Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Mark Bernstein Speaks the Truth

Eastgate's Mark Bernstein has written a wonderful, short essay on the inherent problems of weblog comments. Over the past year, I have gone back and forth on this issue, not because I have such a high traffic weblog that it's particularly relevant to me, but because I think it is a highly interesting, clearcut issue. Each side of the debate has, at least in my reading, persuasive arguments that reflect the highest aspirations of the web community..

My favorite point of Mark's is this:

Because you can't ignore an insult in your own home, writers feel compelled to respond to pernicious claims that appear in threads they contribute to.

His post is well worth reading. On the one hand, I have enabled comments throughout this site and have enjoyed the feedback I've received. However, if the comments became dominated by confrontational arguments or spam, I would be very hesitant to continue.

Scoble strikes me as someone with a completely opposite viewpoint than Mark. My impression is that Scoble accepts controversial and sometimes off-topic comments as a minor cost for the freeflow of ideas that his site generates. This is obviously a decision each person has to make based on the purpose of their site and the audience it serves.