Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 9, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

BLOG COMMENTS....There's more online pondering about blog comments today over at Crooked Timber. Eszter Hargittai, who is doing actual scholarly research on the subject, wants to know why some blogs don't have comments. For what it's worth, here are the reasons I hear most often:

  1. On big blogs, they just turn into a chatroom, and there's not much point to that. (Note, however, that there are probably only about 20 blogs in the whole world big enough that this is a reasonable excuse.)

  2. Fear that vicious and stupid commenters will drag down the tone of the whole blog.

  3. Unwillingness to take the time to moderate a comment section.

There are probably others, including laziness, but these are the three that seem to come up most often.

All of these seem like valid reasons to me, although I occasionally wonder if fear of being contradicted or insulted isn't part of it as well. For my own part, I just choose not to worry too much about #1 and #2, and I take care of #3 by not moderating at all. (I participate in the comment section a bit, but not a lot. And I don't monitor or delete comments at all.)

There are also a few interesting comments in Eszter's post related to comments here. As I've mentioned before, I agree that comments become less enlightening as the quantity of comments gets high, but on the other hand it's not as if it hurts anyone either. After all, if you don't like the comments, just don't read them. That's what I do.

On the other hand, for every blog with comments that I don't bother reading, there are probably two or three blogs without comments that I wish had them. For some reason, professors and (former) students at UCLA seem to be among the most egregious offenders in this regard....

Kevin Drum 12:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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