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Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Comment-ary

By Steven Taylor @ 8:52 pm

I managed to miss the Big Blog Comment Debate today, but thankfully James Joyner summarized it for me.

Apparently Kevin Drum (yes, again) finds it “mock worthy” that conservative blogs who like to talk about the self-corrected nature of the Blogosphere don’t have comments (at least the Biggies don’t).

Kevin finds this to be a feature of conservatism:

Tight message control has always been a key characteristic of conservative politics. It’s emerged as a key characteristic of the conservative blogosphere too.

I must admit, I find that statement off-putting and the tone unnecessarily sneering, but oh well. I would note that the main issue here is traffic more than ideology and if he he wants to test his hypothesis he is going to have to do a bit more research than looking at the TTLB top ten.

But to the “self-correcting” issue: as James notes, the ability of blogs to self-correct is more about other blogs blogging about what other blogs have said incorrectly than about the comments section on a given blog. To be honest, this strikes me as patently obvious. The comments on a given blog are like notes in a drawer-you have to open them up and look for them. To assert that comments sections are the essence of blog self-correction is ignore the blog itself.

I will grant that a lot the self-congratulations in the Blogosphere gets laid on a bit thick at times, but if we are going to criticize it, criticize it properly. Indeed, my posting on this topic proves the point: Jame read Kevin and Atrios’ posts, commented about them on his blog, which I linked to and have further commented upon. Now, it may well be the case that Kevin will nver read my comments, but I am not 100% sure he would read a comment that I left on his blog for that matter. I have also noticed that Bryan of AWS has commented on this thread on his blog as well. Whadday know: a discussion! Or, at least, an opportunity to correct: like pointing out the flaw in Drum’s reasoning or to at least ask whether comments sectioins are necessarily so important.

I like to be able to leave comments on a blog, but hardly find it a vital part of blogging. It strikes me that at some point comments aren’t worth it. I often wondered if Kos or Drum actually read all those comments-maybe they do, but I don’t see how. Further, as a reader of a blog, I might stop and read 5, 6 or 15 comments, but it is major rarity that I to wade through 200+ when usually most of them aren’t very good.

I must admit, I am with James on this one:

I’m more annoyed with sites that lack TrackBack than with those without comments sections.

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