On comments

I guess I owe you an explanation.

A couple of weeks ago I turned off comments on the site. It was on the day I wrote the “big ice cubes” post, but it wasn’t to forestall any negative comments that post may have prompted.1 It was because of comments already on the site that was struggling to deal with.

I saw the comments early that morning. There was a core of legitimacy that I thought deserved a response, but the tone set me off. I didn’t want to be dismissive or insulting—which, let’s face it, can be great fun—but I did want to express my disapproval. When I got to the office, I realized that I had spent the entire drive trying to compose a balanced reply to comments that may have taken all of 30 seconds to write. Is this what I want? No. I signed on to my WordPress dashboard and turned off comments.

I don’t feel good about this. I’ve always defended blog comments and had done so just a few days earlier. The great majority of the comments here have been helpful and maybe even more respectful than they needed to be. But I shouldn’t be spending that kind of time replying to stupid comments, and I know myself well enough to know I can’t ignore them.

  1. The reaction to that post was generally positive, and even got me an invitation to write for The Sweethome. Which seems vaguely like hiring Kevin Mitnick to run your computer security—I can follow the reasoning, but it still seems wrong.