Nathan's Lucubrations; on computers, music and the outdoors

06 05 2014

Tue, 06 May 2014

Why no comments?

One of the big benefits of the Internet is that it "levels the playing field" by eliminating barriers to communication and allowing anyone their own "soap box" to put forth their opinions. Indeed, the reduction of friction in conducting a back and forth discussion is lauded as one of the big reasons to have comments on your blog.

So, why don't I have comments? In three words: too much work. I actually chose a blogging platform that doesn't support comments out of the box (it's very minimalist), and for me, that's a good thing. I'm all for free expression, the cut and thrust of debate. But that's not what many others are interested in.

There are those who would post hateful, vitriolic comments of no substance; while I'm all for free speech, that's not the kind of speech I would like to encourage. There are also others who would use my blog as a platform to peddle all manner of "goods", and I'm also not interested in encouraging that kind of speech. Quite frankly, taking care of these problems has known solutions, but they are painfully time consuming, and if there is something I've learned from reading even good comments, it's that I don't have that kind of time.

There's also the matter of my server, my rules. Yes, I understand you may have something insightful to say, or you feel really strongly that you should be able to respond to my posts right below them. Too bad. I'm paying for the hardware, the electricity, the bandwidth, the domain name, not to mention my already mentioned scarce time.

These days, it's so easy to get your own blog, or even find forums that you can post a rebuttal in, that not taking the time and effort to use those avenues of discourse tells me all I need to know about your comments: if they're not worth putting in the effort to host them yourself and to attach your own name to them, then they are probably not worth my time to read. Get your own blog; it's easy!

What I do find most ironic about the link to Coding Horror given above is that he doesn't have comments; oh sure, he has a Discourse "forum" setup for every blog post there, and he makes several good points in that blog post (and his other on "real blogs"), but he then cites a very similar reason to mine for the separation: "here's a fairly strong, but permeable, membrane between the editorial area here and the community area there. This is intentional." So much for not creating a pulpit.

I'm not trying to be elitist; on the contrary, much like the phrase "patches welcome", I'm inviting you, dear reader, to elevate yourself and dedicate some time, effort and most of all, thought, to any sort of rebuttal you may have. Start a blog of your own! And if you want to complain that you don't have that time, effort, or thought, then why should I dedicate any of mine to helping you spread your opinion?

posted at: 19:18 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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