One-Way Comments?

When I started blogging, back in the Pleistocene, comments were king. It was practically a defining feature of a blog. Back-links from other blogs were the Fediverse of the day. For a while, comments were the best measure of “engagement” for a website.

Social media — especially Twitter — killed comments. Why would you post on some random blogger’s website when you could post to your own personal microblog, connected to your identity and all your other comments?

Also, comments were a drag for the site owner. Comments turned every blog post into a miniature web forum, with all of the attendant problems. You had to keep on top of spam — especially before WordPress and Askimet — or risk having your entire site blacklisted. You had to be a moderator. In effect, you had to be a publisher, making dozens of tiny editorial decisions on every post.

So I don’t miss comments per se, but I do miss the feedback, the acknowledgement, the sense that someone is reading my words.

I have not installed any client-side analytics on my new site. I really don’t want to. But the pervasiveness of client-side analytics — especially Google — has made it hard to even find information about how to do old-fashioned server-side analytics.

This got me thinking: What if I added comments to my site? I am, as I recently confessed, primarily a backend developer. I could whip up something that would take inputs from a form and save them somewhere. I wouldn’t even have to publish them. Call it “one-way” or “write-only” comments.

Would people do it? Does anyone use comment boxes these days? Or would it just be spam? And if it’s spam, am I risking setting myself up for a costly hosting bill if some bot decides to slam me with 1000 comments per second?

I haven’t built it yet, so if you want to leave me a comment you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way (by email) or the newfangled federated way (by Mastodon). See Contact for links.