Does closing comments turn blogging into lecturing?

rsz screen shot 2014 07 19 at 14711 pm Does closing comments turn blogging into lecturing?

If you’ve read me over the years you know I’m a fan of the closed comments.

Ala the now ubiquitous *drops the mic* when employed infrequently it can be a powerful blogging tool.

Are you asking your readers to participate in a hair-brained scheme which is, essentially, giving them an assignment?

Close the comments!

Are you sharing a post about the importance of choosing to get out and LIVE over spending time blogging about life?

Close the comments!

I’m not one to close comments when I blog about the uber-personalbut I’ve seen it done and entirely understand why.

Used sparingly, closing blog comments conveys a strong message to readers.

Go out and seize the day! Life is short.

I’m feeling delicate.  I can’t handle any interaction on this topic right now. I’ll be back soon and convo will flow.

I’m giving you an assignment today.  Spend the time you’d use to comment and get out & join me!

I know.

Apparently I’ve spent a lot of time pondering comments and their impact on our story telling.

It was for that reason the tweet below snagged my attention:

I understood what Brian meant yet, in a rather old school psychotherapist way, I wanted to ask:

“I know what liberating means to me–but what does it mean to you?”

Before I had a chance to tweet, however, someone beat me to it.

This was Brian’s response:

Screen Shot 2014 06 23 at 8.28.31 AM Does closing comments turn blogging into lecturing?

Write to be heard and not discuss.

Oh how I knew precisely what he meant.

For me closed-comment days aren’t ones where I wish to silence others—-they are days when my posts feel complete to me exactly as they are.

This is a rare feeling.

Most days I view my blog as a place to gather.

Somewhere for safe discourse where I, as post creator, merely serve as Blog M.C. (AKA M.C. MizFit).

I see my blog posts as launching pads for the discussions which take place in the comments or over on the Book of the Face.

Closing comments on a regular basis would defeat my blog’s purpose.

Silencing everyone but myself on a consistent basis feels to me as though it would morph my .com into a lecture.

rsz photo3 Does closing comments turn blogging into lecturing?

It would transition my thoughts into me talking AT you instead of a place where we can gather to chat about hard topics, support each other and disagree in respectful ways.

None of the above could happen if my default was to seal my comments and cut you off.

All of this would feel like a monologue if I spilled the contents of my heart and dis-empowered your ability to respond, share or normalize for me.

And, while it would make this misfit inappropriately laugh out loud to now close the comments and *drop mic*—as usual I’d love your insights.

  • How do you feel when blogs regularly turn off comments: intriguing writing approach or cutting off of conversation?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I often ponder this question myself but I think you really peeled back some layers I hadn’t thought about. To answer your question, I think it depends on my expectations of the blog and what the blog has set for it’s vision. However, I enjoy blogging for the community of like-minded people so I like the comment section. I have turned it off at times and it was certainly liberating. I see comments as a way to learn and grow both as a reader and a writer. Feedback can be good if it is well thought out.

    • says

      i have to echo Tara. definitely peeled back some layers. And to be honest, i think we seek affirmation in some areas and need that with comments. while other times, we need to just voice something and let it go.. no other thoughts or opinions needed. Well, in my opinion

  2. Nettie says

    I agree and yet I couldn’t put into words before.
    With the blog types I read it does feel like people are telling and sharing and then telling me not to add my thoughts.

  3. says

    Oooh! I’ve had lots of thoughts on the “closing comments” trend, but hadn’t really thought of this perspective. If you close comments, how do you know if a post struck a chord? All those page views could be people you’ve impacted, or they could be spambots trolling for sites to embed their link-backs – although I guess comments closed you’d at least be thwarting them!

    • Lola says

      I agree. I’ve always wondered why people bother to write and post if they close comments.
      But for me blogging (when I did it LOL) was about looking for support etc and if I closed my comments I couldn’t find that.

  4. Healthy Mama says

    Ive never thought about it before.
    I comment when I can and don’t remember ever wanting to comment when they’ve been closed.

  5. Wanda says

    I agree with you.
    It is powerful to me as reader when someone shares and closes the comments because I know or assume it must have been hard to share?
    (does that make sense?)
    Too often it loses its power.

  6. says

    I go back and forth. On the one hand, I can understand how with the shift in blogging and social media how the conversation has been taken to other platforms versus just the blog comment section. But that’s the thing, right? For many of us, blogging is about having a conversation and sometimes I feel like closing comments takes that option of conversing right there away from me. Yes, I can tweet it or share on FB or somewhere else but then that, in a way, is the blogger deciding for me not to express myself in something more than a pithy 1-2 sentences. I think. On the other hand, while I love and cherish the comments and support that I receive on some of my blog posts, I do feel the weight of my unanswered comments.

    • CARLA says

      so frequently now I email back commenters and the conversation goes from there. you make an interesting point as back in the DAY (aka 2006:-)) Id always respond here…

  7. says

    GREAT topic!

    I struggled with this same decision a few months ago and ultimately did close my comments (in rare cases, I open them up — like when my dog died and I felt like I needed to accept the wonderfully kind comments people shared with me). It was not to close the discussion down, but rather to direct it to more places.

    I think each blogger has to look very specifically at his/her blogging goals. Because I don’t blog about personal stuff as often as I do blogging tutorials/tips/etc., a lot of the comments I got were “great, thanks!” or “good to know!” and while I of course treasured that feedback, I just felt that was all about ME. In closing comments but making it easy to share my posts on social media, I hope that people endorse the work I’ve done by passing it on (and then hopefully helping someone ELSE).

    Also, I had to make some difficult decisions about how my limited blogging time was used. Instead of moderating, answering and worrying about comments, I’m now able to spend more time on other platforms and creating new content. I’m very active on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc., so closing comments in many ways actually made my other engagement more meaningful (I hope!) and more fulfilling (I KNOW).

    Again, I think that in my case, it makes sense because I’m mostly blogging how-tos and blogging advice, so people are more inclined to share it than comment anyway.

    And finally…I definitely found myself getting caught up in the currency of comments. When I’d write something that took me a long time and I felt proud of and it got only one or two comments, I started questioning whether I was a good writer, or whether I had anything valuable to add to our community. When I closed comments, I got some relief from the inner “am I good enough?” demons and that was really freeing.

  8. says

    I would have turned the comments off on this one, lol!

    I’ve never turned comments off at my site. It’s an interesting subject. I have been frustrated at times when I read something that I would like to comment on. It’s more common with websites that I need to join to comment.

  9. says

    This is interesting. To me comments are a way to engage with one another. Though I suppose you could argue that social sharing is another way to do that. I see no problem with closed comment posts and wish bloggers who never respond to their audience would deploy it more often!

  10. says

    I LOVE reading reader comments, it’s my favorite thing about blogging!

    So the only time I’ve been tempted to close a post to comments is when I’ve put up something that’s not really a post, just a half-assed “why I’m not posting” sort of thing, and I hate the thought of regular visitors thinking they somehow should take up their valuable time just to let me know they stopped by. When I didn’t bother to “really” write anything.

    But honestly, sometimes it’s sort of a relief to encounter a closed comment post, because making the blog rounds can be time consuming–it’s fun to read without feeling one has to stop in and think of something constructive to contribute.

  11. says

    I only read one blog that does not allow comments & she explained why before she did it so I am fine with that. On the other – closed every once in a while but mostly open.. I think it is fine – usually it is due to a person in am emotional or delicate state & is just letting readers know OR like you that may say just go do what is right for you or have fun. I am not so fond of the assignment thing only because it might not be for everyone OR they just can’t do it.. BUT often that does not bother me either. I get caught up in commenting so it is a relief sometimes not to have to feel obligated to comment. :)

    • Carla says

      I think for me it is like the scale. After I tossed mine about 20 years again I never really even thought about WEIGHT as a number—I just noticed if my clothes were comfy or not. I never check analytics (even though people like to admonish me it’s not professional. interestingly Im rarely if EVER asked for analytics by brands either.) and I just do my best with my posts, write from my <3 and let the comments fall where they may.

  12. says

    I don’t necessarily like closed comments, but I absolutely respect a person’s decision to close them. Their blog, their preference.

  13. says

    Very interesting discussion. As I move toward more professional blogging where clients want to see interaction with my readers I need to leave my comments open. I don’t worry too much about whether or not I get a ton of comments when posts are not sponsored and I don’t typically take much time to answer comments. I’ve asked blogging friends about this and they say it is rare that they read follow up comments unless they specifically select the option to be notified about them. Katy is a great example of where closed comments probably make sense. You often write posts that I think spark great discussions so I’d love to see you keep them open. I know you will be YOU regardless. :-)

  14. says

    Now you’re getting me to comment while in Europe taking a little downtime, so that says something about this topic! I don’t see closed comments, when used infrequently, as a lecture. However, I think it’s silly if it is used to convey the whole “get off the computer and live” thing. By virtue of writing a blog post, one is not getting off the computer and thus telling others to “go out and live life” is just being hypocritical, imho. But I do think it can be used as a powerful tool to drive a point home and let readers just sit with their thoughts.

    • Carla says

      FUNNY!! I never thought of it like that (the Im online telling you to get off) but most likely because I write at 4a and then, when I admonish readers to get offline, I unplug and join ye! :-)

  15. says

    I think closing comments sometimes help make your point in the blog post and drives home a more powerful thought. It may well have more of an impact on the reader as she/ he is left with the thought swirling around that you have sparked!

  16. says

    Hmmm…I like both! But part of what I like about blogging is the interaction not only from the author but also from the readers in the comments section. I like when people respond to others’ comments and hearing that side of the discussion as well, but it certainly makes a statement when comments are closed, and that can be a powerful tool to send a purposeful message too.

  17. says

    Having just killed comments on my site, it’s been mostly a matter of tactics. I had to battle far too much spam and it wasn’t worth it. The people fighting back are people who haven’t commented on my site in over a year (I did a little research). So it’s mostly people commenting about commenting, not about me specifically.

    I’m okay. I’m not going back. It’s all going to be fine. :)

  18. says

    I personally am a huge believer in comments. I’ve learned so much, and truly connected with people in comments. They also help keep me accountable and helped spark some wonderful discussions. I want my blog to be a place where people go to have discussions. Not where they go to get a lecture from Erin. ;p

  19. cheryl says

    Scale gone over 20 years ago. Blog GONE 10 years ago? So yeah, I don’t “get”the whole thing really. It’s just entertaining from time to time when I want to turn off my mind. Kinda like watching bad T.V.
    It certainly doesn’t enlighten, educate or stimulate my brain.

  20. says

    I think if you are blogging in the public, the comments should be probably be open . . . if the topic is too “whatever” then what is the (not you specifically Carla ;-) ) purpose for putting it out there in the first place? To preach, to dictate, or to not regard reader’s (hopefully) supportive comments worthy of your time is figurative hand up in the face. . . . that being said, it’s a free world and bloggers can blog as they want.

  21. Janis says

    I honestly don’t even care about being heard. I’m just the sort of person who has to think out loud. Writing stuff out “out loud” for me is how I arrange my thoughts. I know people who don’t do this, the sort of people who when you ask them a question, they stop, become quiet, think for a bit, and then speak when they’re done thinking. I speak while I’m thinking.

    I guess for me just because I’m talking it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m inviting interaction. One of those very quiet types may see it that way, though; they tend not to talk unless they want interaction.

    This can cause some friction from time to time. I will speak while I’m thinking, and this can read to one of the quiet types as, “Confused, scattered, needs help,” and then they will try to come in and rescue me when all I need is for them to stand back for a bit and let me reach a conclusion. They don’t talk unless they need help, so they don’t always get it that some others talk in order to think. Their thought process is also scattered and nonlinear, but they keep it to themselves, so it doesn’t show. The only difference between their scattered, quirky thought processes and mine are that mine are out loud.

    • Carla says

      so so so interesting Janis as Im that sort to an extent too. When I walk the Golden Doodle I always hope people think Ive got in a bluetooth they cant see :-) as I talk through my life complete with hand waving etc.
      I also love what you say about people coming in and rescuing you when all you wanna do is talk through.
      I used to say to the husband all the time JUST THAT.
      I dont need you to even listen if you dont wanna and definitely dont want a solution—I just need to talk through this out loud.

  22. says

    What a question so many bloggers toil with!! I can see the arguments for either side, and your approach on a post-by-post basis is an interesting balancing act. I think how he says it–“writing to be heard, not discuss”–is where I side with you. I don’t want to lecture or preach; I want to inspire, to propose, to ask, to learn TOGETHER! Recently, I’ve considered closing comments so that I don’t feel blue when nobody finds something interesting (and to save myself the trouble of fishing out the spam!), but I can’t bring myself to cut the tie of conversation:
    I like to know when somebody’s tried one of my dares and how it went for them. I like to know what people find interesting to read and what they don’t care as much for. I like to hear others’ opinions on my topic, just as you do. Sometimes when I propose an idea, a reader can take it a step further and sends the dare right back to me!

    Now that I see things in this way, I actually think I’m resolute for keeping comments open for a while longer :) Thanks for the food for thought!!

    (Now I’m going back to read over your other comments here, so I can continue to learn from others’ perspectives and experiences.)

  23. says

    I often wonder about this actually, and then when it comes to replying to my comments (as I am grateful people have taken the time to comment), I think about how many people actually read my response to their response…..is it a waste of time that I could be using on something more meaningful….to some, yes, I am sure, but to others it could mean a lot to them! Hard to find a balance, but you are right, closing it off form time to time is great!

  24. says

    I totally agree! I love engagement on my blog so I ihaven’t done this yet but wonder what would happen if I did – would it be a bad thing or just me BLOGGING to BLOG because I BLOG?

  25. says

    I love comments, I do. However, if I don’t get any I’m okay. I have closed comments a few times only because it was a very delicate subject and I simply had to leave it out on the blog and have no further discussion because after all my blog is still my outlet (regardless of folks that pay me to make it their own). I could never do it full time though, I value my readers opinion way too much.

  26. says

    I never mind when people close comments occasionally. I don’t especially like it – it frankly seems pointless to me, but it doesn’t bother me nor would it keep me away. If someone is going to write something so personal that they can’t handle any commentary on it, then I wonder why on earth it should be blogged about. My thoughts are they should write a personal journal, at that point.

    When someone closes comments permanently, I tend to stop reading. I engage in the blogosphere (albeit sporadically at this point) to… well, engage, not read a lecture/essay/what-have-you as you mentioned in your blog title.

    However, for me, I find the absolute worst offense to be selective moderation of comments. I will not continue reading a blog where the writer deletes any comment that isn’t glowing praise.

    • Carla says

      good point. I leave all comments as we can tell by the fact I leave…all commments (she types not wanting to call anyone out :-) or use the T-Word)

  27. says

    I like when comments are closed and think it is something that we all should do once in a while (I need to figure out how to do it…DOH), because sometimes posts don’t need a response, rather we should go out and seize the day, live life, and do something else with that time. XOXO

  28. says

    I think that turning the comments off is like so much else related to blogging – a personal choice! The one decision that I made when I started blogging was to not feel like I needed to apologize for blogging things – contents, frequency, pictures……I figure if I blog like I live then some people will like me and others won’t.
    Long answer to say that I think it is your choice to close comments and I respect it when you (or anyone) chooses to do just that!!!

  29. says

    I am of the opinion that if you write a blog, you can handle the comments however you see fit. It’s your blog. That being said, I would have to REALLY love the blog if comments were ALWAYS closed. Part of the experience is interacting with others and getting that instant gratification of raw feedback. Closing them occasionally is awesome for the all the reasons stated. In the end though, it’s really up to the writer.

  30. says

    I have not considered the impact of closing comments until now. Very interesting thought. I try to keep my blog on the lighter side, with the exception of maybe one or two posts, so comments wind up being pretty light-hearted too.
    This does give me something to think about.

  31. says

    I enjoy meaningful comments and discussion. But that’s not always what I get. I don’t get haters, but I do get people who say “nice post!” and that’s ok but not a discussion.

  32. says

    For me it’s about having a conversation with one of my girlfriends. And sometimes I feel that I have a message that I want people to soak in, just to read the message and go about their day soaking in the message. Not to be “out there” but just shedding light on a truth, one that may not be as accepted by others. I normally leave most of my posts open but there have been a few YouTube videos that I closed off comments, people still end me some messages to my inbox ( sometimes not very nice ones, but that’s life). But hopefully it allows people to soak the message in. I think as long as we see ourselves as part of a circle vs. on a pulpit then closing comments can in a way encourage our community at times. :-) Great post!

  33. says

    If I have something to respond, I definitely feel like the conversation is cut off. But, that’s just how I feel, and someone else’s blog is not all about ME.

  34. says

    I do love when others leave comments for a blog post I’ve written (as long as they’re not too mean — I like your opinion on that as “oh, well” — advice I should take), so that at least I feel validated in some small way. However, I totally agree with you although it’s in regard to Facebook. Sometimes, I’ll make a comment like yesterday when my tween daughter was driving me crazy. Just putting the vent out there, you know? But then half the comments were what they thought I should do, and I really try to consider the advice, but it is also frustrating. I don’t think that I’ve ever read about this particular topic, but I love it! Putting your feelings or thoughts out there is not always a means of seeking attention, just a release.

  35. says

    I should close the comments on my site because I never get any.

    Thank you for attending my pity party.

    Anyway, I think commenting is the point of blogging. If you wanted to read something and not have the ability to add your own viewpoint, you would read the newspaper. Like the original made from paper newspaper. I don’t want to do that.

  36. says

    When I first started blogging I really didn’t know much. I blogged because I liked to write. It was cool to get comments, but I’ve never felt they were necessary. I wrote as I would a book. Here are my thoughts and words; I hope they touch you in some way or make you think.

    It wasn’t until several months later that a “friend” told me I was kind of rude because I never engage in conversation with my readers. It’s all one-way with me. I had no idea that was the reason many people blog and read blogs, to connect with others. It’s not why I do, so it was strange to me.

    I’m still not great at engaging with my readers. I am grateful for comments, but it’s still mostly a one-way conversation for me. I understand that this means I don’t have as many loyal readers because so many people want to get more than just the initial post out of their experience. I’ve decided I’m okay with that. I have plenty of other stresses in my life. My blog is my blog not my life. I just don’t have the time and energy to devote to answering everyone just to coddle their feelings. Occasionally I have made a few friends through blogs, but mostly I still write for me, to get the thoughts out of my head so my brain will shut up. I guess I’m kind of old school. I have lots of friends I actually know. I don’t feel like I need a lot of “I’ll be your friend if you pay me enough attention online” friends.

    If I read something online and the comments are closed, I usually feel like I’m off the hook. Whew! I didn’t have to comment. I got that one for free. If I feel strongly about what I read and want to say something to the author, I try to find an email address and share my thoughts that way.

    Closed comments don’t make me feel lectured to. Close-minded writing does. It’s your blog and I think you should use comments however makes you happy.

    And now that I’ve written an entire post in your comment section (sorry about that), I wish you a happy Sharefest and a wonderful weekend.

  37. says

    When I read a blog that I like and the comments are closed, sometimes I feel like I haven’t been able to join the conversation. I had something to say and no place to say it. To each his/her own on this one, but that’s always how I feel (unless the post didn’t elicit a response anyway).

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