My dayjob workload is due to reduce in the near future,
hopefully giving me time to get my own house in order (
clean HTML, Atom feed, usable navigation, layout, performance,
SPARQL endpoint...), but until then I'm in "do what I say not
what I do" mode. But I've been meaning to say
Tim Bray since he added
comments to his blog a little while back, and just got a bit more
prompting to post on the subject more generally.
I really do think comments add something more than responding on your own blog, especially since trackback seems fairly broken these days (although QOTD: Blogging is great - incidentally, figuring out how to manage comments on timbl's with minimal human involvement would make a great student project). Shelley put it well somewhere, basically that it's a very different, much more direct mode of communication. That's irrespective of the fact it helps non-bloggers make their opinions known. Personally, overall I find the material I get in comments immensely useful and/or entertaining. Same goes for comments on other peoples blogs. To me the cost is negligible in comparison, comments are a privilege on both sides.
Get to the point. Rogers Cadenhead talks of getting over fear of being a censor, and Robert Sayre talks of Comment Policy. For myself I tend to err on the side of laziness, unless there's an really good reason to delete a comment (e.g. it's obviously spam) I'll leave it be. On the occassions I've got rude-to-me comments, I think I've always left them in (for entertainment's sake). It goes without saying that being able to deal with spam is a prerequisite of all this. Having said all that my management setup is, er, kinda suboptimal at the moment, I can't remember the last time I deleted any comment.
Get to the powerpoint. Here's what I reckon are the key things:
- decide on a comment policy - and stick to it
- make it easily available (i.e. one link away from blog)
- declare your editorial control
- remember you have no obligation to respond to comments
The last bullet is included because that's something that seems to get overlooked by both bloggers and commentators. Comments are still valuable even if the blogger doesn't reply. Also there's no need to filter them like a newspaper's letter page (unless you really want to), that's soooo old media.
Hmm... given that comments can be republished via feeds, maybe we could even do with some linkable comment policy boilerplate, a la Creative Commons..?@en