A number of Scene readers have probably noticed that Ross recently — wisely, I think — disabled comments on his site. This comes at a time when there is a lot of discussion about the value, or lack thereof, of comments on blogs and especially on newspaper and magazine websites. Here are a grumpy Bob Garfield and a more sanguine Ira Glass discussing the matter on On the Media; here are some reflections on that segment by Derek Powazek (he has some follow-up posts too); and here are some thoughts from Jack D. Lail — scroll down for a response from Jamie, a comment policeman.
I have two questions in light of all this. First, why have comments on the Scene been, relatively speaking, civil and troll-free? I think we have been incredibly fortunate — so far! — and while I have a few ideas about why that’s the case, I’d be interested in reader ideas. (Civil, troll-free reader ideas, I mean.)
Second: is it possible that the post-plus-comments architecture of blogs is morphing into something else? Might we ultimately find our way to a situation in which people who want to comment on other people’s posts will simply have to get blogs of their own? And if so, what would this do to the blogosphere’s culture? Would it improve it or degrade it?