Metablog: A comment on “Still no comments.”

CavLec doesn’t have a comment function.

CavLec does have a readily-available email address, with the note that email to that address can be posted or commented on at CavLec.

This post discusses the no-comment situation and why Dorothea Salo runs the blog that way. Along the way, Dorothea notes that some people think CavLec isn’t really a blog because it doesn’t support comments–and points to an, um, er, interesting comment stream at another blog. (Let’s just say that reading that stream was about as depressing as visiting /., if you know how I feel about /. )

CavLec continues to be a great blog. That’s because Dorothea Salo thinks well, writes well, and has the same internal-censor problem I have (that is, she says what she means and what’s important, without being sufficiently careful not to say anything that might come back to haunt her).

Saying CavLec isn’t really a blog because it doesn’t have comments is, in my not so humble opinion, nonsense. That’s like saying a wiki that isn’t open to anonymous editing/trolling/graffiti isn’t really a wiki.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one definition of “blog” that makes any sense:

A blog is an online publication with individual entries arranged in reverse chronological order.

That’s it. Period. Full stop, if you’re British. “Online” doesn’t even necessarily mean “on the open web”–you can have intranet blogs.

The 250+ spamment attempts last night remind me that comments are a nuisance in one way. One particular interchange on a really off-topic post reminded me that they’re a nuisance in another way. Some days I’m tempted to turn on full moderation or go look for another Capcha routine. Most days, though, I’m not.

For Walt at Random, comments make the difference between a blog with infrequent posts but some great conversations, and probably no blog at all; without the feedback, I’d probably have stuck to commenting at other posts. (Oh yes: And writing a quarter-million words a year in a different kind of online venue.)

For CavLec, not having comments apparently makes the difference between a robust, interesting, worthwhile blog that’s also becoming an essential resource for those interested in OA repositories, and probably not having that blog at all. Seems to me that’s a fair tradeoff.

Blogs would be a whole lot interesting if they were all alike. How comments (and trackbacks) are handled is part of that variety. To cite the apropos title of a group blog run by some colleagues and friends: It’s all good.

7 Responses to “Metablog: A comment on “Still no comments.””

  1. Dorothea Salo Says:

    The surprising thing about CavLec in hindsight is that so little of it has come back to haunt me. :)

    Bloggers do what works for them. I’m cool with that, as long as nobody gets hurt.

  2. Steven M. Cohen Says:

    I’m considering taking comments down on LS. I’m changing the types of stuff I post and, to be honest, the number of comments have dimished greatly over the past few months.

    If a blog has comments enabled and nobody comments…..

  3. walt Says:

    Steven, I could see that given the current focus of the blog.

    As to the second note…well, consider the low comment rate on most liblogs when I’ve done studies. Other than new jobs, marriage, childbirth, or similar events, it’s really hard to know when a post will draw comments–unless, I suppose, posts are designed to troll for comments.

  4. Peter Murray Says:

    With some irony, Walt, I came to WaR to comment on how I’ve noticed a decrease in blog spam in the last 72 hours — only about three dozen compared to the hundreds I usually get. Hits have remained constant (reaching a new plateau after the Library Service Oriented Architecture series got started). I’m using Akismet and have been extremely happy with the small number of false negatives and even smaller number of false positives — literally less than a dozen each in the 9 months I’ve been running it.

    To be honest, I hadn’t considered running DLTJ with comments off. For me, it is a combination of 1) Akismet doing a very good job; 2) not getting an extraordinary number of comments; and 3) knowing that, for all of the few extra minutes it takes a day to deal with the spam queue, I may have missed out on a very engaging conversation with a repository software developer in Spain that occurred on DLTJ last week.

  5. walt Says:

    Peter, I think the surge was a one-off: It’s back to 20 or so a day. Spam Karma 2 seems to work well; I’ve had only one spamment get through (briefly), and certainly fewer than a dozen legit comments trapped as spam.

    You’re in the same boat I am: For our blogs, comments are beneficial and workable. But that isn’t true for all blogs. If I was counseling someone setting up a new blog (which I’ve done, once or twice), I’d suggest that they start out with comments enabled–but certainly not without some combination of an effective tool like Akismet or Spam Karma, moderation, or a Capcha tool.

  6. Peter Murray Says:

    Although I’m reluctant to mention it, I’m still seeing a marked decrease in the amount of spam hitting DLTJ. (Spammers, if you want to know what ‘DLTJ’ is you can start spamming it, I’m not going to provide a link for you — you have to look it up yourself.) In the 96-hour period ending today I’ve seen just 47 messages caught by Akismet (and none getting through). That seems like about half the normal amount.

  7. walt Says:

    I go back and forth, and I suspect that spambots work in waves. 100 one day, 6 the next, 10 the next, 60 the next…and one did get through yesterday (but it was arguably not spam, just irrelevant).


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