I’m doing a 30 day blogging challenge and on day 1 people started to ask why I don’t have comments on the site. This is the post for day 2 so I don’t have to keep repeating myself.
When you set up a website on WordPress the default is to allow comments. At the bottom of each post there is a space for people to add their two pence worth and/or show support. Comments are on a lot of national news websites too, and sometimes make for better reading than the article themselves.
As a tiny person in the ever expanding world of the internet, comments do not help me because of…….
All the spam on the site
I’ve experimented with turning comments on and after 24 hours had 50 various offers for things I will never want or need. How these people know I have a tiny penis I’ll never know, but as a woman, it really doesn’t bother me. I’m sure the Russian wives I could meet right now, because they are in my neighbourhood are all lovely but I don’t want a wife. Nor do I need another degree, to find my ancestors or to buy a pair of cheap cheap bargain Louboutin knock offs. All this spam needs me to sift through it in case there is one little real message in there. I’ve tried a variety of different spam blocking plugins but none of the free ones are that effective. I believe in paying for things that work when you can but it is a whole lot easier just to turn off the comments.
All the spam in my inbox
Every comment left on the site, either published or waiting to be moderated is also sent to my inbox. I don’t have the time to sift through the spam every day. I can’t filter it straight to trash in case I miss the one genuine message in the hundreds of useless ones. It is a time suck.
Comments don’t add value to the content
Comments generally don’t make things better. Long threads of comments are difficult to read, they are unwieldy and tend to go off topic. If anyone wants to talk about the things I write about on less-stuff the Facebook group or Twitter are both better places. I’ve been told that relying on social media for this means I don’t own the comments. As far as I’m concerned I never did, if I didn’t write them, they are not mine to use.
Comments don’t pay the bills
Comments do not drive traffic to the site, they do not bring new people in, they do not help the site reach more people therefore they do not make less-stuff a more attractive prospect to advertisers. They might add to the word count of a page and put in a few more relevant keywords but for the hassle involved there is zero payout.
Since blog comments don’t have a huge effect on your traffic, they don’t have a huge effect on your revenue either. So you don’t need to stress out about the number of comments that you get or don’t get. https://optinmonster.com/to-allow-blog-comments-or-not-heres-what-the-data-shows/
I maintain integrity
If I start to write with potential comments in mind it is possible that my content will be biased towards pleasing the commenters. If I have comments disabled I can write with freedom.
I don’t have to worry about privacy laws
If you are in the EU you may have noticed lots of emails asking you to confirm you want to be on an email list. This is because of new data protection laws coming into place in May 2018. I have a privacy statement relating to info I hold in the shop and on the mailing list. With no comments I do not have to worry that the back end of this site is saving information about you.
Comment are archaic
Along with justified text on a website (that alienates 10% of a sites readership because it can be difficult to read), comments are old fashioned. I started blogging in 2004, before Facebook and got big and we were able to make groups. In the old days comments were used as a way to properly interact with people. We don’t need to do that any more. I have a car instead of a horse and I don’t have to make a fire every time I cook. Get with the beat, things change.
I’m in good company
Zen Habits and Seth Godin have taken comments off their sites. Leo Babuta from Zen Habits got too much spam and Seth Godin says “it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them”. I respect the opinions of both these incredibly successful people.
No comments = less clutter
The remit of less-stuff is wide and it is difficult to make it easy for people to navigate. Comments add to the visual clutter. They add to my workload too. Time is finite and my time is better spent doing other things.
Sharing is more helpful
If you like or hate something I’ve written, sharing it is more helpful than commenting. Sharing opens it up to the wider world and we can have an actual conversation about it, rather than taking turns in the comments box.
If you want a really good conversation about any of the topics on less-stuff, with wonderful company please join the less-stuff Facebook group.
It’s not just me – check out
“And let’s be honest. There’s a lot of other ways to reach out — email, Facebook, and Twitter to name but three — to let us know what you think. This isn’t about silence or censorship; it’s about civility. It’s about fostering a critically thinking dialogue that isn’t predicated on expletives, fear-mongering, shame, or threats of sexual assault. Imagine that.”” Why We Don’t Have Comments – The Establishment.
“Seriously: when tech news website Re/code shut down its comments section last year, editors cited the growth of social media as one reason for the decision: “The bulk of discussion of our stories is increasingly taking place there, making onsite comments less and less used and less and less useful.”” Not all comments are created equal: the case for ending online comments – The Guardian.
“We’ve also made the not-unrelated decision to close our comments section. Over the years, robust conversation in The Atlantic comments section has too often been hijacked by people who traffic in snark and ad hominem attacks and even racism, misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish invective.” We want to hear from you – The Atlantic