My old boss, John Gallant, writing across IDG’s network of sites:
We’re no longer taking comments on our websites… Instead, we’re encouraging readers to interact with us on our social media outlets, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
It’s about time. Website comment threads are sometimes helpful, but more often than not were just obnoxious noise. I also can’t tell you how demoralizing it was to write articles for Macworld back in the day and know that immediately upon posting, one of about eight die-hard posters would grind the same axe they’d been grinding on every story on the site—and that their words would live, permanently attached, right below the story, like a bit of graffiti.
As John Gruber once wrote, “Comments, at least on popular websites, aren’t conversations. They’re cacophonous shouting matches. [Daring Fireball] is a curated conversation, to be sure, but that’s the whole premise.”
We live in a world where people can share their thoughts in all sorts of different venues on the Internet. Article comments deserve their place in the ash heap. So congratulations to John and all the editors at IDG.
(Related: An episode of Upgrade where we talked at length about comments. The topic starts 32 minutes in.)