A commentary on blog comments

Mashable’s recent story about two different blogs and comments was definitely an interesting read. It covers the separate but oddly coincidental stories: a Daring Fireball mirror which gives readers a place to comment on entries, something John Gruber himself does not do, called appropriately enough, Daring Fireball with Comments (which I refer to as DF and DFWC, respectively below); and the purportedly temporary demise of comments on Engadget.

I have gotten a few comments form time to time here but it’s never been something I would have arbitrarily turned off. I have always moderated the comments on all three of my blogs (otherwise one would not be able to find the real comments underneath all the spam, and I do get my share of comment spam) but the quantity of comments has never been such that I can’t take a few minutes out of every other day to do so.

Now if this site was at the level of DF, on the other hand, it might be a significantly daunting task. John chose the path of concentrating on the content, rather than spending probably a good hour a day deciding which comments make the cut. And honestly, I respect his choice there, but I also understand that there are people out there who will want a forum to comment on a blog even if it does not offer commenting in place.

I have to wonder about the copyright and trademark implications of DFWC’s design. It is possible but unlikely that DFWC’s creators asked John for permission to copy the DF logo and design. It’s possible and a bit more likely that John is okay with DFWC on the theory that it’s more publicity for him (after all, the links on DFWC copied from internal links on DF go to the original DF, including the membership link). It’s possible but extremely unlikely that John doesn’t know about DFWC yet at all, but if this is the case, he will when he next checks his access logs and notices DFWC in the referring sites.

And there is also the story about Engadget and its temporary comment moratorium. The official word from Engadget states in part:

Luckily, our commenting community makes up only a small percentage of our readership (and the bad eggs an even smaller part of that number), so while they may be loud, they don’t speak for most people who come to Engadget looking for tech news.

It goes on to say that in essence, the downtime will be used for hunting down and banning those who have posted the undesirable comments. And for a site as high-profile as Engadget, this kind of a move is understandable and not entirely unexpected. Hopefully it works out for them.