Right now I’m reading David Heinemeier Hansson’s Blog back to front, and it got me thinking:

It’s a common practice to close down blog comments after a certain amount of time, especially on popular sites. I noticed that DHH’s site still allows people to enter a comment and press submit, even on the oldest entries. I think it’s a good idea to encourage commenting on old posts, because someone who’s reading an old post might have some insight about it. But on the other hand, people just aren’t going to notice comments from an old post.

My idea is that after a month, instead of allowing someone to add to the old post, or just saying “comments are closed”, the old post should have a form for e-mailing the author. It could say something like this before the form:

The time has expired to leave comments on this page. However, you can still fill out a comment form and your comment will be sent to me via e-mail (with an automatic link to this post). It may even inspire a new blog entry!

I’m going to implement this for my blog after I change my blog engine (I’m planning to either grow my own in Ruby or move to Typo), but if you like this idea, feel free to implement it yourself.

Also, thank you elzr for giving me the idea to read DHH’s blog back to front.

One thought on “Thoughts on Closing Blog Comments

  1. Thanks to _you_ for sharing Ben!

    This whole new experience of knowing someone thru his blog (almost like talking to his ghost.. or temporal forks of him) was precisely what I was getting at, quite grandiosely, with my blogbeing post… to me blogs are a new state of being. And yup, DHH makes for one very interesting ghost.

    As for closing old comment threads, I think it sucks BIG time, showing a silly bias for recency and needlessly marginalizing old posts, but I don’t think the email form is a good solution either. My proposed solution would be to keep comment threads forever *and* put a recent-comments module somewhere (thereby allowing people to notice these comments).

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