Why I don't have comments

I like comments as much as the next person, especially when they agree with me. But that's the problem. When they simply agree, I don't learn anything, and, as the title indicates, the purpose of my blog is learning.

Sometimes, people do disagree and give a different perspective. Even in this case, they are likely to dash off their disagreement without chewing on it and thinking it through. So, I might learn a little, but not as much as I would from a thoughtful and measured response. I'm not the only that thinks this way. On not allowing comments, Alex Payne wrote,

"The main reason I don’t allow comments is that I want to inspire debate. I think people do their best writing when they’re forced to defend their ideas on their own turf. It’s one thing to leave a comment on someone else’s blog, but quite another to put your argument in front of your own readers. It forces a level of consideration that, without fail, results in a higher quality exchange of ideas."

Most bloggers prefer comments. Why? It's not for knowledge or learning as much as it is for the immediacy of comments that  creates an illusion of community, with its attendant  social relations. As Joshua Marshall (via Autono Blogger) wrote concerning blogging:

"In most hands, it's more a medium of exchange than reflection."

If blogs are mostly "a medium of exchange than reflection," even more so the comments they engender. That's okay for some purposes, such as business. However, when one's purpose is learning, the "okay" can easily undermine the "good." John Gruber, commenting on comments, wrote. "I don’t care what’s out of place. I care about what’s best." For these reasons, at least for now, comments aren't enabled on this blog.

For those who want to understand how I came to this position, read my posts (all in the sidebar on this page), perhaps starting with my first post that framed this issue: Blogging to Confirm vs. Blogging to Learn. (The posts are in chronological order with the first post at the top.) Also consider reading Matt Gemmell's article on why he turned comments off. And then there's Alan Jacob's post on the Sociopathy of blog commenters.

Although comments aren't enabled, I welcome emails. In fact, if you'd like to post a "measured response" on my blog, just email it to me, along with any bio/contact information you'd like to accompany it. Or if you respond on your own site, let me know so that I may respond in turn.

  ©2006-2014 Charles P. Nelson