3 min

Allowing or disallowing comments on blogs

Mar 19, 2014 - Coding Horror - Please Read The Comments

In 2006 I said that a blog without comments is not a blog and I stand behind that statement.

Since no official standard exists to define a "blog," the above sentiment is obviously personal, which makes sense because an individual blog is personal.

In my opinion, a blog with comments is a blog, and a blog without comments is also a blog. And I stand behind that statement.

More from Atwood's March 2014 post:

I'm a fan of comments, warts and all. They're noisy, sure, but in my experience they reliably produce crowdsourced knowledge in aggregate.

... if you are unwilling to moderate your online community, you don't deserve to have an online community.

True, but not all blogs are designed to be online communities.

However, demanding that every online community, every comment section, have active moderation is a tough sell.

One of the reasons I launched the Discourse project was due to the utter lack of understanding of how you build software to help online discussion communities moderate themselves. Their survival depends on it.

Discourse is new message board software and not a blog tool.

What I learned building Stack Overflow, more than anything else, is this: the only form of moderation that scales with the community is the community itself.

http://stackoverflow.com is not a blog. It's a different take on message board or forum software.

This is all a very long winded way of saying that effective immediately, Coding Horror is using Discourse to power its discussions.

This blog is now hosted on Ghost, which doesn't natively support comments. All previous TypePad comments were converted into Discourse. To the best of our ability, nothing was lost.

https://ghost.org is a new blogging app.

Atwood's blog does not support comments, which seems to violate his statement that a blog without comments is not a blog.

But his domain contains a message board where others can discuss Atwood's blog postings.

It's an interesting way of allowing comments without allowing comments.

Ghost is written in NodeJS and Discourse is written in Ruby on Rails.

Not every writer wants to install any software let alone two applications built with two different languages.

If a hosted service, however, allows one-click-style install of popular applications, then it's a possibility.

Obviously, message board software should support comments.

Many personal or organizational sites have existed where the site owner writes in one area while the site maintains a forum for others to post whatever they want. Overall, the site is a community. But in my opinion, it's a different setup than allowing comments to be posted at the bottom of a blog post.

If writers host their blogs at name.blogspot.com or name.wordpress.com with comments disabled, then they would have to host a message board on a different domain or hosted service in order to build the style of community discussed by Atwood.

http://toledotalk.com is my place for discussions with a community.

http://jothut.com is my personal place to store notes and thoughts. It's not meant to be a community. Webmentions (remote comments), however, are permitted at JotHut.

I don't plan to install message board software at JotHut.com in order to create a community. Originally, JotHut.com was built to allow anyone to post and follow users and reply to others. I designed it with community in mind, but I disabled the multi-user aspects. I don't want to host content, created by others. I'm leaning towards the "get your own website" idea. Besides, I have Toledo Talk.

It could be argued that bloggers who disallow comments have created a community by using the "forum" called Twitter. I've seen bloggers who don't permit comments suggest that people respond on Twitter.

The Atwood setup with two different applications hosted on the same domain provides for years-old blog posts to receive new life when others add new comments, since in the message board paradigm, the home page is sorted by recent activity.

#blogging - #forums - #comments - #design - #blog_jr

By JR - 679 words
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