Turning Off Comments

A few days ago I disabled the comment system on this site. I’d been debating the change for some time, but reached a final decision while reading the comments on an article about a vaccine for Lyme disease.

Although this site has generally had very high quality comments, I’ve become increasingly opposed (as a matter of principle) to the use of online comment systems. My feelings mirror those of many other people who’ve deactivated comments on their sites, including Marco Arment and Matt Gemmell. As many have said before, comments tend to bring out the worst in people. The conversations that comments are ostensibly supposed to inspire now occur on Twitter and in volleys of blog posts that are traded between multiple blogs. In contrast, comment threads tend to trap the material that people either (a) don’t want to associate with their own name or (b) don’t want to take the time to write up formally. I think we have too much of both of these sorts of writing and would prefer not to encourage either.