Comments are Closed? No Thanks.

Social Media Today contributor Deborah Sweeney posted today about how business blogs should keep comments closed, because "comment boards get vicious fast and often on an anonymous basis." I disagree, and am going to provide an alternate viewpoint for each of her reasons.

1. Spambots: A little coding goes a long way

If you are thinking of closing comments because of spam, get your developer to code better. Include a CAPTCHA (or better yet, reCAPTCHA) tool for your comments to make sure commenters are people. Make sure your view counter is counting legitimate page views, not bot-crawlers. There. You've now eliminated spam. Moving on.

2. "Please comment elsewhere." No thanks, I'm here already

Deborah says that closing comments on a blog can encourage conversations elsewhere, like Facebook. Think dealing with a little rudeness on a page or platform you control is tough? How about dealing with it on someone else's? If you're hosting a blog (or at least paying for a server to host your blog), you have some control over what goes there, and whether it stays. I know we like to think that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr—or should I say Yahoo!?—etc. are going to be around forever, but bottom line: content posted there is not yours. If you encourage others to comment elsewhere, you'll be missing out on positive feedback, too.

3. "But I have to delete all these posts!" Just how big do you think you are anyway? 

Deborah's third "benefit" is that you'll have fewer posts to delete. While I'll grant that there are business blogs out there where this is a genuine concern, chances are, it's not yours. Business blogging is still fairly new, and if concern about deleting posts decides whether you turn off comments, I humbly request you come on down from your delusions of grandeur. You'll have very few comments starting out, so err on the side of risking deletion. Having a comment policy will allow you to delete fairly and with little blowback from your community. Also, if it's anonymous rudeness you're trying to avoid, require a valid email, or even a member sign-in, to comment.

Well, now you have two sides to the argument. What do you think? Comments are open.