After the rhetorical beating I got the last time I broached this subject, I should probably keep my mouth shut, but I can’t help myself. The subject, of course, is blogs and comments, and whether one can (or should) exist without the other. I suppose I should know better than to argue about the nature of blogs with a blog that calls itself Bloggers Blog – and (just so you don’t miss the point) gives its motto as “blogging the blogosphere” – but what the heck. The site, which is written by an author or authors unknown, says this:
“The argument that blogs are not a blog without comments is silly. Boing Boing, the most popular blog on the Internet, has no comments. Michelle Malkin’s blog has no comments. Post Secret has no comments. Seth Godin’s blog has trackbacks but no comments. There aren’t many that would argue these commentless blogs are not blogs.”
There may not be many who would argue this, but I feel compelled to wade in there anyway (I hate crowds.) Am I really going to argue that Boing Boing, the most popular blog on the Interweb, isn’t a blog? Yes. Or at least, not a very good one. Because I think that’s what we’re talking about here – not what a blog is (because there is no definition, or at least nothing that isn’t so vague that you could just as easily replace it with the term “web page”), but what makes a blog good or not. And I think one of the biggest factors, apart from actually having something worthwhile to say, is to have comments, whether you’re Russell Beattie or Dave Winer.
Why? Because blogs are about conversation, dialogue, back-and-forth, the fray (as Derek Powazek’s early venture was called) or whatever you want to call it. Yes, as Bloggers Blog and Dave and others have mentioned, you can write a response to something on your own blog and then link to the original post and comment that way, but not everyone is going to want (or have the time) to do that. Why leave them out? Maybe they have something to contribute. I would argue that Boing Boing and Post Secret and other sites like that (such as Valleywag, which has limited comments by registered users) are actually more like magazines than they are blogs. That doesn’t make them bad. It just makes them less good.