A com­ment sec­tion is an ex­pec­ted fea­ture of a mod­ern web site and it is hard to find a page which does not con­tain a form to post a com­ment. Con­trary to the norm this web­site lacks such a form and will likely never have one. Read on for some of my reas­on­ing be­hind this de­cision.

This web­site is stat­ic­ally gen­er­ated

A stat­ic­ally gen­er­ated web­site comes with a fair num­ber of sig­ni­fic­ant be­ne­fits. Such a site is easy to host, to make per­form­ant and se­cur­ity is no longer as ma­jor a con­cern. Alas, adding in­her­ently dy­namic ele­ments (e.g. a com­ments sec­tion) to such a web­site is not as straight­for­ward as it would be oth­er­wise.

One of the few op­tions could be to use a JavaS­cript based com­ment wid­get which in­ter­acts dir­ectly with a 3rd party ser­vice of some sort. Per­son­ally I never had a pleas­ant ex­per­i­ence in­ter­act­ing with such wid­gets in the past. Hand­ing over the own­er­ship of the com­ment data to a third party is also quite an iffy pro­pos­i­tion…

I don’t really want to de­velop a solu­tion like this on my own, either.

Spam pre­ven­tion is too hard

Deal­ing with an in­ev­it­able flood of spam re­qures a con­stant in­vest­ment of time to re­view and mod­er­ate the com­ments re­ceived through such a built-in form.

Ser­vices like Akismet may re­duce the work­load here. My pre­vi­ous blog em­ployed a com­bin­a­tion of Akismet and re­Captcha. If Akismet deemed com­ment to be a spam, the com­menter would be presen­ted a captcha to solve. All things con­sidered, this solu­tion worked pretty well but it was­n’t fool­proof either.

Blogs aren’t suited for dis­cus­sion

Re­cently I have seen the fol­low­ing thought on dis­course qual­ity:

There is a reason why blog posts and com­ments don’t cre­ate the dis­course we are used from for­ums: In for­ums the ini­tial post is just a spark and all sub­sequent posts are presen­ted as equals. After a while there is little that sets the ini­tial post apart from fol­low­ing posts.

It’s very dif­fer­ent with blog posts. The blog post it­self al­most al­ways dom­in­ates the whole dis­cus­sion, com­ments are visu­ally set apart and of­ten set in smal­ler font sizes. Fol­low­ing up on pre­vi­ous com­ments is awk­ward, so most com­ments are fo­cused on the ini­tial blog post, which means the dis­cus­sion does­n’t go any­where.

In­deed, I haven’t seen a single blog with a com­ments sec­tion full of healthy dis­course. Given the rare up­dates on this blog, it would be quite fool­ish on my part to ex­pect a high qual­ity dis­course here.

Com­ments are wel­come by e-­mail

After eval­u­at­ing all the al­tern­at­ives, I will not im­ple­ment any com­ment­ing func­tion­al­ity on this web­site. As an al­tern­at­ive, please send me an e-­mail with your thoughts and in­sight. I am hop­ing such an ap­proach will work much bet­ter at gen­er­at­ing dia­log than a com­ment wid­get would.