By Ed Oswald | Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm
There’s an ever increasingly spirited debate going on in the blogosphere among the technorati (starting with Joe Wilcox and John Gruber) around the subject of comments in blogs. In the simplest terms, the argument centers around whether the reader has a right to participate in the discussion that the blogger puts forth.
For the most part bloggers do accept that commenters should be a part of the conversation. Blogs are one of the earliest forms of social media, and not allowing commenting seems almost like a Twitter without “@” replies, or a Facebook or MySpace without comments.
My understanding is that one of the founding concepts of a blog was this idea of social journalism: where the blogger would not be confined by the so called media gatekeepers, and freely be able to express their opinion. Pingbacks were the earliest forms of this social interaction, so one blogger could let another know he or she had read their content and responded.
Those without blogs could comment, which in turn furthers the discussion put forth. In my eyes, I cannot separate commenting from blogging, and see those who turn off comments as going against one of the central precepts of the medium itself.
It seems to me as if some bloggers may not be too good at taking criticism. No doubt, I’ve gotten raked over the coals several times here on Technologizer, and even on BetaNews before that. While yes it stings, sometimes these criticisms are very valid–and do add to the discussion.
Locking your reader out is something we should leave to the old school of journalism, where we told our readers what we thought they should hear and not care what they think. I am of the thought that readers have every right to respond to what you say, and in public if they so desire.
Do we have the right to delete their comments? Of course. But I hope such a move would be reserved for those who cannot argue without personally attacking, or spamming. But if you’re going to say “no comments here,” my advice is to go back reporting on television, or write for a newspaper.