Comments aren’t community

via SimpleBits, Jeremy Keith posts about why not to reflexively enable comments on a blog or other app. Keith gives good examples: The comments on Digg are junk; Keith has a couple of focused blogs with great comments, and a more diverse, popular blog with comments turned off. But he doesn’t quite get to the general rule: comments aren’t community.
Small, topically focused sites can easily gather communities. Large diverse sites won’t “naturally” develop community unless their hosts and participants cultivate practices and techniques, such as real names, welcome rituals, watch lists, moderation or ratings to foster social behavior and dissuade anti-social behavior. A comments feature, or “edit this page” feature, without community cultivation, will lead to chaos.

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