Monday, July 09, 2007

Why some of the best blogs don't allow reader comments ...

Shawn Blanc on posits:

Why Daring Fireball is comment free

... John [Gruber] answers why there are no comments on Daring Fireball.

I wanted to write a site for someone it’s meant for. That reader I write for is a second version of me. I’m writing for him. He’s interested in the exact same things I’m interested in; he reads the exact same websites I read. I want him to like this website so much that he reads it from the top to the bottom, and he reads everything. Every single word. The copyright statement, what software I use, he’s read it all.

If I turn comments on, that goes away. It’s not that I don’t like sites with comments on, but when you read a site with comments it automatically puts you, the reader, in a defensive mode where you’re saying, “what’s good in this comment thread? What can I skim?”

It’s totally egotistical. I want Daring Fireball to be a site that you can’t skim if you’re in the target audience for it. You say, “Oh, a new article from John. I need to read it,” ...

If I turn comments on I feel like it’s two different directions. You get to the end of my article and you’re like, “let’s see if there’s anything interesting. Let’s see if there’s any names I know.” That’s really it. Sometimes a design decision is what you don’t put in, as opposed to what you put in.

Blanc summarizes : "This may be one of the best reasons to write a weblog."

I would have to agree. Initially I started this site with no comments. Later, I discovered that occasionally I would actually like to take on my critics and let the world know my kudos. Sometimes, your critics can prove a point better than you could have written.

I would imagine the other reason Gruber has comments turned off is that he would have an OUTRAGEOUS amount of comments to moderate. I only let about 75% of my comments through on this site. I also get a number of comments to older posts. The job of moderation is roughly a 30 minute a day task. I couldn't imagine what it would be like for someone like Gruber.

In reality Gruber does allow comments as he posts critiques of his critics from around the web and often posts the emailed corrections, clarifications, etc etc he receives.

Gruber's Daring Fireball is the ONLY site I know of where I am pleased that there's no comments because I think trolls would water down his perspective and strength of each argument he makes. While I disagree with Gruber's occasional liberal political rants - I honestly wouldn't want to read all the trolls that might post comments about it - mostly because I know he's a blowhard politically.

I think Gruber is wise to be almost mythically, "Unchallengeable!"



Anonymous said...

I can't say I agree. I was hoping Jon's explanation would be the shear amount of work involved (which you alluded to, and I still would not agree with). But his reasons had nothing to do with that, and I disagree with them as stated.

His site, and Paul Thurott's Internet Nexus, have always fristrated me with their lack of comments.

This is the web. If you're gonna put it out there for all to see you should be prepared to address feedback, including links (sites that accept comments but no URLs are equal offenders in my book).

If it's a lot of work, isn't that the price of success? Would Jon rather he didn't have enough readers to make moderating the comments a problem? We should all have that "problem."

I read Daring Fireball daily, but complaning about success rarely does much for me.

Of course I should be telling this to Jon, not you, but, oh yeah, I can't.

FYT said...

He occasionally reads here ... so maybe he will see it or one his "helpers".

I have to say that if my site is 30 minutes a day his would most likely be 4-6 hours a day.

I moderate to filter trolls and spam. I HATE Slashdot and Digg because they allow such without site moderation.

You are right ... we write for the public ... the problem is in my case and I'm sure John's case - I disagree with the public 90% of the time - so I really don't care about what they have to say. I appreciate any and all insight - such as what you usually bring ;-)