Today I turned off the comments on the site.
As Matt Gemmel said when he turned his comments off 2 years ago:
“I want to make it clear that this isn’t a means to discourage conversation; indeed, I hope the opposite is true.”
I am turning comments off not to discourage conversation, but to improve the reader’s experience. I love Disqus and I think it’s truly the best commenting system out there. But I have to the conclusion that readers don’t need comments. In the past 2 years, since the creation of the site, there has only been 1 comment. Just 1 person out of the tens of thousands who visited the site left a comment, while others chose to contact me on Twitter/App.net/Email. I believe that’s because sharing a post on Twitter is personal.
Again, from Matt’s post:
“Comments allow anonymity and separation of your words from your identity. On Twitter or Facebook, anything you say is at least tied to whatever form of identity you have there. Comments on an arbitrary website don’t follow you around, and I think that encourages very unhealthy behaviour”
The comments box, while inviting and mostly helpful, separates your words from your identity, and is less personal than sharing to your friends on Twitter, when your identity is tied to your words. I have checked a lot of other writers/developers websites and just 1 out of almost 30 websites had comments. Every article on this site has a paragraph with my Twitter, App.net and Email details and I also encourage you to create linked posts on your blogs as a comment if you don’t want to use Twitter or App.net to let the world know your opinion.
As Dr. Drang said when he turned off his comments:
“I don’t feel good about this. I’ve always defended blog comments and had done so just a few days earlier. The great majority of the comments here have been helpful and maybe even more respectful than they needed to be. But I shouldn’t be spending that kind of time replying to stupid comments, and I know myself well enough to know I can’t ignore them.”
I don’t feel good about turning the comments off, but I believe it will eventually provide a better experience, and if it doesn’t, they will return.