Please forgive the unsexy title. I know it would have been far more Diggable if I had titled it “Top 10 Reasons Why Your Opinion Blog Needs Comments.”
Anyway… I can sometimes enjoy link blogs (“101 uses for a paper mache African swallow. No, European!”) without comments. Or info-blogs (new product released, site will be down next Tuesday, check out these new features).
But blogs in which the AUTHOR is mostly discussing his or her opinions about stuff, or blogs that cover controversial stuff (news stories, culture, etc.)… damn, those better have comments enabled, or they won’t get my eyeballs for long.
For instance, I’m looking at you, BoingBoing. Aside from the fact that I have (somewhat) of a life that precludes reading a bazillion entries a day that are talking at me, not with me… when it’s uber-oh-so-important-or-popular sites, I’ll be bound to find the same links in my friends’ blogs anyway.
Yes, I know, comment and trackback spammers are a bitch. I hope their nether-regions suffer from this and/or they are forced to be locked in a closet with Vanna White night after night after night after night. But with good software, good plugins (YAY, Akismet!), and a little elbow grease, these cretins are substantially less of a problem.
I have mixed feelings when it comes to comments on corporate blogs.
- Bullshit can be called out or, on a less severe note, readers can offer corrections, add useful contextual info, etc. (hopefully resulting in better blog entries in the future and more informed readers)
- Readers can request for clarifications or additional info from the company. But see the flipside of this below.
- Occasional registration requirements aside, commenting has a comparatively low barrier to entry, meaning that quality input is sometimes more likely to be offered when commenting, not just forum posting, is available.
- Comments can often be generally insightful and/or entertaining… sometimes more than the blog entries themselves :-D.
- Someone’s gotta monitor those comments… to delete spam, to (ideally, IMHO) delete offensive and off-topic crapfests, to note info to take back to other employees, to correct misconceptions or outright lies, and to (potentially) answer questions in-line. That takes time… sometimes a LOT of time. Time that, one could argue, might be better spent actually tackling questions in a forum, fixing bugs, speaking at conferences, retooling UIs, or even getting sleep. And let’s face it: tech support, at least, is most likely pretty damn inefficient via blog comments (“Help! When I turn on my qpod, it doesn’t work!”).
- Sometimes comments can draw out the worst in folks, especially anonymous folks. Even simple, informative posts can trigger shockingly nasty and uncomfortable exchanges… making the company not only less likely to blog, but (non-masochistic) customers or potential customers less likely to read the blog or even respect the company.
- Major companies can be attractive targets for comment/trackback-spamming script kiddies.
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So I’m curious… do you feel the same way I do?
– Do you also draw distinctions amongst link, info, and opinion/commentary blogs?
– Do you care one way or the other about comments on blogs or not?