A Blog Without Comments is Still a Blog

Posted on February 18, 2006

Russell Beattie recently removed comments from his blog. Some bloggers think removing comments is not a good idea. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger also has an interesting post about blogs and comments. He suggests changing the rules halfway -- removing comments from a blog that already had comments -- may be problematic.

Comments are a feature on many blogs. Many bloggers eventually have to moderate comments because comment spam is so pervasive. Comments often become an increasing burden for a popular blog but many bloggers continue to offer comments for the community and traffic benefits. Daily Kos is a good example of a blog that has built heavy traffic with an active community. Many posts on dailykos.com receive hundreds of comments. But even among political blogs the number of readers that want to leave a comment is not high. A study from 2005 found that only 7% of all political blog readers have ever left a comment -- and this is politics -- a subject that is known to get people fired up. 93% are content with just reading the political blogs.

The argument that blogs are not a blog without comments is silly. Boing Boing, the most popular blog on the Internet, has no comments. Post Secret has no comments. Seth Godin's blog has trackbacks but no comments. There aren't many that would argue these commentless blogs are not blogs. Trackbacks and/or pointing to Technorati or another blog search engine can be used as an alternative.

Some of the people upset with Beattie's decision appear to be people that left comments on his blog. People leaving comments on blogs need to understand that there is always a risk that the blog's comments could be deleted or removed. The blog's owner could choose to remove them. A blog could also be shut down resulting in the removal of your comments. A blog's server could crash and the comments could be lost forever. A blog could be sold and the new owner could remove them. The most reliable way to make sure your thoughts remain in cyberspace is to leave them on a blog post on your own blog.

We had another similar post on comments here last December.