No Comment

No single question splits would-be and established bloggers alike quite like “where do you stand on comments?” From complete Wild West lacks in moderation to Sandersonesque wordcounts of comment policy, from disabling comments completely to passing the buck to Twitter and Facebook. There’s no shortage in opinions, options, terrible decisions and, of course, The One True Way (whatever that might be).

You probably know I come down on the Cal Newport/Jaron Lanier side of social media use. But whereas Lanier has website that makes Geocities look bleeding edge, and Newport allows but doesn’t seem to interact much with comments on his site, I decided to forgo them completely. Not on a whim, or else how would I get any content out of my decision?

Cull The Unneeded

An optimization a site owner can perform on WordPress is removing unnecessary JavaScript from the site. And as it turns out, the code for commenting is pretty damn unnecessary. So now my unpopular opinion has a benefit. Who knew that could happen?

Have You Heard The Good News Of GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation that the European Union passed in 2018 somehow protects your data and privacy on the Internet by forcing users to accept cookies or go home, and click endless checkboxes to interact with websites. That’s a bit unfair, I’ll concede. But there’s enough FUD and simply outdated information about the GDPR that I’d rather avoid it as much as possible. Hell, I’m not using analytics, either, and being Brussels compliant is one of the reasons (the other major reason being I don’t care about traffic metrics).

All Things In Moderation Queues

A full-time job. Familial obligations. Writing posts for the blog. Hobbies. Oh, and that other thing I do, what is it? Ah, writing. All of these, combined with basic human functions like eating, socializing, and sleeping, take a pretty good chunk of time out of my day. So which one, dear reader, should I short-change just to wade through a moderation queue of great comments (1%), OK comments (11%), troll comments (18%) and spam (70%)?

But let’s be real honest; for the first 1-4 years, how many comments would I actually be getting on the site anyway?

Just Tweet Me Your Outrage

It’s possible to use Twitter or Facebook or (lol) MeWe and Mastodon for blog comments. Just tweet/post/toot/whatever and watch the discussion begin. Split between different platforms. On someone else’s platform. Earning them ad dollars. While you cry about engagement and funnels.

This is a little hypocritical of me, I’ll admit. I rant about having your content on someone else’s platform, and then don’t allow comments, which is someone else’s content on my platform. I’m not here to provide a town hall. I’m here to write helpful articles and get eyeballs on my writing. Eyeballs connected to hands that can reach into wallets. That kind of thing.

Like And Subscribe To My Newsletter

Substack intrigues me, not from a cold, moneymaking standpoint, but from having someone else deal with the responsibilities of dealing with GDPR and whatever weird laws California has. Package up the weekly posts with some additional reading/watching recommendations and short story publishing news (markets opening or closing, for example). Deal with the comments there, from people who are subscribed to a newsletter. My newsletter. Self-selected folks with some skin in the game.

But that’s not a current thing. There’s not yet a newsletter to subscribe to, or newsletter posts to comment on. Better add it to the someday/maybe file.

This Doesn’t Help You At All

Folks can always email me (via the address on my about page). I expect less emails because it’s A. increased friction; and B. doesn’t provide the emailer any social proof in the same way being an active commentor does. It’s a personal form of engagement, one that arguably can take up more of my time than Twitter, comment moderation, and writing articles about both those little thorns combined.

But it’d be worth it. Don’t you agree?

About the Author

Eli Jones is a BI Developer and speculative fiction writer living in the Columbia Gorge.