Wow. When I read this post by Cody Fink talking about comments and the future of Macstories I was not expecting this:
In consideration of the reader, how we want the site to look, and due to the amount of time we can spend keeping an eye of this stuff, we will be removing comments from the next iteration of MacStories. And yes, it’s the nuclear option for keeping the site clean. Removing comments also means that we’re doing an incredible disservice for the readers who’ve already left great comments, and we hate having to remove those from the discussion. Decisions like this are tough because we have to do what’s best for us while minding our reader’s thoughts.
Good for them. I love Macstories and the bottom line is that the removal of comments will do nothing to change that whatsoever. I’m sure I’m not alone there.
Still, this is an impressive stand. It’s one thing for a single person site (like this one) to make a call to remove comments. It’s another for a larger team blog to do so. In fact, I can’t think of any without comments.
Right or wrong, the mentality is that to build a next generation media publication on the web, you need comments. That’s why we never got rid of them on TechCrunch (believe me, plenty of us wanted to — Facebook comments were a compromise).
Even more interesting is the psychology behind “needing” comments on big sites. Let’s be honest: most of these sites defend comments because if they don’t, it will seem like they’re taking a shit on their readers. It’s along the lines of “the reader is always right” — even when only half a percent are commenting and the vast majority of those are trolls.
So good for Macstories taking a stand and doing what they think is right for their site. This is ballsy and I hope it works for them. If it does, it could be the first real step towards the reinvention of online feedback and discussion that the space desperately needs.