Do Blog Comments Have Value ?

The surest way to get called names is to blog about something that people do or may disagree with. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It can be technology, sports, dancing, TV and probably something as benign as pizza.

The Hate and Noise to Content ratio seems to be increasing daily. The reality is, there is no such thing as a widely read blog without moderated comments that is profanity or hate free. Thats a shame.

So the question is, is it worth it to allow unmoderated comments ? Or is babysitting comments just part of the job of bloggers ? Or are comments just a waste of time under all circumstances ?

115 thoughts on “Do Blog Comments Have Value ?

  1. It\’s a lot easier to moderate comments when you don\’t allow anonymous comments. But, reading some of the anonymous comments is sometimes worth a good laugh.

    Comment by Paul -

  2. The best way to moderate is simply not to.

    You\’re going to get the nuts anyway so you might as well not waste time with them and allow them to establish their own pecking order. Works every time. πŸ™‚

    Comment by Bill Burniece -

  3. I\’ve actually struggled with this for some time and gone back and forth on it. On the one hand, I want to run a (reasonably) clean, family establishment here, on the other hand, it is the Internet after all and people are entitled to their opinions, no matter how bad they smell.

    As to the value of comments, isn\’t that what \”social networking\” is all about? I know, blogs are really social networks (like MySpace and Facebook) but they are generally considered communities. Shouldn\’t communities dialog rather than monolog? I\’m no expert by any means and it\’s through the free exchange of ideas that we learn (wow, that sounds remarkably liberal for me!).

    But just as in real-life, face to face conversation, I should be able to choose when to disengage when one of my community members becomes disrespectful or intentionally hurtful. One of the things we\’ve lost as we\’ve moved from real-space into cyber-space is the sense of simple manners that seems to exist more freely when we have to looks someone in the face. I should be no more willing to speak ill of someone or their ideas here that I should if we were meeting face to face.

    At least that\’s how I see it.

    – Thom

    Comment by Thom -

  4. I LIKE READING THE COMMENTS, WHEN THEY ARE RELATIVE TO WHAT IS BEING BLOGGED ABOUT, THEY CAN BE VERY INFORMATIVE.
    HATE COMMENTS ARE USUALLY GOOFY AND ARE USUALLY POSTED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE GOOFY!
    TO COMMENT ON ANY SUBJECT USUALLY REQUIRES KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE SUBJECT.
    HALF THE FUN OF READING BLOGS IS TO READ COMMENTS AND SPOT THE GREAT COMMENTS AND LEARN FROM THEM! James

    Comment by night club los angles - james -

  5. I think blog is a place where people can talk,communicate,and of course, open up to all.

    Comment by Echo -

  6. Very little to none…

    Miscommunication, misdirection, and idiots…

    Your blog has some great insight, but your comments are always filled with brown nosers and haters.

    Another blog I read \”Schneier on Security\” replaces the brown nosers and haters with idiots and people that wear tin foil hats.

    A gaming forum I used to read was destroyed by online \”witch hunting\”.

    Everyone has an agenda.

    Comment by Adam Gates -

  7. hey mark im a big fan of you show the benefactor. i have no money for presents to give my sister for christmas. if you could send me some spare change via paypal that would be kickass.

    Comment by curtis k -

  8. Well, I know plenty of blogs that moderate comments. None, censor dissenting opinions (even stong angry ones) unless comments are racist or intended to troll. Let people have their say, even if they disagree with you. Blogs I like, echo chambers… not so much. If you have a thin skin turn off the comments or don\’t blog.

    I recommend that you take one of the last two options since you repeatedly remove comments that you don\’t like anyway.

    Comment by Brad -

  9. I think these guys have it figured out…
    The StupidFilter Project

    \”The solution we\’re creating is simple: an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in written English. we\’re collecting a ranked corpus of stupid text, gleaned from user comments on public websites and ranked on a five-point scale.\”

    http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/11/13/comment-stupidity-filter-on-its-way

    Comment by Caleb -

  10. Blogs are a lot like television. About 10% of the content is of value…but in that 10% you may find genius.

    Comment by KindAndThoughtful -

  11. Absolutely they do. That\’s how I discovered Ron Paul.

    Comment by blakjak -

  12. I have a comedy blog and I dont moderate comments. Maybe I am fortunate, but i had to delete only a couple of comments in the 1 year span that my blog is online.
    And I make comedy about things such as friendship between men and women.
    Probably since I dont make posts about race or religion in my humour, is that I am troll free. Hope it stays that way.

    Comment by Guillermo -

  13. From a consumer standpoint comments can be extremely helpful. I utilize comments on retail sites very frequently. I also read quite a few comments about a resort when I was planning my most recent vacation. As long as the comments seem fair they can give you wonderful insight on what a product offers and what really might be going on behind the scenes. If you approach retail comments like anything else, with a \”buyer beware\” mentality, you can find out very quickly if the product is defective or if it doesn\’t quite work the way it is supposed to.

    Should you as a blogger/retailer moderate these? My opinion is that it is too time consuming and wasteful. A sports site called Protrade.com utilizes an ingenious user regulated comment system. If the majority of the readers think the comment is \”not\” (stupid) then it will hide the comment unless you choose to read it. If the comment gets \”smart\” (good or fair) ratings it shoots to the top of the list for people to read.

    example:
    http://www.protrade.com/content/DisplayArticle.html?sp=S578b9de4-a0fd-11dc-a856-8bdac8a32947

    Comment by Caleb -

  14. I always feel that if you\’re going to put yourself out there on the internet and discuss various topics, you\’re putting yourself in the arena for people to agree or disagree with you. The blogs that don\’t allow comments are blogs I don\’t visit again — I think it\’s cowardice on the part of the blogger.

    Unfortunately, there are those with no lives and too little intelligence to come up with anything other than \”you suck\”. Now, it\’s fine to disagree with someone, but at least have the courtesy to articulate your argument!

    As far as moderation goes: it helps to get rid of the stupid stuff (like \”you suck\” — if they can\’t be more creative, why waste the space?). On the other hand, if you\’re going to start a topic in a forum of public debate, you need to allow all sides to weigh in. It\’s not an easy call.

    I do think it\’s the responsibility of the blogger to make the decision and act on it. And I think comments are an important function. Again, you\’re providing a forum for (hopefully) intelligent discussion and a wide array of opinions. Everyone concerned could learn something.

    I look at my blog as \”morning coffee\” with friends and colleagues, a place where we discuss our issues (it\’s a blog about freelance writing stuff, so most of the posts are about that, but I go off on political rants, too). The comments often make me look at a situation in a new way, and approach it differently.

    Fortunately, most of my commentators are capable of writing more than \”you suck\”. Not all of them, but some of them! πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Devon Ellington -

  15. Ooh. Mark! Whatever happened to \”social policing\”? Let the community decide what\’s relevant, ja?!

    Comment by Preetam Mukherjee -

  16. thanks..

    Comment by kuruyemi -

  17. thanks…

    Comment by kuruyemi -

  18. Comments are not worthless. The necessity of moderation is different in each case and is up to the blog owner\’s vision of his/her creation. There are knuckleheads at every public gathering. Spice.

    Comment by Bob Wegener -

  19. Mark, I\’ve been involved in online communications for ages now. I got my first modem for my Apple ][ back in 1986, and have been on some sort of online something since then. GEnie, Compuserve, AOL, Fidonet, Usenet, blogs, online forums, whatever.. I\’ve noticed that as the general public has gotten more involved online, the signal to noise level has gotten a lot worse.

    Lord help you if you have a POSITIVE opinion on something, you get labelled a \”fanboy\”, and that your opinion is not a true one merely because you agree with something. It seems the internet in general has turned into a negative comment in general.

    Comment by Joe Siegler -

  20. Comments add value. I use Akismet to keep spam down, and use a 2 step moderation process… in other words, if you post 2 comments that get accepted (and not fed to Akismet to train their spam filters), you will be unmoderated from now on. I don\’t moderate for content – that is, people are not only welcome to disagree with me and can do so in any manner they choose… but I do make sure they are on topic.

    As far as I see it, its just more content on my page to feed to google, which is a value to me. The ensuing conversation around a post is a value to my readers – so its win/win in my book.

    Comment by Eric Marden -

  21. Many times the readers comments can somewhat add to the blog itself…They can bring up interesting details that perhaps the blogger was not aware of at the moment of posting. Readers can also feed off of eachothers witty combacks, and sometimes intelligent banter, long after the blog had been ignored by the initial poster. If you took away onlookers comments you would be in essence…killing the blog.

    Comment by Jillian -

  22. I do believe that comments have value, not only the reader but the poster.

    Comment by Dallas -

  23. A blog is a way for an individual to share his or her feels. disappointments, joys, thoughts and feelings or just something interesting the blogger has discovered/learned and wants to share.The comments are important as they help to engage conversation and they show the blogger the topic is interesting.Comments also help life you up with support for your view or help you to understand an opposing view.Even if you don\’t agree with the blogger or a comment from a fellow reader there is never a need for cursive language or to slam someone else there is a respectful way to get your point across.Unfortunately because people don\’t raise to the later moderation or babysitting has become a required necessity

    Comment by CdnSoccerMom -

  24. While blog comments may be a big hassle for someone of your national stature, they\’re a vital part of what is affectionately deemed the Blogosphere.

    Blogging is one of the original ways to network online, having evolved just after forums and bulletin boards and prior to MySpace, Digg, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

    You may not want to read every comment, but some of your readers will probably engage each other in conversation on your blog, which only enhances the value of it.

    You should definitely moderate comments, since a certain level of decorum and respect encourages people to be willing to voice their own opinions.

    Comment by Daniel Dessinger -

  25. Comments have little value. They barely affect your Blog\’s SEO, but allowing people to post comments is empowering. I know several bloggers with audiences as large as yours, and they just turn comments off. Personally, I installed comprehensive cuss word filters, and spam prevention methods. But if you really want to see the crap comments fly, re-order them to show most recent at the top. On another note, you\’re in a category that is quite exclusive… the \”i don\’t need more money category\”. If by chance you could enjoy more money, I would find some subtle impression-based advertising service, so the people who comment in with crap, at least they\’re adding to your bottom line, which would make them feel really nice and warm and fuzzy. I doubt most of your readers read the comments anyway, so if I was you, I would care less for the crappers. The only comment on your blog I\’ve ever read is comment number 20 there on this post, because it\’s right above this box. And though it\’s a humorous retort, if serious, it\’s technically wrong. The blog has value because it has the reader\’s attention… and attention alone carries great value.

    Comment by Matt Murph -

  26. Yes – allowing comments has value – it\’s the reason you have a blog rather than an enewsletter; so you can have a conversation with us. No – not ALL comments are of equal value, and (particularly on a popular blog) sometimes the signal:noise is not favourable … clean out the spam and leave the rest. As somebody else mentioned – the only reason I come here is to read or post comments – otherwise it\’s the RSS.

    Oh – I have a blog as well – sometimes I respond there, but you and I cover slightly different ground on our sites, so it makes more sense to me to comment on your posts on YOUR blog, where it\’s on-topic.

    Comment by Ric -

  27. The League really should relieve you of ownership of this franchise and forbid you to have any further contact with basketball. I am sure there is not reason for me to be more specific, but you should be ashamed. Take your billions earned of the blood of troops who earn somewhere around $1200/month and go try some of the Mideast or Africa to live.

    I pray Christ is your Savior.

    Comment by Norton Webber -

  28. You don\’t have to comment in a hateful way or use profanity to get \”moderated\” on this blog. It has happened to me on this very blog. I only read the top 10 comments at most anyway (meaning most people won\’t ever get to this comment).

    I say skip the comments, we only write them because we think Mark is reading them – but he\’s not, really, is he?

    Comment by Steve Ashley -

  29. In the case of a widely read blog like this one, I think comments are a waste of time.

    People come to this blog to read your thoughts and ideas; not those of Joe Blow \”your blog has not value\”.

    Not to mention they don\’t show up in an RSS aggregator; so most people who actually read your blog regularly aren\’t exposed to the comments anyway.

    Comment by Patrick McKinnon -

  30. If I cannot comment on a blog I will stop reading it. Period.

    I like your blog, I don\’t generally agree with most of your opinions but they are at least well thought out most of the time. I have never commented but I knew I could. Take my ability away to speak and I just don\’t care what you have to say. If I want to see what wacko thoughts random famous people have to say without having the ability to respond I will go to E!

    Comment by Glenn Kidd -

  31. Are you posting this because you made a bunch of stupid comments about P2P and everyone disagreed with you? You are saying now that when people disagree with you, they are flamers and their comments don’t count? Why don’t you just come to terms with the fact that you are wrong and go out there and educate yourself?

    From MC
    actually, for this post, if they dont agree with me, they are wrong. Im still waiting for someone to post actual facts proving me wrong. Feel free to show me a paper or data saying P2P is efficient for the last mile. Sending and receiving the same bytes over and over from a peer that only asked to get it once… and then having other peers on the same segment there as a back up doing the same thing not too efficient.

    Comment by Montoya -

  32. I think the decision to moderate comments is based on how much stupidity you are willing to tolerate in your blog comments.

    Comment by ColinToal -

  33. Coming off Blogworld in Las Vegas, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with several companies that are reinventing and greatly improving the comment aspect of blogging. I met with Intense Debate, SezWho and CoComment as they have all built some great solutions around comments including looking at the value of the comments and allowing the audience to shape the reputation of the commenter. Driving down comments or commenters that provide useless feedback is on everyone\’s holiday list it seems.

    Comment by John LoGioco -

  34. Hi, Mark,

    I like to read AND to make comments on some blogs. I have a blog and enjoy when I get comments, too.

    Do I think comments should be moderated? Youbetcha! I eliminate comments from people who are just posting to advertise something or who try to shock in a not-so-nice way. If it pertains to the blog…if it\’s pertinent, it stays. Even if I don\’t agree with it.

    I don\’t always agree with you but you\’re eloquent and express your ideas so that I can understand your point of view without hating you for being different from me.

    BTW…I noticed you were looking VERY buff after all that \”Dancing with the Stars\” working out. I hope you are keeping up with it. You were really getting good at it and it was great for you and your new hip. I hope you can hire Kim Johnson to come around about once a week to give you and your family some dancing lessons.

    I sure wish I could afford it! Do you know how I can get Maksim Chmerkovskiy to drop over for a few lessons? πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Apple -

  35. Q: Is it worth it to allow unmoderated comments ?
    A: No, unless you have used those to make sophisticated filter for obvious spam. If you want your blog jammed with spam, just stop moderating it. (check youtube blog to see how nice spam looks like).

    Q: Or are comments just a waste of time under all circumstances ?
    A: We both know this is not true. for example, i like comment number 21 (similar things happen at moorewatch blog). 24 is also nice. 35 seems to be a provocation. 36 is another good one. etc. Your blog would not be nearly as good without all these comments. If you think what you have to say is all there is to be said on any given topic, please disallow comments. However, I know yours was a rhetorical question, as you may have run out of post topics, or maybe you got particularly annoyed with some comment sp!*&%@~*#^%a[i\’m blocked#^%&*%(^$*:(

    Comment by Anonymous -

  36. I used to run a BBS for over 10 years and my experience with comments (or flame messages) was to just delete them and ignore them. Worked fine as many who leave vicious comments are only looking for someone to argue with. It was easy in the bbs days to just make the message private and no one would read it except the sysop and the writer. They just sat there dumb and happy wondering why no one bit on their flame..
    Rich

    Comment by Richnrockville -

  37. As a Gen-Yer who reads blogs, I must admit I rarely ever read the comments; mainly because they are mostly uneducated white noise, that holds no bearing in a high-level discussion.

    When the Washington Post recoiled and set up a comment policy, it was proof that what their readers said behind closed doors, was not necessarily appropriate for an open, transparent conversation.

    I read through the comments on this blog and found several to be insightful, but found even more to be off-base and lacking in intelligence.

    So then why am I commenting you might ask?

    Simply because if you read this, then I have been able to gain your attention for a few brief moments, which would have been nearly impossible before the Internet.

    In the future I would like to pick your brain a bit regarding new media and an open comment policy if you have time.

    Comment by Tim Shisler -

  38. Comments are one of my beatings as a blog owner, although I don\’t get nearly enough to take up much time. They\’re helpful as validation, to know that my efforts are appreciated by others. Otherwise, it\’s a crapshoot.

    Comment by Spamboy -

  39. Dear Mr O\’Reilly …. err I mean Mr Cuban

    Its okay if people disagree with your opinions.

    Comment by Chris -

  40. The only comments I\’ve ever deleted are blatant spam, semi-spam (I usually remove the links and leave the rest) and profanity.

    Then again, I\’m not at a point where I\’m generating much of the \”go f yourself\” type of response to what I\’m writing about. The bubble boys have a bigger target here in my town.

    Comment by Jonathan Dalton -

  41. Comments are often insightful. For example, I was just reading the comments on the soldier email. I had forgotten that Magnolia distributed Voices of Iraq.

    Comment by JB -

  42. Are you only posting this because of all the people that left comments disagreeing with your P2P posts? Comments have value because they help frame your opinions. If the commenter agrees with you or not is another matter. In fact comments are best when they highlight differing opinions on a topic. That\’s what the Web is about.

    You would lose a lot of respect by removing comments that didn\’t share your point of view. That would make you a lot like the people you famously criticize in the media or politics.

    Keep it real Mark. That\’s how you became who and what you are, and why people read this blog in the first place.

    Comment by J Cornelius -

  43. Comments on blogs are a waste of time. Like Dom says, anyone with anything worth listening to will have their own blog. They amount to allowing people to leave graffiti shits on your website.

    If a conversation is what you\’re after, start a separate discussion forum where people can post on any topic they like (including your posts) but that isn\’t tied into your website, other than a link. They can start communities there if they want and self moderate.

    Comment by Michael Pryor -

  44. If you view your blog readers as customers, or potential customers, I think you need to keep the comments open, and babysit them. If you decide to shut off comments, you\’re essentially saying \”I don\’t want to hear it\”, which isn\’t a particularly effective customer retention strategy.

    Comment by Pat Morrison -

  45. Community moderation is the way to go. Of course it\’s your blog, you can do whatever you want. Craigslist seems to have a very effective combination of 95% community moderation and 5% staff editing. (those numbers are my estimates)

    If you attract a good community, your comments will be policed accordingly.

    Comment by Divorce Papers -

  46. Unfortunately, babysitting is very necessary. Moderation can save you a headache, in case someone\’s kid pulls this up, and views all the ignorant spewing, then it\’s your fault poor junior learned to say all those naughty things he\’d never have heard otherwise (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

    Sincerely, I\’d like to read comments by intelligent humans, and be spared the ignorant spewing; I like your blog, I don\’t like the haters.

    Comment by Susan Lewis -

  47. I always read the bloggers intention *message*. If blogger allows my post, then I continue to visit and participate. If not, then I don\’t bother again.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Comment by Mary -

  48. Does anyone know if Mark publishes an RSS feed for his comments? I like them as much as his blog and I\’d like to make it available in Viigo\’s channel library.
    Thanks

    Comment by Jesse Sternberg -

  49. Comments can have certain value. If it\’s in a positive way, great. There is no justification in comments that are hurtful to others, especially those who are in the spotlight.

    It seems that more and more that all you hear in the media is the \”bad\” that people do. When is the last time that you heard the news media tell about something good that someone did, especially people in the spotlight? It\’s all about the bad. It\’s bad enough that the NBA has to produce their own \”NBA Cares\” commercials just to show how the NBA really does care about the people in their community. When is the last time you heard that on Sports Center?

    In hindsight, it really doesn\’t matter who you are. Whether you are a pro athlete, professional singer, or the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. More people are going to try to make you stumble then help you to walk. They will attack you every which way that they can, even in the comments of your own blog.

    Comment by Ryan Crouser -

  50. Allowing comments is essential for a popular, opinionated blog like this one to draw readers–particularly those who denounce Mark as a traitor and what not, but who, curiously, cannot stay away. As for small-fish bloggers like me, having comments is an ego-booster and an indication that at least someone is reading. Anyhow, at some point, hostile commenters may find themselves actually agreeing with the viewpoints of the Maverick Blogger, or maybe they\’re just secretly are in love with Mark but cannot bring themselves to admit it. I mean, who really knows where the heart leads?

    BTW, I loved \”Good Night, and Good Luck.\” So did my conservative Republican wife, but then, George Clooney can have that kind of effect on a gal. Haven\’t seen \”Rendition.\”

    Comment by dumpster -

  51. Pretty much depends on how you feel about free speech, and whether you value the things others may have to say. A public forum like the net will, by it\’s nature, generate a lot of noise. You have to be willing to dig through the crap to find the nuggets, and it\’s up to each individual to determine whether or not it is worth the time and effort.

    Comment by Mark -

  52. Mark,
    I had a response in mind for this. However, after further consideration, I\’ve decided the full tirade is not worth my time or yours, and so I give you the abbreviated version:

    After reading your previous two posts and the comments posted to them.. I can only read this as \”Somebody dared to disagree with me\”.

    Comment by Timo -

  53. Mark Cuban, I\’m calling you out. Marcos Pinto is my real name and I live in West Chicago, Illinois. Come and try to sue me, you ignorant, self-intitled little baby. You can talk all you want in a blog, but what are actions without words? I\’m the lead developer of Deluge Torrent (www.deluge-torrent.org), which is a p2p client. I say we stop playing games and let the courts decide. I\’m all in; are you?

    Comment by Marcos Pinto -

  54. I think it depends. If they simply disagree with you, or its a general \”you suck\” sort of thing, then you let it go. If it becomes to personal, ie something about you personally or your family, and it crosses a line, then you have to look a little closer. Unfortunately, there are jackasses on the net that seem to think its acceptable to say and do things you wouldn\’t do to a person\’s face. I won\’t even start on the commentary that makes on society. Ultimately only you can say where your line in the sand is, Mark.

    Comment by Sharon -

  55. Howard Stern was once asked whether the real Howard is the one on the radio or the one who goes home to his wife and three daughters. Howard claims that the real Howard, who expresses himself as he pleases, is the one on the radio while the Howard who holds back and wears a mask is the one at home with his family.
    With the surge of reality shows and blogs, it is apparent that Americans are interested more than ever in content that is non-fiction rather than artificially packaged. As Americans are moving away from fiction, they are looking for a medium where they can find individuals who speak their mind and do not hold anything back. Blogs allow individuals to express themselves as they please, mainly due to peoples ability to remain anonymous. I believe that this genuineness and honesty of blog comments outweighs the offensive and mean spirited comments that we sometimes have to endure.

    Comment by FM -

  56. I am ALWAYS surprised when I read a post of yours that mentions reading someone\’s email or post. I would have thought you had assistants and such to read and filter all of this for you (and maybe you do). For you to take the time to read the comments and emails that you must be sent really blows my mind. I think you should have an assistant if you don\’t. You are obviously very smart and you should not waste your time on people who post disrespectful comments. Sometimes I disagree with your ideas, but I have a lot of respect for the thought that went into them. You are always on the cutting edge of what will be next. I don\’t read any blogs except for yours. For the most part I don\’t find value in many blogs. A lot of fluff mostly. You bring something different and valuable to the table. I shouldn\’t say this, but after reading your posts I would pay to read your blog and have insight into your thoughts.

    Comment by bill ross -

  57. While I certainly comment on the few blogs whose opinions I value, I consider blog comments to be the lowest form of human communication. After reading a post, you put together your most visceral reaction, don\’t edit it, and fire away. Comments are necessary because rarely they point out factual or logical errors in the post. Otherwise they are usually just an 80-20 mix of \”you suck\” and \”you rule.\”

    Comment by Micah -

  58. Unmoderated comments?

    I posted a comment to your rant against O\’Reilly and it was taken off the board.

    Cuban loves for people to feel sorry for him.

    Comment by Jeff -

  59. NO!

    Comment by Bryant Keefe -

  60. Hi Mark – Of \”famous\” bloggers, the only one I am aware of that does not allow comments is Seth Godin, and if you peruse his blogs, he states why he made this choice. I still subscribe to the feed of his blog, as the primary value is in what he writes. Only when I link over to his blog to I read the comments.

    On my blog, The Hot Iron, I moderate all of my comments. It takes time, but it helps maintain the integrity of the blog. I like having people comment on my blog and feel it is important in building community and promoting myself and my Internet consulting business.

    But for me, Forbes magazine has not written about me and my blog… well, yet! If you don\’t personally get much value in the comments from your blog, then you may want to turn it off. I will continue to read your blog, as its main value is in your opinion and insight.

    mp/m

    Comment by Mike Maddaloni -

  61. The more public you become the more you\’re going to attract the fringes of society.

    Personally I enjoy the comments however you have to decide how much time and energy you want to spend reacting to them.

    Comment by Tim Elliott -

  62. I get soo many spam comments on my blog that I eventually stopped moderating it altogether.

    *cough* Someone needs to trade for Iverson/Anthony *cough*

    Comment by Yoh -

  63. Moderated comments are a necessary part of life with a blog. Some comments are inappropriate and some are just outright untrue. The owner of the blog should feel free to delete inappropriate comments. With the internet there\’s always some other forum to call the blogger names or to spout untruths. That\’s why deleting comments is not censorship.

    Comment by general125 -

  64. If Dirk came to you and said:

    \”The surest way to get called names by the crowd is to get beat on defense. It doesn\’t matter how fast the other guy is or how many minutes you\’ve played.

    The hatred from the crowd seems to be increasing daily. The reality is, no team wins without putting up a semblance of defense and getting booed all night at that end of the court. That\’s a shame.

    So the question is, is it worth it to give any effort there? Or is listening to the boos just part of being a player in this league? Or is defense just a waste of time in all circumstances?\”

    Mark, your answer would not be \”of course defense is worth the effort\”. Your answer would be to look at the numbers. Look at your traffic numbers Mark. Look at what ad revenue would be. Look at how you and your humble blog took on the whole state of Utah for better than a month. The traffic numbers will reveal your answer.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  65. For most people I think moderating the commments makes sense. Allows you to enter into the conversation and build relationships. At the same time for the A listers it is an entire differ world. Most of you guys I just use as more of a resource rather than attempt to enter into the conversation (this post being the exception. Being negative is easy, we all have something to complain about. I had just started read Scoble when he went through his \’transformation\’, where he recognized how much of the negative he was promoting himself. It was cool to see his change. No that I have been a total dork here is a quote I think relates: \”To be under pressure is inescapable. Pressure takes place through all the world; war, siege, the worries of state. We all know men who grumble under these pressures and complain. They are cowards. They lack splendor. But there is another sort of man who is under the same pressure but does not complain, for it is the friction which polishes him. It is the pressure which refines and makes him noble.\” – St. Augustine

    Comment by Michael -

  66. The use of a profane or immoderate word tells the reader something about the writer, just as surely as does a writer\’s elegant phraseology or knack for picking out an apt metaphor.

    Our nation has already riddled the notion of free speech with way too many exceptions, based on concern that some anonymous person will have their feelings hurt. When will we exhibit the maturity to realize that words do not harm, actions do?

    The mainstream media are so brain-dead that they only become exercised by thoughts mirroring the crudity of their limited understanding and headline-based broadcasts.

    If our President can say that Saddam Hussein is a bad man and must be killed, why can someone else not be allowed to say that the President is a bad man and deserves a similar fate?

    Sanctions should be applied to those who act, not those who think, propose, debate, and ask the tough questions.

    Mark, you do not know how many lives you have touched with your clear-headed comments, even on subjects like P2P, with which I disagree.

    Allow the fornication-heads their daze. Readers are (mostly) not stupid or deranged. It is not difficult to figure out who is worth reading and who is a time-waster.

    Perhaps you could devise or have devised a filter that substitutes acceptable euphemisms for the seven deadly words that the FCC has banned, much as Normal Mailer liberally scattered the word \”fug\” around in The Naked and the Dead, because publishers would not allow the raw real word to see the light of print in the late Forties. But while you are devising, please also fight to lift the restrictions on those seven offending letter combinations.

    A real chemist does not ban working on seven rogue elements, but accepts the universe as it is, knowing that today\’s rogue element could well turn out to be tomorrow\’s next big thing.

    If you keep your blog comments at a high level, as you have generally done, the pinheads and name-callers will drop off, because they will see that they have a scant arsenal to compete in the more rarefied and interesting world of ideas that the participatory democracy of the blogosphere makes possible for those of us lacking the \”conch\” that large media outlets hand over to short-sighted propagandists like Who\’s Looking Out For You O\’Reilly.

    Comment by Thom -

  67. If you allow for comments on your blog I believe you should let people say as they will, with the exception of comments that are threatening, racist, or hateful.

    Comment by Toni -

  68. I don\’t write a blog and I only read one or two on a regular basis. I enjoy the comments because it is interesting to see how others respond to your thoughts and the positions you take. As for the folks who use profanity or just try to demean you, I just consider the source. My thoughts are usually \”Wow, that must be an unusual person to know or be around. I often wonder if those folks were born that way or if they have to work on it. The volatile reaction to your P2P posts for example gave me no new knowledge and most were not on point.
    I am always mystified by people who berate you for being rich. I just chalk it up to jealousy and envy. You did a smart thing and made a lot of money, good for you.
    Don\’t worry about the comments, they are simply a reflection of the people who write them.

    Comment by MIke Genette -

  69. what about a blog system that allows for user-moderation of comments, such as slashdot? it won\’t be perfect, but i suspect it would help quite a bit.

    Comment by tm -

  70. It really seems to vary wildly depending on the blog and the people who read it. Someone upthread mentioned gawker, and I agree with what they do there (and on the connected gawker media sites, like consumerist, defamer, and so on). I in general find that commenting works best in environments where people take ownership for their comments using some form of recognizable username; the \”mojo\” concept at dailykos, for instance, helps keep things reasonable there.

    On the other hand, my experience has usually been that the style of commenting here — fill in a field with a random name and email address, and if you want, a URL that people can be sent to if they click your name — lends itself to spam, to trolling, and, most frustratingly, to useless comments, like \”Your blog has no value\” that add nothing to the discussion.

    Comment by Ken -

  71. I receive very few comments on my blog and I could care less, really. I don\’t write to start conversations. I write to end them, much like you do.

    Comment by Joshua Minton -

  72. Moderated comments are preferred by me to eliminate the spam, porn, bad language, and plain old idiots. Most bloggers I follow moderate their comments but do post those who disagree. The better bloggers will respond to the comments.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Mark.

    Comment by Dave -

  73. In the whole \”church leader\” world, my blog gets a fair amount of comments (~30-40, over 100 on controversial things). I have only deleted two ever because they were very personally offensive and knowing I had minors reading my blog, decided to delete them. But on political posts (I lean WAY left which somehow upsets most evangelicals…hmmm) and a few other posts, I don\’t clean it up at all…people are responsible for their own actions, even if that means they sound ignorant.

    I think comments are a huge part of Web2.0 – the interaction (for me) is quite fun. I keep an eye on what goes on, with no moderation, and it allows people to learn from each other.

    Or look stupid.

    Whatever they choose.

    Comment by Anne Jackson -

  74. By requiring a sort of academic tone and level of respect in discussion, I very rarely have to moderate comments. That being said, my readership is a silent one and at this point I dont do the level of traffic or controversy that others do. I often disable comments on entries, just because I dont particularly care what everyone has to say about some matters and I think comments can be tedious for everyone involved if they are constantly open. Ill also shut them off when on a shoot or on location: Sort of like locking up your house when you leave. Im mostly thinking out loud, because it is something that every blogger battles with at some point. If I had to moderate then I wouldnt bother with comments at all unless I was seeing enough revenue and support from my site to warrant the time. (Right now my goal is to stop paying for people to come by and take all of my content for free without getting involved in our work.)

    Comment by j -

  75. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

    Comment by KindAndThoughtful -

  76. I was going to comment on this, then realized that no one would read it anyway.

    Comment by Keith -

  77. I think that comments are a waste of time. I detracts from the content being posted and people just end up getting knee deep in mud. Turn them off. If someone has something of interest or wants to express an opinion, let them do it via email. The weirdos will mostly move on to some other blog that makes it real easy for them to publish their trolling tones. I think you\’ll be surprised how much better you\’ll feel with them off, be able to concentrate on your content and move on to thinking about your next post.

    Comment by Diego -

  78. Comments are obviously valuable if what\’s happening is a discussion. In many instances comments can add to the value of the original entry and even inform the original writer, perhaps correcting factual inaccuracies, or adding personal insights to the subject in hand.

    On the other hand, moderating them is absolutely fine (although probably enormously time-consuming for someone like you), since there\’s nothing more useless than a long list of bile-filled comments – if, say, your blog has been targeted by some single-interest group.

    I\’ll be honest in saying that most blog entries I read, I read through an RSS reader, without seeing comments. Then if something interests me especially, and I want to find out what others are saying, I\’ll open up the full entry to read comments.

    Comment by Adam Bowie -

  79. Well as a blogger you can go down the unmoderated route, but then you have a chance of getting slagged off by a lot of people and this could potentially affect your readership.

    Moderated comments are a great deal better, but if this is done can it be seen that the blogger is not allowing freedom of speach and censoring the content to meet his needs??

    Comment by Steven Finch -

  80. Do the comments in blog\’s have value? In an era where the majority of the media is disconnected from the majority of its citizens, I believe that blog\’s serve a purpose in giving a voice to the voiceless. There are millions of people who engage in thought provoking discourse on serious issues. Granted, there seems to be alot of name-calling, and mindlessness in the blogosphere, but that kind of garbage exsists in the mainstream media as well. I wish more intellectuals, business leaders, and political leaders would engage in blogging, and I applaude you for doing so. Unfortunately, most of what we get out there is Monday morning quarterbacking, by people who have problem critizing the ideas of others, while offering none of their own. Thank you for the forum, and for the programming you offer on HDnet, especially the news programs. As a member of the working class I find the picture painted by most media to be a distorted one, and appreciate some actual journalism with integrity. Any chance you could hire Bill Moyers?

    Comment by william hunter -

  81. Nice Articles.

    Hi wanna barter link with us ? http://www.njaluk.com Free Download software.

    Comment by jenny -

  82. leave em. for the most part, when people spew hateful bile instead of attempting a civil discourse, they prove themselves to be the vile morons they are. i can count on both hands the times ive seen a nasty personal attack that was well thought out (and well spelled). some people just shouldnt be allowed on the internet lest they be exposed as retards.

    Comment by DTC -

  83. Unmoderated comments are the fastest way to transform an A+ blog (such as this one) to an F blog. Maturity is a big factor in successfulness of blogging, and if you allow those who aren\’t to post, it really detracts from the usefulness of the blog. I turn comments off 99% of the time when I blog. The effectiveness of the message in the blog is hindered the minute someone immature opens their mouth and calls someone else a dirty word.

    my 2cents. great blog. go mavs.

    Comment by Norris -

  84. I personally feel that unmoderated comments are unwise. Now, should you not allow a comment simply because it\’s critical of this, or that? No. Allow it. Why ask for the opinions of others, if you\’re not going to respect these opinions and give them voice? The only real reason for moderation is just that – respect. Voicing conflicting views is one thing, but abuse is another. Spam, name calling, threats, etc. – it\’s all unacceptable in such a forum, and shouldn\’t be given any voice at all. It\’s all a matter of fairness coupled with self-respect and pride in one\’s work. There must be a balance.

    I don\’t feel that comments are a waste of time, so long as their in a forum where they\’ll be used to the fullest. A blog with just a few sparse comments here and there really doesn\’t need comments, because they apparently do not serve to enhance the overall website experience. They\’re taking up space, so to speak. But, if conversation is lively and the comments add to the site\’s function and appeal, go for it.

    Comment by Jessica Perry -

  85. Comments do have and provide value on a blog. Without them it\’s not a blog. The comments make it a two-way street. Keep the comments and add in some better comment filtering.

    Comment by erik weibust -

  86. 2 words: Free Speech.

    If they don\’t like your words, use the other 2 words: Fuck em.

    Comment by Eric Allen -

  87. Basically, I moderate two types of comments:

    1) Bots (and there are WP plugins that fix that), and
    2) Anything illegal (including someone leaving a link to something P2P based).

    I believe in freedom of speech, and have defended said right… even if all I really did was defend the right of the mouth breathers to be retarded.

    Comment by Chris Bowen -

  88. I have to agree that the way Gawker handles it seems to work very well. Lifehacker comments are usually very helpful and always on topic.

    Comment by Dempsey -

  89. I have one blog where i don\’t allow any comments and i have another blog that anyone can post anything and I havn\’t even checked to see what people are posting for a couple months. I don\’t have enough time to bother with it.

    It really depends what you need and what you want.

    If the insults and hatred being directed at you is in regards to the redacted issue. I just want to let you know that I support you.

    Comment by David depape -

  90. So the question is, is it worth it to allow unmoderated comments ? Or is babysitting comments just part of the job of bloggers ? Or are comments just a waste of time under all circumstances ?

    It really depends on what you are after.

    I frequently disablee and enable comments on my blog. I don\’t have time to respond so that\’s a factor in disabling comments. My blog has a message and I don\’t have time to respond to everything so I just block comments so that my message doesn\’t get buried under a pile of noise traffic.

    Comment by David -

  91. Comments aren\’t a waste of time if they are two things: 1. On Subject and 2. Present a valid point of why someone agrees/disagrees with you. They ARE a waste of time when the comments stray from the subject, someone uses the comments to degrade someone else who\’s posted a comment or the comment poster resorts to personal attacks because they can\’t come up with a good reason why they don\’t agree.

    To me, blogs seem to be a way of connecting with people in a way not possible in the spit and polished media. It\’s raw and it\’s real. Not everyone may agree with you but it is a way to have your voice heard if anyone wants to listen.

    You can speak out on almost anything in a blog and, if someone agrees then great. If not, oh well… they\’re entitled to their own opinion.

    Comment by Rebeccalee Coventry -

  92. Mark,
    This is the reason I write a biweekly internet column (the award winning Party Favors) instead of a blog. If someone wants to \”comment\” on my writing, they have to write me an email and not just toss their snide remarks underneath my entry. Blog comments mostly turn into the same dozen people carrying on a conversation with themselves. They seem less to be commenting on what you wrote, but attempting to show themselves to be more insightful or enteraining in their hatin\’ ways than you.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  93. Comments are worthwhile. There will always be clowns using their pseudo anonymity.

    A third party moderating would work, and I\’d be willing.

    Comment by Ryan -

  94. I think comments have a place on blogs that have a following. Comments allow a person to be part of the conversation…not that they are always read by the blogger, but contributing to the conversation is what the \”blog\” is all about. When I come across blogs that do not allow comments…I have to wonder why? Are they so afraid that someone will counteract what they are saying or tell them to jump off a cliff? Either one is part of the power of the internet…we all contribute to the collective, even the guy that instead of coming up with something intelligent to say…just says \”your blog has no value\” or \”f-this, f-that\”. Keep the comments and keep doing what you do! This of course from a IU AlumπŸ™‚

    Comment by J Sandifer -

  95. Depends if you want feedback. I have posted several comments on your blog. They have all been polite and they have disagreed with you. You,or your people have eliminated them. I see Brian above has had the same experience. I have noticed a couple of posts to you that were left up that disagreed with you and were posted by knuckledraggers. I can only figure that you left them up to imply that this was representative of your opposition.

    You painted yourself into a corner by backing Brian Palma\’s Movie. By now you know what a disaster it is, both artistically, financially and politically. Pretending otherwise on your blog doesn\’t do you any good.

    Comment by Bill Millan -

  96. Your blog has no value.

    Comment by Jeremy -

  97. It\’s a no win situation. Moderate comments? People think you are choosing only good things to publish, and unfairly weeding out the negative. Don\’t moderate? Every idiot on the planet jumps in. No comments at all? In an instant gratification society, where people NEED to feel validated, comments, in a strange way, offer that.

    Comment by Drew -

  98. Is this coming from the same guy who calls people idiots in the media?

    Gotta love the irony

    Comment by Calvin -

  99. There is already one service called Disqus that will moderate comments for anyone with a blog. Seems to me like this could become more common, a bit like spam filtering services.

    Comment by Bruce McL -

  100. If you can\’t deal with comments, then just email what you would write on your blog to your friends. Its called the \’world wide web\’ for a reason. Everyone in the world can access it.

    Having a blog and getting mad at comments its sorta like going to the mall and getting mad at the kiosk people trying to sell you stuff. You know its a possibility, so why get mad in the first place?

    Comment by ditriech -

  101. Let it fly. If somebody abuses the comments section then 86 them. It\’s up to the blogger to decide when that abuse occurs. If it\’s just a difference of opinion and the blogger doesn\’t want it shown, then that\’s the blogger\’s problem.

    Comment by James -

  102. Great stuff mate!!!!

    check out my blog:

    termsandconditions1.blogpspot.com

    Comment by Tom -

  103. Blog comments are worthless tripe. Anyone with something intelligent to say would have their own blog.

    Comment by Dom -

  104. For the most part, blogs are opinion pieces. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to open up things up for discussion. It also engages users to where they spend more time on your site.

    Comment by Allan -

  105. Do what gawker does. That\’ll clean up your trash fast.

    An excerpt (taken from http://www.fuckedsuit.com/?p=33 ): \”Any of you ever tried [posting a msg]? heh, I was surprised. They have this deal where you post one message (its moderated, course) and they review it to make sure its good enough. If it sucks (you do not pass the rehersal) you dont ever get to post again and can just do the mundane community stuff. Right. As if I want friends on gawker.\”

    Comment by King Tut -

  106. Mark, there is a vast difference between \”garbage\” and \”dissent\”. I have had a few of my posts disappear into the ether, even after I have verified it\’s authenticity. Nothing I have ever posted would be considered profane, off topic, or full of hate. It has been in the spirit of honest discussion.

    When you decided to nix my various posts, you created animosity. At that point I wrote off your blog and kept away from it for a while. I am only back because you posted items which I found entirely offbase.

    If you delete this, that\’s fine. At least we\’ll know where you stand with open discussion….

    Comment by Brian -

  107. I LOVE DIRK NOWITZKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE HIM LOVE HIM LOVE HIM! HE\’S HOT!!!!!!! i\’ve always wanted to meet him

    Comment by Ana -

  108. http://www.kennysia.com , is the most popular local blog where i come from, he can get some 400-700 comments on a single post. Some hate and some love. Kenny\’s approch is to just let people say what they like.

    I think it is this approach that makes him so popular.

    For most parts, he speaks in the post, and lets everyone else speak in the comments.

    Comment by Ming -

  109. I don\’t give a shit about peoples comments … this is the 1st time I\’ve left a comment and I\’ve been reading for years. I could care less what other people have to say if i wanted to know what they thought I\’d read their blog in my Google reader.

    Comment by Mike K. -

  110. Moderating comments–Yes. Censoring comments–No. Hopefully, that fine line is achievable by the honest blogger. If not, no comments is the way to go. Unfortunately, unmoderated comments can lead to readers being exposed to hateful and sometimes profane statements by anger driven people……and readers can find that elsewhere should they need to, not on your/my blogs.

    Comment by Nick -

  111. It would seem to me that it depends on your level of sensitivity. If inappropriate comments bother the blogger they need to moderate.
    I do think there are thoughtful comments, but probably not as often as one might think. If it\’s a thoughtful comment, it\’s probably going to end up to be a post on somebody\’s blog with a trackback.

    BTW: your last mile post was excellent. Until government considers the internet to be necessary infrastructure, the U.S. will fall hopelessly behind other technologically advanced countries. Sweden has 16 mbps, S. Korea 45 mbps, China 60 mbps.
    Since Kentucky has the model for \”broadband\” access, we are in a heap o\’ trouble.

    Comment by GoingLikeSixty -

  112. It really depends – but there is one thing. If your site depends on ad revenues to stay up you better have them, because if you don\’t have comments I\’m never going to the site itself, I\’ll just read it in the RSS feed.

    Of course, if you don\’t have an RSS feed I\’m not reading you anyways, and if you only have a partial one and you\’re not on my list already I\’m extremely unlikely to add you.

    Comment by Skip -

  113. I think it\’s fine for a hugely popular blog like this to disallow comments – anyone who really wants to respond can start their own blog, after all. I allow comments on my blog since I have so few readers that the amount of effort I need to put into it is negligible.

    Comment by Ben Fulton -

  114. On my blog I babysit the comments for the following: spam, dirty words, personal attacks and hate speech. Everything else makes it up there and I find value in much of it, even ones that are nasty toward me every now and then. The hard part for me is trying to find the time to respond in comments. Sometimes, I will write a separate blog post to do so.

    Comment by Steve Rubel -

  115. I talk on YouTube about a lot of controversial subjects, and I have a lot of subscribers, and here\’s my policy: if it\’s not bot-generated spam, I don\’t moderate it. It\’s just not my cup of tea. Let the people have their say dudeπŸ˜‰

    -Robert

    Comment by Robert Taylor -

Comments are closed.