Blog Comments

On the previous platform that hosted my writing, Silvrback, comments were available by linking a Disqus account.

I've now moved over to, and just about the only feature I was using on Silvrback that they don't have here is commenting (at least, not yet). As I was considering the switch, this initially gave me pause, but as I thought about it more I realized that, firstly, considering the very infrequent posting and thus tiny readership that I had commenting was in any case pretty much moot; and, secondly, in order to reduce spam, comment systems need to present some kind of barriers to commenting, all of which are an annoyance either to the commenter, the blog owner, or both.

Furthermore, as anyone who's read just about any comment forum anywhere on the web can attest, another big problem with commenting is the very small signal/noise ratio. Low-quality comments are easy and therefore ubiquitous, a problem that increases in direct proportion to a website's popularity. Genuinely high-quality, original and insightful comments, that actually add value to a discussion, are much more difficult, and thus far less common.

Done properly, comments could and should be a great addition to any weblog; the promise of the web has always been not only to give everyone a voice, but also to foster discussion and the exchange of ideas. Having everyone's writing contained within silos clearly doesn't realize the second part of this promise, but previous attempts at solutions have all tended to fail due to the problems outlined above.

Other than a traditional blog comment system, one solution would be for to have a dedicated comment forum, where each of the blogs they host would have their own categorized space for readers and authors to interact, but separate from the blog itself. Maybe will turn out to be something like this? And maybe it will fix the problems I've discussed here, but to do so it would require heavy moderation, either from dedicated moderators or (more likely) from blog owners.

In the meantime, I've decided that the simplest solution for me right now is to put up my email address to give the ability for readers to submit any comments or feedback. This will work like a letters page in a newspaper or magazine, and I'll act as editor and filter out anything that needs to be filtered, and publish (and respond to) anything that merits being seen.

It doesn't seem like composing and sending an email should be too onerous for anyone who actually has something worthwhile to say, but maybe even this small amount of friction (along with Gmail's algorithms) will eliminate most of the spam.

We'll see how this works. If I end up being as prolific as I plan to, comments may even start becoming a regular thing! So, please, if you'd like to respond to anything I write — especially if you disagree with me — please do so and if what you say provides insight I'll add it directly below the relevant post.

As an addendum, my impressions of so far are fantastic. It's fast, clean and easy to use, with a great selection of features available for what I think is a very good price. Consider that an endorsement!