Glenn Reynolds comments: "Let 'em get their own blogs."
Since I have comments and they don't, you'll have to talk about the controversy here. Unless you want to do it Glenn's way and write on your own blog.
I take it some people like the feeling of a back-and-forth dialogue and the sense you get that this is a place where you can go. Glenn's idea is that the whole internet is that place, but I think a comments section works in a different way. Is it really true that somebody is always ruining it? Is the community so fragile? I know a lot of good commentators have left in a huff... or wandered off silently. Sometimes they come back, and there's always a chance for someone new (and nice) to crawl out of the woodwork — like, recently, "blogging cockroach."
A good commenter isn't just a would-be blogger. He's not just mooching off someone else's hard-won traffic. A commenter may find inventive ways to play off the material in the post. Or, like a cockroach, the commenter may thrive in the background and want only the occasional crumb of attention.
And a blogger who thinks it's worth it to host a comments section — as I do — gets creative stimulation knowing a discussion will flow from the post. I love starting something.
Here are some extra questions to show how much I care:
1. Who are the commenters here that you enjoy? Would you like them better if they set up shop on an individual blog or is there some way that they operate well specifically as commenters?
2. Who would you most like to see expand into blog writing?
3. Why do you comment instead of writing over on your own blog? You could link to these posts and write about the subjects raised here. Why don't you?
4. If I closed down the comments, would you shift into blogging? Would you miss the place that is the comments, or would this blog seem much the same?
And let me say — I've said it before — for me, blogging is not a "hobby."
IN THE COMMENTS: Revenant answers question #3:
I tried blogging and it seemed weird. Comments sections feel like a conversation. Blogging feels like shouting in a large, empty room... which of course it pretty much is, until you get some readers. Plus, there's the pressure of having to come up with something to write about every day.