Removing Comments

A couple months ago I removed the Disqus comment section from this website. In this short post, I thought I'd explain why I did that and what I hope the future holds for commenting in general. Transparency is refreshing and I like to share the thoughts behind my actions whenever possible, in case anyone wants to do the same in the future.

I must confess that this site is mainly for my purposes. I use it as a platform for my rants – err, I mean I use it to hone my writing skills so that I can tell a better story. Thus I rarely, if ever, received a comment on my articles. If something isn't working, then I see that as an opportunity for change. In this case, I removed the comments altogether and this site became fully static.

At this time, I also realized that I was being hypocritical to my audience. I am a large advocate for privacy, especially on the Internet. When I started using Disqus, I realize that I was forcing tracking software on my audience (however small it may be; size does not matter here, only principal). Since I do not like being tracked, I felt it was only fair that I should not track anyone else. Hence, bye-bye Disqus.

I believe the future of commenting, proper commenting with a real rebuttal, will look similar to what it did in the past. There, people put up their own website and posted open replies back to authors' articles to whom they wanted to comment. I love this idea, because it highlights the importance of hypertext as a technology, and it also forces people to be aware of writing long-form prose to make a rebuttal. It also (hopefully) opens people's eyes to the fact that anyone can start their own website and own its content, whereas with third-party services like Disqus may have license to whatever they want with your content, as per their Terms of Service:

By posting any User Content on the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary to grant, to Disqus a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such User Content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Content, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, for use in connection with the Service and Disqus’ (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each User of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your User Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms.

So if you'd like to rebut anything I say on this website, please feel free to write a blog post on your website. Or you can reply back to me on Twitter. But I'd much rather see you practice your writing skills, just like I am doing with mine.


Tags: meta