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Blog Comments: On or Off and Why

Why I Blog About Tech (Not About Medicine) And Why Comments Aren’t Always That Important by Tony Hung on Deep Jive Interests is an interesting perspective on why we blog, and if the interactive nature of blogging important to our reason for blogging.

Josh’s blog doesn’t have comments.

I’m not sure if they’re really all that necessary.

Josh’s blog is a rare and unique glimpse into how a patient and a family deal with all of the issues around cancer, particularly at this late stage. I don’t know of many families that would be able to blog about an illness during the illness itself. But I think that perhaps one of our hospital chaplains described it best, when she described Josh and their family’s sense of peace as a state of “grace”.

You know, blogs are all kinds of things to all kinds of people. Most of the time they ARE conversations. And sometimes its appropriate that we don’t blather on, but simply listen what people have to say, because its that important.

Do you have comments on your blog? Have you stopped to think about why?

Have you turned off comments on your blog? Why?

Since many think comments are the defining difference between a blog and a website, what do you think about blogs with closed comments? Do you form opinions and make assumptions about the blogger when they turn off comments on their blogs? Do you form opinions about bloggers who have comments turned on?

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13 Comments

  1. Posted March 27, 2007 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I turned comments “on”. This is, because it’s nice to have feedback in first place, and sometimes qustions are asked. The comments are a good way to reply to those questions. By answering in “public” other visitors are able the read this additional piece of information as well. The articles are getting more complete this way.

    Sometimes comment authors are writing additional informations related to the articles themselfs. Another way to complete the articles and/or to have additional informations. :-)

    Stephan

  2. Posted March 27, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I find that in almost all cases blogs that don’t allow comments aren’t actually blogs. The interaction and feeling of community that surrounds a blog is at least as important as the actual entries on the blog itself.

  3. joe banner
    Posted March 27, 2007 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Tarzan once wrote on his blog, “Comments, good. No comments, bad.” Aside from dealing with spam, I can not think of a reason that you would not want comments.

    Speaking of comments, did this site change its theme to omit any kind of comments link on the index page, and if so, why?

  4. Posted March 27, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The blogosphere is, for the most part, an interactive community facilitated by comments *that are do not require registration*. I think the biggest bonus is the ability to turn off comments for some posts as needed based on subject matter or just how you’re feeling that day.

    – Gwen

  5. Posted March 27, 2007 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    When I started my site, which is a technology site, I turned off comments by default. I was writing one-way, and was completely focused on delivering information to my readers. When certain articles began drawing significant amounts of traffic, people began sending me suggestions about different and better ways to do things. At this point I realized that in technology, there are often many different ways to do something, and by letting those readers comment with their own unique input, my site could deliver even more valuable information to its visitors.

  6. Posted March 27, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Comments are definitely on! Every comment is greatly appreciated when you use your blog as a thinking tool to write down your thoughts concerning your research. People might see things from a different perspective or might point you to articles/blogs etc you weren’t aware of.

  7. Posted March 27, 2007 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I read a few “daily read” blogs that do not have comments enabled.

    In some instances, it works. In others, it’s a turn-off long term, as it requires switching to email, or other means to contact any author.

    Either way, it’s a personal choice and I don’t have a problem (generally) reading blogs where comments have been turned off.

  8. Posted March 27, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    On for me. Good blog without comments is… huh! It is worth respect for every word, but it is one-way communication. It is more like TV than like internet in XXI century. From mere human moments of interaction between author/s and readers to trackbacks and other technical and networking stuff, comments are what makes blogosphere what it is in our civilisation. Even the smell of spam is part of it.

    Writing a blog without comments is hell of a job. It is putting oneself in heavy position of not knowing who is reading and not exchanging ideas with people who share the same interests.

  9. Posted March 27, 2007 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I will have my comments on regardless of what I say. I think it’s one of the criteria of a personal blog, to have that interactivity between the blogger and the reader, thus a community. But on the other hand, I do understand why some bloggers would opt to turn their comments off especially if they are well read.

    You’ve talked about it before though, some people don’t have the time nor the patience to deal with every incoming comments that way and more often than not, the simplest solution is to turn the comments off.

    But if a blog isn’t bombarded by that kind of publicity, I see no reason why they should turn their comments off. Some people argue that tech blogs don’t have many comments, but then I beg differ on tech blogs that have their personal and original commentary on what they blog about. They get their comments while blogs that just quote on whatever news they see without much to comment on usually won’t get any comments. Then again, I rarely see them as blogs that have any worth in the first place.

    It’s all about the balance what you write and how you write it. Bloggers that have blogged long enough would know it’s about inviting people to comment and not ask rhetorical questions. Then again, depending on where you are, commentors can be a ham as well, commenting for the sake of commenting without regard to the post itself. That too has to be checked with a line drawn as to how far it can go.

  10. Posted March 27, 2007 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I only turn comments off if I have an article on Digg or Slashdot. It isn’t worth the time to pick out the good comments from the bad.

  11. Posted March 27, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Comments are definitely on for me. I could, and do, make mistakes, miss points, etc so comments are a way of saying I am aware of that and it is OK to point that out.

    Of course I also want to know what people think in general.

    I also think that making the decision not to permit people to discuss what you have written sends out more of a message than allowing it. It is generally accepted that blogs have comments, to decide you don’t want them could be seen as a statement that you think other peoples contributions are not relevant.

  12. Posted March 28, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I have comments on and I like comments, but I can totally understand cases where comments would be undesirable and/or unnecessary.

    However, these are almost all specialized cases, where somebody is telling a story or a continuing monologue that does not require interaction. It would be something that would be made to be read, not made to be discussed with the author.

    Because if you consider comments in their most basic form, you’re almost always talking directly back with the author of the blog entry. If you are interacting with other people, then it’s more of a forum. Conversations can go off topic, people can talk about other things, etc. But blog comments rarely do that. They’re either talking to the author or talking about the content of the article. Every once in a while they talk about other comments in the same article, but mostly they stick to a single subject: the article itself.

    So I would say that there is a place for read-only blogs. It’s not for me, but it could totally be appropriate for some.

  13. Posted March 28, 2007 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I have comments “on” so people can point out when I’m wrong.


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] believe that a blog can be successful with comments turned off, and that not all blogs need comments. But most do. It’s an important part of the definition […]

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