Please Read The Comments


I find the Don't Read The Comments movement kind of sad.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:


Awesome. We’ll have to make this integration easy for everyone with an App that connects Ghost=>Discourse in future!


It’s worth mentioning that all the founders of Discourse now use Discourse to power their blog comments:


Relevant: The Difficulty of Dogfooding


That lifeguard cartoon… Ugh. Good moderation improves the signal/noise moderation. Sadly, too many moderated communities get hijacked by a wilfully ignorant majority who use it to censor any form of dissent, respectful or otherwise.


Mary Elizabeth Williams (and most of Salon) is famous for showing enormous disrespect in her columns to groups of people she dislikes. Then she faints at the comments she receives.

Anil Dash may be a great guy, but he too frequently shows enormous disrespect to people, than he tells us a good community needs heavy handed moderation.

My own experience is that in the best online communities, very light moderation is what is needed. What is fundamentally important is that the blogger interacts, respectfully, with the commentariat in the comments.

GOOD communities are interactive conversations with dissenting, but respectful opinions. In those communities, group norms keep abuse to a minimum, and violators are often chastised and dealt with by members of the community who would otherwise agree with the violator.

BAD communities form when people are spoken down to, and then abused. And that explains the Salon experience.


I finally have a good reason to use Discourse!

But I think that putting a barrier between your content and the comments (and it’s a somewhat significant barrier: not only it requires you to go to another website, you have to LOG IN (Oh, the horror!) on it) is kind of contradictory with your argument on how important comments are. If they are really a continuation of the conversation started by the post, doesn’t make more sense to have this conversation actually happening on the same page?


I think it is great that we are making strides in online discussions like this. When I make a comment, I want to be heard, so thinking that the content creator is just ignoring comments is a sad thing to imagine. I believe it is the content creator’s desire to foster relationships, so it is extremely important to listen as much as they speak. What is great now, is that the community can deal with abusive users rather than putting that responsibility on the content creator’s shoulders. Now they can focus on the content AND fostering discussion; i.e. building relationships. This is very exciting!


I am not sure I agree here. In general communities are destroyed by lack of moderation, not too much moderation.


I talked a bit about this here:

Only minor point of disagreement I have with @codinghorror is that I think he should be including the full blog post content on the Discourse side, to make it easier to quote and comment on the blog post. Really hate having to windows open.

Why not quote the full blog post in each topic?

If there was a wordpress plugin, I would try it. Is there one? Will there be one?


Oh, I’m not disagreeing necessarily, just lamenting the fact that communities tend to devolve into complete pits of horror with too little moderation or successful islands of groupthink with moderation. There are just too few good moderators.


There is!


You do want some “toddler sized” barriers in front of commenting. Otherwise you get an influx of the bored people who really don’t care about your community or anyone there. Commenting – and joining communities – should be a little bit of work to keep out the people who don’t care.



One of the reasons I’ve been paying attention to the Discourse project from early on (aside from my professional interest in Ruby, Rails, and Javascript applications) is because I agree with the basic premise that the only viable online community is a moderated one, and it looked like Discourse would provide good tools for that. Also because forum software in general has long-needed a kick in the tuchus!


That’s a good argument. Please wait while I think harder to find a reason to disagree.


@k_stricker I’m going to be a contrarian here for a moment, and suggest that a community doesn’t have to allow dissent if it doesn’t want to. This is, IMO, one of the fallacies of the modern Western world, that all discourse (pun not intended) must be open and free and allow all points of view. Many discussions are better that way, but “better” does not equate to “necessary”.


I already have half-a-million tabs open at any given time. What’s one more? :smile:


I agree that not every discussion has two sides. When discussing discrimination against black people, “they deserve it because black people are stupid” is certainly NOT a valid point that should be allowed in the conversation.

But censoring contrary opinions is not a way of enriching any discussion. It is rather a way of letting people with similar views to just keep agreeing with each other, without being ever exposed to a different point of view. I think some balance and diversity of opinions is necessary in almost every discussion, so, if anything, we are erring on the better side.


An internet full of echo chambers of different stripes confirming and validating their hostility toward those who disagree with them isn’t really a healthy or desirable thing either.