Commenting is a privilege, not a right


While early bloggers were generous, giving their rare online spaces up to public discussion, there is no need to feel so generous any more. Starting one’s own blog is easy these days, and ranting on social media is even easier. There is plenty of space for people to discuss stuff, and that does not have to happen on your site – the era of such generosity is mostly over, and most veteran bloggers have severely tightened their commenting rules over the years.

You may have noticed that comments on my blog are disabled by default, but in my case it's more a matter of laziness than anything else. It's also in part that I don't think that there's much to comment on in my blogposts and if you preferred you could write me a blogpost of your own (I think trackbacks are cool, except for when they're used to spam as well) or anyone that knows me knows how reachable I am on Twitter.

Regardless of this, it is a leaf out of Ruben's book given I usually respect his opinion about these things and I can see his reasoning well, despite the fact I barely faced this issue myself. My blogs have generally never generated enough traffic as to ensure any sort of spam. Whatever the case, this commenting issue goes a lot deeper. Bora Zivkovic of Scientific American posted a blogpost a couple of days ago from which the first quote (and the quote below) is from.

The commenting threads are not a place to showcase the whole spectrum of opinions, no matter how outrageous some of them are, but to educate your readers, and to, in turn, get educated by your readers who always know something you don’t.

Although I couldn't say I've been around the blogosphere long enough to know about it, commenting which has potential to be something positive, constructive and educational seems to have passed us by as the incidences of trolling continues to rise, leading many people to disable comments, not just people close to me like Ruben. I believe this is not in my own words, but any comments that could be constructive are being drowned out by both spam and trolling it doesn't seem worth it anymore to have to spend this time in filtering out the rubbish in hopes of something good. Dan Conover comments:

We've taught users bad habits and turned comment sections into troll ghettos.

I suppose it shows that I'm a product of this newer generation by the mere fact that I didn't want comments on this blog from the start, given the multitude of other commenting options that are available these days. However I did have it on previous blogs, where I had hoped to inspire discussion and received none instead. I suppose this is the opposite of what the blogging community fears usually. As Dan says in his blogpost, the conversation has moved on and the way we communicate is constantly evolving, so it's time for us to move on too. Dan concludes, as will I:

The conversation moved. And I'm not about to let stupid strangers smear shit all over work I value based on nothing more than an outdated principle. [...] But as my kids say, you have to get with the now. And now this is the place where I come to write. You're free to talk about it someplace else.