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Comments

chameleon

I was just about to leave a comment on one of your other posts....

Puddleglum

First...read your post and then think about taking the comments off? um.... doesn't quite make sense.

and secondly, if you don't accept comments, why not just keep a journal stowed in the top desk draw under lock and key

or are you so afraid of criticism that you'll cut out all opportunity for praise?

or is this one of those "harsh" comments...
sorry dude.

comments are comments...feedback and other thoughts, not part of the post itself. With you, that is always sufficient.

DarkoV

OL,
Your blog is a toughie; sometimes, it's easy to leave with a comment, either of one's own experiences (the empathy comment), or one of great admiration (the in awe comment), or one of sycophancy (the suck-up comment), or the totally white comment (the invisible comment). Perhaps if labeled options besides "Comments" were offered, the "invisible" comment would become slightly apparent. The "options" thing would also serve well as a self-censoring process. Other readers would then have a choice as to what type of commentary of your blog they'd care to read.

Sometimes, the comments are part of the entire blog entry, integral to its finish.

Sometimes, the comments detract; if I see the signature of some of the regular commenters, constant hanger-ons rather than folks contributing to the spirit of your entry, I simply log out of your blog. I know I'll need a shower from too much schmaltz.

Should you turn the comments off? No, I think that would shut us off from you.
Should you screen some of the commentary (the moderation that you speak of)? Well, you are the God of your blog, so that is a possibility. Seperating the deadwood. But that could be quite a self-absorbed thing to do, wouldn't it? And aren't our egos all a bit fragile, what with (in most cases it seems) our identities hidden behind contrived names, becasue it's easier to take a negative hit that way.

What interests me about this posting is what prompted you to write about this topic? Do you want the comments to take on some of the nastiness that is evident in 2Blowhards? Or, is it a different level, from the current one, of commenting that you're aiming for?
Or, is it simply the time for the audience to shut up and just read for a bit?

stephenesque

I never leave comments on blogs. Ever. I mean, if the stupid blogperson hasn't taken the trouble to think through what I'll think about what they've written before they post that blog entry, well, I really have no time for them whatsoever ... but then you knew that didn't you

Outer Life

In the spirit of today's post, I will wade into the comment box throughout the day.

PUDDLEGLUM -- You ask: "if you don't accept comments, why not just keep a journal stowed in the top desk draw under lock and key"? Well, between the desk drawer and the commented blog, there's a whole host of publishing options that don't permit comments, including commentless blogs. Do you believe comments are essential to a blog?

And when you ask "or are you so afraid of criticism that you'll cut out all opportunity for praise?" the answer is of course. The act of observation changes what is observed. Comments change me, and some days I think that's good, other days I think that's bad.

DARKOV -- Love your taxonomy of comments. Wish I'd thought of that. Comments are definitely a mixed-bag, but I share your sense that culling through them would be more trouble than it's worth. "What interests me about this posting is what prompted you to write about this topic?" I just started wondering why we have comments in the first place. The best answer I came up with is "because we can." Then I wondered whether comments added to or detracted from the whole writing and reading experience. That's what led to this post. I am not aiming for a particular kind of comment, [WARNING: Sycophancy alert!] though I always enjoy yours.

R J Keefe

When was the last time you saw "Comments (0)" for three entries in a row? Or even two? I'd say, as Joseph K Welch does in "Anatomy of a Murder," that you're batting a thousand.

Comments have not fully evolved, technologically, so the strongest argument for them is to continue the experiment. It's via "because we can" that we find out "who we are."

Web logs - you knew this, no? - allow loners to be genuinely sociable, to an extent probably not realizable "in person." They also allow sociable types to get real.

Keep the comments, please!

shank

Comments make blogging what it is. If you didn't want to see reaction from others, you wouldn't put your blog out in a public place like the web. You would write missives on your word-processor and keep them there. You claim to be an introvert, but I think like many of us, you're an extrovert with a very short fuse (dislike of pointless social exercises, can only take 'so much' of certain people or situations, etc). If you were a true introvert, you wouldn't have comments and you wouldn't bother blogging.

Lastly (and this is just me waxing philosophical), without comments you're not creating anything. Yeah, people will link to you - but your website won't have any character, won't have it's own identity. Hell, even Instapundit opens the comments occasionally.

Outer Life

STEPHENESQUE -- Yes, I knew that.

R J KEEFE -- Comments are an experiment. But do I want to be a lab rat? As for comments permitting loners to be sociable, perhaps that is true, but with my lack of attention to comments (before today) I've not availed myself of the opportunity. My loss? Or is it better to let my posts speak for themselves, as distant and unsociable as that may be?

SHANK -- Is a blog without comments not a blog? If I wrote in a newspaper or a magazine, or published a book, no one would expect me to append reader comments to the end. Why do we expect that with blogs? Should we expect the comment box to eventually attach itself to other forms of writing, say, when magazines and newspapers shift more completely from paper to online?

"you're an extrovert with a very short fuse" That might explain the emergence here of my heretofore hidden exhibitionist side. "without comments you're not creating anything.... your website won't have any character, won't have it's own identity." I have a hard time accepting this. I still think it all begins and ends with the posts. Who reads a magazine for the letters to the editor? But perhaps you're suggesting that comments help build a stronger community of readers than posts would alone? That might be the answer, and my blind spot when it comes to communitarian issues would explain my inability to see it.

shank

What I meant was comments define blogs - the interraction of writer and reader. Journalism, although blogging has absorbed some of it's major elements, is a different form of writing. This informative blogging shouldn't be confused with the kind of blogging you do. Although commenting and fact checking have their place in journalistic blogging, they're more of a debate than an addition to the perspective. In newsblogging, some comments outweigh others, or prove others less valuable.
However, the type of blogging here isn't this 'citizen journalist' stuff. Unlike journalistic blogging, each comment (excluding spam) adds something to the body of work whose value can't be disputed. You don't blog to keep people informed, you blog (it seems) to share with others. It's the perfect setup for folks who are short-fused extroverts because we can share what we want, ignore who we want, and turn it (the computer) off when we've had enough.

MindSpin

I'd value your posts just to encounter your mind and your voice.(Heck, I blog to encounter my own mind and my own voice.)

Beyond that, I'm glad for the opportunity to change one-sided encounters into conversation occasionally when I have something to say. These are not conversations we'd be having at a party, even if we were all in attendance (and we wouldn't be) - they are enabled by this medium and wouldn't exist without it. Maybe I have a low threshold for wonder and appreciation, but I think that borders on gift.

I haven't been blogging long, and I think I could probably count regular readers on the fingers of my two hands, but I still feel grateful when a reader stops by or posts a comment. I value both the opportunity to write, to craft, to exercise my voice, and this community/conversation that blogging creates. Both seem essential now.

Because I feel this way, I'd advocate your keeping the comments. Your writing is a journey inward. It leads your readers inward, too. We appreciate that. Don't pander to us. We are an afterthought, and we like it that way because we don't fancy getting in the way of what you would otherwise write. But let us come after the writing is done to begin the conversation. And don't think that there's nothing evoked when there is silence. That's never the case with what you write. Your posts inevitably evoke thought and a sense of resonance, as good books do.


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