Why I use comments on my site


I spent the day at WordCamp Cape Town

Today was the culmination of my time in Cape Town, South Africa, as I spoke to about 400 people here in one of the interior rooms of the stadium. The event was one of my all-time favorites because there was no room-switching and only a single track.

The sessions were great and the stories told were amazing. But the best highlight, without a doubt, was the pair of comedians that WooThemes brought to emcee the day. They're famous on YouTube. Known mostly for music videos (like the one below), they did an amazing job the entire day!

“I don't use comments”

While at WordCamp Cape Town, I heard one or two speakers mention that they don't use comments on their sites. They declared, with some amount of pride (my interpretation), that they'd turned them off.

This isn't a new debate. Even amazing sites like Popular Science recently turned them off.

So I thought I would explain why, on this site, I still use (and plan to keep using) comments.

The “Why” behind my comments

So, this post isn't complicated. It's really simple. I use comments. I like them. I embrace them. Even when they're not great or kind (as long as they're not rude or bothersome).

But maybe there's more to it. Maybe there's a tiny bit that could help tip you to my side of things if I just explain how I came to decide that I wanted comments on my site.

It was really simple. Ready?

I wanted to buy a new home theater receiver, so I went to Amazon to look for one (and do a bit of comparison shopping). Guess what I found?

OnkyoI'm sure you agree that this one is the best, right? 🙂

But that's not what I saw when I landed on this page. Want to know what I saw? This is what I saw – 497 customer reviews. That's a serious number of comments. And guess what I did?

I read about three pages of them.

I found that the comments were more useful and valuable to me than the page content itself. And in that instant I had my “aha” moment.

My content is enhanced by the opinions, suggestions, questions and answers that others bring to it.

And so, my Amazon trip ended up being much more valuable than I ever thought.

What about you?

What's your take on comments? Do you find they take too long to moderate? Do you just turn them off? Do you have a trick to managing them? We want to know.

I'd love to hear how you're using (or not using) comments.