I’ve often gone back and forth on the usefulness of comments on a blog. Obviously, I allow comments here but I’ve often wondered if there is a net negative to blog comments. I’ve even imposed an unsuccessful, short-lived ban on myself from commenting here. I simply can’t help myself. This article in at the Wall Street Journal website takes and peek and why this could be the case. Like the article explains, I feel like a cat following the red dot from a laser pen……Or a bug that flies towards it’s ultimate doom into that beautiful blue glow.
The article highlights Andrew Sullivan, a blogger that read daily, and how he allowed his readers to determine if he should allow comments or not. He put it to a vote and the result was a resounding “NO”.
Readers responded 60-40 against allowing comments. Even more striking than the fact that these readers were denying themselves a voice was the reason some of them gave for declining the offer: Like cats chasing a laser, they wouldn’t be able to stop themselves.
“In truth we would rarely opt not to read them,” said one reader. “Blog comments have the power to hammerlock one’s attention. … We’d be impotent to resist looking over the rantings and counter-rantings. … Not only would comments be an incredible drain on one’s time (especially if we check your blog several times a day from work), but it also exposes readers to the nasty underbelly of blogging.”
I can certainly relate to this. I even voted “No” as well while I allow comments on my own blog. Is it a double standard? Maybe, but although I may have fewer readers than Sullivan, I trust that my readers are nicer, right? It’s certainly something to consider but for now I’ll try to practice thoughtful and respectful commenting. 🙂