Comments are on hiatus Jason 17 Nov 2005

179 comments Latest by kevin

We’ve been running this blog since 1999 and have had open comments on every post since 2000. We’ve censored less than 10 comments over the years (due to extremely vile, disrespectful, or threatening language). We’ve never required anyone to create an account. We’ve never forced comment approval — everyone’s comments were available immediately for everyone to enjoy and riff on. For 5+ years everything was fair game and it worked quite well.

For the past few months we’ve been pretty disappointed by the noise. The readership on this blog has grown five fold in just the past year or so. It would be great if the quality of the comments and perspectives increased as our readership increased, but instead comments quickly fly off topic. Mud flinging is the norm, not the exception. An occasional cynical comment is good (and welcome!), but when 75% turn negative then it’s just no longer fun. We think that’s a shame and, frankly, we’re tired of the negative energy filling up the threads.

So, for now, comments will be off by default for new posts. We may flip on comments here and there if we think a fair and respectful conversation about a topic can be had, but we don’t want to be the breeding grounds for any more negativity. If you’ve got some boiling inside, take it elsewhere please. Take it to your own blog (we’ve turned on trackbacks so feel free to continue the conversation).

We hope those who find what we have to say interesting stick around. To those that don’t, thanks for listening and being part of the conversation. This is a temporary move, although there’s no saying how long temporary might be. We’ve opened this one post up for comments, so vent away.

179 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dave 17 Nov 05

No comment.

S 17 Nov 05

keep on keepin on

Mike Faulhaber - MSF 17 Nov 05


First of all, I’m sorry that you felt that you needed to suspend post comments on SvN. Somehow, at a gut level, your choice came as no surprise. The tone had gradually shifted from one of healthy critique and thought provocation to one somewhat tainted with contempt and even jealousy.

This bit jumped out: “…We may flip on comments here and there if we think a fair and respectful conversation about a topic can be had…” How will you know when to do that?

Actually, I can’t say that I’ll miss the comments much. In a way, the SvN blog has been like a book - where it’s our imagination and reflection that helps to bring added dimension to what we read. Only in my darker moments would I search the comments for some well-worded challenge to something a Signal had posted; most of the time I see your collective success as an inspiration and a validation of beliefs and principles which are often difficult to articulate.

I might be way off, but I sense your need to pull back a bit and heal from what has been an apparent backlash.

In any case, I look forward to more posts, and I hope that you’re enjoying helping David feel at home (and him now being in the neighborhood).

Chris Griffin 17 Nov 05

It’s unfortunate but I understand. I’ve noticed the same thing. It obvious that it roots from jealousy and envy or people just being spiteful, not to mention everybody is a critic. Easy to unfairly criticize when your not face to face with somebody, how cowardly.

I might be delusional but I swear your feedburner counter said 14,XXX a week ago and now it says 16,296. Your readers are increasing exponentially it seems.

John 17 Nov 05

Yeah I’d get mad if homophobes kept bashing my sexuality all day too.

A Noonie Moose 17 Nov 05

That’s one way to go, and I wish you luck with it.
I just think if you’re going to live by something, you gotta die by it, too.

Again though, this is your gig and you should do what’s best for ya.

Jeff Koke 17 Nov 05

Jason,
I’m sorry that it had to come to this. I have enjoyed reading comments in the past, but I recognize that you’ve got some “comment whores” who seem to lurk in the bushes waiting for a chance to pounce on each post. I wish there were some sort of middle ground (maybe you could charge a fee for the right to comment :) ), but I’ll look forward to your SvN posts either way. Keep your head up and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Drew Pickard 17 Nov 05

I would ask you to reconsider!

I still find pertinent and useful things in comments - they’re 50% of what I get off of this site …

Maybe a short break is good …

Jack 17 Nov 05

I think it was a good move to turn the comments off. The readership has gotten too big and too noisy to have any meaningful discussion (or at least, the sort you can conduct inside a blog post).

Richard 17 Nov 05

Im glad you are doing this… I stopped reading the comments a few months ago because they stopped adding any value to posts.

Im just glad you didnt stop posting alltogether.

Amber 17 Nov 05

Now maybe we’ll be able to hear you a touch more clearly.

An unfortunate, but good move, in my opinion.

Swati 18 Nov 05

It’s sad, but does that mean that we can expect more posts? Maybe readers will now directly email you and you’ll post some of the interesting stuff for us :D

At least now all the people who came to attack you (or so it seemed) will be gone!

John2 18 Nov 05

Damn people, negativity and criticism isn’t always borne from jealousy or envy… what a simplistic world view.

Perhaps the backlash is from the pretty extreme dogmatic nature of most of the posts on this blog. It becomes tiresome!

Judson 18 Nov 05

I am a fairly new reader, and have often thought the comments here were surprisingly bad. I don’t have any explanation, but this decision is probably a good one.

PJ Hyett 18 Nov 05

Some of the best content in this blog has been in the comments. You have to shuffle through some crap to find them, sure, but it’s really too bad you’re turning them off.

Another John 18 Nov 05

A difficult but well-timed decision.

I’ll be sticking around for sure!

Alan 18 Nov 05

How the hell are we supposed to find out you use the phrase “Web 2.0” in your marketing materials without those useful comments?

Andy 18 Nov 05

I think you should look at this from the other site. The topics you write about, quality of the content etc. have definitely a huge impact on the quality of comments.

bob dole 18 Nov 05

Instead of turning comments off, how about listen to the criticism? People want your insight, but not many other parts of what you offer.

The voice has always been there, it’s just getting louder.

Lee 18 Nov 05

Wonder what The Deck sponsors think of this, it’s bound to have an impact - people are not going to stay on this site as long as they used to, reducing the click throughs.

People come her to see what 37 has to say and to see what otheres have to say it - I’m sorry to see this weblog become a website.

A Noonie Moose 18 Nov 05

As an aside to my original well-wishes regarding your decision, I do find it extremely amateurish to blame even part of the perceived problem on your audience. It’s one thing to turn off comments. That’s your prerogative and your right. Do what you want. But it’s an entirely different matter attempting to blame your audience for what you’re considering a failure. These are the same people who are buying your products and spreading your religion (yes, even the negative folks) and you’re publicly turning your back on them, forcing them to relent with posts like ‘I believed in you all along’. And even if you’re doing this purely due to mud-slingers, then just erase their comments! If some meathead is cussing up a storm in your blog for no reason, then delete the comment. It’s as simple as that! If someone swears on your site, delete their swear. Feels pretty real to me.

Bottom line: you created this blog, you publicized this blog, you made money off this blog, and a part of your business ultimately will live or die by this blog. Don’t try to shift blame to the people who’ve been handing over cash to you all along.

Figure it out.

Tom 18 Nov 05

Heh, cute. Question: “Have we jumped the shark?” Answer: “Yeah, you guys suck now!” Response: “Wah, we’re closing comments!” Way to go.

C Montoya 18 Nov 05

No. Closing comments is making you look bad. There are lots of popular blogs out there that have to deal with bad comments; you take the bad with the good.

You give people a better impression if you are willing to stand up to the negative comments, trolling and flaming included. If you close the comments, you look weak and you lose respect. Honestly, accept your success and the pains that come with it. Don’t take the ability to give feedback away from your readers.

Besides, I was about to make a comment on the shark post.

david gouch 18 Nov 05

This is just another example of the wrong direction 37signals is going in … they just can’t take any criticism … drinking too much of their own kool-aid … down hill … past prime … I used to expect so much from you guys, but …

Negative energy is right, sheesh.

Ending comments is a probably a good decision.

Larry B 18 Nov 05

I agree that the comments go off mark and start the negative feeding frenzy. That being said I respected the open forum and your ability to take the good with the bad. Sounds like the people flaming you succeeded in shutting your community dialoque down.

Then again who wants to hear strangers bitch all the time.

Matt 18 Nov 05

Well, I think it is OK if you still allow your clients to post stuff on the forum, etc. There’s a certain point where you reach such a large audience that there is very little to get from the comments (unless the audience is borg-like like dailykos.com). You’ve probably hit that point and are simply saying enough is enough. I’m not going to be smug like some of your readers and act like you “owe” us comments rights. A few people messed it up and now its gone…Simple as that.

Jeff Croft 18 Nov 05

I totally understand why you did what you did and I can’t blame you for it. With that said…

…it will be very interesting to see what happens when a decidedly “Web 2.0” company does something incredibly not Web 2.0 like turning off audience participation.

Here’s hoping your readership doesn’t decrease — but my bet is that it will. It’s really too bad it came to this.

Reinier 18 Nov 05

I am still figuring out if you’re pulling my leg here guys. If it turns out that you weren’t teasing us, I’ll be coming back anyhow. The posts are a valuable read anyway. However, I have enjoyed construtive critiscim and different viewpoints that were added in the comments. I’ll miss that and it will lessen the experience.

From a business perspective I agree with Lee about the Deck clickthroughs - although too much negativity turns people away too.

Spike 18 Nov 05

Bad idea. I think you might have to consider the possibility that the ‘bad energy’ is as a result of general disatisfaction among your readership at the direction which you are taking with your weblog.

Its one thing to be very pious and proud of your work - nobody here can tell you which direction to take with that, but as you’re making money from people with The Deck, whether directly or indirectly, I expected a slightly more mature attitude toward your current problem - a problem, it is worth noting, that effects all sites at some point or another - than simply blaming your user base.

The reason people believe you have jumped the shark is probably because you have. Turning off comments and shutting out the world really isn’t going to change it. You need to get back on track. It would have been ballsy to do it in the public eye (“Its OK to make mistakes as long as you’re honest about them and you rectify the situation quickly!”).

I’ll carry on reading, but since you started making money from the weblog, you have had an obligation to the readership of SvN, which you really haven’t fulfilled: there has been a recent rise in posts and a real drop in quality. Nothing to do with The Deck at all? :)

Patrys 18 Nov 05

This is your page and you are free to do whatever you feel is needed. Anyway, disabling comments makes this place unbloggish and thus no longer a community place - more like an advertising agenda.

I hear you about negative comments and readership degradation but if you look close you might notice that your self-pride is also slightly bigger these days. There are posts that seem to say “we are the Borg, you will be assimilated. All resistance is futile” or something like that.

There were days where you posted less often but more general quality content (less open questions, more valuable stuff etc.). I think it might be connected to that.

On the other hand - just take a look at Slashdot and what happens there. Last 2 years or so made me visit /. far less often. Far less interesting comments and far more pointless flamewars and “woohoo I’m first to comment” kiddies.

Just my 2 cents. Keep up the good job.

Jon 18 Nov 05

I can definitely understand why you’d want to do this.

The amount of trolls in the comment section and the amount of people jealous of your success and complaining has increased on an almost daily basis.

Moderating or a sign-in system may be good for when you decide to turn on comments though.

mindful_learner 18 Nov 05

Perhaps you could take this as a challenge in Social Software design. This is an issue Joel Spolsky has been wrestling with and has tried all sorts of interesting experiements. Seems little things often make a big difference in controlling this stuff. E.g. Joel has a system where if there is a comment that should be removed, the original poster still sees it but no one else does. Tricks the original ‘bad’ poster into thinking no one is interested in their negative comments (really, no one can see the comment). You can also try things relating to forcing people to log-on to remove the silly anonymous comments. I’ve also seen wiki-style comments - where the community can remove comments that are seen as ‘bad’. All takes more work, but could be quite an interesting experiment.

As other posters have mentioned, once you remove the community aspect a blog isn’t really a blog anymore.

Mindful

Tommy 18 Nov 05

I’m sorry you had to make this decision Jason. I’ve got to believe that far less then one percent of the people that visit SVN are the problem. And as usual, that small percentage ruins things for the rest of us.

But I think the backlash you are seeing is expected. You have targets on your back. You are being successful doing stuff many posters here wish they were doing. Envy is a powerful and evil emotion.

With all that said, I like what Jeff Koke said. To expand on his thought, I’d be more then happy to pay a few bucks to be apart of a dicussion group here. Your audience is intelligent and diverse.

I learn tons, and hope I give back just a little, to the 43 Folders Google group I am a member of. I can only imagine what an active group here would teach me. Just a thought.

Adam 18 Nov 05

Hmm… a bunch of thoughts for you…

1) Despite many of the annoying / rude comments & commenters, I’ve often found the comments on the whole to be some of the most insightful content here. I don’t mean that as a slight to your posts, but rather as a compliment to many of the folks in your community here.

2) And speaking of community… without comments, there goes the community. You may maintain your audience (goodness knows, boing boing — despite having no comments — certainly does, but I don’t quite understand why), but your blog will not have the same feel to it at all.

3) Frankly, I probably won’t visit anymore, for several reasons. One, the blog’ll more boring to me (see #1). Two, I find it rather baffling that you’d go from one extreme to the other… totally open, unregistered commenting to all-commenting off. At risk of sounding petulant myself, that seems rash and not very thoughtful at all. If it was that you couldn’t take criticisms of your points of view or your products, just be frank about it. If you were annoyed or disheartened primarily by troll’ish comments, why not either just delete those comments or set up a registration and/or pre-mod system.

* * *

Frankly, perhaps political blogs aside, I don’t think it’s that hard to run a medium-sized blog with comments. Battelle does just fine. So does Anil Dash, IMHO. And I could name off a ton of other geek bloggers who have kept their blog comments open or semi-open. Heck, even Scoble puts up with the crap to gain a lot of the insightful comments.

But, as others have noted, at the end of the day, it’s your choice. Best of luck to you and 37 Signals.

Dan Hartung 18 Nov 05

Well, as a longtime reader, I have to agree that there’s been a decline as the readership has ballooned. There are still plenty of good comments — I enjoy them often as much as the posts, because there’s some great energy and synergy. I’ll miss that. Now that you’re public figures, though, there’s been a few more people who just come here for slings and arrows time, and others who seem uninterested in the specific topics and have little to offer themselves.

This whole “jump the shark” thing is a perfect example — I mean, really, maybe some of the early buzz has worn off, but you’re not here to entertain, are you?

You guys are too busy to be running a community site on the side, and comments are not a required blog feature — I never had them on mine.

Chris 18 Nov 05

The issue is that quality of blogging counts. Not just in terms of what is blogged about, but how it is blogged. There have been quite a few posts in the past weeks that attracted negative comments, which, had the posts been written differently wouldn’t have been the case. One of the critical things to remember is that this blog is not a personal blog it’s a company blog.

James Head 18 Nov 05


Closing comments off might be a good thing. Letting people post reply by trackback on their own blog would be a better solution. The higher barrier to entry would massively increase the quality of the discussion.

When no one posts any trackback at all, - the 37S crew will realise that the post itself was vacuous.

By having such a low barrier to entry, - no need to register, - just post comments as you like, - you can hardly be surprised at the level of discussion sometimes

Scott Matthewman 18 Nov 05

I have to admit that I keep up to date with blog mainly through the XML feed, which means that I only get to see the comments in posts that I click through to. And, because the feed renders full post entries, I only tend to click through if I know I’m going to either want to read other comments, or to comment myself.

With some posts having comments enabled and others not, might it be an idea to update your feed templates to indicate the comment status at the bottom of each post?

Stephen 18 Nov 05

A lot of good points in the comments for this post - oh the irony. There are a couple of observations made by other commenters that I’d just like to add my voice to:

1. There are alternatives to just turning the comments off completely; moderation, registration, and other more sophisticated techniques could all help with the problem (and I would agree that the number of off-topic and vacuous comments has become a problem).

2. The quality and _nature_ of blog content has a big influence on the quality of the comments. A lot of the posts over the last few months have been quick, observational (“I saw this, isn’t it good?”) type stuff, or have relied entirely on reader participation for their interest - generally a quick thought that you’ve thrown out there, topped off with the words “any thoughts”.

Much less frequent, but much more “meaty” posts would attract better comments in my opinion, and would probably be a much more popular way of handling this issue.

choonkeat 18 Nov 05

+1 for moderated comments rather than default-off comments. this can keep negative-energy out of discussion from public view.

by choosing “which post to allow comments” really doesn’t solve the issue of ruly comments isn’t it?

JB 18 Nov 05

Sorry to hear it - will miss the community feel - but quite fair enough. We have a thing called tall poppy syndrome here in Aus, and it’s rampant - looks like we’ve managed to export a decent variety of it to you guys. Best of luck.

Joe Sheehan 18 Nov 05

As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

AndyToo 18 Nov 05

I agree with other posters - I’ll keep reading and I’d probably even pay a few bucks to comment. (Keep the money, give it to charity, pay for your hosting, whatever.)

It’s definately ‘tall poppy syndrome’ - JF is interviewed by people like Business Week - you guys are successful. The more succussful you are (or are perceived to be) the more haters there will be.

As for your blog readership - maybe you’re breaking one of you’re own tenets - ‘small is good’.

Jonny Roader 18 Nov 05

Shame. I used to post here alot a few years ago, getting into some quite feisty arguments with JF and the rest, but it was always good natured and well intentioned.

It has gone downhill in the last 18 months though, no question. And that’s on both sides to be honest: the quality of posts has been poorer too.

Good luck to 37sigs anyway. From web design experts to usability specialists (ahem) to software manufacturers…it’s been interesting to watch you develop, and this blog has been a key vantage point.

Justin French 18 Nov 05

“Bad idea. I think you might have to consider the possibility that the Ďbad energyí is as a result of general disatisfaction among your readership at the direction which you are taking with your weblog.”

With comments like that, it’s no wonder they’re turned off. Seriously. If you don’t like the content, delete the feed from your feed reader and walk away. Instead, people feel compelled to hang around and drag the atmosphere down around them.

Should we agree with everything 37s says and does? Of course not. But if you don’t want to be here, you can leave.

Lisa 18 Nov 05

Disappointed but understood. I will continue to look forward to the posts!

I have a feeling your inbox will feel part of the brunt of this :)

Rimantas 18 Nov 05

So, who is the first to launch comments4svn.com? :)

Matias 18 Nov 05

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this decision you just made, Jason.

I can see the situation you face having so many flames, trolls, etc, and I know that if I were you, I sure wouldn’t want this blog to become slashdot-esque. I think it is about time there was some sort of moderation here.

On the other hand, isn’t a little extreme to completely cut the comments off? I know that in many of the most recent posts I quickly read your post and dive in the comments, because there is always something insightful there.

I hope that the trackbacks work for you, as they sure work for others (Seth Godin, for example).

What I do know is that your readership will change as a consequence, but perhaps this is what you will ultimately want.

Best of luck.

Spike 18 Nov 05

“With comments like that, itís no wonder theyíre turned off. Seriously. If you donít like the content, delete the feed from your feed reader and walk away. Instead, people feel compelled to hang around and drag the atmosphere down around them.

Should we agree with everything 37s says and does? Of course not. But if you donít want to be here, you can leave.”

Read what I said. I’ve managed to resist the temptation to shout DURRRR at you. I want to read SvN posts as they used to be. So do a lot of people. What’s the point in having a blog if nobody is reading it? If what you are saying isn’t relevant anymore then you need to rethink it. I’d suggest you read comments a little more thoroughly before responding.

Rafael Apocalypse 18 Nov 05

I would prefer make a account or wait an aproval for my comment than can’t comment.

Sometimes I just read something that I have to comment, not in my own blog, but here. First because my blog it’s in portuguese, second, because the readers are here, not in my blog.

Think about that folks, try to make an approval for the comments, if the works it’s too much, try to make an account, if the account still don’t working, now you can block the comments.

Regards!

ghani 18 Nov 05

I agree with others who have said that it’s not entirely the growth of readership that’s led to difficult commentators, it’s also the open-ended posts that are basically flaimbait (the women in software post, the one about paris riots, etc.). I’ve read SvN for a long time and have always loved the design observations, etc., and find great value in the comments on those posts (i use one of your comment threads to find a website that i can never remember otherwise). In the “jump the shark” thread, there were a few suggestions to split up your weblog into a more design-y one here and a more general one elsewhere, have you considered doing that before shutting off your strong community completely?

len 18 Nov 05

I think it’s a bad idea to turn comments off. Not to sound clichť, but the “terrorists have won”. The ***holes were definitely a minority to those who came here to really discuss the issues. Why people can’t act civilised is beyond me. It’s like Tony Clifton died but left 1000 eggs to hatch in his wake… See, I remember T.C. from waaaay back.

On a side note, a friend and I are working on a system that will allow readers to vote off, vote “hide” or vote down a comment if it’s blatantly inappropriate. See we see a lot of responders usually siding with the poster, so the whole thing is sort of self-policed.

Jason, maybe you guys would be interested in taking a look at it when it’s done?

Emily 18 Nov 05

Sorry to hear that. I know all of us really enjoy the dialog here. I can imagine it’s a lot to keep up with though.

I sure hope my one “liar liar pants on fire” cynical post responding to one really out of line comment did not contribute to the noise. I was trying to be funny.

For the most part, I think people have tried to post heartfelt/miindful responses here that are not meant to contribute to their own agendas. but alas….I’m sure that’s not always the case. “A few bad apples…”

I REALLY respect what you do, and I respect this decision too.

I’ll still read.

Don Giannatti 18 Nov 05

It is interesting that of the thousands of readers you have, only a handful really post over and over. You may lose them. So what. I rarely read the comments on blogs (my choice, Iam just too busy to read comments on blogs. I do like to check them out when the post is a question, but those posts are rare.) Your blog is excellant as it delves into many areas that are interesting to me. Those that believe that blogs have some sort of ‘mandate’ to provide ranters a place to argue are just too old school for me.

I’ll stick around. (BTW… jumping the shark is not what you are experiencing. It is a part of the growth cycle of small business. You may have reached a plateau, but that is a very strong indication that you are doing well. Plateaus indicate growth milestones. Rest, regroup if you have to, and press forward.)

Alexandre Simard 18 Nov 05

Tough crowd. Can someone explain the logic to the “You’ve got ads therefore you owe us a comment form” line? I fail to see it. We’re all guests here. If anyone owes anything to anyone, it’s us.

Anyways, take care of yourselves, Signals. I’ll continue to read you. A personal benefit to this decision: I’ll have one less distraction at work. I’m certain this has been factored in on your part too.

Cheers!


Josh Williams 18 Nov 05

A real bummer, indeed. Hope this one gets reconsidered, but I understand the sentiment.

Michael Ward 18 Nov 05

Dissapointed - I’ve noticed a change in the tone of the comments _and_ the posts on this blog - and neither have been positive.

Having said that, I strongly believe that the 37signals have a lot more to put in the community - and I supposed there is only so much flak that people can take before it has an effect.

I’ll still be coming back, but I think that svn has lost some of its shine since its heyday back in spring 05. :)

pp 18 Nov 05

Seems a really weak idea and just looks like an inability to take any criticism. I have been a great fan of 37s for some years but that’s neither here nor there. I totally disagree that this is case of ‘tall poppy syndrome’. There have been one or two obviously inflammatory posts recently which basically trolled the readership and resulted in the quality of comments pretty much mirroring the quality of the posts. I’d rather see neither. 37s know something about interface design and put a lot of thought into it - and it’s no surprise that posts on this subject tend to get thoughtful comments. (Having said that, occasional posts on UI do state the obvious which is a bit infuriating and bound to attract the odd snark.) It comes over as a bit Cartmanesque to post rants about immigration and trademark dilution and then complain that you aren’t happy with the reaction you provoked. If you want pleasant dinner party conversation, a good host knows to steer well clear of religion and politics.

Rich 18 Nov 05

Sounds good to me. I waste enough time reading your blog (and others) as it is. Having no comments to read should decrease the amount of time I spend doing it.

john#5 18 Nov 05

There are people who praise iPods and people who hate them. People who love PC’s and people who don’t.

If people rip on you, great! At least you are making an impact. If people praise you, even better! What you should be concerned with, is if no one says anything at all.

Your success can be judged on the amount of buzz (in this case noise) surrounding you. But what happens if you have no noise around?

I understand you decision, and I have done it myself. Just remember it is better to have people talking smack, then to have no one talking at all. At least with smack talking you have criticism incase you need to improve on something. Just donít take it personally.

I love 37Signals, you are a major inspiration to me! Whatever your decision I will always come here to feel inspired. Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

Mark Smith 18 Nov 05

I agree the noise level has been increasing a lot lately (and I only started reading SVN a few months ago). But I also agree with other people who made the point that some comments are very insightful. Please consider allowing moderated comments and filtering out the off topic ones (I know that will be more work, but perhaps not much more… there will be fewer comments made and thus less for you to read once you start filtering them).

Dan 18 Nov 05

Hmmm… I’m torn myself between whether this is a good move or not. I fully understand both sides of the fence on this issue. I have been a loooong-time reader and the comments lately are about 75% or more useless.

BUT, that being said, as others have stated, these ill feelings cannot all be because of jealosy, envy, hatred of all things 37-esque, or hatred for anything that gains too much popularity soley because it’s popular and no longer hip.

37, be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. :) I know, it can be tiresome and downright degrading when this negativity continually wears on you, but try to gauge why this negativity is here, other than the petty things I mentioned above.

Are you heading the wrong direction? I couldn’t tell you that. It’s your company and you guys SHOULD do what you want to do and what’s good for you. At the same time, that shouldn’t alienate your customers. Then your company and products would have no value.

You guys are smart. I know you have already thought of all of what I said, and you have a plan. I have confidence in you, and I know you’ll come out on top.

Keep it up. :D

Bill Preachuk 18 Nov 05

Bravo. It’s your site, so as you wish. Content trumps comments any day.

My favorite blogger is Jonathan Schwartz from Sun - no comments, and he posts about once per week. Not even an email link! Still, the guy is brilliant and no one is paying me to go out to his site. The same is true for 37s.

Quality, not quantity. I just hope/expect that the posts themselves will become more in-depth because of this. Spend your time building the new CRM app and the Building of Basecamp seminar instead.

Besides - Why does everyone instantly assume that comments will never come back on?

JF 18 Nov 05

Seems a really weak idea and just looks like an inability to take any criticism.

That’s simply not true. We *invite* criticism. But at a certain point we’re just not interested in providing the space for sustained negativity. Disagree, fine. We’d love to hear your voice. But post it on your own blog.

As far as moderation goes, we simply don’t have time to approve/moderate comments. SvN is supposed to be a nice release, not a job. Further, become censors isn’t something we’re interested in.

MMI 18 Nov 05

:( Damn. I really enjoy comments, but I can see where it could be a problem. Funny story, I got in trouble at my last job about a comment I made on this blog, regarding how awsome your building of basecamp workshop was, afterwards I switched my name to MMI (Me, Myself and I). Ahhh, memories.

Don Schenck 18 Nov 05

Wow … this is a big change. SvN has been my connection with the younger generation (I’m old) and pop culture for the past four years (that long?).

I’ll miss the banter with Darrel and One Of Several Steves. I’ll miss the flame wars (there were some good ones). I’ll miss making my childish comments.

But I’ll adjust, as will everyone else.

Folks … we didn’t collectively just get cancer. They’re suspending commenting … it’s not life or death. Go buy a kid a helium-filled balloon, watch your life instantly get better, and let this go.

All The Best,

— Don

brad 18 Nov 05

Finally! Now I’ll be able to get some work done instead of pontificating on subjects that I know nothing about. ;-)

Brady 18 Nov 05

Well, you hit the Kool Aid Point, I guess. A shame to turn off comments. I’d say just use your ban feature a little more often. IMO, an underutlized feature on blogs. There’s nothing wrong with culling out the trolls and negative posters.

To ask if you jumped the shark, then ban comments the same week does seem a bit curious, though. That said, they could be negatively correlated. I think there seems to be a point in blog popularity when comments become negative, nasty, and just plain annoying. Slashdot is a great example.

Anyway, I’ll keep reading and look forward to the new book.

Brady 18 Nov 05

Well, you hit the Kool Aid Point, I guess. A shame to turn off comments. I’d say just use your ban feature a little more often. IMO, an underutlized feature on blogs. There’s nothing wrong with culling out the trolls and negative posters.

To ask if you jumped the shark, then ban comments the same week does seem a bit curious, though. That said, they could be negatively correlated. I think there seems to be a point in blog popularity when comments become negative, nasty, and just plain annoying. Slashdot is a great example.

Anyway, I’ll keep reading and look forward to the new book.

JF 18 Nov 05

Here’s the thing about the “ban” feature: We don’t want to become selective censors. That’s a full time job in itself. SvN was never meant to be a job and we don’t have spare time to make it a job.

So for now comments are off by default. As mentioned (which it seems almost no one is picking up on), we may turn comments on here and there for selective posts. And we may return comments completely in the future. For now, however, we’re going to let things cool off here by keeping comments off.

++ 18 Nov 05

Signal vs. Nothing

Emily 18 Nov 05

Once again. Keep up the good work!

One additional thought….

37s shares a lot of their intellectual property with us - the public. They share their ideas, secrets and opinions. This is SO much more than most companies. They don’t have to. They want to - and we ALL benefit.

We all need to be polite guests and be grateful.

jean zaque 18 Nov 05

sad to see this happen, but i can certainly understand why you’ve made the decision. i disagree or take issue with a lot of the things you guys post here, but disagreement is an important part of life - i’ve also learned new things from the other comments here.

fwiw, i’d pay and register to be part of a group of subscribers who can post and read comments …

Tom Michlig 18 Nov 05

With comments like that, itís no wonder theyíre turned off.

Wait a minute. When someone implies that the quality of 37s’ posts are declining, it’s considered inappropriate? That’s ridiculous. Considering the negative and at times downright mean-spirited comments that this weblog endures daily, that’s a strange comment to pick on.

I’m hoping your assumption is wrong, Justin. I’d like to think that the reason for 37s’ recent comments lock-down is directed at the meat-heads that use this weblog as a way to “start sh*t” with the authors, for the sake of “starting sh*t”.

On a related note, about the perceived megalomania of the authors of this blog. Much like e-mail, weblog posting has the same inherent problem: it’s hard to convey irony, self-deprecation, etc., no matter how fluent in emoticon-ese you are, so things get taken out of context on a regular basis. And as a response, because of the relative anonymity of commenting, people tend to be very brave while typing, much of the time ranting in a manner that they would never have the stones to do in-person or even over the phone. So things get nasty.

I think disabling comments will weed out those who are just looking for a fight, and in a few months, comments will be back.

jean zaque 18 Nov 05

don, the last time i bought a kid a helium-filled balloon, it carried him away into the sky, and no-one ever saw him again.

Another Tom 18 Nov 05

Seems like the general consensus is twofold:

1. Yes, people are jerks, smart move.
2. Yes, you in fact DID just jump the shark (but missed, and fell in), dumb move.

I’ve enjoyed this blog for quite some time. But I have to agree that:

a. The post CONTENT drives the type of COMMENT. More carefully (and “on topic”) posts would engender less flame wars and “bad” posting.

b. You’ve always had “bad” posters. You just have more of them now with more readers.

This has been an interesting week for 37s. There is no doubt this is a moment that will be looked back on in 6 months to a year… what kind of moment remains to be seen.

I think I’m sitting on the “bad idea” side of the fence. It does kind of seem like you are taking your ball and going home.

Robb Irrgang 18 Nov 05

Hmm.

Not sure if this’d be a wise move. I think you’ve gotten a _lot_ of feedback from ‘the masses’ on where you jumped the shark. Re-focus your writing and the love will return.

Remember that after jumping the shark, the Fonz went on to be the producer of MacGuyver and raked in the dough on that.

Bradigan 18 Nov 05

This Seems To Be My Last Chance To Ask

First of all, I understand why you would want to turn it off. I’m surprised it went as long as it did… Someone above mentioned that you can ‘sometimes’ find some good information in the comments itself.

Since this may be the last post, I have a feeling your Inbox will become quite ‘littered’ with comments, I always wanted to find a post on startup information.
For example, some advice how 37 overcame certain obstacles, for example the building of basecamp itself to overcome Project Mangement limitiations.

Examples, may be advice on proposals, employee training, HR Issues, client invoicing, blah blah blah.

I think you get the idea.

Thanks for this blog, I hope it keeps up the great work!

brad.

Greg Militello 18 Nov 05

I ran a blog on my website for a while (granted I was one of those “I never post” types until I actually focused on something that matters to me) and the comment section was spammed like crazy. No matter how many filters I had it just kept on coming.

I understand your delima. In fact I sympathize. Here’s a possible idea however, how about a time limit on comments for new posts? For example: after a post is created, users have 12 hours to post comments on it. That may help keep the comments on target.

JF 18 Nov 05

We’ll continue to share our ideas, our opinions, our process, our methods, and our mistakes. Don’t worry.

Melanie 18 Nov 05

I have to say that this is the only blog where I actually spend time reading the comments. I skim the post for the general idea, and then read the comments for more insight. I’ll probably still read the blog, but I don’t know that I will get as much out of it.

Matthew Oliphant 18 Nov 05

JF 18 Nov 05 Hereís the thing about the ďbanĒ feature: We donít want to become selective censors. Thatís a full time job in itself. SvN was never meant to be a job and we donít have spare time to make it a job.

So for now comments are off by default. As mentioned (which it seems almost no one is picking up on), we may turn comments on here and there for selective posts. And we may return comments completely in the future. For now, however, weíre going to let things cool off here by keeping comments off.

That comment should have been the post. A completely valid reason for turning off comments.

Another tack would have been to write a post about how busy things are and to let people know not to expect the poster to follow up on anything in the comments. My guess is that would have an effect in reducing comments (esp. truly noise ones).

And this is something for all companies to think about when they start a blog; how much time are you willing to commit to it if you become popular?

Jamie 18 Nov 05

Quick! Look over your shoulder!

_That’s_ what a shark looks like…

Christopher 18 Nov 05

Too bad. About half of what I’ve learned from reading this blog has come from the comments… too bad. Bye for now.

Plead the Fifth 18 Nov 05

Reasons why comments are becoming negative are found in your posts. Here are some examples:

1) Open Invitation to Flame - Letís get it out in the open. Have we jumped the shark? If so, when? If not, how could we and when will we? Whatís your prediction? (You shouldn’t have asked, but since you did why not learn from the comments rather than get all defensive about them.)

2) Arrogance - In case anyone is curious, itís pronounced FREED as in “Doing it like Jason does it freed us from the tyranny of complexity, missed deadlines, and 5 lb functional specs.”

3) Arrogance - Read the full article plus check out the Online Extra Interview with me where I discuss “Less” and how “one-downing” instead of “one-upping” is the new way to win. (emphasis added)

4) Open Ended Political Issue - Or maybe this is simply about poverty and unemployment, but I think itís far deeper than that. You?

5) Open Ended Gendre Issue - Doesnít it feel like most software is designed for men?… Any takers?

6) Just Plain Stupid for a Company Blog - Ground beefÖ panties? (BTW, do you think this attracts high quality readers?)

7) Arrogance - When youíre a small company, you can use familiar language instead of corporate speak. Your site and your product can have a human voice instead of sounding like a corporate drone. You can bring out your mom to demo your product and then blog about it afterwards. Letís see bigco.com do that. (There may be truth in this statement, but what about readers who work for big companies. You could have made the same point in a less “all big companies suck” way.)

8) Controversial Idea - Less as a competitive advantage: My 10 minutes at Web 2.0. (Not saying this is wrong, but controversial ideas are well… controversial.)

9) Inappropriate and Tiresome - “Less is More’ is Bullshit. “Less is More” implies that more is better. Itís not. Less is less. Less is just right. Less is better.

10) Probably Not Your Fault But - Chelsea slashed the overall time to complete the massive redesign project from at least two years to about eight months. (Outrages claims breed negative comments.)

JF 18 Nov 05

Arrogance - In case anyone is curious, itís pronounced FREED as in ďDoing it like Jason does it freed us from the tyranny of complexity, missed deadlines, and 5 lb functional specs.Ē

Wow, sarcasm really doesn’t come through on the web, does it? I was having some FUN.

ramanan 18 Nov 05

Wow, sarcasm really doesnít come through on the web, does it? I was having some FUN.

I think most people caught the sarcasm. Still, I can see how people can get tripped up since you write stuff like that all the time in a non-sarcastic way. Also, the rest of the points raised are pretty valid. But, please, don’t address them; that would be a drastic departure from the norm here.

Plead the Fifth 18 Nov 05

If you had never said anything that came across as arrogant then maybe this would have been taken as sarcasm. However, you always state things in a “we are the the only ones doing it right” sort of way. In that context, “do it like Jason does it” just seems like more arrogance.

Blogs are a nice and easy way to build a community. Anyone can start a blog for free within minutes. But just because it is easy doesn’t mean you don’t have to be careful about how you craft things.

Brian 18 Nov 05

One person earlier commentd “Signal vs. Nothing” which I thought was particularly poignant.

I’ve read SvN for years now, and always found some value in the feedback from the peanut gallery. I can understand your position somewhat, and agree that it can be hard to see the level of quality decline over time. It’s your baby, so it’s harder to watch the mud fly in your direction. I sympathize.

But I also am left wondering… So many posts to SvN seemed to be little more than a quick stir of the pot. A thought or idea that ended with punting a question into the field, open for comment.

I’ll keep reading if you’ll keep writing, if for no other reason than to see what you come up with now that you can’t just punt after 3rd down with your posts.

(apologies, I never make sports analogies, but this one just came out this way).

JF 18 Nov 05

However, you always state things in a ďwe are the the only ones doing it rightĒ sort of way. In that context, ďdo it like Jason does itĒ just seems like more arrogance.

1. I’ve said this a million times: Our way is ONE way, not the only way. There are a million ways to do something. We’re sharing ours. That’s all.

2. The “do it like Jason does it” was something someone else posted on flickr. It was a fun little thing among friends and I pointed it out. Take it seriously if you wish, but it wasn’t serious.

Third…

But, please, donít address them; that would be a drastic departure from the norm here.

Oh, I see. That’s how it works. I’m here to answer any questions or comments you have. 24/7. You ask and I answer. If I don’t then I’m ignoring you. Now I get it.

Matt Brubeck 18 Nov 05

Signal vs. Noise, round 1

Noise: 1.
Signal: 0.

Ben Clemens 18 Nov 05

It’s a mistake; any success will attract some of what you’ve experienced, and comments or no you’ll have to deal with it to keep succeeding. I’d find a way to do that rather than closing your ears. Be tough. Take it and move on, and figure out how to confound your critics.

ramanan 18 Nov 05

Oh, I see. Thatís how it works. Iím here to answer any questions or comments you have. 24/7. You ask and I answer. If I donít then Iím ignoring you. Now I get it.

I actually thing shutting down comments here is the smart thing to do. Moderating is a hard job, especially with a site this busy. There are people like me, who are on your ass all the time, which I imagine can get both annoying and tiring. You have people who post here that I think are just straight up ignorant. You have a lot of fan boys posting “me too” type comments. Moderating the noise is hard.

But, you obviously read Plead the Fifth’s comment, and decided to address one portion while ignoring the others. And his other points I think are more pertinent. I find this is actually pretty common behaviour on your part.

why 18 Nov 05

If you’d still like to comment on SvN, I’d highly suggest joining us at “hoodwink.d”:http://hoodwinkd.hobix.com/. It’s an underground service for commenting directly on blogs regardless of the owner’s wishes.

Another Tom again 18 Nov 05

JF: Oh, I see. Thatís how it works. Iím here to answer any questions or comments you have. 24/7. You ask and I answer. If I donít then Iím ignoring you. Now I get it.

I don’t think the peanut gallery feels that is the case normally (that you are ignoring adverse comments).

However - if you go asking about shark jumping and then close off commenting (seeminly in response, even if that is an oversimplification) on this type of high profile blog (and this is the last time - at least for awhile) that said gallery can comment, some response is going to be expected. Some people have brought up some pretty valid points.

Maybe not a blow by blow answer to every criticism (that is probably expecting too much), but maybe a follow up post later. I think my expectation was that, that we would at least hear back from you in a general way about the last comments.

John Handelaar 18 Nov 05

Honestly, this blindness to how you got yourself here is — well, I was going to say ‘puzzling’, but ‘human’ would be more accurate.

The process is this: a) You had a regular audience for a very interesting blog, but then b) you stopped producing it while simultaneously c) replacing it with one which alternates between sales pitching and links to people saying how great your apps are.

You’re watching the first group get annoyed with it.

In retrospect it probably would have been better to keep the old blog and start another one about your new products business. And it’s not too late for that, still. But I rather doubt, you being people and all, that you’ll see any value in this comment at all. Which is a shame.

Noexes 18 Nov 05

Trackbacks are a bad idea becasue I don’t know how to use Trackbacks. I mean, a lot of people don’t know how to use Trackbacks.

Plead the Fifth 18 Nov 05

The ďdo it like Jason does itĒ was something someone else posted on flickr. It was a fun little thing among friends and I pointed it out. Take it seriously if you wish, but it wasnít serious.

Maybe when you pointed it out you could have said, “Look what a good friend of mine uploaded to Flickr… he’s such a goob.”

Iíve said this a million times: Our way is ONE way, not the only way. There are a million ways to do something. Weíre sharing ours. Thatís all.

Maybe so, but never in a post. Try saying “we have had great success with our less approach” or “less is a valid way to win” and NOT “less is THE new way to win”. All your talk of less and small comes across like you think more and big are just stupid. More and big is working for a lot of people just like less and small is working for you.

Don’t get me wrong, you have a lot to offer and I am glad you take the time to share (as are many other people.) Just please take a moment to think about how you “craft” things. Please take a moment to think about the goal for this blog and filter your posts accordingly. You may find that addressing these two issues will go a long way in solving the “problem”.

David Heinemeier Hansson 18 Nov 05

Yes, we are going to miss the insightful, intelligent comments that made it all worth it for a long time. But lately, the signal from these comments are repeatedly being drowned out by the noise. And for the bulk of the posts, that ends up rendering them of negative value.

And sure, we could attempt to find a less provoking voice that would appease more people, but I personally find it more valuable to be able to blog in the style and manner that I find comfortable for the post — and then live without the comments.

So its all a trade-off. We’ve traded comments out for the time being.

John Handelaar 18 Nov 05

That said, every time you say “less” when you mean “fewer” I want to come over there and hit someone with a spade. But we grammar types are like that.

8500 18 Nov 05

Twas fun while it lasted but I understand the move. I’d like to know how turning comments off will effect the number of visitors. Any chance you’ll track stats and give us an update next month?

RS 18 Nov 05

Hey folks.

The key to Getting Real is trying things to find out what happens. Trying something is not the same as imagining it. The best feedback comes from the real world, not our ideas about it.

This time, the feedback we want from the Real Situation which includes a web site and some authors and an audience, is this: Will it be better with comments on all the time, or with comments turned on for select posts?

There is one way to find out, and that’s to try. So for those of you who are saying “this will happen” and “that will happen” — how about you wait with us to find out what happens?

JF 18 Nov 05

I think my expectation was that, that we would at least hear back from you in a general way about the last comments.

You will, just not within 24 hours.

Cynthia 18 Nov 05

Small is fabulous…until you get big.

You guys have/had a great thing. You’ve got great ideas, and a great ability to communicate those ideas. You gathered a following of people who agree with you, who told other people. You opened eyes. Those people told more people. The following grew. And grew.

Now, however, it’s not just made up of people who agree wholeheartedly with what you say. There are a lot of us who read it, consider it, and decide which of it really applies to our world.

I do enterprise development for a large company. I have used a lot of what you have said in my work. But recently, I feel that the tone has gone from providing good ideas that are useful to some or most people (but not all), to preaching about the way business should be done. And whether you intended it or not, it comes across as condemnation for anyone who doesn’t do it your way.

I think that provokes a bit of “negativity”. At least disagreement. And that is a good thing. We’re not jealous of your success. My company is pretty successful. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone else their success.

But I’m not sure that you were ready for the critisism. That’s my perception. With the tone of some posts, it seems you’re still aiming at a small, somewhat homogeneous group of readers. But we’re not anymore. We’re a great big group of people who all have different opinions. When you solicit opinions, you get them. And they may not be what you wanted.

I’m disappointed that comments are turned off. I don’t often comment, and I don’t regularly read them. But it seems counter to what you have been trying to do to turn them off, and it really does seem like a gut reaction to negative comments *that you asked for*.

Just my $.02.

Plead the Fifth 18 Nov 05

I just had to post this excerpt from the always insightful Kathy Sierra. I think she is right on the money as usual. (Emphasis added by me.)

If you create passionate users, you have to expect passionate detractors. You should welcome their appearance in blogs, forums, and user groups. It means you’ve arrived. Forget the tipping point—if you want to measure passion, look for the koolaid point.

And it would appear that 37 Signals has hit it. Within 48 hours of one another, independently, three groups reviewed the company: this blog, Salon, and Paul Scrivens’ blog. Two of the reviews glowed. The other… provided balance in the universe.

Remember folks, we aren’t going for user satisfaction. We aren’t going for happy. We’re going for all-out passion. And that comes with a price tag. Detractors. Lots of them. And they talk. For every passionate user out evangelizing you to everyone they meet, a koolaid-hunter will do his (or her) best to make sure everyone knows that your passionate users have lost their minds. That they’re victim of marketing hype. Sheep.

But consider this… The most popular and well-loved companies, products, and causes have the strongest opponents.

You’ll know when you get there, because the buzz goes from pleasant to polarized. Moderate, reasoned reviews and comments are replaced with stronger language and more colorful adjectives on both sides. Those who speak out against you will be referred to as “brave” or “having the balls” (see the comments on Scriven’s review) for daring to criticize. They’re hailed as the smart ones who finally call the emporer on his buck-nakedness.

Should you ignore the detractors? Diss them as nothing but evidence of your success? Should you just wave them off with a “just jealous” remark? Absolutely not. Somewhere in their complaints there are probably some good clues for things you can work on. But if you start trying to please them all or even worse, turn them into fans, that could mean death. Death by mediocrity, as you cater to everybody and inspire nobody.

It is physically impossible to have everyone love what you do. And the more people do love it, the more likely it is that you’ll have an equal and opposite negative reaction. X = -Y the physics of passion.

Would you want to be in 37 Signals’ shoes right now, taking all this heat? You bet.

JF 18 Nov 05

Since a lot of people are making assumptions about the reason, I’ll echo the reason that I posted in my original post:

We’re happy with the criticism. We encourage it. We don’t run from it. Anyone who’s see us speak in public (or actually knows us) knows that we enjoy actively engaging in a debate of ideas. We’re generous listeners.

Do you really think I would have turned on comments for THIS post if we were afraid of criticism?

But there’s a difference between criticism ad mud slinging. What we’ve been seeing as of late is a lot of mud slinging. And that’s simply not fun. We don’t want SvN to be a place where people come to sling mud and that’s what it’s become.

So we’re going to continue posting what we post. Sharing our ideas, opinions, and observations. But for now we’re going to keep comments out of it by default.

Once things cool off a little we may flip comments back on by default. Like Ryan said, this is all part of Getting Real. Doing something and seeing what happens. We’re in the “seeing what happens” phase now.

Anthony Eden 18 Nov 05

There are comments?

(/me pets RSS reader)

Mike Swimm 18 Nov 05

(while writing this Plead The 5th made some similar points but I am going to post it anyway)

Dissapointing.

Like many others, this is one of the only blogs that I bother to read the comments.

Can comments be obnoxious? There is absolutely no doubt.

But, if you look through the posts were they got really bad some trends immediately develop. Most negative comments occurred on posts where a direct question was asked, a sensitive issue was discussed, or the design of a very expensive item was commented upon. Those are areas where a lot of blogs fear to tread. Blogs with active comments are a conversation, and it is up to both parties to keep them civil.

Asking if 37S had jumped the shark was not a real smart idea given the way comments have been going recently. If you wanted to “let things cool off” you could have slowed the posts down a bit and kept off the hot issues. Instead you flame them up (shark post) and then dump a little gasoline on the fire (turning off comments). People are not going to respond well to that.

I like your company. I have told dozens of people about your products and definitely sold a few subscriptions to basecamp. I also click on your links. I only started to get frustrated with this blog and your company when day after day I would read about your ideas on service and usability, yet when I actually contacted 37S I was not treated as if those things mattered. I imagine that there are others who feel the way I do. Turning comments off, rather than engaging your critics may turn out to damage your reputation.

Brad 18 Nov 05

If the number of posts today by you kids is any indication of what turning off comments is going to do, I think it’s a good decision.

Regardless of the flaming arrows of the comment bastards, I think the biggest detriment was that you were all keenly aware of the potential for being flamed and were therefore less likely to be honest and candid with your thoughts.

I think taking a break from comments will be good for you so that you can be like Stella and get your groove back.

It’s the same reason I stopped blogging for a while. I became too aware of the audience and I was posting just for the readers (all 3 of them in my case) instead of posting for myself and what I thought was interesting.

BryanJ 18 Nov 05

This is a perfect example of why 37s closed comments: People don’t read, then they comment, then things get out of hand.

37s is turning off comments *for now*. They’re going to see how it goes. Then they’ll make a judgement in a bit.

Where has patience gone?!

Steve Akers 18 Nov 05

First of all, I want to say that I have been commenting under the name “Plead the 5th”. This is due to the fact that I don’t really enjoy being critical so the temptation to be anonymous was too great. Then I had this thought, “How can I criticise someone who is putting their neck on line when I’m not willing to do the same.”

Secondly I want to comment on this. JF said, “But thereís a difference between criticism ad mud slinging. What weíve been seeing as of late is a lot of mud slinging. And thatís simply not fun. We donít want SvN to be a place where people come to sling mud and thatís what itís become.”

It’s just a thought, but it may be better to have the mud slinging done here rather than at 37signalssucks.com (which is more likely to happen when comments are off.) That way you can at least keep an eye on things and perhaps pick up on some “good clues for things you can work on” as Kathy Sierra suggests. It’s the whole keep your friends close and your enemies closer kind of thing.

pp 18 Nov 05

One thing I’ve noticed is that the more overt fanboys/girls tend to get ‘me too’ type comments in at the top end so that there is an effect of the warm fuzzies being replaced by what seems a chill wind by contrast. Perhaps ordering the comments by most recent would change the dynamic…?

Robert Brook 18 Nov 05

Makes a lot of sense. I hope you don’t change back!

BryanJ 18 Nov 05

BTW, it looks like it’s the COMMENTERS that can’t take a little heat from 37signals!

Turk 18 Nov 05

cowards! who were complaining other than yourselves. so much for openness.

Spike 18 Nov 05

“Oh, I see. Thatís how it works. Iím here to answer any questions or comments you have. 24/7. You ask and I answer. If I donít then Iím ignoring you. Now I get it.”

You’re turning into a fucking politician, man! You’re just digging yourself a hole by responding to any of these and trying to please people. Turn the comments for this thread off, no good will come of it. Everyone has made their point and the trolls will argue until the cows come home.

Do what you want with your weblog. But don’t try and answer a tiny part of someone’s much larger criticism of your website without first deciding whether you are tackling the most important part of it. You post more than anyone on here, JF, and as a consequence you’re as likely to hit shit as gold. Wait until you have a burning desire to say something important before you do, or people are going to stop reading this weblog. You’re going to have to accept that while it is your weblog, the readership have the deciding vote. You wouldn’t post here if it didn’t have any readers, and you wouldn’t have a two-thousand dollar an ad advertising campaign if there weren’t any readers.

Think about that on your hiatus :-)

For all the folks that don’t like comments being turned off: Not going to change any minds by being rude.

Now disable these comments and get back to work on this mystery web-app we’re all looking forward to so much! See you around guys.

JF 18 Nov 05

You’re right, Spike. Good advice.

Swati 18 Nov 05

I find it ironic how the flaming in the post just reinforces why they turned off the comments.

pqs 18 Nov 05

Well done. Conversation between blogs has always more quality than conversation inside blogs. People can still comment what you say at their blogs. Technorati and Google Blogsearch help us to track these conversations.

JFR 18 Nov 05

If I had to describe how I felt about this decision, I feel like my “fuck buddy” just moved to another city. I’m not crushed by the decision, I’ll just have to find another one. One day, she may one day move back. She might call to let me know she’s returned. And ya know what, I might just knock on her door to see if the sex is still gooooood.

I first learned of SvN because of a lifelong friendship with JF. I wouldn’t call myself an active participant, as I felt I didn’t have anything to contribute, 80% of the time. This is a function of not being in the “tech” business. I will say, that I was able to apply many of the usability and simplicity principles I’ve learned in my own business. Most of the time, however, I had no clue what y’all were talking about.

Did I feel like flaming people I disagreed with? Sometimes. But did I act on it? No. Why? Because restraint of pen and tongue has served me well.

I will continue to visit SvN. If the comments are opened up again, I still won’t post because I will still not have any idea what y’all are talking about ;)

I’m proud of 37signals, particularly Jason, for doing what he believes is right. Even if he is an arrogant prick ;)

Freddy Guardado

Tommy 18 Nov 05

I’d like to think we are all adults here, but I wonder. I can be an emotional guy that doesn’t take even construtive critism well.I’d like to think we are all adults here, but I wonder.

I don’t for a second think that Jason is against constructive criticism. On here and and on other blogs I’ve seen 37 Signals get slammed for this or that. And Jason’s response is always intelligent and receptive. But he has said it over and over again on this thread. Constructive criticm is far different then mud sligging.

Also, I ask you to put yourself in Jason’s shoes for a second. This company I can only assume is his passion. How would you like to walk into work each day and see people sh*^ting on your passion. I am surprised comments have stayed on for as long as they have.

SpiderMonkey 18 Nov 05

I posted before, but I think my post got eaten by a spam plugin because it had 3 links in it.

In brief: I believe that the design of the comments display has a significant effect on the quality of the comments.

A ‘flat mode’ of comments doesn’t scale very well. Once you’ve got more than 10 or 15 comments, it’s hard for anyone to keep up with the discussion and people are prone to start trolling because that’s the only way of getting your point across. You make it more extreme and you shout it louder so people can hear you over the din.

I see a lot of weblogs closing their comments when they reach a certain size for the same reasons - the conversation turns to shit. If you guys do value your comments, perhaps it would be a good idea to look at ways of tweaking the comments display setup and seeing if that improves matters? Or perhaps you could open some kind of debate on this. It seems like an interesting relevant topic to here.

For my part, I like the functionality of the comments on www.shacknews.com (might not work under Safari; the colour choice and conversation topic won’t be to everyone’s tastes). It’s much easier to track offshoots of the conversations.

Anonymous Coward 18 Nov 05

The second half of my post got truncated cos I accidentally put in a tag bracket:

Moderation is much easier (you just trim the original troll post and the rest of the discussion disappears with it). My experience is that the signal to noise genuinely does end up higher than your average message board and I believe part of that is down to how the design is laid out.

dmr 18 Nov 05

People need to go outside and throw a frisbee.

I see a lot of mean-spirited comments, and I really feel for the 37 crew. I’m embarrassed and hurt by a few comments, and they aren’t even directed at me!

I’ve been coming here for 3 or 4 years now and I’ll continue to come. I’m glad I’ve been a virtual on-looker; they’ve been a mentor without even knowing it. I tip my hat to the crew. It’s easy to drown in both positive and negative energy. Go find some calm.

Anonymous Coward 18 Nov 05

markets are conversations, not monologues.

Scott 18 Nov 05

The quickest way to disrespect your audience it to stop listening to them.

Bradigan 18 Nov 05

I’m now more interested in seeing Freddy’s FB.
Hey … Great CSS Tip in the latest Thread by the way!

JF 18 Nov 05

The quickest way to disrespect your audience it to stop listening to them.

We listen loud and clear to our customers who use our products. They’re our first priority and this comment hiatus will allow us to devote more of our attention to them.

Robb Irrgang 18 Nov 05

Doing so well today, and then a post about the 37 Cluster…
Rats, I thought you guys were back on track.

Either way, everything else was a good read today. Kudos.

Manu Sharma 18 Nov 05

Jason, this is a really lame move. It’s like shooting your kid because he’s sick!

Look, community is a really really good thing. It doesn’t come easy. Ask the millions of bloggers out there that don’t have anyone to listen to what they have to say. You’ve earned the right to have a community, to be listend to and talked about. This isn’t very common. Community is precious. But it also needs to be managed.

Think of it as a kid. Kids are wonderful but like every parent knows they can also be a pain in the a**. So your kid got sick over time. So what do you do, shoot him?

Come onnnnn. Cure the disasese! Heck, you are the designer here. Sure commentors get nasty and that’s not good for anyone… so it’s a problem. GO SOLVE THAT PROBLEM. Who says that the only recourse you have is censoring posts or active moderation. Innovate! Talk to me if you want to do something about it.

I had a constructive comment to make about the ATM error message post and you will never see that because you’ve turned off comments. Heck, this could even be a great business opportunity if you think of it that way.

Think of it that way.

JFR 18 Nov 05

I think we should use this thread to comment on other posts. Biggest … thread … ever. Call Guiness.

Barry Bolek

JF 18 Nov 05

Come onnnnn. Cure the disasese! Heck, you are the designer here. Sure commentors get nasty and thatÔŅĹs not good for anyoneÔŅĹ so itÔŅĹs a problem. GO SOLVE THAT PROBLEM. Who says that the only recourse you have is censoring posts or active moderation. Innovate! Talk to me if you want to do something about it.

Solving this problem takes time and energy that we don’t have for SvN right now. SvN isn’t our full time jobs — it’s something we do for fun. We have to focus on our core business: our products and our customers.

The current solution is to close comments. When we have time for a better one we’ll get there. SvN is a priority, but it’s not our top priority.

Manu Sharma 18 Nov 05

Jason, that’s another way of saying it’s not important anymore. That you do not value community as you value your customers. I wonder why blog at all then.

Wesley Kincaid 18 Nov 05

I’ve never really commented here because, honestly, I felt that in comparison to your team and the audience who follows you, I didn’t have anything valuable to add. Lurking here was a lot like sitting in a class with an amazing professor… there was a lot of unspoken respect. We all held our tongues and honed our ideas before embarrassing ourselves… we wanted your respect, too. We wanted you to know that we think of design, too… and I mean really, really think about it.

I don’t feel like I’m getting that respect from you, any longer. The things you’ve been writing about… you haven’t thought them through. I understand, rationally, that the vast majority of your posts are probably design-related and amazing, but if I think, right now as I type this, of the past month, all I can remember are posts about “Getting Real,” and “Jumping Sharks,” and “Basecrack,” and “Fake Logos,” and “Just Do It like Fried,” and “Going to the GYM,” and “Creatives.” Your public persona is one of a company of designers who love their users more than their own mothers, but your face, the content here… it’s not in line with that any more.

I hope this doesn’t come off as an attack or jealousy. I’m happy for you. I love your new products. I enjoyed eNormicon and Contingency Design and the simple old site, and I even paid for that book library thing. But, dude. You’re giving your readers no forthought. The content is bad. And these folks are shovelling it right back at you.

ramanan 18 Nov 05

Manu, plenty of people write blogs and don’t allow comments. Usually because the comments aren’t constructive in any way. I remember reading Dooce before she turned comments off, and you’d have a post on her kid’s pooping habits getting 250 comments. Trust me, there weren’t 250 insightful things being said. At some point is becomes unmanageable. That’s the case here.

I imagine JF blogs because he likes to share his thoughts on what he finds interesting; not because he likes to hear about what a dumb-ass he is. (And really, who likes to be told their a dumb-ass again and again. It would get tiring fast.)

JF 18 Nov 05

Jason, thatís another way of saying itís not important anymore. That you do not value community as you value your customers. I wonder why blog at all then.

It’s exactly what it says — it’s not the top priority. It never has been. It’s always been something that’s been fun to do (it’s just become much less fun when the norm has become mud slinging). And we’re going to continue to post (more frequently, in fact), but just without comments for a while.

I’ll repeat what Ryan said again: This is Getting Real. We’re going to see what happens and then keep it as is or make adjustments.

JF 18 Nov 05

Thanks for your feedback, Wesley. Our readership has grown 5x in the past year or so so someone likes what we have to say.

We’ve always tried to keep it fun here. Mixing serious posts with not-so-serious posts. It’s hard to produce great content every day (especially when SvN is a part time job). Maybe we’re in a slump, maybe not. Time will tell.

If we’re not meeting your expectations anymore then I’m sorry. We’re just doing our best.

Bradigan 18 Nov 05


Jason, thatís another way of saying itís not important anymore. That you do not value community as you value your customers. I wonder why blog at all then.

I’m not a 37S customer at all, but I still learn from this blog with or without comments. I tell you what, if a customer wants to be heard, I think this is the *last place* to try and direct support for youself. I’ve looked at some 37S products, and they have support forums just for that.

I would suggest that this blog is more for 37s competitors rather then their customers.

but, what do I know.

vishi 18 Nov 05

I wonder what would have happened if you asked for design ideas instead of closing the comments.

Dan Boland 18 Nov 05

Here’s the way I see it — if something isn’t fun, don’t do it. The 37s obviously like to blog (who doesn’t?), but the reader comments aren’t fun anymore. I don’t think anyone should fault them for that.

As far as the declining value of posts, well… I think people got too much of the “ourselves” part of the tagline at the top of the page. Whether the ratio was real or just perceived, self-aggrandizing or without pretense, is irrelevant — some folks were reacting to what they thought they were seeing.

And while we’re venting, I have to say that if I hear “Getting Real” one more time, I think I might gag. Here’s the thing… it sounds really condescending, even though it isn’t. When you say “get real” to someone, it’s usually spoken with an irreverent sneer. So when there a dozen posts in a month about your business practices and they’re all prefixed with “Getting Real,” it’s as though you’re talking down to us. Maybe that’s an unfair assessment, but I don’t doubt that others have taken it the same way.

But having said all that, I’ve been a reader/poster for about a year and for the most part, I’ve enjoyed it and I won’t be leaving any time soon.

Andrew 18 Nov 05

To those complaining about the comments shutting down, I suggest you run your own blog that is as controversial, insightful and thought provoking, AND deal with all the crap that comes your way.

Do THAT as successfully as SvN and see if you don’t need a break every once in a while.

richard 18 Nov 05

Many of your recent posts were questions. Why ask a question if you’re not going to allow comments?

I enjoyed reading the comment threads (and skipping the ones that seemed rude, or enjoying them) as much as the posts here.

Jon 18 Nov 05

This thread really needs to be closed. The trolls are barking about the same old thing:

“Waah! Keep the comments open so I can flame you! I’m a loser who has nothing better to do if you disable comments!”

Charlie Triplett 18 Nov 05

There is a difference between things that occur to us, and things we actually think.

Some people just don’t know the difference.

I’ve followed SvN for a while now, and the comments from a couple of years ago were a fantastic resource I used to visit corners of thought and solutions I’d have never found otherwise.

Too bad. So let it be written, so let it be done.

MT 18 Nov 05

Turning off comments for a while seems like it could be a good idea, particularly since JF’s have been so pointedly defensive as of late.

Coudal 18 Nov 05

On another subject, am I the only one who thinks the ‘rounded Helvetica’ of JF’s last post feels amateurish? That it strives to be casual but comes off feeling precious, like it’s trying too hard?

Jon 18 Nov 05

I just want to say that I have enjoyed the comments almost as much as the articles themselves. The conversation around a topic is a vital aspect of community - when you cut that out, you cut out precisely what makes being small so fun - the ability to communicate with your peeps in full duplex.

But I have seen the negativity lately and started reading the comments less because of it. Of course I’ve also enjoyed a good laugh now and again from the more spirited and well-worded put-downs. :)

Jason and friends, take this as the first sign that you are getting “big”. How you handle this growth though is key to remaining cool. There’s a better, less drastic way of dealing with the negative - form a club.

That’s right, make commenting a privilege. You could ask people to sign up and also submit a small note about themselves and why they want to comment. Nothing pretentious, like you’re God sitting in judgement.

Tell the people that it’s all about keeping comments fun and informative. If your trusted commentators turn negative on a post, it will be for a good reason, not because they are jealous that yours is bigger. Eh, your image on the net is bigger. Well, you know what I mean!

OR, WAIT FOR IT…do what digg is doing. Have people sign in to comment and then allow the community to flag a comment as worthless. I believe the community would represent and do this well. It’s worth a try anyway just to see what happens.

And if you’re running low, I’ve provided a companion for my advice: *epic grain of salt*

Mark 18 Nov 05

Honestly, the sniping back and forth is now turning personal on both the sides of the commenters and 37S. What was starting down a path of “SvN is losing its edge and relevance, but I’ll still use the products because they’re great” is at risk of turning into “SvN’s not only becoming an immature forum, but an immature voice too and is representative of a business, living under the umbrella of that business’s URL, and might start to leave a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to that business.” Going on the defensive with sarcastic responses to criticism is unprofessional, and if that doesn’t sit well with you, it *is* time to separate this forum from your business site.

Some of your SvN readers use your products. In a service economy, your products are a service. Users of services are clients. Many of us are your clients. Many of us work for clients and know how much client expectations suck. But when we’re consumers of your services, like it or not, we expect a 24/7 response. It’s easy for us to reconcile that expectation with reality and appreciation for just how much you do…until you start whining about how someone expects you to sit and answer their questions 24 hours a day. I don’t need to picture you on the other end of the Internet whining about that next time I log into Backpack.

JF 18 Nov 05

But when weÔŅĹre consumers of your services, like it or not, we expect a 24/7 response.

You have our full attention when you use our products and have questions about our products through the proper channels (support or the product forums), but our products are separate from SvN. Let’s be fair here… Paying for Backpack does not entitle you to a response from us on a debate about france, corporate logos, or a Getting Real post here on SvN. Those are dialogs above and beyond the services we provide to you as a paying customer. You’re paying for Backpack or Basecamp, not SvN.

Mark 18 Nov 05

Jason:

I anticipated that selection being pulled out and responded to. Let me make a distinction: There is no reason to expect a response on SvN because I pay for Backpack.

My point was that this forum is associated with your business. I’m talking about perceptions of your business, your team, yourselves, your professionalism. If the point in this post was to declare a focus on your products and services as priority, why taint that ambition by stooping to petty responses to antagonistic remarks?

Part of the dialog here is that people expect 37S quality out of a blog on the 37S URL…Not intermingled with personal bits and pieces. Either way is fine. But the level of personal is striking a low that does affect perception of you, your team, and your business. I understand that that’s what you sought to avoid by turning off comments…Don’t let it backfire.

JF 18 Nov 05

Mark, we’ve been posting personal items from day 1, 1999. This is our blog. We talk about our products, politics, our views on a variety of things, things we find funny, things we’re disgusted by. That’s what we do here. We even put that description at the top of every page. That’s what we’ve always done here. SvN is a release for us.

If the quality of our content doesn’t meet your expectations I’m sorry. But that’s the content we produce.

As far as what’s good or bad for our business, we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. We’ve managed to do pretty well against the odds so far.

Have we made mistakes? Plenty. Will we make more? Absolutely. Was this a mistake? Too early to tell. Can we deal with the mistakes and move on? So far so good.

Richard Bird 18 Nov 05

Be cool, babies.

Time and opportunity says take the rants from here to your own backyards.

SVN is not at your service. Only you are.

Mark 18 Nov 05

Well, I wasn’t actually referring to the content of the blog. I was referring to this:

Oh, I see. Thatís how it works. Iím here to answer any questions or comments you have. 24/7. You ask and I answer. If I donít then Iím ignoring you. Now I get it.

I get it. There’s a disclaimer at the top. It’s been discussed ad nauseum, appreciated, discounted, praised and criticized. I enjoy the posts.

Disclaimers don’t erase a bad taste in your mouth. I’m talking perception. I’m talking about seeing a side of someone I give a great deal of professional credit, in a forum associated with their profession that I didn’t need to see.

But you know what works and what doesn’t. You don’t need any words of caution or feedback. We get it.

Hopefully I tempered this round with enough professional praise (I love Backpack, I use it every day, I jot things in Writeboards, it all works great), that you’ll pay enough attention to pick up the context and the constructive feedback. That’s all it was meant to be.

Keep doing what you do. User experience, satisfaction, getting real, etc.

BryanJ 18 Nov 05

Actually, Mark, you clearly don’t get it. If you got it you wouldn’t have ranted on it. 37s is open about what they’re going to say on this blog. To criticize them for posting personal stuff from time to time is to not understand what this blog is in the first place. So get it you do not.

Ryan 18 Nov 05

The community finds a way…

NotAComment 19 Nov 05

If you don’t know what Spinfree is, nay was, you are considered “new” here, thus, you should have listened twice as much as you spoke.

Since you couldn’t figure that out for yourselves, 37S is teaching you how to keep quiet.

Go start your writeboards, 37sucks.com, whatever… a community of trolls spewing venom sounds like a great place to visit. I stopped reading 37S because of the comments, now I can finally return.

For all of you that think 37Signals is a design company, that became a product company, think again. They started off building filemaker apps before HTML tables existed.

They are true pioneers, for many of us, they’ve been around since the beginning (before clear spacer gifs…) don’t think for a minute that the people here are fanboys because they respect the sustained creativity.

“Always there will be, along the sidelines of life, inferior souls who throw mud at those whose attainments they do not quite understand. The man who really accomplishes doesn’t pay attention to such detractors. If he did, he’d be on their level. He keeps an eye singled on the higher goalóand the mud never touches him.”
~ Jerome P. Fleishman

You may now close comments.

pp 19 Nov 05

I totally get the point about the blog taking up too much time and not being a business priority but elsewhere it’s stated that comments are closed due to mud-slinging. JF says he invites criticism with open arms but it should be taken somewhere else. It could maybe give an impression that the guys had time for the blog only as long as it was adulatory. I’ve noticed a few snarky digs but the only comments I would say were inappropriate or abusive were the rabid right-wingers in the france at night thread. Or did I miss a whole bunch of vicious personal attacks on 37s somewhere? Where is all this one-sided mud-slinging? If the comments were solely a bunch of odes to 37s I’m sure many readers would be gagging for them to be switched off.

J 19 Nov 05

I have skipped to the bottom without reading (okay, I read a few) comments, just to leave my own. Your post made me realise that I don’t usually read the comments, partially for the reasons you give. So I guess I agree, and think it fine that you are stopping them. Somehow your success means that too many people are tuning in and, the ratio of self-indulgent comments is too high. You need to focus on your business, you are not running a philosophy tutorial. You have made the decision, fine, let’s all move on.

C Montoya 19 Nov 05

If the quality of our content doesnít meet your expectations Iím sorry. But thatís the content we produce. As far as whatís good or bad for our business, we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesnít. Weíve managed to do pretty well against the odds so far.

I don’t understand replies like this. You are basically taking what the commenter said, and saying, “I heard you and this is why I’m not listening. You gave your input and I don’t need it.”

Maybe SvN doesn’t need comments then. It’s not that you guys can’t handle criticism, you just have your own ideas about how to run your business and you don’t want input. If that’s your choice, it’s fine. I know most other businesses don’t ask for input from their customers either. You guys say you are the experts and your success agrees, so go ahead with it. But don’t ask questions like “have we jumped the shark?”

And as for sarcastic content, I really think you should reconsider being sarcastic on this blog. You have grown into a product oriented business and people expect you to be professional. They expect you to mean what you say and as much as you might want to be sarcastic and have fun, you are shooting yourself in the foot because people will take it the wrong way. I think you will find less Noise around here if you just avoid sarcasm altogether.

JF 19 Nov 05

I donít understand replies like this. You are basically taking what the commenter said, and saying, ďI heard you and this is why Iím not listening. You gave your input and I donít need it.Ē

We’re listening. Disagreeing, but listening. If I wasn’t listening I wouldn’t have replied.

Jay Laney 20 Nov 05

I think it’s too bad you guys feel like you had to do this.

Has the energy taken a turn for the worse in the comments? Yeah.

But you are an opinionated and outspoken bunch. You’re also more visible now. You have to take the good with the bad, IMO.

// jay

Indi 21 Nov 05

I’ll miss the comments, but I’ll still visit and read and learn. I still don’t understand those who say they stopped visiting because of all the comments. Since when has it been mandatory to read the comments?

Rick 21 Nov 05

I used to enjoy burning ants with a magnifying glass, lighting fireworks and playing kickball. Now I enjoy a good glass of red wine, swimming laps for exercise and working with power tools.

SvN is growing up, and things you used to do don’t make as much sense now. I’ll still read as we grow old together.

PS. I still like lighting fireworks!

Ryan 21 Nov 05

I want my comments back!

JF: Couldn’t you have a moderated comments so you can snuff the negative/useless posters so you can keep the discussions on track?

I miss the comments. It changes the dynamic of your blog :(

JF 21 Nov 05

JF: Couldnít you have a moderated comments so you can snuff the negative/useless posters so you can keep the discussions on track?

That’s a full time job considering the # of comments we have here. Plus I don’t want to have to be in the position to judge every comment.

Jordan 22 Nov 05

OMG I MADE THE LAST POST!

ramanan 22 Nov 05

No you didn’t.

Warren 22 Nov 05

“Howís that for embracing a constraint?”

I would tell you if you would turn comments on.

Ryans right the dynamic has changed there is no method to explore further your thoughts and posts.

it does make these posts ALOT less interesting and almost ‘out of place’ when there is no follow up discussions.

If i may say so i suspect that your turning the comments off is due to the increased exposure you have and not wanting larger interested parties to get a bad impression of you.

Are you setting yourself up for an aquisition perhaps?

JF 22 Nov 05

If i may say so i suspect that your turning the comments off is due to the increased exposure you have and not wanting larger interested parties to get a bad impression of you. Are you setting yourself up for an aquisition perhaps?

The reasons are the reasons we gave. It’s not fun anymore when the threads turn into flamepits so quickly. So we’re letting things cool off around here for a bit. There’s nothing deeper and no hidden motive.

cory 22 Nov 05

Iíll miss the comments, but Iíll still visit and read and learn. I still donít understand those who say they stopped visiting because of all the comments. Since when has it been mandatory to read the comments

it should never be mandatory. but with all of the good discussion and blogs out there, why waste your time on one that doesn’t allow a response?

signed,
wasting my time on the one thread that still has comments instead…

Anonymous Coward 23 Nov 05

Ok, after a few days without comments I think will stop reading SvN now. Topics here are often controversial and the comments were always interesting, a way to bring in a lot of other thoughts. I think a post like the biofuel post from Nov 22 WITHOUT comments is just nonsense. That kind of post I usually really enjoyed, because of reading the comments. And yes, there was noise. Welcome, this is the internet! Ok, turn off comments and all wikis and also try to stop spam the Bill Gates way (with a “stamp” you buy at Microsoft).

Steve F. 23 Nov 05

I am not an exceptionally passionate person with regard to changes of this nature, so I’ll hope you’ll recognize this as a relatively measured assessment of the change.

Even with heat of those who would break out the flamethrowers as soon as anything new was posted, I though SVN was substantially more enjoyable and worthwhile as a couple-times-a-day destination with the comments turned on.

I suspect your readership has developed the mental tools to allow them to separate wheat from chaff effectively in these kinds of blogs. Applying the mental “noise filter” has to be more fun than the frustration of wishing you could take a topic further…

-S

jm 23 Nov 05

I’m going to have to agree with Steve F. Whether or not SVN has comments isn’t going to be a terribly significant change in my work day. My attraction to SVN, however, was half for the prompt and half for the development of additional insights and directions for follow up content. Turn off comments and I’m left with, well, half the appeal. Skimming over inflammatory or typo-ridden comments is second nature, now.

This isn’t a plea for turning comments back on; 37Signals is certainly free to focus on what they deem worthy and it sounds like this is a detractor, financial or otherwise. Just realize that if comments hadn’t been on for the last few years, I wouldn’t have had the interest to read or even follow 37Signals’ thus far.

Good luck.

asa 29 Nov 05

yes

kevin 17 Sep 06

I disagree with you asa.

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