Do you read any sites for comments alone?

Finding right blend of comment discussions is anything but easy. Many blogs (from smallest to largest) only get shallow comments and it takes some real effort to turn that into anything interesting (I am always amazed just how awesome comments are at this blog!). Forums, on other hand, are hard to follow without being regular visitor and contributor.

In the end I found some of the most interesting discussions where I never expected to – on social news sites.

Slashdot

With long history, but still quite generic – site for techies that hardly offers unique or original content. But it gets absolutely awesome comments that mix fans of all things tech with equal amount of hardcore cynics.

I know no other site where I had seen that many posts instantly dismantled to bits, ironed for inconsistencies and turned around by comments.

Link http://slashdot.org/

Reddit

I never visited site much and from outside it is often regarded as “better digg” or something around that. Lately there had been more posts from there making it to Oursignal and I got quite into reading comments there.

Many of topics aren’t even news or any external links at all. They can simply be stories (personal, social, whatever in between) or curious questions for the heck of it.

Never seen that many obviously qualified and caring comments.

Link http://www.reddit.com/

So what makes comments there so good?

  • plenty of people – in practice it is around 1% (can be as low as tenth of percent) of visitors that make comments. To get a lot of good recurrent comments from many people takes a lot of visitors;
  • author chips in – might not be as important for large sites, but still nothing validates comments better than blogger/author paying attention to them;
  • people talk to each other – this is as hard as it gets to achieve; even with good amount and quality of comments overall it is crazy complex to reach the point when commenters start to notice each other and spread conversation around and not only aim it at post;
  • self-regulation – mechanisms to both promote and nerf comments focus attention on best parts first and gets readers in the mood for rest.

Overall

A little under year ago this blog had reached its first thousand comments. Closing in on three thousands now, it still feels just as fresh and amazing to read and reply, explore ideas and suggestions that come from readers. And yet… it is who knows how many years before I might  reach conversations as extensive as those sites above.

So, do you like making comments? Reading them? Any sites that get comments so awesome that they overshadow content itself? :)

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11 Comments

  • For music, there is Readers Recommend at the Guardian.co.uk, England’s top newspaper site. People suggest songs on a weekly theme and discuss them, their context, etc. Its for fans of music, not technical analysis of it. And its constructive, no personal attacks if people disagree.

  • @tincanman

    Thank you! I am not much into music myself, but many readers might like such series. :)

    I’ve linkified so it’s easier to visit – correct me if that is wrong URL.

  • I quite often read the comments from Reddit when I pick up a Reddit story in my Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, Del.icio.us Mashup v2 feed.

    The comments there range through some of the most observant, funny, clever and silly things that i’ve ever read. It’s one of the few times I actually LOL when not watching a silly video.

  • @Jonny

    Guess I am not alone in my fondness for comments there. :)

    By the way I need to tinker some mashup stuff for myself, core feeds I read are so settled it got slightly boring lately.

  • There are two sites where I read the comments: here and at lifehacker.com

    At lifehacker, in the comments of the posts about softwares or hive five, I have found some excellent pieces of softwares. True Gems! :D

    Never heard of reddit, I think I’ll have a look.

  • @JeeMan

    I am biased as owner so it’s good to hear readers also find comments here worth attention. :)

    On Lifehacker – I am not a fan of their comments. There are indeed excellent suggestions occasionally, but comments area is poorly designed, has confusing threading and mandatory login. I had registered there once but ended up unable to login or reset my password.

  • Comments present a unique source of ideas, opinions and feedback on a certain topic.
    As for me, there is a limit of comments I can follow , it is easy to get lost among hundreds of them especially if I subscribe for followup comments.

  • @Sandrina

    Do you subscribe to comments from whole site or to comments on specific posts you comment on?

    Sometimes I think it would be nice to read few complete comments feeds, but so far I stick with specific threads.

  • It depends on the website or the topic. Comments are really thought provoking so I would like to read them all, but I prefer sticking to specific threads too….

  • .

    Engadget has turned off commenting !

    http://www.betanews.com/article/Engadget-shuts-down-commenting-Comment-about-it-here/1265138654

    The tone of their notice being sort of a power struggle for
    who controls Engadget. A rather amazing proposition.

    There’s some forums/blogs where the comments are better than
    the articles. Others where the comments are so consistently
    sarcastic and negative that I never read them. Teenage snotty
    brats !

    But an informed and articulate readership with keen insights
    represents an invaluable asset.

    .

    The DataRat

    .

  • @DataRat

    Yeah, commenters on large sites can get pretty crazy. Publishers usually seem happy to see shitstorm (page views and such) but if neglected it will go to the bad place Engadget had reached.

    From my experience managing large amount of comments/forum posts is a balance between having strict moderator and not letting them be asses to others.

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