Why Sometimes My Hubs Don't Have a Comment Module

First of all, let me apologize for not having a comment module or you to comment on some of my articles. I am truly sorry. However, you can always contact me by clicking the link "Contact BlissfulWriter" in order to send me an email instead. You do not need to be a HubPages member to send me email this way.

The reason why I don't have comment modules is due to a variety of reasons.

The first is that comment moderation does not scale. That means that as I have more and more hubs and readership and comments grows, I don't always have time to moderate comments.

I am planning on publishing 1000 hubs within a span of five years. With a hundred or two hubs, moderating comment will be do-able. But not when it reaches the 1000 hubs mark. I know I'm not there yet. But we have to act as if we are going to be there as part of a self-fulfilling prophesy. When I reach 1000 hubs, it would be too late (or too time-consuming) to go back and turn off all the modules. So therefore, the only choice I have is to not put the comment module there in the first place.

Second, I am a freelance writer available for hire. I use the articles on HubPages as portfolio sample pieces. Some prospective clients prefer seeing the articles on its own without third party comments attached to it.

In addition thirdly, it may decrease the click rate of your Adsense ads (and then again it might not).

Does Comment Decrease Ad Sense Click Rates?

You will notice that sometimes below the bottom of your hub articles there may be a Google Ad. If you are monetizing your articles with Google AdSense (which most people on the HubPages are doing), then it would be in the your best interest for that ad to be as high up on the page as possible to increase the click rate of your visitors. When comment modules are inserted (especially when you get lots of comments), it pushes the ad lower down on the page, decreasing your click rates. The ad is already "below the fold" as it is already.

On the other hand, the counter argument to that is ....

When you have comments, you add more content to your article (or your reader does). And Google likes pages with a lot of content. So these comments may increase the traffic to your page. In which case, it increases the amount of clicks you might get on the ad. Also having comments might make visitors stay on your page longer, which Google likes and which also increases the probability that the visitor stays long enough to click on add ad.

So with these two competing influences, it is not certain whether comments decrease or increase your ad clicks.

Always Moderate Comments

I feel that if one is going to have a comment module, comments need to be moderated. One should never let it auto-publish comment. The Internet has a lot of spam. And other people writing things at the bottom of on your post can have legal ramifications. See the article by Webologist titled Warning to Bloggers: Moderate Your Comments, Never Auto Publish. I also like the motto provided in the article: "When in doubt, leave it out" -- referring to when a blogger have a hard-time deciding whether to publish a particular comment or not. Some bloggers are putting up comment policies due to all the issues of comments.

It does take time to moderate comments because I take care in the analysis and moderation of comments. I read the full comment (even if it is long one). I click through the website link as well as all links within the comment. I look at the visitors profile (if the visitor is a HubPages member). I look through the visitor's blog, if they have one. This is to determine if the visitor is promoting any spam, hate, gambling, or other socially objectionable content.

So you see, it does take quite a bit of time and there can be quite a significant amount of spam. As I am typing this, I am doing the HubPages 30 day challenge in which I aim to write 30 Hub articles within 30 days. So I have to pump out content like crazy. And unfortunately there is not enough hours in the day to moderate comments as well. I feel that taking time to write high quality content is more worthwhile pursuit of time. Sometimes a Hub article of mine takes 4 hours each to research, write, and proof.

Gray Areas in Comment Moderation

Another reason is that there are often many gray areas in moderation. What if the comment is acceptable, but the destination link is not? What if the comment is acceptable, but the visitors places the same exact comment on many other people's hub? What if they put this comment only to gain traffic and did not even read the article? What if they comment is an legitimate opinion and the person is well intentioned, but you believe that the fact contained within the comment is incorrect? Should you published incorrect facts in the comment if that is the opinion of the commenter? What if the nature of the comment falls in a some gray area where it is not easy to decide whether you should publish or not.

All these questions arises in which I have to make a decision. Throughout the course of a day, in our modern fast-pace world, we make hundreds of decisions (some big and some small). We make much more decisions than the people a generation ago. In fact, we make too many decision. It is taxing our brains. In order to simplify, I try to reduce the number of decisions that I have to make.

These questions can also produces internal conflict. I practice mindfulness and do breath counting regularly, so I am attuned to myself. Therefore, I can detect a certain amount of conflict that arises when one has to be decide whether to publish a comment or not.

Having to make decisions is stressful. The book Fully Present says ...

"In all decision-making there is conflict and stress, albeit of varying intensity. The stress of deciding between coffee and tea is much less than the stress of deciding whether to move to a new city, quit a job, marry, or divorce." [page 177]

And I would say that deciding whether to approve certain comments is in between those two extremes.

Stress is not conducive to happiness. If making decision causes stress, then to be happy one must decrease decision-making. And if moderating comment requires decision making, then reducing comment moderation, will decrease stress and increase happiness.

Okay, ask yourself, have you ever came across a certain bit of frustration due to a comment posted on your blog? If yes, then you understand. If no, consider yourself lucky. But as traffic grows, be wary that this may happen one day.

In moderating comments, what if my decision hurt someone else's feelings.   Perhaps I made a mistake and disapproved of a legitimate comment, then the visitor may question "Why did I not approve the comment?"  Or "Why was his comment approved, but not mine?", etc.  

It might cause the visitor's feeling to be hurt.  I don't want to hurt someone else's feelings.  By not having a comment module, I avoid those situations.

Some people believe that all blog posts should have a comment area and all comment should be approved because that is supposed to be the definition of a blog.  That sentiment may have been true in the early days of blogging.  But with the increase in spam, very few bloggers have that sentiment anymore.

The prevailing sentiment is that the blogger own the blog post and have 100% authority to post, delete, or edit anyone's comments.  Whether a comment should be published or not, or whether to have comments or not is a decision that is well within the blogger's right to make.

Many Bloggers are Turning Off Comments

Most notably, Leo Babuta of ZenHabits.net turns off his comments on his blog. In the site's FAQ, he explains why ...

"This has been the most difficult decision I’ve made since starting Zen Habits, as I truly loved comments here. I love hearing from readers, and it was my opinion that the comments often held better tips than the posts themselves. I learned (and still learn) a lot from my readers.
So why did I turn off comments? There was too much comment spam, resulting in huge headaches for me. Seriously, it took up a lot of my time — time I wanted to spend creating, or with my family. And the tiny minority of legitimate comments were mostly bloggers trying to get noticed — not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just don’t want to spend my life moderating spam for this reason alone.
Yes, I’ve tried several different software solutions for comment spam, and they don’t really solve the problem of humans leaving comment spam. Even things like Askimet (and numerous other such filters) and CAPTCHA let a lot of spam through. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of research, and when spammers are motivated, they’ll find a way through for a site with this kind of traffic."

By the way, if you have never heard of ZenHabits, it is the top blog of 2010 according to Time.

Steve Pavlina turned off comments on his blog back in 2005. He makes some good points as to why here and here. If you have never heard of Steve Pavilna, he wrote the book Personal Development for Smart People and has blog and forum of the same name.

SEO consultant Michael Gray explains why he turned off comment from a time perspective as well as from an SEO perspective.

And there are many others who also have turned off comments for a whole variety of reasons.

Update:

I have now started to add back comment modules in some of my newer Hubs. Because, afterall there are some benefits to having comments.

Having comments keeps your article changing so that search engine know that it is not stale content. And also provides greater exposure in the HubPages network.

So it is a trade off.

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