Last night I came home after watching Michigan’s most excellent Sugar Bowl win and read Matt Gemmell’s follow-up on why he turned commenting off on his blog a month ago. “It was definitely the right move,” he writes. And I agree with all of his points, so I linked to his post from here and followed up with a few brief words of my own on the topic.
This made some people mad.
Above, Fred Wilson says I’m missing out by “dissing” comments, commenters, etc. Not stated in that tweet is that Wilson is an investor in Disqus, a leading blog commenting system (though they view themselves as more — more on that in a bit). I don’t fault Wilson for not mentioning this very vested interest because a) 140 characters is 140 characters b) I know that he really believes in Internet comments or he wouldn’t have made the Disqus investment in the first place. Still, context is important.
Wilson’s blog, A VC, is a testament to the best of Internet commenting. It shows that on a case-by-case basis with some work, commenting can be productive and perhaps even useful. But I still disagree with Wilson that I’m missing out on anything by not allowing comments here. Because, as I wrote last night, the vast majority of the time, comments are bile. Or nonsense. Or useless. Or some combination of the three.
This is my site. I choose not to have comments. I recognize that sometimes people feel the need to respond to what I write here, and I love that. Please do it on your own site. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Google+. Or send me an email (actually, please don’t do that). Or any of the other hundred+ ways to communicate on the Internet.
If you’re saying something that you think is great, why would you want to do it as a comment on another site anyway?
Some disagree with this thought. But I’m not asking that you agree with me. I’m just telling you why I generally hate blog comments and why I don’t want them on this site. If that really bugs you, feel free not to visit.
Now that DF has achieved a modicum of popularity, however, what I tend to get instead aren’t queries or complaints about the lack of comments, but rather demands that I add them — demands from entitled people who see that I’ve built something very nice that draws much attention, and who believe they have a right to share in it.
Daring Fireball is his site. He gets to choose what appears on it. He gets to choose not to have comments. Don’t like it? Too bad.
By the way, I’m actually not saying that I can’t share this stage from time to time. You may notice that I regularly post questions asked via Tumblr with my responses below them. As long as you’re not being a complete asshat and have something insightful to say, I’m happy to use this site as a platform for that type of discussion. Not all the time, but sometimes.
Guess who else agrees with my no-comment stance for this site? Daniel Ha, the founder of the aforementioned Disqus:
@parislemon and for the record, I think your blog works better without comments…— Daniel Ha (@danielha) January 4, 2012
I’ve known Ha for a while and respect his thoughts greatly in this space. He has built a great product — one he wisely knows needs to extend beyond blog commenting. In Disqus’ case, commenting is a hook to potentially lure people into something bigger.
More broadly, Ha hopes to reframe web commenting. Others like LiveFyre and Roundtable are working on this as well. That sounds good to me. I hope they can do it. But it won’t be happening on this site.