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.
Because I’m smart enough to know better.
But really, if you’d like to comment, why not do it on your own blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, etc? There are so many outlets for feedback now — not sure why you think it has to be on my site itself.
A few people have pinged me about the comments in the latest Calacanis/Facebook story (part III from last night). Basically, there are a lot of comments amounting to “Why Is This News?” Certainly there’s an argument to be made there — at first the story was about just how hard it was to quit Facebook. Then it was about how it was harder to quit Mahalo. Finally, it became about Facebook calling Calcanis a liar. I think it’s interesting, but I realize not everyone will. And that’s fine, feel free not to read that post.
All that being said, don’t worry too much about the commenters. Two things to always keep in mind:
1) Commenters are a very, very (did I say “very”?) small percentage of the overall readership. In every respect they are the vocal minority. I’m sure there have been case studies about why that is. And I’m sure there will be more. But anyone on any blog would be foolish to let this vocal minority affect the editorial process — partially because of #2.