Dave Winer posted a nice article this morning in which he examines comments on his blog and makes some great points.

Bottom line is most of what gets posted as comments is garbage. Fine. I’ll read it. Got your message. Now I get to decide if I want to let you use my space to push garbage on people I respect, the people who read this site. I don’t want to make readers sort though a lot of crap to find the interesting stuff. So I do that for them. Again if you don’t like it, that’s okay — cause this is my space. You can make different rules in your space (via Dave Winer)

I’ve always believed comments provide a way for readers to discuss topics but I have yet to see that proven to me. Most comments are just a couple of remarks and don’t let to conversation at all so that’s lead me to think about disabling comments. Right now most of what I get is spam, anyway. To me, the anonymity of comments leaves it open for trolls and kids (one and the same most of the time) who have nothing better to do than make snide, off-color, hurtful remarks. Most can’t even be qualified as having utilized any brain power at all. Don’t believe me? Go read the comments on your local paper or CNN. I guarantee most are useless remarks that lend nothing to the story. I also bet if someone in the story is african america, Jewish, latino or asian there will be at least one racist remark (but more like 3-4).

The best thing I’ve seen happen in comments in recent years was the advent of a Facebook based comment system. To comment you have to have a Facebook account. What makes is nice is that Facebook exposes the real person making a good deal of their private information (no matter what they’re settings) public. This lack of anonymity reigns people in from making completely ludicrous remarks. Would you make remarks about the race of someone arrested for stealing at your local Walmart if your boss and mom could see it on Facebook? Probably not. Unless they knew you were a raving asshole.

So there’s my 2 cents. Comments suck. They should be turned off as useless, receptacles for spam and refuse (especially in public media). There’s enough blogging sites with WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr not to mention social networking like Twitter and Facebook that people can go make their spiel in their own space instead of polluting ours. Today, comments are on. Tomorrow, maybe not. We’ll see.

 

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