It’s funny that I used to think bloggers that didn’t enable comments were egotistical or out of touch somehow. A long time ago, I used to think that about John Gruber’s site, Daring Fireball, for example. DF was one of the first really popular sites I can recall which I read frequently that didn’t believe in comments.
How foolish and wrong I was to ever think that way. How very, very foolish.
I’ve been fully convinced of the sanity of NOT having comments on blogs and any websites for several years now. My stupidity on that topic was fairly short lived. So I had to laugh when I saw this comment of John’s today.
Honestly, it’s the right choice. Comments are the scourge of the internet. Turning off comments doesn’t stop the “conversation”, as people like to imagine it, because there’s social media.1
Imagining that not having comments on a website is arrogant is in fact the actual arrogance itself. If someone wants to write something without a thousand strangers all trampling all over it with rude comments and starting fights, more power to them. Especially, again, given the ease of contacting the author through social media. Personally, I’ve never really had an issue with comments when I did have them, but it’s a lot easier to respond to people on Twitter anyway. And for popular sites, comments just become a freakish sideshow almost immediately. It’s just not worth it.
Also, frankly, it’s not our right to demand to scribble all over someone else’s thoughts, even if we want to do so kindly and sociably. Maybe they just want a place to put their thoughts and not have to turn that particular thing or location into a forum. That doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily welcome discussion about what they wrote. It just means they’d rather do that in another place, like Twitter maybe.
It’s odd, I’ve actually gone from thinking comments on a blog were a birthright to preferring to follow and read sites that do not have them. I’m glad Recode is turning them off. If you have comments, I highly recommend at least asking yourself seriously if you need them. Maybe you do, and that’s fine. Just don’t think you need them as a default or because it’s what you think people expect of you.
And you know, the best part of not having comments is not becoming one of those sites that ends every post with “What do you think? Is breathing air in and out bad for you? Let us know in the comments!”