Tags Blogging

Since switching to the new statically-generated blog, dealing with comments has been a continuous dilemma. On one hand, I wanted to retain comments since it provides readers an immediate opportunity to respond, suggest errors or additional material, etc. On the other hand, comments are - by nature - dynamically generated, and it felt bad adding heavy Disqus JS to my otherwise static site.

And indeed, over the years I've heard some complains that my blog is sluggish. Wait, what? This makes little sense - I'm not on Wordpress any more; I simply serve static HTML pages; oh wait, Disqus...

There were other concerns.

First, whether comments are useful any more, at all. I've noticed that some of my most popular posts generated hundreds of comments in Reddit and HN discussions, but only a handful on the site. Why is that? I think the answer is clear - folks who have Reddit and HN accounts have recognizable user names there and any content helps their reputation. It's also a single place to collect all your comments - on all blogs - rather than it being at the mercy of the blog owner. I've also been receiving about a similar amount of comments by plain email, and recently Twitter too.

Second, Disqus has to pay the bills somehow, and I wasn't using their paid package. It's not that it's very expensive, but paying as much for the comments as I'm paying for the VM running this blog (along with some other things) just feels wasteful. Moreover, since I've been resisting the idea of monetizing the blog, something feels off about paying for multiple services just to run it.

As expected, when you're not paying - you're the product. Disqus is injecting ads in their comments section, and not ads of the good kind. Not stuff relevant to my blog readers, but the terrible crap so common online recently - "man sheds 25 pounds by eating this fruit; doctors are shocked", "Oakland mom can't believe her son's transformation" and so on.

I've been disabling these through Disqus's control panel, but after a while they reappear - without any notification. I'm sure Disqus is acting within their TOS, and I'm not blaming them, but this is no longer working for me. The energy spent on tracking this would be better used by writing more blog posts.

Therefore, I'll be disabling all comments on the blog. Instead, I'll provide a direct link to my email and Twitter accounts. In addition, most of my posts get to Reddit and HN fairly quickly and I usually try to follow the discussions that ensue, so feel free to comment there.

Update (2023-01-09): I was reflecting on this change recently. This has turned out to be a great decision I do not regret making.