Saturday, May 28, 2005
Blogs Must Be Interactive via Comments or Email
One of the controversies raging in the blogosphere, according to my research and observation, is Comments vs. Linking.
Does a blog really need to have comments from readers?
I have to control myself now.
I don't want to anger any pioneering bloggers or my very astute blog colleagues.
But I think it's...how shall I put this?...absurd to even pose this question.
NON-INTERACTIVE BLOGS = BROADCAST PULPITS
What makes a blog so much better, in most cases, than a conventional web site?
A blog is interactive with its audience.
A blog enables readers to join the conversation, rather than shut up and listen passively.
There are some wonderful, smart, pioneer blogs out there that do not allow comments from readers.
Too many stupid comments? Too much comment spam? I don't know what legitimate reasons could exist to turn off comments.
A blog that merely contains statements by the blogger, with no comments by the readers: this is just a one-way broadcast pulpit.
I always feel like the Non-comment Blog is telling me to just listen and learn. No questions. No interruptions. No two-way conversation allowed. Weird. Aloof. Unfriendly. Cold. Alienating...in most cases.
MY VICTORY OVER COMMENT SPAMMERS
I turned off comments for about two months on all my blogs, except Blog Core Values.
Comment spam attack. I didn't like spending hours hunting down the filthy mouthed malicious comment spam and manually deleting them.
But now I'm turning comments back on at all my blogs.
Because I just discovered a neat weapon against them, a free tool from Blogger, combined with my Gmail account.
(1.) Whenever anyone leaves a comment at any of my Blogger blogs, I get an email alerting me to the comment. The alert contains the name of the blog, the name of the commenter, the comment, and...get this...a direct link to that post at which the person left the comment.
(2.) So if the comment is filthy malicious comment spam [which often leads readers to porno sites, con artist sites, spyware attaching sites, or worse], I can go directly and quickly to that post and delete the comment spam. Stupidly, I didn't realize this before. I wasted so much time hunting and deleting, when I could have easily gone right to the post and deleted the spam.
ANOTHER ARGUMENT AGAINST COMMENTS
One more thing I've heard against enabling readers to comment is that if they want to post web content, they should start their own blog.
Boy, this sounds kind of mean-spirited and selfish. Again, I don't want to insult the pioneer bloggers who have recently or always adopted this line of reasoning. But I speak my mind and I don't care who agrees or disagrees with me.
I tell the truth as I see it.
And I see Non-interactive Blogs as very strange, cold, inhuman, uncaring, cut off from the blogospheric community of lively interaction.
If you have some valid reason to NOT allow readers to post comments, at least display a non-harvestable email address (one the spambots can't capture: like "vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com"), so readers can still contact you.
You can moderate and delay posting of comments if necessary.
But I insist you must let readers join the conversation.
If you don't want to hear from your audience, why do you blog?
You don't really have a blog, you've got a bulletin board or a conventional dynamic content web site ("dynamic"--meaning constantly updated, new content added continually).
I seriously question any blog by anybody, and I don't care how famous or prestigious the blogger is, who won't allow readers to add their input.
You can delete abusive comments, stupidly worthless comments, comment spam (driving traffic to dubious or malicious sites), and off topic comments.
We don't really need anymore one-way, unilateral, mass marketing broadcast platforms.
The Blog Revolution is about community building, shared interests, united activism, candid conversations.
[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka The Leper Guru
Posted by steven edward streight at 5/28/2005 10:01:00 PM