You might have noticed that lately, I’ve been turning off comments on all of the entries that I’ve been posting. Frankly, I’ve become very tired of seeing notifications for yet another blitz of spam pimping Viagra, online Texas Hold ‘Em, and/or teen sex videos. And so I’ve decided to remove commenting entirely from Opus, at least for the time being (please note that I’m not removing any existing comments, just the ability to post new comments).
Part of the issue is that the content management system I’m using with Opus is entirely homegrown, and as such, I don’t have access to the various blacklisting options that users of Movable Type, Wordpress, and other “professional” systems enjoy. I’m currently working on a major overhaul of Opus’ system, which will hopefully come to fruition in the somewhat-near future, and so I may work on some more comprehensive and thorough blacklisting methods.
However, after having comments available on the site for some time now, I’ve also come to the conclusion that they just don’t add a lot of value to the site. Over time, they began to seem more like a gimmick than anything else, as in “Hey look at me, I’ve got comments, I’m a legitimate blog.”
There are some sites where comments are indeed a very legitimate feature, but those are sites that are intended to generate a lot of discussion, and do so, such as Twitch. However, I never began Opus with the intention of creating discussion per se, though discussion was always welcome (and for the most part, any discussion has been good and civil).
As such, having comments often proved to be a hindrance and distraction for me. I found myself worrying more about the comments that might be left, and less about what I was actually trying to communicate, when the exact opposite should be the case. And so, in order to (hopefully) focus more on actually writing what I want to write and saying what I want to say, the comments have been turned off. Fewer distractions is always a good thing.
I suppose some folks might call me out on this, saying I need to develop a thicker skin. To which, at the risk of sounding snarky, I say “Meh.” Besides, it’s not like I’m also disabling the contact form. If folks want to start a conversation, such conversation is always a click or two away. And I’ve found e-mail, as limiting as it is, to be a much better vehicle for conversation and discussion than blog comments.