Your Domain Your Rules?


I was intrigued by Mitch Joel’s wondering aloud whether he should stop allowing comments on his blog ( Ironically, several of the comments in that post led him to rethink his "grumpiness" (as characterized by my boss, Todd Defren). Subtext to marketing folks is the blog of Seth Godin, who doesn’t allow comments because, well, he doesn’t need to.

If you don’t allow comments, are you missing out on interaction and feedback? Sure- but it’s up to you whether you need- or want- that.

What amuses me most is that these debates, as they crop up, can take on the bile usually reserved for community debates about off-leash dog parks.

Your domain, your rules. Right? No?

More in the audio. Feel free to comment.

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  1. It comes down to your intent. Is your blog meant to stir ideas and be a place where people can react or add their thoughts, or it is a publishing platform for your ideas? Or is it something in between? There’s no one right answer, although I did agree with the point made in Mitch’s comment section by Mark Dykeman: “of course “thought leaders” should be open to debate, being questioned, and occasionally having to explain themselves.”

    Incidentally I talked about this on my own podcast a while back:

  2. Thanks Jay! I saw Mark’s comment as well and i think he really captured my thinking on the topic. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a Seth Godin- or a Mitch Joel- would go sans-comment. I love the publish/thought leader idea too, but the interaction serves as validation for me– it’s their choice either way.

  3. I think it’s a question of scale. A quick look at Mitch’s blog shows he’s averaging about 7-10 comments per post, probably more like 30-40 for a popular post. What would Seth get? Probably at least 3-5 times this. I’m assuming he’s a pretty busy guy, so does he have time to properly interact with a community in his comments? Clearly he’s made the assessment that he doesn’t. I used to get a little upset about this myself, saying that it was in the worst case elitist and anti-social but now I realize that you’ve got to be strategic about everything you do in communication ‘cus time and attention don’t scale easily.

  4. I assume scale is one of the issues. An alternate solution, then, is to let comments rage and just let people know you;re not going to jump in yourself too often.

    Of course, a troll problem might change the equation a bit…

  5. Not to regurgitate where I netted out, but the point was also that the “conversation” is everywhere and it doesn’t always have to take place on my Blog. I find a lot of the discussion is more engaging on Twitter and Facebook. It wasn’t a simple cut & dry, “should I drop comments?” it was a thought about using the Blog to share and letting the conversation happen where the people are – instead of just on my Blog.

    But yes, I think there is a major difference between those using a Blog to share their thoughts and those trying to build a community around their thoughts.

    Lastly, I think we can all appreciate smart insights (even when it goes against the Blog content), but lately I’ve been finding a lot more comments where people are insulting, rude and just plain wrong in terms of facts (not so much on my Blog, but in other spaces). I think many people would be less motivated to Blog knowing that everything they say will be dissected and misconstrued… but maybe that’s another Blog post ;)

  6. Mitch– thanks for clarifying- I write these posts on my phone while outside and sometimes have to rely on faulty memory and impressions- so I go for the abstract and hopefully admit my lack of detailed recall.

    I think you’re right about “another blog post.” I often worry that people don’t blog through fear of nothing to say- but I wonder how much fear of being dissected in public plays into it.

    It all comes back to C.C. Chapman & people like him, who simply say they blog for themselves. That’s a great start for anybody.

  7. … and if you’re Blogging for yourself, is that really open to criticism and comment from anyone? Think about how many people want to Blog but don’t want to curate a community?

    We can criticize all we want, but people can do what they want and how they want with these tools… and that’s the really amazing part to me.

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