Why I don't like blog comments

The trouble with web-based discussion boards, especially the comments on blogs, is that it is hard to have conversations in such a fractured space. If you only read one blog, it is less of a problem (but still has issues). For example, danah boyd suggested a dinner to which a friend of mine responded in a comment on the blog entry. I then fallowed up with a response of my own. The thing is, unless my friend brainsik goes back to check the comments of the entry, he may never find I responded. What we lose with blogs and have with email is when someone posts to a list, you can respond not just to the list but directly to the person you are responding to. This is a lesson we should have already learned: direct addressability is one of the core features of the internet. RSS aggration starts to make this better, but are we just reinventing the wheel? Really, what do blogs have over moderated mailing lists read with a threaded mail reader? This "new" social software is supposed to make it easier for us to communicate, not harder.

Posted by moore at 20.11.03 23:33

Somehow, i'm guessing that the only conversation that happens is between the audience and the poster, and only in that direction in the comments. For example, i would've never known about your entry had it not been trackbacked to mine. And you only know about this comment because you'll get an email about it. But if you respond in the comments, there's a low probability that i will read it due to the fact that my RSS feed doesn't tell me about updated comments.

It's funny how the technologies work better for some folks than others... for me, it's hard because it's mostly a space for musings.

Posted by: zephoria at 25.11.03 01:33

The thing is that that there are blogs that have lots of discution, slashdot for example. On these blogs the problime still exists, I don't know when some one responds to a comment of mine. If all you want is musings and not public discution you might as well turn off the comments on your blog; people could still email you about entrys and give you feed back and track backs also work as you pointed out. (I supose there is some use in leting people know what comments have been made befor so you don't get the same comment repeadly form diffrent readers.) I don't think that it is that "the technologies work better for some folks than others" more it seems that the technologies work beter for some uses then otheres. If you want something like print distrubution then blogs work, if you want conversation then mail lists seems better right now. Maby that is the reason that Big Media is taking up blogs, it is very much like what thay are used to.

Posted by: Jonathan Moore at 25.11.03 08:12

Comments are great. They make blogs more dynamic, diverse and more interesting. Blogs with comments tend to be more popular. Comments are a great place for sharing ideas, providing opinion and link recommendations and references.

Had you considered that a wiki may be a good place to create a reference to blog comments? You could just start with a list of all the comments you have made in various blogs and have ones for /., etc. I have sort of done this at the page listed below, which is just a partial list of weblog entries and comments of mine, which can be found at infoAnarchy and ShouldExist.


Posted by: ABliss at 28.12.03 17:21

i would not return to the page with the topic you read before,butiwill probably return to the topic i posted a comment to. More comments means more visits and it keeps the blog dynamic. After all blogs are not for authors only...

Posted by: Greg at 02.01.04 03:01

I think the last two posters have missunderstood my point. It is deffently not that having discution on blogs is not a positive thing. It is. Disscution is good as this blog is demenstrating right now. My complaint is more that blogs could be improved greatly and could be much more powerfull if thay came over the problime that thay fracture your existance one the internet. I simple preposal would be to alow a comment posters to spesify weathere thay sould be notified of future comments on the blog entry or thread. Maby this could also be solved in rss readers but I think that is the rong aproach. What I what is to have message bords, email, IM, wikis, and blogs to be just diffrean interfaces to the same systome allowing me to consoladate my comunations but still use the apropreate UI for the moment.

Posted by: Jonathan Moore at 02.01.04 11:10

The problem that plagues many Blogs is link spam. Google's current ranking algorithm places a lot of weight on links. Thus links are important and desired by companies trying to rank well on Google. Link popularity is critical with Google - whereas search engines like Inktomi - feeding MSN, HotBot and soon Yahoo - rank websites based on text, keyword density, site structure and other on-page factors. One of the quickest ways a Blog owner could stop this link spam is to disable HTML in the comments and disable the live URL link - unless of course Google quits ranking based on links and instead starts placing more weight to on-page factors even business cards. Immunize your blog and disable HTML.

Posted by: seo at 05.02.04 20:41

I have to agree with Jonathan Moore, google is the main reason blog comments and spam go hand in hand. If you just disable the URL form space and also disable html everything is solved and your comments are normal and never spammed (except by idiots...well, they all are idiots I guess)

Posted by: Jon Bakers at 08.02.04 23:17