Posts Tagged 'comments'

Reprise: Why I Turned off the Comments

In view of my references yesterday to this decision — made in June of 2007 — I am reposting it here today.

Why I Turned off the Comments

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In a phrase, because God told me to. In rather stern and shocking terms. I know that sounds wacky, but… guess I’ll just have to sound wacky.

It has little to do with the quality/nature of the comments themselves and everything to do with my motivations and the fact that I am too easily led into the wrong ones. When I started this blog it was something I was doing as unto the Lord, something I believed He was moving me to do for His purposes and not my own. But then came the comments and my own predilection toward fretting about them. Writing something, posting it, then wondering if anyone said anything. Worrying about what people might think of certain topics, and then sometimes hesitating to write what I was feeling led to write. And then, regardless of what I wrote, checking a bunch of times to see if anyone had left something — when I was supposed to be writing. If no one commented, then I might feel dismayed, and that in turn disrupted my mood and confidence for writing, and pretty much annihilated whatever concentration I had before I broke down and checked.

In short, it became a distraction. To make matters worse, the absence of comments would often lead me to start surfing, reading blogs, even checking Amazon, heaven forbid. And if none of that yielded anything, then I would fall into unending repetitions of the entire process. The upshot was… I wasted a lot of time with it all, last year and now. The Lord pulled me through it last year — got the book done in spite of me — but now that I see it happening again, I am convicted of the need to make a change. And I have to say that so far I’m pleased with the peace and the ability to focus that has been restored to me because of this.

I’ll admit that at first I was afraid of offending people because, after all, the accepted, generally publicized reason for a blog is to get out there and start conversations, generate all this cross linkage, interact with readers, draw a lot of attention. Turning off the comments would stop all that and possibly chase readers off. Ultimately though I had to bow to what the Lord was telling me to do and not worry about that. If that’s what happened/happens, so be it. It’s not my intent to offend, and if you wish to comment on a blog post you can always email me through the address in the profile in the side bar. You might even generate a new blog post with your emailed comment!

With WordPress, I’ve not turned off the comments, because I haven’t had the same problems with them that I described in this article. The other stuff though — the likes, the idea that I must go and read other blogs, the supposed requirement of all the cross posting, and etc., so far that’s been the stuff of distraction for me. So, while I’ve not turned off the comments, I have turned off the function that sends an email to me every time someone “likes” a post (an email which then encourages me to go to their blog out of gratitude and leave a comment or like in return).

It’s not that I’m ungrateful, just that I don’t have time or as, Sherlock Holmes recently put it in the new show Elementary, not enough “attic space.”

LOL.

A Multitude of Words

I’ve been thinking of this new media we have today and all the interaction it provides. Or maybe not interaction so much as everyone getting to comment on whatever matter is at issue. And, it seems, even expecting to comment. Used to be, if you published an article in a print publication, the only way someone could respond was by writing a letter to the editor. Only those who were most compelled to respond would go to the trouble of doing so.

But these days it’s easy (except for those of us who are daunted by those  wavy letters we must identify and type in before publishing a comment to prove we’re not cyberbots). But even that is easier than typing out your letter, editing it, retyping, getting the snail mail address, etc. Then you’d have to wait around probably for two issues before you even had a chance of seeing your letter in print. And most likely you never would see it, since the page constraints of print media would limit the number of letters published in each issue.  And in those letters you probably wouldn’t find a lot of repetition among them.

Now between Facebook and blogs and Twitter and Amazon everyone gets to put their two cents in. In fact, for a while now our local news anchors actually take precious time to report what viewers are saying on the station’s Facebook page:

“Sally Sniverliver said, ‘I really think the new development is a good idea and should be encouraged.’

“And Harvey Schmortz said, ‘The new development will only take up city funds that would be better spent for other uses. Like fixing the giant potholes in our streets.'”

This is news??? (Okay, I paraphrased, but what was said was consistent with my paraphrase — it’s still not news). Why should I care what Ms. Sniverliver and Mr. Schmortz have to say? If I want random comments I can ask my neighbor. Or the grocery clerk…Or listen to the local talk show where people call in.  Why are the reporters reading us their Facebook page???

Maybe they think  it makes us feel more connected to the station. More important. Maybe they think it will make us watch more consistently in hopes our Facebook page entry will be read.  Are these really the only way news stations can think of to boost viewership?

But I digress. My point is that there are an awful lot of words being spewed out there in cyberspace and I think it has significance, maybe in what it says about our society. I’ve been to blogs where a post has 857 plus comments. Does anyone actually read all 857 comments? Do the people who wrote the original post even read them?   The most I’ve read of such a huge number of comments is about 50.

Bottom line: it seems like communication, it seems like interaction and connection, but is it really? Or is it just  letters strung together with some spaces in between, a bunch of 1’s and 0’s and not much more…

“Do not take seriously all words which are [written],” says Ecclesiastes 7:21

And, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,” says Pro 10:19. “But he who restrains his (typing fingers) is wise.”

Not to say I don’t appreciate the comments I get from my readers… I do. But mostly you all are very thoughtful, classy commenters and I thank you for that!


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