Lawprof Jack Balkin nixes comments. Though his co-bloggers can still turn comments on for their individual posts, he's had it with trolls and name-calling:
There is very rarely any serious analysis; mostly there is point scoring and vitriol. Many regular readers have written to say that they find the comments section a distraction and think the blog would be far better without it.Daniel Solove, who likes his own commenters, says:
It seems to me that different blog commenting cultures arise on different blogs. I bet that the readership for Balkinization and Concurring Opinions overlaps quite a bit, yet I have noticed that the comments at Balkinization are much as Jack describes them. Why have commenting cultures developed so differently at different blogs? I don't really know the answer, and it would be interesting to figure out why commenting cultures develop in the ways that they do.One question I'd ask is: Do you go into the comments yourself and talk with your readers or do you just look on and hope for the best and fret and contemplate total destruction when things go to hell?
Orin Kerr says:
I suspect the explanation rests largely on the different moderation practices at different blogs. If a blogger doesn't moderate comment threads at all on a widely read blog, people who want to be shocking, mean, or just irrelevant realize they can do their thing and reach a decent-sized audience....A little too much stress on commenters behaving themselves? I think I have a taste for more wildness than these other law professors. I want something exciting to happen in the comments. To me, a troll is someone who's boring, verbose, and repetitive. There's no end to how creative readers might be if you give them a place to write. You need to care about seeing that happen.
Over time, comment moderation practices end up having a profound impact on who comments, and different approaches either attract thoughtful commenters or keep them away.
IN THE COMMENTS: Henry Buck says:
He's complaining about point-scoring and vitriol in the comments of a blog that takes its name from a play on a word for diviseness and nationalistic hatred?Ha ha. Yeah, he's long had that slogan: "Balkinization: an unanticipated consequence of Jack M. Balkin." Which made it sound like we don't expect it and he loves it and is going to going to serve it up for our pleasure.