It seems to me that one of the most oft-recurring subjects of debate in the blogging community revolves around the decision to include (or not include) comments on one's website. Seems trivial, no? It's not. In fact, you might be surprised at just how non-trivial the topic is to many people.
In designing this blog, this was a question that repeatedly made its way in and out of my head for some time. I'll admit, I'm still circulating the question even as I write this.
You have to understand that my issue with comments is not the same issue most other bloggers seem to have. For me, they're just ugly. I've lived a design-filled life; I'm sure you'd have me locked away if you knew how many hours I've spent tweaking details and fine-tuning design aspects that most people probably won't notice anyway. Until I can have direct access to comment stylesheets — which I can't, and probably won't, because who really cares? — including comments from Disqus, Facebook, or Squarespace means that I'll have to submit to having some glaring stylistic anomaly present on my website. And that won't do.
However, there is another important element to consider: my community.
In what seems to be rapidly becoming a "Facebook world," casual Internet browsers are accustomed to having comments open just about everywhere, and they like it. This way, they can leave their approval, their denial, their wit, their rebuttals, etc. for the author and his audience to see. This can be fine. But this can also be very, very bad. Shawn Blanc puts it very well:
Comments drastically change the tone, feel, and content of a website. I’ve never had comments on my site, and I can’t fathom how much energy I would have to spend to keep the tone I’ve established here if comments were enabled.
John Gruber from Daring Fireball also makes an interesting point:
If I turn comments on I feel like it’s two different directions. You get to the end of my article and you’re like, “let’s see if there’s anything interesting. Let’s see if there’s any names I know.” That’s really it. Sometimes a design decision is what you don’t put in, as opposed to what you put in.
I agree with them. In the end, I feel that enabling comments on this website will end up resulting in work on my end, and I don't think that my blog being a public forum is really the direction I want to take this site — not yet.
I always encourage feedback, be it through email or Facebook or Twitter. For a little while, I had a little "Like" button under my posts (this feature was provided by Squarespace) but have since removed it for lack of audience participation (and they were pretty ugly, too.) Through this kind of community, I can still maintain a one-on-one conversation with my audience, which is the ultimate goal here.
So please stay in touch. A click, a comment, a tweet, a like: it all assures me that you're reading, and that helps me keep writing.