Here's 12 reasons why I'm turning off commenting. And the biggest one rhymes with ham.
1. social media > comments
People are starting, and continuing, more conversations on social media instead of in blog comments. Blog Marketing Academy turned off comments and said "Social media is really far superior than blog comments for any kind of online conversation." Agreed.
2. fossilized comments
As real talk moves to social media, some say blog commenting is on a decline, as many bloggers, like myself, who used to see many comments per post, are now down to just a few spammers. Is commenting becoming outdated?
And, the comments that do remain on blogs are, in fact, literally dated. Stamped and sealed in time forever on the date they were written like a time capsule. Are comments written a year ago still valid? What about 2 or 4 years ago? When are they no longer relevant? And why save them?
3. zero obligation
Often bloggers feel like they have to make comment rounds or participate in share pods that force each other to comment on content that they'd otherwise never comment on. This only creates unnatural and inorganic comments.
I see endless blogs with long comment threads full of variations of this exchange:
commenter: "Thank you for sharing."
blogger: "Thank you for commenting."
Maybe it's only me, but I don't see how these mini-exchanges have any positive effect on the article, contribute to the content, or encourage any kind of community. It's just small talk.
I want to be able to read what I want and move on. I don't want to feel obligated to leave a comment so I don't want anyone else to feel like they have to either. One shouldn't expect praise. So, read, enjoy, laugh, cry, do whatever you want - with zero obligation!
4. no free advertising
I get a ton of low quality comments from other website owners who are just trying to leave links to their own pages, or products or services they’re promoting or selling. You have to ask (and pay) to advertise, you can’t sneak it into comments. I control the advertising. Not you.
5. no more anonymity
People can often comment on blog posts with no name, social handle or website - essentially leaving zero public accountability. How does this contribute to the conversation at all if someone doesn't even want to say who they are? Bot123 likes my article? As if!
Simply Fiercely explains how to consume social media mindfully by saying "While of course there are some exceptions, for the most part, online comment sections are toxic – no matter your personal beliefs. There’s something about the nature of the platform; even though they’re not always anonymous, they’re still a few steps removed from our personal accounts."
6. no more spam!
The main reason I'm turning off comments is to eliminate spam. I'm just not willing to spend 15 minutes a day every darn day culling spam anymore. It's too much time wasted.
I used to use Disqus, then Jimdo, with captchas, and still the spam gets through. Every day, at least a dozen people jump through all the hoops I set up just to write mundane phrases like “this is helpful”, "great work" or often just rearranging text from the article itself into a comment to try to leave a link. I have to individually moderate these and I'm tired. So tired.
Zen Habits turned off comments by explaining “I’ve tried several different software solutions for comment spam, and they don’t really solve the problem of humans leaving comment spam. Even things like Askimet ... and CAPTCHA let a lot of spam through. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of research, and when spammers are motivated, they’ll find a way through for a site with this kind of traffic.”
7. questions go elsewhere
Of the non-spam comments I receive, the majority of them are specific questions. Questions are fine and I’m happy to answer them, but a to-do item for me buried deep deep down in a comment thread is not an ideal spot.
2. Become a patron to interact with me on the regular and get realtime updates.
3. Subscribe to my newsletter and you can reply directly to me.
4. Check the Frequently Asked Questions where your answers may already be.
5. Work with me to advertise on the site or partner with me for a promotion or review.
8. intentional writing
I can't help but wonder if comment-free writing gives some writers the freedom to write the way they intend to without the artificial stress of writing just to be comment-worthy, or perhaps tailoring content to be less controversial.
Personally, I enjoy comment-free articles more because I interpret disabling comments as a modern, bold and confident move that proves the author isn't seeking external validation. I find it a refreshing pleasure to read an article and when finished, be left marinating in my own thoughts, and not influenced by outside noise.
9. comments not required
This has never really been a huge comment blog. People have always preferred to reach out to me directly or comment on my posts on social media with thoughts or questions. Seth Godin explained why he doesn't have comments by saying, “I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though.”
10. comments aren't traffic
Believe it or not, comments don’t really matter to page views or keyword rankings. Hubspot actually did the data crunching research, analyzed over 100,000 blog posts, didn't find a correlation between either comments and links or comments and page views, concluding that the "data shows that blog comments are not correlated with increased traffic.”
Spam = clutter. Turning off commenting streamlines and simplifies so posts don't go on forever and ever with endless comments at the bottom. The minimalist in me loves the clean aesthetic a website has without additional clutter. Look at those nice clean white sidebars. No floating things are following you. No pop-ups are harassing you. Maybe the ads aren't the most beautiful things ever, but they're necessary unless you want to pay me instead on patreon.
12. change is good
Change is a good thing and experimentation is also a good thing. My readers know I love change because I'm forever tinkering and tweaking. Stagnant = boring!
If I ever really miss commenting, or if you guys every really want it back, I'll definitely be open to that and can always turn it back on again, at any time, on whatever platform. I always encourage everyone to do whatever feels right to them. So, for me, now, comments are going to be turned off so that I can take a break and reclaim my time!
So, instead of saying thank you for commenting, I say thank you for reading!