Different reasons for having comments

April 12, 2008

Sparked by comments on a recent entry, it occurs to me that there are at least two cultural views of what comments on a blog are there for:

  • comments as a conversation on or sparked by the original entry.
  • comments as a convenient central place where people can put their reactions and replies to the entry.

(There are undoubtedly other views that I'm not thinking of.)

I clearly tend to think of comments as the former, not the latter, but the latter is a perfectly sensible thing too and, the more I think about it, the more I think that there are a bunch of forces pushing comments towards it. For example, if you get enough comments and enough people replying to each other, the original author's part of the conversation will probably be basically drowned out.

(Also, there is an obvious tradeoff for the author between writing more comments and writing more actual entries, especially as entries will probably have more visibility.)

This will colour your desire to have comments at all, too. If you feel that comments are for a discussion forum (or you fear that the comments will turn into one no matter what you do), you may well not want to spend your resources to provide one for people.

Written on 12 April 2008.
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Last modified: Sat Apr 12 23:40:21 2008
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