Recently, John Gruber’s Daring Fireball blog has been criticized for not supporting comments, and the author has defended his position. His opponents say that comments are fair to those who disagree, and helpful to readers. Gruber responds that comments are “just noise,” and add nothing to the site. I believe his stance is correct, at least regarding his personal blog.
Gruber and his opponents are often involved in debates, they attacking Apple and he defending. Some have challenged him as not acting fairly in these debates by not allowing comments. Gruber, however, says that responding to an argument should take place on one’s own site. This seems sensible to me. Why would someone involved in a real debate respond to his opponent from the latter’s audience? Daring Fireball is Gruber’s personal site for his own views, just like a speech in real life. Other people’s views go on their own sites.
In the case of sites like these, comments are as useless as giving an audience the ability to shout out endlessly after a talk. If they agree, they’re superfluous; if they disagree, they do nothing but challenge the argument. Disagreement is fine, but it should be posted elsewhere. No one takes opinionated comments seriously; all they do is take up space and take away from the site’s simplicity. As Gruber stated, “they’re just noise.”
Finally, people often post stupid comments. If someone disagrees with an article, they’ll more than likely post a disagreeable comment, that usually contains nothing rational or useful. If someone posts only on their own site, they have to think it over first, which weeds out most (if not all) senseless posts.
If comments are so bad, why does Geeks Rule have them? Well, we aren’t a site like Daring Fireball, a personal site for one man’s views. We want to encourage discussion and inform other geeks. So our comments are for questions, remarks, and extra information: something to add, not take away.