Alternate Title: How Commenters Can Ruin a Perfectly Good Blog.
So there’s this political blog I like. It’s a strictly political blog with a libertarian bent that appeals to me. I used to comment a lot, but not so much now. (The blog in question isn’t on my blogroll anymore. And I’m not writing this to start a blog war. So no revealing the blog name for me.)
The trouble isn’t the blog or the blogger; it’s the commenters. Their responses to my comments are irrational. I comment A in response to a post; they argue like I wrote B. It was frustrating. I’d explain over and over that I meant A, but it didn’t seem to matter. They’d respond over and over that I really meant B when I wrote A.
So I got into the habit of only commenting once in response to a post, no matter how later commenters reacted. It was still frustrating for me because I’d read how the other commenters would twist and turn my one comment. Over time, I found that I commented there less and less.
Now, I’ve resolved not to comment there at all. There will be no links to there from here now, either. And like I wrote earlier, I’ve removed them from the blogroll. This isn’t the first time I’ve stopped visiting a blog just because of the commenters.
The whole problem illustrates the importance of having good moderators (or at least a good troll policy involving deletion). When irrational commenters/trolls attack, they don’t do so with an intent to debate the subject. They do so with the intention of disrupting the conversation and stopping it from reaching any meaningful conclusion.
It can kill a blog.
Few people visit blogs to only read what the blogger wrote. They visit blogs to read what the blogger wrote and converse in the comments about what they’ve read. When you shut down that conversation, little incentive remains for people to continue visiting the blog.
If a blogger wants traffic in any long-term way, they need to find a method to control the comments. There’s no way of sustaining high traffic without it.