Tuesday, 6 July 2004

Sludge control

James Joyner echos my month-old hypothesis on weblog comments, writing in response to the decision to shut down comments at The Command Post:

Unfortunately, there seems to be a strange variation on the Gas Law with regard to blog comments: As blog readership expands, the quality of comments declines geometrically. When OTB had 500 readers a day, the vast majority of the comments—whether from people who agreed or disagreed with me—were quite good. With readership in the 5000–10,000 range, most comments are crap. Reading—let alone policing—the comments gets to be more trouble than it’s worth.

For my part, at least, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the lack of acrimony and vitriol since enabling comments here at Signifying Nothing, but—then again—our little corner of the blogosphere only attracts about 1/40th of James’ daily readership.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

Yep. When a blog is still read mainly by other bloggers and a niche readership interested in whatever you’re writing on, the number isn’t bad. Now, I have a few trolls trying to get attention plus all the morons who come in from search engines. That’s great for advertising revenue but not much fun when comments get e-mailed to me.


I think part of the issue is having a cogent and well articulated policy and process from the outset, and practicing it from the outset. Most of us, I think, just chug along untill the troll factor gets too outrageous, but then it’s hard to get the genie back in the bottle.

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