but there’s a lot of nonsense as well. It’s a tough call, even with the positive result from this very site.

Your mileage will vary has to be the safe wrap-up to this post. If you have something to say, I’m @tdh on Twitter, and @tdh on App.net.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.