Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Comment about Comments

"A fellow's craft is just not for sharing/He's not an intimate secretary." -The Raconteurs

Even though this is a blog, I've decided not to open it to comments, fair or foul. In a conversation today, someone thought this odd, because the appeal of blogging for many is indeed the comments section. Well, part of my reasoning is based on the all-too-common, never-ending flamewars that usually ensue. And I think web 2.0 has gone too far with the interactivity; everyone wants to express themselves, "even on another man's work." First they started cutting away from music videos to some screaming teeange girls on TRL, then they stop with the music altogether in favor of "reality tv." "Well, why shouldn't we have any say at all? We want to express our individuality, too. Don't censor me!" Freedom of speech does not entail freedom of platform; there are plenty of public forums if you don't want to start your own. And I certainly don't have time for spammers, keyboard courage flamers, and outright loons (they know who they are.) So there's that. But blogging guru Seth Godin's offers another reason for his similar policy, perhaps the most selfish reason, since it's an epistemological one:

Why I Don't Have Comments

Judging from the response to my last post, some of my readers are itching to find a comment field on my posts from now on. I can't do that for you, alas, and I thought I'd tell you why.

I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though. First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters. I'm already itching to rewrite my traffic post below. So, given a choice between a blog with comments or no blog at all, I think I'd have to choose the latter.

So, bloggers who like comments, blog on. Commenters, feel free. But not here. Sorry.

I found his "curator" comment interesting, since I said in that conversation that my blog is not a public forum, more like a "museum." There is a value to places like the "Please Touch Museum," but this just isn't that kind of place. Anyway, just think of this blog as my own "comment" on the message board of life. "Just callin' it as I see it."

Update, 1.4.10: Of course, the person who is barred from all the secret clubhouses is the first to argue for inclusion..."But I'm helping!" To quote Robert Fripp, "helpful people are a nuisance."

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