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Comments: you never know who will show up

July 11th, 2004 · 7 Comments

I feel a bit sad whenever I see yet another blogger turn off comments. Perhaps I feel a particular wistfulness for Betsy’s decision because I met her through comments on her blog and mine. For a while I didn’t understand why some people didn’t have any comments or trackback but instead encouraged readers to “comment on your own blog”.

But I was tempted myself today to turn off comments when I received yet another batch of filthy spam. I realized since the last time that irritating me was (part of?) the point of spam. So I tried not to get as upset when the X-rated titles filled up my comment feed by the dozens. Ick.

Comments are a crucial part of blogging. Unlike the entry part of the post, comments create an open mike where writer and readers can be on equal stage. Comments enhance connections. They provide an easy way for feedback and dialogue. However, they also provide an easy entry for everyone and anyone.

At this point I’m still keeping my comments open. As egotistical as this may sound, I’ll say that hearing from others gives me a thrill. Yes, I search my Inbox looking for the email notification of a new comment (or link). I’m addicted to dialogue. I wanna know: whaddya think?!

Note: I also like posting comments on other’s blogs. Visiting discussions has helped me understand ideas and meet new people. If I can I try to add the comment feed to my aggregator so I can keep up with the dialogue.

Comments on this blog (and others) have been funny, thoughtful and challenging. Comments have given me encouragement. A shared smile. A shared connection. New friends. Hope.

Comments are the open invitation. The door to the party. Sure, anyone can get a blog and link to me there. But not everyone will. Anyone on the Internet though can leave me a message. Spam people and famous people.

Comments are a conversation where anyone can come at any time. You never know who might stop by to share. When I reviewed a book about The Matrix movie, one of the authors wrote me a note. Months ago in a post on art, culture and communication I quoted musician Shaun Groves, and the other day he surprised me with a visit. I’m honored and grateful whenever anyone takes the time to write me.

It’s moments like these, whether hearing from a friend I’ve known for years or a famous person I admire, hearing from a blogger who I read daily or someone I’ve never read, that keep me keeping my comments open. Moments I remember as I’m wading through frustrating floods of spam.

Tags: blog

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ilona // Jul 11, 2004 at 11:23 am

    “….keep me keeping my comments open. Moments I remember as I’m wading through frustrating floods of spam.”

    Ah, yes, taking the precious from the vile 😉

    I love your gentle blog… it encourages the better side of me:)

  • 2 Chris // Jul 11, 2004 at 5:02 pm

    It looks like you are using Movable Type with a default install. That sort of limits your options. The simpliest solution might be to rename your comments script so that the spambots can’t find it. Instructions are at http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2003/Oct/02/a_sortof_solution.html

  • 3 Betsy Devine // Jul 11, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Julie–The real trouble is, in summer I’m away from my blog for days at a time. When I don’t delete spam fast, the spambots tag me as a prime destination. Right now past comments are hidden on the main page, but they are not erased, except for those of spammers. Once I get home, I’ll turn the comments back on. That sounds like good advice from Chris, btw.

  • 4 wink // Jul 11, 2004 at 10:49 pm

    In addition to Chris’ solution, there is also MT-Blacklist and MT-Close. Any combination of those will cut down on the icky spam by several orders of magnitude.

    Keep up the good fight.

  • 5 Phil // Jul 12, 2004 at 4:31 am

    > Comments have given me encouragement.
    Just a head’s up, the link at the end of the above sentence has a typo in the “href” part of the “a” tag, which is why it appears but can’t be clicked on…

    (Also, while I think of it, julieleung.com (with out the www prefix) still doesn’t redirect correctly…)

    Nitpicking on the web since 1993… 🙂


  • 6 Julie // Jul 13, 2004 at 12:30 am

    Wow, thanks, everyone, for the comments!

    Ilona: thanks! 🙂 I like the idea of being “gentle” although that’s not always true of me or my blog.

    Chris, Wink and Phil: thanks for the technical advice. I do have MT-Blacklist but I don’t think MT-Close will work for this set-up.

    Chris, I thought Ted and I implemented your suggestion after the last spam attack…?

    Phil, thanks for the proofing…julieleung.com can’t be re-directed, I am told…:-) but please let me know of any errors

    Betsy: glad to hear that your comments will be coming back!

  • 7 Katherine // Jul 13, 2004 at 8:42 am

    I love comments too, Julie…and I had strong suggestions that I close comments while away and not checking daily…but I am glad (so far) that I stayed open for business, since I have received only nice comments and no spam thus far. Thanks for yours!