Where, oh where, have Russell’s comments all gone?

Oh where, oh where can they be?

Yesterday, Russell Beattie pulled the comments off his blog. Since I read his blog through an RSS aggregator called Bloglines, I normally didn’t see comments to his blog, anyway. I only noticed the comments were missing when I wanted to leave a comment on his recent entry about Opera Mini (which, I guess I’ll now do as a post to my own blog). Was I upset that he removed comments so that I couldn’t leave one on his blog? Sure — for all of about, 15 seconds, during which time I checked some other entries on his blog to make sure that it wasn’t just the one entry that he’d disabled comments on, but rather was a change across his whole blog. Then, I went back to Bloglines and kept reading the rest of my subscriptions.

Was I annoyed that I couldn’t leave a comment on his blog? Sure, as I said, for about 15 seconds, because I wanted to just pop in and leave my comment and move on with my day. Was I annoyed at Russell? Of course not, that would be silly. Why was I annoyed, then? Because I’m lazy and leaving comments is generally a fast and easy way to respond to someone’s blog entry. For some strange reason, I can leave a one-line comment in someone else’s blog, but have a hard time posting a one-line entry in my own. Maybe I just need to come up with a “format” for blog entries in my blog that serve as comments to other blog entries where I feel there’s enough context for my own reader where my one-liner comments won’t seem so out of place. I’m also partially afraid that if I comment on someone else’s entry by posting to my own blog, they won’t see it: part of the reason why I comment on people’s blogs is because I want them to read what I wrote.

Of course, Russell publishes an email contact address on his blog, so I could just send him an email. I could even post my comment to my blog and email him the link, if I wanted my comment to be public. It still doesn’t mean he’ll read my email, or if he does read my email, read my blog entry … but, how is that different than if he didn’t read my comment on his blog? None at all.

The irony of it all is that instead of thinking “Russell is evil, he won’t let me comment at his blog,” during my 15 seconds of annoyance, I thought, “He must have gotten overrun by comment spammers and got sick and tired of them, so he turned off comments. That sucks.” I know I was getting hit by comment spammers on my blog once I turned anonymous comments back on, thus my implementing the CAPTCHA, so I figured he was in the same boat. Why did so many other people decide he was evil, before he even made a public statement to his blog as to why he removed comments? I don’t know him personally, but I’ve been reading his blog for a few years now, and I’ve never gotten the feeling that he’s an evil kind of guy.

Russell, if you read this, I just want to say that I do wish you’d turn comments back on for lazy people like me, but that’s just a favor I’d be asking. You’re absolutely right that it’s your blog and you should do with it whatever makes you happy. As you pointed out, “being cluetrain” is about the open discussion which can happen either in comments or between blogs, and you have yet to prevent people from linking to your blog. (Maybe it’d be evil to refuse to serve content to people based on the HTTP referer, preventing bloggers from linking to you, but you wouldn’t do that, right?)

Maybe it’d be cool for you to post about what ego feeds you’re using so we can check to make sure we know how to tag our posts so that they’ll appear on them, to increase the chances that you’ll see responses? Just a thought.

russell beattie,

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