I very rarely agree with anything Gizmodo says, in fact I do not enjoy Gizmodo at all – instead of trashing them in comments I decided to unsubscribe and just steer clear of them. Someone who’s opinion I value pointed me to this article posted by Joel Johnson of Gizmodo. In the article Johnson went off on all readers of Gizmodo, not just the commenters.
I can certainly understand why, some of the comments that have been written about things that I have written (in places like Hacker News and Reddit) have been down right nasty. Instead of writing back, I just stopped reading them. I setup this blog from day one to not have comments, not because I don’t enjoy engaging with people, or want what I say to be the final say, rather because I want commenters to own what they say to me.
If you are going to say something nasty about what I write you can only do so anonymously on sites like Hacker News and Reddit, otherwise you need to use Twitter, Email, or your blog. That means it will be associated with you. I have been told I was wrong countless times in emails and on Twitter – each time it was a civil and well reasoned comment.
I love every email I get from readers, the depth and care that is typically put into sending that email to me is amazing. The conversations change and effect both the commenter and I. I have only had one bad email from a reader, which is amazing to me.
Comments fail because when people believe that they can hide behind a cloak of anonymity they decide that they can be as mean or nasty that they want. Comments fail because most all comment systems fail to make the commenter own what they are saying.
I disagree with most of what Johnson posted, it seems misplaced and angry – that said I can’t say that I blame him for posting it. Though there are much better ways to deal with commenters that how Gizmodo dealt with them, for instance they could just turn them off for a bit like Engadget did a while back.