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Commenting

Posted By Russ Roberts On January 5, 2012 @ 11:20 am In Weblogs | Comments Disabled

Reader Joshua Cross sent me an article from the tech world [1] that commenting in the blogosphere is broken and that tech blogs are increasingly closing comments:

Commenting on blogs is broken. But what we need is a solution, not an abandonment of the concept. The question comes up every few months, but new social commenting technology means there are better answers now than ever before. Over the last day MG Siegler [2],MacStories [3], and mobile developer Mike Gemell [4] have all written about choosing the nuclear option and turning off comments entirely on their sites. Their key reasons for doing so seem to be:

  1. Comment reels are full of trolls, bile, and spam links
  2. There’s no way for popular sites to keep up with comments on old posts
  3. Comment reels give random people too much visibility and distract from primary content

Here are my proposed solutions to these problems. Disqus, Livefyre, Facebook, and WordPress, how about you race to see who can be first to offer all three:

You can go to the article if you want to read the proposed solutions. But one of the lessons of economics is that there are no solutions, only tradeoffs. So for example, Don and I are considering using Facebook commenting as a way to improve comments. Yesterday, I received an email from a reader pleading with us not to do that because it would discriminate against people who wish to remain anonymous. Yes, it would. There is a cost to using Facebook comments. There is a cost to monitoring comments to remove trolls and vulgarity and incivility. There is a cost to doing nothing and providing a forum for people to have food fights on your own nickel. Everything has a cost. It’s all a question of tradeoffs.

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URLs in this post:

[1] sent me an article from the tech world: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/04/blogs-need-comments/

[2] MG Siegler: http://parislemon.com/post/15305835451/bile

[3] MacStories: http://www.macstories.net/news/on-comments/

[4] Mike Gemell: http://mattgemmell.com/2012/01/03/comments-still-off/

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