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    « Off The Road Again ... | Main | You'll Thank Me »

    April 22, 2005



    When I finally decided to blog, after many months of wishing I could, and thinking I couldn't, I had to pause and consider when "blogger" asked me if I wanted to allow comments. It didn't matter to me one way or the other. I am SO glad that I chose to do so. I have always loved writing, telling stories. I had NO idea how much fun I would have reading the comments, and replying to them, which I now enjoy even more than writing the original post. There are a number of blogs that I must see every day, either because I enjoy the content so much, or just enjoy the human who "lives" there so much that I want to let them know I stopped by. I have tried to write about this topic, too, but so far my effort is too long and boring. You're REAL surprised at that right about now, huh?;) Getting commenters to come and hang out with me after I write something is like having a party without having to clean my house. Nilbo, I don't know if you were around for the Gumby Rorschach, but that is probably my FAVORITE use of commenters' comments, so far. March 21 and 24, if you'd care to take a look. I'd provide a direct link, but I'm much too lazy for that.
    Oh, and call me strange (like you haven't already), but I ENJOY reading bloggers on blogging. The subject fascinates me, in ways wonderful and horrifying.

    Circus Kelli

    Hi. Hello, Nilbo.

    Wow. Um. I kinda feel like I am not as well-thought out as I would like to be, but if I don't comment now, I will forget later because that is the way my mind works (or doesn't work).

    Your cocktail party analogy is dead on. That is how I think of commenting on a blog. If I was sitting across from this person, what would I say? Comments *do* enrich the topic. (Except the haters: mean people suck.)

    Well, now that I have gone back and taken out most of the contractions in my comment (because this is more of a dressed-up blog than the ones I usually attend), I'll leave you with this:

    "I wouldn't want my comment section being used as a venue for a slap-fight between two geeks in their parents' basements."

    Bummer. I guess I'm outta here, then. :)


    I want comment. I want to be corrected and made light fun of. I blog for conversation and intellegent (and/or dumb) discourse.


    I agree on the comment thing. I know someday I will be attacked for some smart ass comment I will make, but for now the comments stay open. I have been blessed by having awesome readers that have great feedback.

    I love your site because you're real and I feel smarter after I come here and read. You really are a talented writer and should give yourself more credit ;)

    Keep blogging my friend.


    I like having the option to comment because I just like leaving feedback. Back in the days that Dooce rarely had comments enabled, I sometimes would e-mail her, but it started to feel a bit stalker-ish. I liked comments because I could see other people were giving her lots of feedback too, so I didn't feel so weird. And yes, I liked the way the comments section turned into a chat room (except when it degenerated).

    And I enabled comments on my own blog because I like knowing people are visiting and actually reading. I still haven't installed a counter to look at stats, but even if I do, just knowing someone has been there is far less personal than getting real feedback. And I prefer comments to e-mails because 1) my inbox is already way too full and 2) I think people are more likely to use comments, as opposed to e-mail (probably for the same reason I mentioned above re: dooce and e-mail vs. comments).

    Wow. That was long. Sorry. That is all.


    Maybe Heather is trying to preserve her sanity. I know of a another extremely talented blogger who stepped back from her blog completely because the interaction between her and her readers was getting her down. Commentators can really get under your skin sometimes.

    I didn't read Dooce's comments that afternoon that she so unexpectedly shut them down. I wish someone would fill me in on what really happened. It must have been pretty ugly.


    Deleted, all I know was that the very first post was someone saying "First! And Heather digs anal sex" or something to that effect.


    Deleted, all I know was that the very first post was someone saying "First! And Heather digs anal sex" or something to that effect.

    Laura, shaking my head

    I thought it said: "I'm Heather B. Armstrong and this is my website". I didnt see anything on the site that said: ".. and this is my chat room".
    One of the things you said: "Which, really .. is there any other reason to do this?"
    Why do people blog, Nils? Some people just like to write for the sheer joy of writing. I dont think Heather owes anyone a chat room at her expense.
    Maybe they should open up a chat room on Mirc. gee, there's a novel concept.


    I like having comments. The people who comment on my site have all been really cool and very funny. Doesn't bother me if they are funnier than I am. The world needs more laughter.

    I admit, I've never had trolls. Most of the sites that I go to are positive.

    I also like a guy who can make rolling pin jokes with my sister. :-)


    Dooce and comments are a volatile mix. I suppose that when you have 40,000 readers per day, you're bound to get a couple of bad apples to spoil the bunch. Most of what went down on Dooce's CHAT ROOM (because let's face it, that's essentially what it was) was witty banter and light humor. Everyone should have a sense of humor about themselves and be able to tolerate a bit of light joking at their own expense, however there were a few people who went overboard with Dooce, and that inevitably leads to a mass lynching and utter anarchy. It's sad that a bunch of mature adults are unable to censor themselves or behave like civilized human beings.

    The rest of us, on the other hand, are desperate for comments, period. I don't ever delete hateful comments on my blog- not that I get all that many- because frankly I just don't give a crap if someone doesn't like me or my writing. And GOD FORBID I should make a spelling or grammatical error... I must deserve the personal attacks and criticism of my intelligence for such horrendous acts of indecency. But I can laugh about it and I never feel the need to defend myself to hateful, rude, insensitive people. Let them think what they will about me; I obviously matter enough for them to read my blog AND take the time to comment. GO ME! I always win.


    I've never been really bothered about comments. I visit to read what the owner of the blog has to say, not the masses. I rarely click on comments if there are more than 20


    Yikes, sorry for that double post...the browser froze up on me, and I thought it didn't go through!


    I understand your personal opinions about Dooce's comment-section-cum-chatroom. It had indeed evolved into a very lively and vibrant community and, as you noted, the banter was often fun, witty and quite enjoyable to follow.

    However, I'm struck by your statement: "it's now not as interesting a site when it's just her." I'm really not sure how to take that. It is, after all, her site. It contains her writing, photos, thoughts, ideas, and opinions. If that's not what visitors are after, then there is little purpose in Dooce continuing to write, photograph, or otherwise express herself. She should simply give up her own efforts and relinquish the site to the community for use as an open forum or discussion board.

    On the other hand, assuming that Dooce wishes to maintain the original raison d'etre for *HER* site, it becomes quite understandable to see why she has chosen to turn off the comments (and it has nothing to do with trolls or inflammatory discussions). She has, in effect, turned the focus back to herself. She is forcing the audience - HER audience - to concentrate on her and her alone. And let's face it - blogging is an inherently selfish act to begin with: no matter what we might state as our primary purpose, it is, in the end, all about the author.

    As for comments, I believe they are intrinsic to the blogging experience. Blogging itself may be inherently selfish; to voice one's opinion without extending the same courtesy to other points-of-view, supportive or not, is even more so.


    Brikwall, that was a great perspective. I especially agree with this:

    "assuming that Dooce wishes to maintain the original raison d'etre for *HER* site, it becomes quite understandable to see why she has chosen to turn off the comments (and it has nothing to do with trolls or inflammatory discussions). She has, in effect, turned the focus back to herself. She is forcing the audience - HER audience - to concentrate on her and her alone."

    (People. Welcome to Nilbo's Salon...)


    I don't want anyone to think I have an opinion about whether or not Dooce (or anybody else) should allow comments on their sites. It is, after all, a very personal thing, this blogging - a statement I made to lead off my original post.

    And I didn't mean to imply that Dooce's site wasn't interesting any more - it certainly is, and people who haven't read it ought to check it out. I just found the comments added an extra flavour - added value, if you will. And when they're not there, that extra flavour is missing. For me. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

    My default position: I find almost every blog to be more interesting if it allows comment, banter, dissent, amplification, illumination, discussion ...

    Not everybody agrees, and that's as it should be. And your blog is your blog - if you want the focus to remain on you and what you have to say, I applaud your courage and integrity. As Laura so pointedly observes, people may blog for any number of reasons, including the sheer joy of writing. But in the end, it ought to be an uplifting experience - which, to me, translates as "fun".

    Comments add spice. My wife gets upset when I bring a bottle of ketchup to the table. I don't know why - sure, she cooked it the way she wanted to. But I reserve the right to make my own decisions about whether my food is tastiest as it's served to me, or whether I'd want some salt, pepper, and a dash of ketchup on that. It's not an implied insult to her cooking.

    I agree with Laura that Dooce's comments often turned into a latter-day IRC chat room. I found that to be a large part of their appeal. Some of my closest friends in the world come from IRC. So ... it's hard for me to see that as a negative.


    Ohdearlord. This is very entertaining. One thing that comes to mind when people critique Heather Armstrong's comment page (which I regard as the "playground" or the "party"): Heather has repeatedly posted and/or commented that she LIKES it as is. The on-topic comments, the off-topic comments, the fact that impersonators (e.g., UPPERCASE GOD) make comments, the fact that people have formed friendships there, the fact that some commenters carry on conversations about which no one else has a clue, in the midst of all the other chatter. I think Heather is very savvy; it is what she wants it to be; she is not at the mercy of wild, inappropriate commenters. I find it curious that some readers want her comments page to remain more "pure" than Heather herself would like, according to her own stated preferences. We can speculate as to why she shuts down comments, but I don't think she's ever said. We're all just making up the reasons why we think she might have done so. I'm guilty of that speculation as well, but at the end of the day, I don't know why, other than that it's her playground and she can shut it down anytime she feels like it.


    A couple of points of clarification to my previous post, written early this morning when the body was still awake but the brain had long since put itself to bed:

    (1) I used Dooce as an example simply because her site had already been mentioned. I have no way of knowing whether or not Heather is happy with the status quo. Nor do I know why she has turned the comments off. However, I do believe my comments are applicable to any blog, including Dooce.

    (2) You will note that I qualified my statement with the sentence: "I'm really not sure how to take that." I feel the phrase of yours that I quoted can be examined in two entirely different ways. My post attempted to touch on it as a stand-alone sentence. What I totally failed to do - and for this I apologize - was discuss the other way in which it can be examined. Taken in context, your statement is entirely valid, understandable, and makes perfect sense. I really do agree with you 100% - I just didn't reflect that in my commentary.


    Someone in the world agrees with me 100%? OK, I think that's the seventh sign of the Apocalypse. Prepare for the Rapture.

    I love this - people discussing, clarifying, disagreeing and yet being civil and respectful as they do. See, this is what I'm talking about. This all started with a fairly mundane post, and became more interesting as people dove in.

    Poifect. Let's continue.


    Maybe that should have read 99%...always leave 'em guessing, even just a little bit...

    Seventh sign, four horsemen, and a strange little chicken muttering something about the sky falling...seen them all this afternoon... :)


    Hi all-

    I was "coskel"on dooce - I miss the chatroom aspect of it as well...some folks tried to start other formus that were dooce related, but they never really got off the ground. I guess no one wanted to go to another site to comment on Heathers site.

    Nilbo and all - try Waiter Rant at - a very gifted writer who works as a NYC waiter. I want to marry him and bear him children he is so brilliant.


    Ohh, good call on the waiterrant ... it's a great read, and I've bookmarked it. I will not, however, bear him children.


    Nilbo...did your dog send Mouse an e-mail? You'd better watch out; Mouse is telling him it's OK to bite you or knock you down!


    Oh-oh. I WONDERED what Roxy was doing here on my computer. I came into my office, and she clicked to minimize and then was all looking casual like "Oh, nothing, nothing ... just looking at dog food sites."

    Bitch. "Just checking my e-mail" indeed.


    I guess (and I should have KNOWN this, by her name) I should have said "Mouse is telling HER it's ok to bite you."


    It is so disappointing to read a blog post, then find out that I have to be a member to comment, or comments are turned off. I have a lot of opinions, and I love to share them :)


    Oh well then.

    I have been ruminating abt this for a long while now. When I first started blogging I had no idea how life-changing it would be. I was also absolutely unprepared for how effectively strong relationships are created. I know, from the blogs that I love, that a blogger can cause profound joy and sorrow and laughter. But truthfully, I as a blogger receive far more than anything others may feel I've ever given. And this, I believe, is bcs I allow comments. I had something very bad happen a while ago and it stills hold true that when the flood gates of hell open nothing helps more than reading the comments to those posts. I fully understand what you mean when you say "it's just her" and it's not as good bcs reading comments is part of the fun. There are some blogs I read that do not allow comments bcs they are too brilliant for me not to - but it annoys the hell out of me. I never email the bloggers either bcs I feel they've already told me I am not welcome somehow. So instead of being in their porch, smiling at everyone, and having the option of talking if I so choose, I am left with feeling I'm perched on a tall branch peeking in. And I don't much care for it.

    What also royally aggravates me are the blogs with open comments where the bloggers actually are annoyed by your commenting (and I'm talking abt innocuous comments here). I want to smack their stupidity right on the mouth. But that happens to me only once bcs I never go back.

    Sorry for hogging but your blog - and your comments are interesting.


    I think my blog is pretty crappy because I never have time to think about what I'm going tow rite - I just blather. But I still love the comments. I even allow the bad ones to be published coz I think blogs are all about individual opinion for public viewing. And response. It annoys me when Dooce closes her comments, but only because then I have to go through the hassle of emailing her what I wanted to say (along with most other obsessed doocelings)


    Feeling the need to comment here. Thanks...

    Around the middle of July I quit my job. Reading and writing have been wonderful get-over-it companions. I love to read your writing also. Sooo elequantly flowing words then some straight F-U's here and there. I can relate. And nope, no F-U's were spoken when I quit my job. Just relief.

    here and there. Some blogger circles


    and some bloggers live with Adult ADD and seriously, I am one of them. No need for meds anymore though...I have overcome :)

    Anyhow..."here and there. Some blogger circles" my previous comment just a few ago, was something I was going to write but changed my mind and tried to erase...I truly did erase half that sentence!

    A.D.D is very strange yet strangly tolerable at my age and That is not what's left of the middle of a sentence. (hmmmmmm.)

    Pete from Australia

    Well, I must say I've been missing out! I was a member of "yahoo messenger" for 6 months. I used to visit the " groups> communities> 30's chat" rooms. The appauling grammer I could accept, the lack of stimulating conversation, of any genre, was totally bemusing. I went there happlessly searching for a partner, and at the least, topical conversation. The 'chat' was full of lies, deceipt, false-ego, and crass behaviour, and people, ( mainly Arabs), that couldn't speak English.
    I'm no saint, yet the devients spoilt much of my time there, and I notion, put me as well as other genuine males, under suspiscion. Yet suspiscion from who? Other lying females? Or 'lost and lonlies' like myself?
    It's all too easy to hide behind text, and be anyone you want. I've read comments above regarding: " debate, discussion, banter, illumination"...I should've been here!
    I'm currently writing my 2nd novel, and this one's about a 'chatroom' similar to the one I 'lived' in for too long...suffice to say it's a black comedy.

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