Fred’s not really bankrupt. In fact he’s right on.

I’m beginning to think the VC folks are some of the clearest thinkers out there and Fred’s latest post shows some of that practical no-nonsense thinking about two topics I’m very interested in: Blog comments and Facebook.

Fred correctly suggests to Jason Calcanis that turning off his comment section is premature. Sure Jason is busy working on lots of projects and sure he’s sick and tired of pruning stupid comments from idiots but … hey! What about MY comments dude? “Comments off” misses much of the point of blogging, which is not just to talk but to *listen* and get the conversation going.

I’m not an “A list blogger” like Jason but for me the most rewarding posts have had a lot of comments and discussion surrounding them. It’s especially neat when you become an observer rather than a participant as often happened to me when I was blogging the Kim family search in December. Sure I had trolls and a lot of administrative challenges but this is what the new big conversation is all about.

I really enjoyed the great insights over at Marc Andreesen’s blog, but when he turned off the comments I felt personally insulted. Hey, I’d left some good ones there. In fact I don’t read Marc much now even though he’s got great stuff to say. Irrational of me? I don’t think so. Blogging is one-sided enough when you can post things – even the best of comments are relegated to “second class” status on the blog.

The least a blogger can do is give others the time of day. Without comments a blog is just a ranting rag. There are lots of good rants out there but if I cannot participate in your conversation with other interested and interesting folks I don’t want to hang around anyway.

Fred’s also right about Facebook. Here is the comment I left over there because I could:

Excellent post Fred. I’d suggest that it is now up to Facebook to rise to this occasion of their great prominence and keep making it easier for other sites and aps to integrate with Facebook, and perhaps as importantly make money from doing this.

If Facebook succeeds and we can all start using Facebook as our Social networking tool without sacrificing *any functionality* on other sites then they deserve the huge rewards this would bring them

Hey, I just read Jason Calcanis ‘ reply to Fred, which is very thoughtful and I have to say does a good job of defending himself against the elitist tag I’m painting Jason with above for not allowing comments. Frankly, I love his idea where *everybody* gets a blog and then we have a bunch of pinging going on rather than commenting. This would help with the blog revolution because we’d all be reading a lot of new blogs, rather than just comments, in the course of following A list discussions.

3 thoughts on “Fred’s not really bankrupt. In fact he’s right on.

  1. Thankfully we can all comment at Joe Duck’s place about anything, always. Everyone starting a blog and pinging back and forth on stuff *is* a cool thought, but there definitely are times when it would be no substitute for comments. Yes, I’m thinking in particular about the James Kim and family 10,000+ comments. Your comments section took on a life of its own, and it was pretty incredible to both watch and to participate.

  2. Thx Maggie. One thing I learned from the Kim story was that most people who are *reading* blogs are not writing them. So if comments are off you are keeping a lot of folks out of the conversation, which is really much of the point of blogging in the first place.

  3. Interesting post.

    I found it by following articles tagged “facebook” on We show snippets and your article was one of the few that looked interesting to me.

    One of the problems with comments is that if I’m reading posts in a newsreader, I’m not going to see them. Feedburner lets you see if there have been comments, which is very handy.

    We’re just starting BlogRefs. In fact we don’t even have our own blog up yet. Sigh.

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