Comments oh! comments!

I’ve missed blogging in the last 2 days so with this post I hope catch up on the editorial calendar. Day 4‘s assignment topic was: Are there sections online that I refuse to read? Day 5’s assignment topic was: Would you read a personal blog without a comment section? How do you feel when a comment section is closed? This post combines the two.

Matt Groening, famous for co-creating The Simpsons, said about comments: “If I have one technology tip of the day, it’s this: No matter how good the video on YouTube is, don’t read the comments, just don’t, because it will make you hate all humans.”

I generally skim through comments on blogs and sites, mostly on articles that I like or am interested in. I like to see what other people thought of the post and if they’re in agreement with me. If I don’t like the article I don’t go to the comments section.

I admit to sometimes feeling like Matt Groening. Some of the comments are unbelievable.

When I started blogging I didn’t think about comments. All I was focused on was getting content published regularly and visitors to my blog. As I got more experienced I thought that comments would be nice, especially after reading that site rankings go up the more comments there are.

This didn’t stop me from getting the Akismet spam filter because I was getting a lot of spam. And before deciding to hold them in moderation some spam made it through, which I deleted.

Akismet has stopped 9,898 spam from getting though, and I have received a total of 37 real comments over the course of 2 years and 5 months.

Spam is a scourge of the internet. Just like I protect my home from those ill-intentioned people with high walls, an alarm system and 24-hour private security armed response, I so protect my blog from spam, and in the process I could be coming across as unwelcoming.

After speaking with a more experienced blogger at work some time ago I decided to close comments off after 30 days. This drastically decreased the amount of spam. I especially got a lot of spam mail on a blog post entitled “Hooter Tooter” about the usage of the hooter by drivers in India – I wonder why…? But it also means that visitors to my site who like what they read can’t comment if they want to on articles that are older than 30 days.

Still, it is a conscious decision I made, and no matter how much I dislike spam, I’m not blaming anyone.

She also said that initially she wanted to get comments and visitors but that now she blogs for herself and if no one reads her blog then it’s ok.

American rapper, Lupe Fiasco, once said: “I do this for the sake of myself. It’s a selfish process. I don’t really have any expectations from anyone for your comments or your reviews or your previews.”

It’s great to be in that space – but I’m not and I still want comments because of the vision I hold for my blog and future as a writer.

I’ve visited some blogs where the comment section was closed and I must admit to feeling a twinge of disappointment because I really wanted to comment and couldn’t. It wouldn’t stop me from visiting them but they would rank lower in my “blogs to visit list”.

So this begs the question of the person reading this post at the moment – How do you feel when a comments section is closed, and should I leave comments open indefinitely?