Blog Comments Closed Due to Lack of Common Sense

by | Sep 5, 2007

Two things make a blog a blog: content posted in reverse consecutive order, and a social component (the comments). It’s that simple. But if comments are part of what make a blog the social medium it is, why do some bloggers feel compelled to close them? And should they?

Why do some bloggers feel a need to lock their posts up in a pretty little untouchable package by closing blog comments or forcing people to register with a site before being able to comment? How stupid is that?

Yet I see more and more bloggers going this route; especially people with any kind of prominence in their field. They’re using blogs as a marketing / publicity tool without grasping the fundamental idea that blogs are meant to be interactive. They’re not a bulletin board; they’re a communication tool and being able to interact with your audience is a pretty important part of that.

I won’t name names, but I’m a little bit baffled by this lately because two rather prominent writers that I’m acquainted with have taken one of these routes… one with a somewhat popular blog with almost no comments because she requires people to register first and the other an author on writing and marketing issues who opts to simply close comments on his blog posts.

I have to admit I was a bit amused with the second case. While I was familiar with the author’s books, I wasn’t aware of his blog until he actually commented on one of mine to promote it… so obviously he understands the promotional value of discussions and comments in blogging.

Now I can’t be too harsh with them. Some people are just naturally protective, are afraid to open their posts up to criticism, or they’re just paranoid about blog spam. But I guess here’s the way I look at it… if you aren’t willing to let your posts be fully open for criticism and discussion, you probably don’t belong in the blogosphere but rather on an old school content site with non-interactive articles being posted. As for blog spam, it’s really not a good excuse anymore as plugins can catch a good bit of it. It’s just a reality if you want to use the tool effectively.

Let’s do our own part to nip these problems before they spread by encouraging our own clients to avoid these kinds of behaviors if they really want to get into blogging (corporate or otherwise) as a promotional or communication outlet for their companies. Seriously, I feel like I’ve been bitch slapped every time I find a post worth commenting on just to find out that my comments are neither welcome or appreciated.

7 Comments

  1. Closing comments tells me the person does not want to have a conversation…the whole reason they call it social media. Those folks are writing web sites.

    The registration is a pain, but it might be to limit comment spam. I just cleaned out 100 comments from one person dying to tell me about their site. And I use Typepad Captcha which is supposedly an effective middle ground to all of this. It’s not.

    Has site registration stopped me from commenting, yes. But I think blog spam is a bigger factor over paranoia of being protective.

    A third phenom is how the blog owner approves the comments first. I do this on my blogger site. But I always run the comment unless it is spam or more about trashing me vs. talking about my post. It’s an easy option offered by blogger and it does not require site registration to comment at the site so I use it.

    My two cents.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the comments Kevin. I guess I just have a really difficult time accepting the spam excuse from bloggers, because it’s extremely easy to counteract. I get hundreds of spam comments a day on my blogs collectively, and the solutions work well enough that I only have to deal with the new spammers once.

    I use Worpress. I’d recommend it to anyone. I have it set to always require approval for someone’s first comment on the site. It keeps spammers off, and once someone shows they’re a legitimate poster, they don’t have to wait in the future and it cuts down on my approval lists in the future.

    I also have a plugin installed which catches a good bit of the spam, even if not all. When I get a more clever spammer, I can blacklist them the first time I see their posts, and they won’t be much of a problem again.

    So I don’t have to make people register for the site, or anything “extra” that takes their time. When a solution exists, a responsible blogger is going to use it if spam is that much of a concern rather than inconveniencing potential commenters from using the blog as it’s intended.

    Reply
  3. I am as baffled as you. Closing comments beats all purpose of ones posts, unless of course it is one very sensitive issue and the author does not want things to go out of hand.

    Another thing that I am baffled is to password protect a post. I mean, why publish it in the first place if it is so secretive and not for public consumption. If they just want to share it with their closest friends, why not just email it instead.

    Maybe I am just a real busybody who likes to know everything. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  4. I can understand some uses for password-protecting posts. I actually saw it used in an interesting way today: you had to sign up for a site’s newsletter to get a free report. When you did that, the thank you page took you to a link to a post, and they gave you the password. From the password-protected page you could download the file. It’s not really that much protection (anyone can pass along the post link and password to bypass the newsletter signup), so it wouldn’t be good for paid products. But it was a bit clever for a free report.

    Keep in mind too that not everyone uses blogs professionally. There are a lot of kids and teens blogging, and protected posts and blogs can be a really good thing in protecting the privacy of those groups, without them being condemned to a life of no more than Myspace or LiveJournal blogging. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  5. Unfortunately, closed comments are a byproduct of spammers. In a perfect world, blog owners wouldn’t need to worry about comments that are completely off, such as the pharma-product post on a blog about car parts.

    And not everyone cares about comments. Many blogs are put in existence just to disseminate information or to “catch clicks” for affiliate programs.

    Professional blogs, like this one, should always use the comment feature. You want feedback.

    What blog owner doesn’t like seeing a friendly and relevant blog comment? πŸ™‚

    Reply
  6. I have seen people spamming my site too. What can we do to stop this other than the above?

    Reply
  7. If you use wordpress, use a plugin like Akismet. It won’t catch everything, but it does catch a lot. I’m sure other blog platforms have their own spam-filtering plugins.

    Reply

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