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.