John Martz posted this as part of his post on why he doesn’t have Disqus comments enabled on his Tumblr.
The wonderful thing about the web is that anyone can contribute to it. If you have something to say, there are plenty of places to say it. But your right to post to someone else’s site rests with that someone else.
This is so painfully obvious, anyone who doesn’t get it must simply have an axe to grind. It’s like assuming you have the right to go inside any house you can see from the street, and pee on the carpet.
This is exactly my philosophy when it comes to trollish comments on my blog: if you shit in my living room, get the hell out of my house, and take your turd with you.
Lately I’ve been wondering whether comments are valuable at all, that is, when I’m not actively seeking feedback for my work/thoughts. I like how John puts it:
Enabling comments is ostensibly the same thing as inviting comments. Without comments, a blog is more of a collection of thoughts and images, and no longer a venue in which the author is asking, “what do you think of this?”
That empty box at the bottom of your post is an invitation.
I wonder, too, if that box isn’t there, if people are more inclined to take their thoughts about the work elsewhere: to twitter, facebook, etc.
(I could see replacing the comment box with “Talk about this on Twitter” or Facebook “like” buttons.)
This seems to me to be way more desirable than getting a blog comment on my own site: the reader is bringing the work to their own audience, saying what they want to in their own space, and maybe, just maybe, driving some of those audience eyeballs towards the work.