Weblogs without comments

John Robb shuts comments down on his weblog (note that he's also eliminated TrackBacks though his system accepts TB pings):

I have eliminated the comments on this weblog because most people were sending me e-mails directly vs. making comments to my weblog.  It also makes the weblog load faster (by 3-5x).

Of course, this is a personal call that any weblog owner is free to make, but I find the reasons pretty weak -- so weak actually that I wonder if they are the real reasons behind this move. Each time I reacted to one of John's posts, I made a comment, I did not send a private email. That's the point, emails are private, comments are public, they serve different purposes and should both be considered as complementary, certainly not exclusive to each other. I find in general that weblogs without comments have less value that ones where conversations are happening through them. For the record, I also dislike weblogs where there is no way to contact the author in private (whether this is through email or a contact form is of no importance).

And as for the slow-down effect, please! There are plenty of solutions out there where the comment capability has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the loading time! If that's really the case with Radio, this is ridiculous.

For a better explanation on why one doesn't want to open comments on his weblog, look at Jonathan Schwartz' explanations:

Notwithstanding the spelling of my name, or the curious reference to Sun's Java stewardship, I appreciate the various discussions regarding whether I'm using blog comments (I'm not - you can't simply append text to my entries). At least in my particular instance, it's not a simple answer - nor is there an easy way to avoid the spam plague without hiring someone full time to moderate comments. Which seems like a waste of resources (and even less consistent with blog ethics).

From where I sit, the web's full of good ways to engage in dialog - beyond (and arguably more useful than) unfiltered comments. And there are plenty of fine companies assisting with aggregating and connecting that content - from Technorati to Feedster - to PubSub, and many others.

Again, personal weblogs belong to their authors, and they are free to run them exactly as they wish. But when one builds an audience and engages a dialogue with it, one should carefully think about making such choices as shutting comments down when they were open in the first place.

So here I am, making a public post on my weblog to mark my disagreement with John's decision, in public. Because I can, but people without a web site cannot (this limitation equally applies to Mr. Schwartz reasoning about connecting web content).

3 Comments

I notice you don't appear to support trackback. I consider that choice unfortunate, as well.

In any case, until I'm spending too much time cleaning up after creep spammers, my site stays open. If the spammers get to be too obnoxious, I'll find a way to prevent them.

Actually, I do support TrackBacks, I always did since they were available. There simply is a side effect of using SimpleComments (which allows me to list TBs as part of the comments thread in chronological order) that prevents a TB to rebuild the entry. What happens is that I receive a notification and decide, if the TB is worth it (which is not always the case), to rebuild the entry manually (unless it's already done by someone else's comment).

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