A few comments on comments

The Daily Dot's Austin Powell and Nicholas White explain why the site is doing away with its comments section:

The general consensus is that we need to detoxify the Web—to make it a cleaner, nicer, safer, and more inclusive place to live and work. Of course, at the Daily Dot, we would like to see a more civil, compassionate Web, but we want to be careful that in the name of fostering civility, we do not inadvertently kill all dissention. It is the cacophony of the Web—the voices from every point in the spectrum that give it its vibrancy—that make it the community we love. No one has quite figured out how to thread that needle yet, even those who have invested significantly in their own internal systems.

So it's time to get a little meta: you may have noticed that the Seattle Review of Books does not have a comment section. This isn't because we don't care what you have to say. On the contrary, we're big believers in the fact that this is a community site, and we want our readers to feel ownership in Seattle's greater literary conversation.

But the fact is that a comments section needs to be groomed and maintained, just like any other part of a website, and between our day jobs and behind-the-scenes site work and — oh, yeah — reading books, we just don't have the time to grow the comments section we'd want for the site. An uncultivated comments section is rarely a useful thing; studies have shown that a bad comment section at the end of an article can ruin a reading experience. And we are all about good reading experiences here.

Plus, it seems silly to half-ass a comments section when other web providers supply excellent comment sections where everybody is already talking all the time: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and so on. And if you're having a conversation out there, you should definitely include the Seattle Review of Books. We're on Twitter and Facebook and you can contact us via email anytime. We're excited to talk with you and to take part in the ongoing conversation that is Seatle's literary scene. We hope you'll reach out any time through any number of avenues. We look forward to many years of comments and discussion.