There’s been a bit of speculation as to why I turned off comments here, and the occasional are comments coming back or is this just a temporary thing. My apologies for not addressing this sooner, but I’ll give you the real reason and address some of the speculation as well.
Broken Window Theory: There’s a police theory that was popular in the 80’s and 90’s here in NY that was known as the broken window theory. Basically it said if a neighborhood had broken windows nobody ever repaired, some sectors of the population would take this as signal no one cared, and the area would slowly decline into a lawless ghetto. I’m of the opinion that the same thing is true of blogs and blog comments. Lot’s of people would make comments here and would use keyword driven names or link to questionable websites. Others would make questionable nonsense comments. I would have to decide where these real people or bots and how bad was it. The more “borderline” comments you let through the more you would get the following months, and your moderating workload would just increase.
Flagrant Spammers: Sorry Akismet but you’ve been owned, the spammers can walk all over you. While only abut 10% got through if there where thousands, that still meant you had to spend time moderating them out. Additionally there where always people getting flagged as spam, who at least in this instance, weren’t.
Haterz: I make more controversial posts than most people, so it stands to reason I’m going to have a higher than normal percentage of haterz. The more haterz I get, the more time I have to spend moderating comments.
To put it in a neat little package, the amount of time I was spending moderating the haterz, spam, false spam, and spamoflage, had gotten to be too much. It was either post less or remove the time I waste on moderation. Removing comments has nothing to do with limiting pagerank “evaporation” or limiting link flow, link consolidation or any other hare brianed scheme’s floating about now, it has to do with spending my time wisely and profitably.
That’s not to say I don’t think comments are valueable, it’s just in most situations especially in this space, the value can be really hard to justify. Are comments off forever … well forever is long time … however I can say I’m extremely happy with the amount of extra time I picked up and don’t anticipate turning them back on the short term future.
photo credit: Samjhana Moon