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Arguments for getting rid of comments

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of May 2005 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

James has a good post with some Arguments for getting rid of comments (he’s going to do another balancing one tomorrow on why comments are essential features for blogs). I’ve heard each of them before except for this one:

‘The more comments you have the less links you’ll get – Comments lose you ranking

I’m quite serious about this. Do you really think that Dave Winer would get so many links if he allowed comments of his site? To take this down to a smaller (and perhaps more important) level, say there’s a writer who you’re really into who posts some really interesting material but doesn’t allow comments, if you want to respond then you’ve gotta do it on your blog, which gives you more links, a wider audience and…’

It’s an interesting argument and one I’d not really thought about before. There is some sense in it – rather than have the conversation on your own blog – not allowing comments forces people to take it to theirs with links back to you. On the opposing side I think you’d find that a lesser percentage of people would do this than leave comments – thus in taking this approach you might build your own blog’s ranking a little but you kill the potential conversations you might have.

I’m a massive fan of comments and value the learning that I do from interacting with my readers.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Nice tip and interesting thoughts to read. I will think about it. Comments are the salt in the soup, trackbacks too. I will never blog a posting because a blog disables comments. Sorry, thats not my rules.

  2. Of course, many people who post comments to my site don’t have blogs of their own and have no interest in creating them. The only way they can participate in the conversation, then, is through the comments.

  3. I thinking cutting off comments is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Dave Winer is the exception to the rule, and not a very good one at that; consider where his blog was 12mths ago or even 2 years ago to where it is now in terms of position. No 23 at Technorati where as he use to be top 10.
    At the end of the day I’ll link to a story because I want to, irrelevant of whether I’ve commented on it or not, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  4. “not allowing comments forces people to take it to theirs with links back to you.” That is not too good an idea. I support your view Darren.

  5. […] rgumentationen 5. Spam, welcher Spam? – das Leben wird einfacher Mehr dazu gibt es im via ProBlogger und BlogSavvy. Aber die Diskussion zu Kommentare […]

  6. Dave Winer’s blog can be pretty uninteresting and full of “in” comments. Who would want to comment? Seth Godin also doesn’t allow comments but he’s now delivering a crackingly interesting blog. A further member of the Digerati, Dave Sifry, does do comments and even crosses to other blogs to continue a conversation. Personally, I’d prefer the Sifry approach, but even the Digerati are split on this one.

  7. Thanks fore the link Darren… yes, Dave Winer is a case in point (although you could argue that with mainstreaming of blogs and RSS the coders are always going to slip) but having said that I’m not sure I understand why someone would not link to someone who didn’t allow comments on their blog… a bit like the ‘I won’t subscribe to non-full RSS feeds’, where you’re saying that a publishing practice is inherently bad, when in fact it’s just a practice and one which the author has every right to employ.

    Great thing about blogs, if you don’t want ’em you can just leave them alone.

    Something that really got me thinking about this in more than just a commercial sense was that Derek Powazek, probably my favourite author on the subject of online community, doesn’t have comments enabled on his blog http://powazek.com

    I think not having comments is a legitimate & possibly fruitful choice.

  8. I love seeing comments on my blog, and reading what people have to say, but I do think that if people took the time to go to their blog and write about what I have to say, it would be more thought out and maybe even more interesting as most of the comments I get are “cool”, or “thanks for the link”.

  9. I have something of a love/hate relationship with comments. Some of my sites I would love to have more comments on but the ones where I get comments, quite frankly half of them are so embarassingly bad I question letting them through. The other half I don’t let through.

    I have one post on my tech blog that has some 90+ comments, approximately 80 of them are variations on “how can I get music on my PSP?” which is what the post told them in the first place.

    Then we have the ones by people who apparently never learn’t any grammar or spelling at all. For the moment I usually let those through but I’m really questioning the value of having illiterate commentary on my sites.

    I’d love to encourage intelligent discussion but my experience is that that’s usually not what happens and so I can absolutely see the value of not allowing comments at all on some blogs.

  10. There’s also the tech aspect of having comments. I shut off comments last time on mine because I was hit with comment spam (which removing via dial-up was a pain) and I wasn’t getting many comments otherwise.

  11. The comments issue also mainly depends on what you see your blog’ purpose as. In my case, the “value” of my blog would be tremendously diminished I had turned off comments and was unable to spark what turned into a 100+ comments thread on Portland’s neighborhood associations and neighborhood involvement, which eventually led a number of people who had not previously sat down in person to discuss those issues to declare a need for a neighborhood “salon” to hash it all out in person.

    That value would be entirely lost without comments, since that discussion could not have happened just through other blogs linking to me.

  12. All the for’s and against’s about comments have merit. I see it this way: because our blogs are very opinionated they are (and really should be) also open to immediate response/correction – isn’t that why we believe blogging is great: it’s personal, immediate and open for all to scrutinise.

    I believe that if your post affects another blogger (remember not all viewers would be bloggers) they will post to you in their own blog regardless of comments availabilty or not.

    Unless you’re getting attacked by comment spam or plainly useless comments then I’d have it available.

  13. Hiya, thought for the sake of completeness I’d post the follow arguments in support og somments here too: http://blogsavvy.net/arguments-for-keeping-comments

    Thanks for all the, uh, comments :o)


  14. theron ho says: 02/11/2006 at 6:09 am

    Damn Commies

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