No Comment

The dictionary defines arrogant thusly:

ar·ro·gant/ Adjective:
Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

The word derives from the Latin ‘ab’ meaning away, and ‘rogare’ meaning to question. Turning away from questioning, believing you have all the answers.

Blogs have a few vital signs, the number of visits they attract being one of them. And you can track other stuff too. Top posts, referrers, search terms, blah blah blah.

And then there’s comments. For me – this is often where the best learning is to be found. A writer sparks different thoughts and ideas in other folks’ heads and a debate occurs. In the best examples, we all learn new stuff, we all get another point of view. At the worst we might learn some new swears, and perhaps that’s not so bad?

So why do some folks (yeah OK a cheap shot but an example nonetheless) keep the contribute/share/reply/learn door closed? Closing a blog to comments kinda defeats the point of writing them, for me at least. I see a closed blog as more of a newsletter, a pronouncement or broadcast. ‘I’ve got something to tell you – take it or leave it cos I don’t give a toss what you think’.

Courtesy of @speccywoo I found this by @lruettimann. I agree with Laurie on the value of conversation, though for balance I should say that guinea pigs could take cats any day.

So I have two questions for ya.

1) Should a blog stay open for nourishment/discussion/points of view/wackos?

2) Who would win in a guinea pig v cat fight?

photo c/o greenpeanut

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

8 thoughts on “No Comment”

  1. Completely with you on this! Otherwise it’s just like an online diary? Rather than arrogance though, it may actually be characteristic of someone with low confidence in their opinions? Just a thought.

    I have 3 cats and can say that they would conquer most man/beast except the deadly honey badger. Those things are crazy!

    1. Hello Hayley – thanks for kicking us off. I hadn’t thought about the no comment = low confidence model. Hmmmm

      I think you’re right about honey badgers, and we’ll have to agree to disagree on Guinea Pigs v Cats 😉

  2. Closing comments could be a mechanism to defeat spam or to stop trolls. A few examples of blogs/bloggers I follow (mostly on Twitter and use that to feed me to their writings) and how they handle comments:

    Fleet Street Fox – incognito Fleet St journalist, writes punchy opinionated pieces here:
    No discussion forum at all. But… a full discussion does take place on Twitter (though I’ve not seen any real flamers/trollers/haterz, though ignoring them and blocking are available to her there) and a slightly more fawning discussion takes place on Facebook (provided you’ve been accepted as a friend).

    SG (Sharon Gooner) – – again punchy and opinionated, and quite harrowing writing sometimes (she has been through a lot, and survived). But all comments are open, including people who are actively flaming her. This comment: triggered a right old late night rant from her. I’ve Storified it here (be warned her language can be very strong): But fair do to her, the comment is still there and comments are all still open/

    David Allen Green / Jack of Kent – his blog here: and his New Statesman writings here:
    Comments on his blog are regulated – they only get through if he has approved them. No anonymous comments, and I dare say no comment that could cause a legal problem (UK libel laws are quite terrifying in this regard, and he’s an expert in them). His New Statesman posts are more open – but look carefully, there’s often weird spam/ad postings lurking somewhere (as there are for other New Stateman writers). Strange that the Staggers hasn’t got an anti-spam system in place.

    In summary, I can see lots of reasons why bloggers close comments off or regulate them. I personally don’t like comment-less blogs, but depending on the subject matter and the blogger’s situation, it may be a very sensible thing to do.

    And I think cat. I’m biased, I own one who once engaged in a 3am territory war with a fox – ridiculously noisy, hissing stand-off in the middle of the street; my cat won! I may be a close-run thing, though I think it’d probably end-up like this:

    1. Thanks Chris – a very useful comment with loads to take a look at. I wonder how we’d have found out about this stuff without your ability to comment here? 😉

      Love the cat/guinea pig photo – nice work!

  3. Doug, honestly sometimes people have valuable thoughts to share with comments but other times they offer narrow minded quips, put downs, and inflammatory comments.
    Sometimes comments can get personal and off the topic. I hate when someone gets “internet courage” and make unfiltered comments.


    1. Hey Chris – yes I agree, some folk have valuable thoughts to share, some make other comments. And I’m not sure I’m always in the best position to judge which is which. Very occasionally I get a comment on here that I don’t wish to reply to and I can’t recall ever having to delete a comment. I think I would if it was an out and out attack on someone. Overall I’d rather give folks the chance to contribute.

  4. Do blogs actually encourage and nurture questioning, challenge, contribution, sharing, reciprocal learning?

    Increasingly, I’m finding that even when the comments on a blog are “sparky” that the discussion ends there or heads off to another medium. Sometimes I think this is a curation issue where the debate and learning isn’t nurtured. More often though I think comments are akin to email where a position is taken and shot out across the bows – respond if you dare, let alone care… How many comments do you see deliberately opening up a debate or creating more questions than answers?

    Throw into the mix arrogance, ego and a bit of marketing and I’m not at all surprised that comments get turned off.

    So for me the question isn’t really about whether the blog stays open for comments or not. It’s how do you create the space for questioning, challenge, contribution, sharing, reciprocal learning? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Guinea Pig vs Cat? In light of the above and to open up the debate, if there is a Dog in the room then does it really matter?!?

    1. Some good questions in here David, I need to have a think, particularly about creating the space for learning, reciprocity etc. Leave this with me please.

      I’m quite happy to have comments open further debate and create more questions. This stuff just kinda….gets me thinking.

      I could say no dogs allowed and just bar your addition of a third way. As it is I reckon the cat and dog would maul each other leaving the guinea pig to claim victory (who am I kidding?!)

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