Why I’ve closed comments on my blog

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 8 December 2011

I’ve switched off comments for the time being on this blog. Despite having lots of anti-spam measures in place (including Akismet before you ask) there is a particular breed of comment spam that is actually written by humans, and evades most spam-traps. It is all about adding worthless noise to blogs in return for a link carrying a tiny bit of Google juice. One of the reasons this blog gets targeted is because the address is traded by SEOs looking for dofollow blogs with a high PageRank. Of the last 1,000 comments I’ve pre-moderated, I’ve published about 3. The rest were just simply clogging up the intertubes with trite “I like what you wrote here. I’ve used the Guardian Facebook app. Nice work.” stuff, loosely responding to the post they were commenting on, but then signed off with a URL for a Tampa Bay Realtor or something.

I’ve done a basic cost-benefit analysis on “the amount of time I could be spending trying to design the interwebs into being a better place” versus “the amount of time I’m spending coping with dingbats actively trying to make the interwebs a worse place”. And moderating comment spam is not the best use of my time, so the comments have gone for a while.

It is a shame. I’m with Pete Clifton on this, that a blog isn’t really a blog unless it has comments open on it. And I really missed them the other day, when I’m sure my post about reaction to the recent BBC homepage redesign would have provoked some conversation. I’ll maybe try a new approach in the new year, but until then, comments are shut. If you want to respond to a post, you are welcome to do so via Twitter (I’m @currybet) or mail me at martin.belam@currybet.net.

Keep up to date on my new blog