Okay, this is a response to a post on luce’s blog. I have a pretty strong contrary opinion, I guess, and my comment became too unwieldy so I took it over here. Ironically..

First of all, having comments on a blog is optional, and therefore taking the decision to have them there in the first place is to actively invite comment. One can deactivate comments for a single post, or for the entire blog, should you so choose. If you don’t, you take your chances.

Now, I’ve had a troll in my comments, it’s not exactly a secret (a quick glance at some posts a few months ago will confirm that), and I deleted them. Without even thinking about it, because they brought nothing to the blog except mindless, boring provocation. But that was pretty much the only time I’ve felt the need to delete someone else’s comment. Beyond that, I’ll leave ’em all up. Why? Because a blog is a public thing by definition.

The question of unwanted comments can only be addressed by working out what your blog is for. If you’re using it to publish, in a traditional sort of way, your opinions and such then turn comments off. You likely don’t care to hear what people think of what you say (at least not directly), and you certainly don’t want a counter-opinion directly in the face of the reader. If you don’t want to engage with responses to your posts, you shouldn’t have comments. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s not a criticism. I can well understand that use of a blog, and it’s completely valid; like a newspaper column. Put an email contact link somewhere so you can receive correspondence on your posts, but don’t have comments. It’s not for you.

If you don’t want your blog to be a public thing, if you just want to keep a diary only, you know, not on paper, you’re in the wrong place. Get a livejournal account and set it as friends only. That way you can invite a small group of lackeys in to chat with, should you so wish, so you’re assured of only positive comment and no unpleasantness need enter your hermetically sealed universe. But, well, why the hell are you on the web? I understand this less, though I can still sort of see why it’s done.

If you’re using Blogger to share your thoughts, snippets of your life, opinions, whatever then you need comments. When Blogger didn’t have comments it was a less interesting, less fun place. Because it tells you what another person gets from your life, what they think of what you think. Yes, sometimes they’ll disagree with you and sometimes you’ll have a fight on your hands but personally I think it’s worth it. That’s why I love comments, that’s why I run my blog as an open house, and that’s why I can’t agree with policing blog comments beyond troll maintenance.

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