Poll: Should I Turn Comments On?

Long-time readers would know I turned off comments since Feb last year.

The reasons were because:

  1. The comments weren’t adding much value to the articles. First they tend to be quite random. Secondly, most didn’t provide many insights. They were usually other bloggers posting courtesy comments and to build relationship and get link backs to their blogs. There’s nothing wrong with this (I do that myself too), just that it usually resulted in little value being added to the original article.
  2. Administrating the comments, replying to them, filtering spam (which is a shocking lot!) takes up time which I rather spend on writing new articles. Because of #1, there were even lesser reasons to do #2.

However, the recent moving on series where comments were open (by the request of reader Deano – Thanks Deano! ;)) has generated some very useful insights. Some readers also engaged in discussions within the comments, providing their own useful perspectives. It made me rethink whether to leave comments open for future articles.

I’m also beginning to appreciate the value of having comments. For example, when I’m reading other blogs, I found sometimes the comments help me get other perspectives and an added sense of belonging to the community.

So here’s a poll to ask for your opinion: Should I turn comments on? Please vote below.

<The poll is now offline>

Please share your reason(s) why in the comments area below. It’ll give me a better understanding where you come from. The poll will close after 5 days, after which I’ll take the majority vote to decide whether to open comments or keep them closed. You have helped me decide earlier to have photos in the posts, so now let’s see if we should have comments on or off. :D

Update: The poll has ended and results can be found here: Comments Are Now Open!

  • http://thedanielrichard.com Daniel

    I’m indifferent to both. Had mine closed so that I could concentrate on writing and working on other websites. Same goes for the sharing buttons. Turned mine to links without showing the share counters. :)

    • http://amazonfraud.recessionstories.net Chris

      I picked up your post “The Day I Was Flamed At My Blog” accidentally through an alert that I had registered with google. Having started a new blog myself I read it with interest. I appreciate the seriousness of your endeavor, its basis in honesty, and the general integrity of your approach. I was surprised to see that comments were turned off when I checked out your blog directly. I found it hard to reconcile with the post I had read.

      My blog arose from the rage that I felt at my treatment by Amazon as a seller in Amazon Marketplace. As I did research I found out that Amazon was failing to be a good corporate citizen in many ways, and I created my blog as a compendium of information about Amazon and a place for Amazon insiders and others to let people know about its nefarious dealings.

      Clearly my blog LIVES or DIES by its comments. I do provide my own content based on my experiences, but my content is not as thought out and elaborate as your personal excellence blog content, so I don’t have as much to protect as you do. Comments are on, but I approve each comment individually, and the introduction to my blog indicates that I will ruthlessly exclude off topic content as well as content THAT I DETERMINE to be Amazon propaganda. Finally, my blog is much more angry and satirical than yours, so I don’t have as much of a tone that I need to maintain.

      I would say that you have every right to exclude comments that do not contribute to your blog. I use WordPress. Doesn’t your software allow you to approve comments before they are posted?

      In any case, it is a rare post that leads me back to the originating blog. I feel the authenticity of your work and I understand your impulse to protect its quality.

      Chris amazonfraud.recessionstories.net

  • http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog Steven Aitchison

    Hi Celes. I would say definitely keep them turned on. It’s a great way to interact with the people who are reading your blog and a great way for readers to let you know their feelings. Without them a blog seems lifeless somehow and there is no community there. I also believe, until you have around 50,000+ subscribers that you will not get the loyalty factor of readers who come to the blog all the time.

    there is also a vanity aspect of leaving a comment. Readers like to see their picture and put up a comment. It’s their way of leaving a mark on the net. It’s like the grafitti on the school desks saying ‘I was here’

    As you can tell i am definitely for keeping comments turned on. It does create a hassle for you, but if someone’s gone to the trouble of leaving a comment then I feel it’s not a hassle to reply to them. Okay I’ll shut up now :)

  • http://www.deano.de Deano

    Thanks for the mention; fame at last :)

    I actually voted no; but the option I wanted to see was,’for certain posts’/series’.

    I’m guessing that your blog gets a lot of visitors and therefore you could end up with lots of spam if you have comments on for all.

    But for those special posts when you are interested in the opinions of others, or for personal posts where people may be able to offer advice to you then I’d leave comments turned on.

    Then again, you can always give it a trial run and se how things go,
    Deano

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      @Deano, Hey Deano, that’s a fantastic suggestion! :D I added in a new option in the poll and transferred your vote over. Let’s see how the votes tally up.

      The conundrum for having comments only for specific posts/series is that there may be posts where I close comments but readers prefer to comment. I guess that’s where emailing comes in. Seems like some of my readers still prefer to email me directly regarding their comments on posts even when commenting is open too.

  • http://raphnexx.blogspot.com/ sad emo and Love poems

    Yes.you should…It will be fun.like now…

  • bliz

    It would be ideal if you have a system like youtube where people can vote up or down a comment, and flag comments as spam/racist etc… You’ll have to ensure that only people who are registered can participate in commenting/voting or the system can be abused. Not that people won’t abuse the system with registration, but it’s much more troublesome.

    This way, you can save the time taken to go through each comment. It’ll require some changing of the website code though, and they may cost some time and money.

    Alternatively you can set up and online discussion forum for people to discuss articles. Oh wait, that will require moderating as well.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      @bliz, I love your suggestion! In fact, I just installed a new plug-in which allows readers to vote up/down, without having to register. It’s live in action right now (notice the thumbs up/down below every comment). Thanks bliz! :D

  • Eva

    Celes,

    I think comments are largely a distraction; however, on certain topics, it is nice to be able to interact with you. So I voted—only for certain topics….

    Thanks for all your great work! I recently sent to my friend your articles on relationships and such…

    Eva

  • JB

    Actually no, as the comments may be distracting and confusing.

    But if it’s possible, how about creating a forum that allows readers to discuss each topic.

  • http://positivelypresent.com Positively Present

    Yes. It’s nice to have the option to leave a comment and it’s not as if readers have to leave one or have to read them if they don’t want to.

  • http://www.jackchristopher.com Jack Christopher

    How can I vote “No” to comments, when this comment thread itself is proving the opposite? :)

    The overall problem here is: no one is smart enough to know in advance who has valuable things to say about each topic. So you need a system that open to everyone but somehow filters the bad stuff. Blogs weren’t initially designed to deal with this problem a.k.a tons of comments from people you don’t know.

    Closed comment blogs (mostly) make me feel I’m being “blogged at”. And the more popular that blog gets, the more I feel disconnected from the writer usually. On those blogs, I feel even when I’m sure I have something valuable to say, it’ll most likely won’t be noticed, so I don’t both even posting. Something is wrong about that dynamic.

    So I like emailing directly. It feels more personal than commenting. But when I comment in email, it’s private. So value is lost because the comment isn’t shared publicly. That’s a problem too.

  • Nibras Bawa

    NO.. A big NO..

    Mine is a comment locked blog, and i find many serious people e-mailing me with serious comments. Some have become my good friends this way. At times I do get some nasty mail saying i’m arrogant in that I do not allow people to comment on my blog, but i suppose it does take some arrogance and audacity to say NO…

    Your blog stands out when you lock comments. Call it Ego, arrogance, self importance and superiority complex, truth is you are unique.. Why go with the flow? Why not a non conformist approach???

    If people are really serious they will always let you know their feedback. They’ll find a way despite a comment locked blog.. Go lock comments :-)

  • Sunny

    Yes, you should allow others to comment, this is itself a form of “feedback” loop; so that you can gauge your readers reactions/responses to what is been written is what they like or not too…

  • sb

    I would like to vote for yes for all topics. It is always a good idea to exchange and invite opinions from others and sharing experiences of life. Since all topics covered here are mostly related to life experiences, hence it will be a good idea to keep the comment on.

  • Kakynologyst

    Should have,

    Comments come from basic democracy, at least readers can reflect to you what’s in their mind.

    Agreed with JB’s idea of making a forum, you can make each article automatically create new thread on the forum and let readers comment on the thread.

  • Robert

    Go take a look at marksdailyapple.com, he has his comment section open and it has created a thriving online community. But it doesn’t seem to work equally well for every blog, but in general I think having people comment on your posts gives people the idea that your blog is valued by people, this is social proof for them that it is worth their time to read your blog and return for another visit. Think about that.

    Something else bloggers seems to have found useful is to post a general disclaimer on top of the comment section asking people to play nice in the comment section, this may not seem like something that would work, but apparently it does. Something to consider maybe.

  • http://8000BrilliantWomen.com Pam @ 8000 Brilliant Women

    Yes, please turn the comments on! I learn a lot from people who write meaningful comments and enjoy reading them.

    I just found your blog, BTW, and love it!

  • abjgaviota

    i AM REALLY EXCITED WITH THIS NEW CHALLENGE!!!!
    I’VE DISCOVERED SEVERAL THINGS WITH TWO DAYS OF DOING THIS
    WHO COULD LOVE ME IF I DON’T LOVE MYSELF
    I’M GOING TO LOVE MYSELF
    II’M.IN THE BEST DISPOSITION TO REACH THIS GOAL.