In this much anticipated re-match, the illustrious Mark Pepper squares off with George Angus about the concept of blog commenting. Let’s have Mark start the shenanigans:
I should say from the outset that I am playing Devil’s Advocate here, as Tumblemoose was in our last duel. I feel it necessary to point this out as, otherwise, people might think I don’t want them commenting on my blog posts, which I do. Having said that, there are two sides to every argument, and here are my reasons why comments should not be allowed on blogs.
There is no certificate system to visit web sites, as there is with feature films at the cinema or with DVDs. I know you can have your internet security suite tell you when one may be dodgy, but that does not stop you visiting them, it only tells you they may be problematic.
This means that anyone with an interest in writing may happen upon my blog posts and comment on them. They have not been restricted based on their ability to say anything even slightly relevant or interesting; they have not been assessed for IQ; they have not been assessed to make certain they are not, what’s the phrase I’m after? … utterly insane.
When people do comment, you’re in a dilemma. Do you always reply to everyone? If you have ten comments and each reply sets off another comment, you’ll never get away from your computer. Do you just reply once and say thanks to everyone and give the impression you can’t be arsed? Or do you reply to a few that really strike a chord, and leave the others feeling possibly miffed at being snubbed? Let’s face it, some people leave odd comments.
“Great post. I have a cat called Timothy.”
WHAT? I never mentioned cats. Or the name Timothy. “Thanks, I don’t like cats, but I had a dog once called F**k Off. I could never get it to come back to me.”
Also … I struggle to find the time to blog, so where on earth do people find the time to comment on blogs? I think some of them may have too much time on their hands. They may be bored. They may be friendless. They could take a reply from me to mean I like them. This could lead to me being worshipped from afar (come on, I’m a very attractive man). Then they could track me down somehow. The next thing, I’m being stalked. I start receiving strange messages made from letters cut from newspaper headlines. Small deceased rodents start arriving in the post. I have to move house, leave the country. Then, one day, just as I think it’s all behind me, a little red dot appears on my jacket above my heart when I’m sitting in McDonald’s at Eagle River (that’s right, it’s so bad I had to move to Alaska). I think it must be some laser pen McDonald’s are (irresponsibly) giving away with their Happy Meals. But, no. I look through the window and can just make out my stalker sitting across the road in a battered VW camper van with a M82A1 SASR – Special Applications Scoped Rifle. (Wikipedia, folks.)
It could happen. All because there is no mechanism in place to prevent unsuitable individuals leaving comments on blogs.
I’m not being draconian. I’m not suggesting that all comments are disallowed. Some of mine would never pass muster and I would have to instantly bar myself from leaving any more. However, moronic as they appear, they were tainted by alcohol which caused only a temporary reduction in my IQ.
So here’s the plan …
Getting back to the whole film classification thing, I propose that a similar system be utilised for leaving blog comments. It can even use the identical classifications, although not quite in the same order. Whenever someone clicks on “Leave a Comment”, they are presented with an IQ test, the result of which will dictate whether or not they are allowed to say anything. The first three are passes, and comments will be graded as such so I don’t have to be bothered reading anything below the top grade if I’m not in the mood. The last three are fails, and these will cause a painful yet non-fatal electric shock to come back through the would-be commentator’s keyboard, warning them off ever trying again. I’m still working on the technology that would make this possible.
Comment Classification Grades:
PG – Perfect Genius
G – Great
R – Rational
NC 17 – No Comments (IQ 17 to 98). I’m kindly giving a little latitude with this, seeing as 100 is considered to be average IQ.
PG 13 – Please God! (IQ 13 and below). This does not mean that those with IQs of 14, 15, and 16 can leave comments. Hey, I’m working to pre-set classifications here.
So, there you have it, and it all makes perfect sense. I trust you will all agree with me on this, and I would be delighted to hear your comments.
What am I talking about? Of course I wouldn’t. You keep your comments to yourself, stalker.
In response, George Sez
I love comments. I love commenting. Putting up a new post is akin to hanging my stocking with care. I wake up on that glorious morning to see it filled with all manner of goodies. Oh, there’s a lump of coal in there now and then but overall it’s glitter, sunshine and rainbows.
Commenting is the best way to reach out and connect with your audience. When comments are not allowed, readership is reduced to nothing but a number on a Google Analytics graph. Blech.
When I first started blogging, I ended up at this site for a guy named Seth Godin. It was cool and the post I read was comment-worthy. Hey, wait a minute. Where is the durned comment button? Wha? No commenting allowed? I am so done with you, Sethy-poo. I’ve not been back since. Not my kind of community, thank you very much.
I love going to a blog with an active commenting community. A lot of times the comments are more interesting than the original post. I would put forth that this is what blogging is all about. Does it take time? Yes. Commenting on other blogs and responding to blog comments is a tremendous time sucker. No doubt about it. is it worth the time and effort? Absolutely.
Allow comments? I wouldn’t have it any other way.