It has been a while now (7 months) since I switched off comments on the blog. Â I’m left with mixed feelings about this, though I should be honest: Â I’m happier with them off. Â I don’t miss moderating them, cleaning up spam and worrying over whether moderation is a form of editorial. Â Yes – there were some great comments, but they were dwarfed in volume by ones that I wasn’t thrilled to pay to host, for public consumption on the internet. Â This might be a weird way of thinking about it, but that’s where my head is now.
From that perspective I am unlikely to switch them back on. Â I’ve been watching how other sites deal with comments, and while I never had the quantity of big sites the problems with comments are universal. Â There are someÂ elegantÂ solutions out there but nothing that really works for me. Â I will keep looking. Â I’m sort of heartened by the number of blogs that I read (in various other industries) that don’t have comments. Â I suspect they still have the same struggles though.
My hopes for how discussion might go haven’t really been realised. Â I hoped people might use the endless possible tools to post responses that they could own. Â It was heartening to see Peter Giuliano respond to Chris Schooley’s post on his own blog – it was absolutely the right place for that response to live and be archived. Â However, this is a rarity. Â I feel like a hypocrite when I post something and mention discussion without really offering a place for discussion. Â Forums are relative ghost towns compared to previous levels. Blogs are, by and large, very quiet. Â Twitter is a blurry stream of quips, thoughtful responses, nonsense and confusion. Â I don’t really think I have an answer. Â I feel like we need discussion, room for questions and clarifications. Â I’d be happiest to do this in person, face to face over a glass of something rather tasty, but this isn’t viable either.
Of course, without comments I am asking a question without giving space to answer. Â I’m interested in people’s ideas for a place or mechanism for discussion. Â We’re just missing a place for them to share these ideas so we can discuss them….