Disabling comments

It’s time I join a growing number of bloggers and webmasters in a move that I think will be a net positive for the internet — disable comments on my blog.

Since the inception of this site in its current form, there have been roughly 2000 comments spread across all of my posts. I can count on one hand the number of comments that have actually contributed to the quality of the site, or to which I’ve looked forward to replying. That’s not meant to offend anyone who has previously left a comment; I simply feel that the signal-to-noise ratio is so low that it’s not worth the cognitive burden of moderating the comment queue.

One might argue that comments help to “open up the conversation,” and that by disabling them, I’m shutting out opinions and ideas that are different from mine. Far from it — if you have something to say, send it in an email, or a tweet. Or better yet, write it on your own blog, and send me a link.

For me, it’s a matter of focus. It’s not just about the aesthetic benefits, and even some performance benefits, of disabling comments. Rather, it’s about focusing on creating content for its own sake, instead of spending any time worrying how the commenters might react, much less having to reply to them.

As a reader, when you read blog posts and articles around the web, do you really find much value in reading the comment section (except for a good ironic laugh)? If you’ve written comments yourself, has it really led to a productive conversation with the author? It’s a solid “No” from my end, and I don’t foresee the situation improving anytime soon.

To be sure, disabling comments necessitates surrendering a certain amount of vanity. Receiving a comment often feels like a pellet of validation — a sense that your audience is present, and waiting for your next opus. But really, if you want to measure the size and the geography of your audience, then you can use Google Analytics. And if you really want to interact with your audience, then why not direct them towards a platform that is actually designed for social interaction, such as Twitter or Facebook?

It’s time for blogs to be strictly a source of content, and not a destination for discussion. That space is now owned by social media, and rightly so.
And… there we go. I feel better already!