Saturday, December 6, 2014
Why I Don't Have Comments Enabled
This video sort of explains it all....
I don't have comments enabled on this blog. At one time, I did. No one read the blog, so it was no big issue. No one commented. Not a problem.
But then one or two people started reading it, and comments began. And most were innocuous. But then the flames started. A young man who just leased a brand-new car and was obviously regretting the decision (when he got his personal property tax and insurance bills) decided that it wasn't his fault he made this mistake - but my fault that I pointed it out.
So he started all these long-winded nonsensical comments that basically barfed up what the car salesman said about "buying only the part of the car you want" and "increasing your cash flow" and "opportunity cost" - which I addressed in the posting, but he just blithely ignored my arguments.
And that's OK, I guess. But it is frustrating to try to discuss something with someone who ignores the dollars-and-cents arguments and instead raises a lot of "arguments" which are little more than slogans and dogma - usually stuff the commercial interests selling products like to tout ("Payday loans are convenient and allow you access to cash!" or "Hydronic heating gives you warm floors!"). You can't "refute" such arguments, as they are not really arguments, just dogma.
And of course, the SPAM started showing up. Just irrelevant stuff advertising stock schemes or other rip-offs, or links to Russian porn websites. If I did a posting about payday loans, for example, I'd get a comments saying, "yes, most payday loans are a bad deal, but check out this link!" which of course was an ad for a payday loan place.
And that is the reason I don't monetize the blog. Others do. And that is problematic, as you don't have control of who advertises. And since the ads are tied to content, well, if you write about what raw deals payday loans are - guess what the sidebar ads are for? Payday loans.
Then there are the political junkies. Everything is about Obama or Bush. I post about cute kittens and they reply (in ALL CAPS) that "OBAMACARE IS GOING TO RUIN THAT KITTEN'S LIFE !!!!" or if they are liberals, "THAT KITTEN WOULD BE CUTER IF NOT FOR BUSH!!!"
It is just not worth it.
But what is even more disturbing is that there are organizations out there whose job it is to maintain the reputation of companies, industries, and individuals. You've seen them advertise on NPR (Reputation.com for example).
Speaking of which, the Koch brothers now advertise on NPR - and NPR dumped its environmental reporting recently. Funny how that works. It is, of course, according to Snopes, just a coincidence.
But it illustrates how commercial interests try to manipulate the media. And if you can't have a website removed, you can google-bomb it (so it goes down in the rankings) or you can comment it to death, as one fellow who posted about Angie's List discovered.
Comments can be used to just drown the original posting (so the site becomes more about the comments than the posting) or it can be used to BAIT the blogger into over-reacting. Once the blogger devolves into answering attacks, the original posting gets diluted in strength. And yes, this is an intentional strategy used by Professional Internet Trolls (PITs).
So, I am sorry we don't have comments enabled here, but I am sure you can appreciate that if I did, it would become a full-time job to moderate comments, approve comments, delete SPAM, mediate in flame wars, defend personal attacks, and delete baiting attempts.
It just isn't worth it, and it really destroys how a blog is supposed to work.
Again, I wrote this blog for my own amusement. It is interesting that others read it, but the readership (compared to most popular blogs) is infinitesimal. When I do get a reaction to a posting, it is mostly because I am speaking heresy - that some "toy" or other overpriced gadget isn't worth it, or that some financial instrument (credit card, check cashing store) is a rip-off.
The folks who have vested interests in such deals will attack - and oddly enough, the ones ripped off by them will as well, as they are invested in them.