Nasty Underbelly of Blogging

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. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Nasty Underbelly of Blogging

  1. Zach,

    One of the reasons I read your blog, besides the thoughtfulness and all that, is because conversation usually ensues. I know this isn’t the case, but I often feel like allowing comments is what separates legitimate “blogs” from your run-of-the-mill “websites.”

    The difference, I guess, is between dialogue and monologue. Both are necessary in the right context, but I find dialogue a lot more appealing when it comes to “blogging.”

  2. I think your comments are generally interesting and pleasant on here, a mix of fans (e.g. me) and Christian blog readers etc.

    But throughout the internet in general I’d ban them from most places. If you read the stuff commented about youtube videos you can lose your faith in humanity within minutes, the amount of racism and general unpleasantness is shocking.

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