I’ve been thinking about comments lately, mostly because several interesting points have converged to draw my attention.
Next, Engadget turned off their comments because the had “really gotten out of hand”.
Obviously, these are all very large sites that attract (or would, in Daring Fireball’s case) a lot of spammy and otherwise unhelpful (“first!”) comments. Long ago, I stopped reading the comments on posts from large blogs and news sites specifically because there was so much cruft, making it difficult to find useful bits.
Before Twitter, comments often led to blog posts and link love, but lately, there seem to be more blogs that broadcast without any response to comments.
I understand why John Gruber doesn’t want comments, i.e. they detract from his content. Makes old school sense. He’s lecturing. That’s fine.
I also understand why popular sites have comments, even though the authors rarely respond to them. Makes monetary sense. The volume would quickly overwhelm them; authors are paid for content not comments.
So that leaves all the other sites, like this one, where comments are enabled and welcomed.
I enjoy comments, and right or wrong, I internally measure the popularity of a post based on its comments (vs. pageviews). I blog to get information as much as to broadcast it, and the exchanges in the comments frequently add to the original post’s content.
What I don’t get is why some blogs enable comments and don’t respond. Even more confusing are blogs that require comment moderation, but don’t reply.
There’s really no point to enabling comments, and especially moderation, if you’re not going to reply. It creates work, if only to keep out the comment spam. Interestingly, today a report from the HoneyGrid estimated that 95% of user-generated content is malicious in nature or spam.
Malicious here means malware, spyware, etc. not some angry dude with a bone to pick. That stuff’s legit.
So why bother at all?
Seriously, any ideas?
I’ve come to believe that Twitter will eventually obsolete blog comments entirely. Someday soon, someone will write a plugin for WordPress that replaces comments with Twitter @ replies, giving the blogger a single view of all the Twitter activity for any given post.
We all publish to Twitter too, right?
Then someone will build in Facebook integration, and the blog commenting system will be obsolete, as will anonymous commentary.
Except, of course, if you want to own the comments and the SEO, etc. And Twitter certainly isn’t immune from spam.
Yeah, I know, kind of a big deal, but I’m sure the naysayers will be overwhelmed by the adopters.
So, do we need blog comments anymore? As a blogger, would you use a commenting system based on Twitter?
Maybe I have the commenting thing upside-down?
You guessed it: find the comments.