As mentioned earlier this month, a brand new version of Subtraction.com is coming soon. Very, very, very soon, maybe as early as next week. I’ve been diligently working with my friend Allan Cole to sort out a ton of kinks, rewiring a lot of the site behind the scenes. I’ll talk about that in greater detail soon, but one major change that we’ve made is that, in this new design, user comments will be no more.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. In 2011 I wrote this post about how the volume of comments had dwindled on my blog, and extrapolated from that some observations on how blogging in general has changed. If anything, that change has accelerated in the intervening three years, and now commenting on Subtraction.com is a tiny fraction of what it was at its peak.
Moreover, it just feels like the time for comments has passed. At least for me, it has. I’m frequently and conspicuously absent from comment threads on my own blog, a byproduct of my ridiculously crazy schedule. That situation makes for a less than stellar commenting experience for everyone; commenters feel as if I’m not paying attention, and I feel embarrassed that my name is missing from threads entirely.
Old posts will still display their old comments, but going forward no new comments will be accepted on any posts at all. In fact, fair warning: I probably won’t be migrating any comments that have been made to this blog over the past month or so.
However, the comment form itself isn’t quite going away, at least not entirely. In fact, it may stick around for a while. What we’ve done is hack it so that, instead of being an invitation to post a public comment, it’s now an invitation to send a note about a given post directly to me. It will look something like this:
As you can see, it’s basically the same functionality, but different phrasing, and different end result. When you enter remarks into this form, it goes to me directly, and never gets posted publicly. I have no idea if this will function as an effective channel between readers and myself, which is what I hope, or if it will just be an open doorway to more comment spam, which is what I’m guessing. But I figure it’s worth a try.
Anyway, if you’ve been a commenter on this blog in the past, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for contributing and making this blog a much richer, more rewarding experience for me than it would have been otherwise. I learned so much from the wealth of knowledge that appeared in the threads on this site over the years, and I’m quite sad that the climate has changed so much that this has become the best decision for everyone. But it’s time. Blog comments, R.I.P.