I’ve decided to go the Matt Gemmell route and turn comments off.
I do so for three reasons, all of which Gemmell cites for himself:
You should never read the bottom half of the internet. This doesn’t tend to apply quite so much to this blog, but generally speaking, comments on the web don’t contribute very much. For that reason, I doubt that any significant percentage of readers go on to read the comments of others, which rather defeats at last half of the point of comments - to continue the discussion.
Comments encourage unconsidered responses. You’ve just read an article, you feel strongly about it, and you have a text field just waiting there. When disagreeing, people tend to be at their very worst when writing comments. They use language and tones which they’d never use in email, much less in person. If your blog allows comments, you’re inviting people into your house - but sadly, some of them don’t conduct themselves appropriately.
Comments create a burden of moderation on the blog owner. Various systems exist to ease the burden, but with the burgeoning spam problem on blogs, there’s always going to be a trade-off between getting people’s comments published as quickly as possible, and keeping the comments relevant and spam-free.
For me, the decision to do away with comments is mainly due to reasons #2 and #3. The truth is, this site doesn’t generate much traffic or get a lot of comments like Gemmell’s, but I’m doing it anyway. Frankly, it’s really annoying to have to log into WordPress’s Web interface to moderate comments, and I don’t want to bother with it anymore. Also, the comments on sites like CNET and TechCrunch1 make me believe I should’ve done this long ago. To that end, I’ve set up an email address for the site that readers can use should they have something to say (preferably expressed in a constructive manner).
That is to say, the comments on both those sites are imflammatory, derogatory, and wholly unnecessary. ↩