You know, I don’t feel too bad about comments disappearing. I like comments, I like commenting, I’ve often been very happily surprised to find out who’s reading my blog from the comments. In at least one instance I haven’t treated a commenter as well as I would like to have, but then I started blogging out of a desire to have a rantspace, not out of any particular ideals about community and expression.
I can see comment spam driving someone to drink. Totally. I had a really bad case a couple weeks ago. I tried a bunch of different WordPress plugins and found the ones I liked best were “Kitten’s SpamWords” and “Kitten’s Spaminator,” but the move I made which completely, completely stopped the spam was simply renaming wp-comments.php so the robots couldn’t find it. (If I were really slick I would have replaced it with something that wastes the robots’ time, like a php template which just waits a minute before returning an error result, but that’s more effort than they’re worth.)
But overall the most interesting incidents of “commenting” have been when I ended up chatting with a reader in email, anyway.
And a big problem with comments is that it’s too hard to keep track of all the series of comments that you’re interested in. There are probably a dozen comment threads out there in the blogosphere that I’ve participated in and forgotten about, because they’re buried inside blogs I mostly read in an RSS reader. It’s possible in some systems to subscribe to an RSS feed of comments for a particular post or a weblog as a whole, but it’s not consistently possible so one doesn’t think of it (if one is me). So comment threads are kind of hard to keep up on compared to blogs themselves and email.
Comments will stay around here as long as the spam doesn’t get me down, but if something happened to them, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, I guess.