Earlier this evening, I followed a link from Techmeme and encountered an editorial that was, well, IMHO just flat out wrong. Inaccurate, illogical, the whole nine yards.
As I was reading it, I considered adding a comment to provide corrections and contrasting opinions, but then reconsidered, since it’s just not worth my effort to crime-fight every time someone is wrong on the Internet. Furthermore, as I realized just moments later, I couldn’t have sounded off on the piece even if I wanted to… since this author had decided not to accept comments for posting.
First, let me acknowledge up front this is absolutely within this blogger’s rights. And surely there are a number of understandable reasons they might have made such a choice:
- It can get tiring cleaning up comment spam.
- Commenters can be annoying, poorly behaved, and sometimes downright abusive, and dealing with these jerks is even less fun than dealing with spammers.
- Welcoming input from users (even the “good” ones) essentially results in the creation of an (oft-time-consuming) obligation to engage with the community of commenters, or risk being branded aloof, detached, etc.
However, there’s a much less, well, neutral reason to have commenting disabled: you can spout misleading nonsense and not get called out on it on your blog.
I no longer care whether a blogger’s reasons for excluding comments on their blog are innocent or out of an intent to deceive. I’ve decided I’m no longer going to read no-comment blogs for the following reasons:
1) I enjoy supporting bloggers who respect and yearn to learn from their readers.
A great example is Fred Wilson, whose blog entries routinely get huge masses of comments… the vast majority of which range from interesting to hugely insightful. And that’s no accident; he leads by example, consistently posting respectful and thoughtful entries.
2) On many blogs, I find that the comments make me smarter (and also introduce me to smart people worth following).
Sure, the comment sections of some blogs are cesspools, and I’m pushing myself to avoid such blogs as well. But even when a blog has a mix of quality and not-so-quality comments, I’ll quite commonly find gems of interesting (or at least smartly entertaining) comments and commenters.
3) I’ve found the writing in popular comment-free blogs more likely to infuriate me than that in the comment-containing blogs*.
Let me reiterate both the personal nature of this observation and non-black-and-whiteness of the above statement. I’m not saying that all blogs without comments are “bad,” nor am I saying that all blogs with comments are “good.” Rather, I have just more often found myself annoyed and frustrated when reading no-comment blogs than I have with blogs supporting public commenting. And life is too short to spend time doing unnecessary things that infuriate.
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What are your thoughts on this? Have you developed a similar preference for blogs-with-comments, or are you just as (or even more) happy reading blogs uncluttered by the blatherings of the masses?