Sigh. Yesterday, at C&I Updates (which you don’t need to consult if you read this weblog)–a Blogger blog done in 5 minutes–I clicked on choices to hide all existing comments and reject any new comments that don’t come from “members of the weblog”–which means me.
In other words, I turned off commenting retroactively.
And I’m seeing more moderately high-profile weblogs that don’t allow comments–Jessamyn and Jenny (at least on Firefox), for example, as well as Dorothea and others. (I’d guess that most general-community A-listers don’t allow comments, but I could be wrong: I don’t have the time or patience to find out.)
I suspect their reasons are similar to mine. In the case of C&I Updates, it was only one spam comment, but of such a nature that I suppressed it as quickly as possible, then went and washed my hands. I don’t see any provision in Blogger for deleting specific comments, and this a**le has a Blogger identity, allowing immediate commenting privileges, so the only way out was to turn it off altogether. C&I Updates is an announcement blog, so I don’t feel badly about that.
So far, I’ve taken considerable delight in the conversations and feedback on Walt at Random. If I use the same multiplier as appears to hold for Infothought (180 Bloglines subscriptions projects to around 510 overall readers), then this weblog probably has around 380 readers. (I know, I know: That kind of projection is absurd on its face. Let’s say “somewhere between 134 and infinity, with the probability nexus being somewhere between 200 and 400.”) Given that nicely modest readership, the range and thoughtfulness of comments–and the range of commenters–has been gratifying. You’ve made me think, you’ve raised worthwile new points, and I find that there’s rarely reason to comment on comments because they’re so well done.
In other words, I really don’t want to make commenting difficult or impossible here. I’m using roughly the WordPress defaults (although one of them doesn’t seem to work as it apparently should, and that’s just as well): You have to provide an email address (which nobody but me can see), I have to approve any comment that contains more than one link or that includes words on WordPress’s “likely spam” list, I *can* (and will) delete comments, and I can (and will, if need be) prevent some domains or users from commenting at all. I hope that’s enough to deter the worst spam. I suspect that having a relatively small audience is the best defense: Jenny and Jessamyn each probably reach at least 10 times as many people, possibly 20 times or more, so they would be much more inviting targets.
Enough of this rambling. If you offer suggestions as to how I can make this weblog better known, you now have another reason I’ll ignore them: I don’t want this weblog to have anything like Cites & Insights readership, both because it really is just random noodlings and because I want to enjoy the conversations.
If spam becomes a problem, I’ll try to cope with it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll either turn off comments (reluctantly) or abandon the weblog (slightly more reluctantly). I hope it doesn’t come to either of those.
Added later that day, for reasons obvious in the comments: I misspoke about Jenny’s weblog. Although I would swear that the last two times I was there–one time really wanting to leave a comment–there was no “comments” indicator under the posts, it’s there now. She uses something from RateYourMusic as a comment system; I wonder if it disappears at times.