Comments Suck

The Verge is turning off their commenting system for the summer:

From the very start, community has been at the heart of The Verge — we are unique among almost every major media brand of our size in having a vocal, engaged audience that cares deeply about what we cover, why we cover it, and how we do it. The Verge audience knows our staff and genuinely cares about us. They write us long posts about ways to improve the site and what they like, and when they leave we get heartfelt breakup letters. It’s terrific, and intense.

And sometimes it gets too intense. What we’ve found lately is that the tone of our comments (and some of our commenters) is getting a little too aggressive and negative — a change that feels like it started with GamerGate and has steadily gotten worse ever since. It’s hard for us to do our best work in that environment, and it’s even harder for our staff to hang out with our audience and build the relationships that led to us having a great community in the first place.

That’s a bad feedback loop, and we want to stop it. So we’re going to call timeout for a while and turn comments off by default on all posts for the next few weeks. It’s going to be a super chill summer.

Why stop at the end of the summer? Turn comments off permanently. There are very few sites where I’ve seen mostly positive comments (Asymco and The Loop come to mind), but comment threads are usually filled with shit-talking fanbois, trolls and negativity. Commenting systems encourage reactionary replies with little critical thinking behind them.

I decided a long time ago to kill comments on this site, in part from John Gruber’s comment-less approach on Daring Fireball. I believe his reason for not having comments was something along the lines of, “I want to own every pixel on my site.” That resonated with me.

If you read something someone wrote and have thoughts of your own that support/refute it, launch your own website and spend some time formulating a cohesive response. Then sit on it and reread it. Then post it.

Fuck comments.