February 16, 2005

The politics of the blog comments function.

Just One Minute has a long post today about the difference between bloggers on the right and bloggers on the left (which is one of my favorite topics). (Via Instapundit.) Based on my experience, I don't think lefty bloggers are interested in advice from anyone they perceive to be on their right -- which is, of course, part of the bigger pattern of behavior of isolating themselves from people they need to persuade in order to be politically successful.

What I particularly like about the Just One Minute piece is the focus on the comments function. JOM's primary piece of advice to lefty bloggers is:
Turn off the comments: they are too numerous to be useful, and if your readers are commenting at your site, they are not out in the blogosphere, are they? Send those readers out to meet new lefty bloggers, and let them comment there - new blogs will develop, new channels for ideas will develop, and more ideas will be shared.
The blog left recirculates itself within the comments. What is there on the other side?
Essentially, an almost totally disorganized pack of hungry bloggers led by the hypercaffeinated Glenn Reynolds, the InstaPundit. Do people on the right "vote" a blog post into popularity? No. Are research tasks assigned, or project volunteers sought? No. Glenn Reynolds provides a link to a blog, an Instalanche results, and whatever message was there is widely dispersed. Of course, there are plenty of other large blogs directing traffic, so readers and ideas certainly move independently of Glenn, but he is a major hub. And since Glenn does not have a comments section, there is no reason to linger at his site- people stop by, and head off into the blogosphere.
Meanwhile, on the left, I've observed plenty of carping about the lack of comments on the less left blogs. There's a notion recirculating over there that it is somehow wrong or unethical or cowardly not to turn on the comments. I don't like linking to this again, but I'm denounced by a commenter on the Washington Monthly blog for not having comments. ("Althouse ... is too much of a coward to have her own comments section.") There are plenty of good reasons not to have comments, but Just One Minute just identified a really important one: it forces readers to get out and around and to make their ideas presentable to the world.

UPDATE: Tom Bozzo has some thoughts on the politics of the comments function.


Trooper York said...

Oh...I can comment on a comment about not having comments...I am confused.....let's just talk about breasts

Trooper York said...

This was a comment from the future....

Ann Althouse said...

LOL. I knew I was setting up a ripe opportunity and leave it to you to take it.

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