Answering Matt Mullenweg’s Snark filled Rant

Matt Mullenweg and I have had words in the past.  I am sure that he is a great guy; but there are times when stuff comes out of his mouth; well, in this case, from his Keyboard, that send me into a rage.

Instead of getting angry and flipping my cork on him. I figure I will answer his Blog posting on the things, that I am assuming that he finds highly annoying.

…and off we go!

There have been a number of new platforms popping up recently that claim to increase your user engagement, get you more comments, increase your traffic, and more, through means that I consider short-sighted and harmful. Since people seem not to mind, I thought I’d write a guide for how to increase the number of comments you get by 400-1,000% and ruin whatever shred of community you had on your site.

Man…. you think we can get a bit more snark in there, please? ;)

The rest after the jump:

Don’t Moderate. Allow anybody to post anything regardless of whether it contributes to the conversation or not. Stupidity, libel, hate, curse words are all okay because in the comments you have plausible deniability. Make sure people know that whatever they post will live forever, and anything goes. The few smart people you did have in your comments will enjoy responding to these folks. Advertisers love being next to a good fight, too.

Surprise! I happen to agree with this one totally. I could be, and have been; accused of over-moderating here. I do it because I have to keep a somewhat respectable joint around here.  I was basically verbally flogged by some Libertarian-left people, who felt I was bit too authoritarian in my moderation. Which could be a plausible conclusion. However, my feelings are this; this is my joint, you are here, because I allow you to be here and if you screw up and act like some ignorant asshat; you are going to be shown the door and very quickly.

Allow Spam Through. I don’t mean the obvious viagra mortgage stuff, but the human-written and surface-thoughtful comment that “Florida Real Estate” or “Poll Widgets” decided to leave on your entry. Or the guy who comments on every post and has a 3-link signature. Or the lame startup that mentions itself at every possible opportunity, however tangentially related it is. Once spammers catch a sniff of this stuff getting through, they’ll descend on your site like locusts and instantly double or treble your “community.”

Excellent point. I am very “funny” about allowing anyone to post URL’s in the comments. Except in the place where the URL is normally put in the comment forms. URL’s in the comment text section, get a look at and the URL visited; and if I happen to think that it is some dude trying to pimp a start up, I delete it, and send a little cheerful e-mail informing me, that I have adspace available and to please use it and not spam my comment section. I have gotten responses that vary from the typical, “Thanks, but I am broke bastard and cannot afford it” to the ever-lovely “Fuck off and die.” (Start up guys can be a bit pissy at times.)

Force Signup. You’re not a blog, you’re a social network cum media empire and even to leave the smallest comment you should make me fill out a profile, preferably with demographic information you can use in advertiser pitches later. (*cough* CNET) Please ignore useful services like Gravatar and try to get me to upload yet another profile picture because you think that makes your site more “sticky.” (In a sense of the word, it does.)

Heh…. He said Cum and Sticky:lol:

Seriously; The only blogs that do this; that I know of, are one’s like HotAir.com and Michelle Malkin‘s Blog.  The reason why they do this, is because if they do not; every liberal troll idiot in the World (Matt’s Friends?) would come there and leave stupid comments, like “You suck!” and such nonsense. I leave the option open, but I do not force it, every time I do; the damned auto sign up bots start coming around. Mostly using .RU email addresses. It is quite annoying. So, I just keep it to optional sign up.

Don’t Participate in Comments. Make it clear that your post itself is for annointed authors who don’t mix with the hoi polloi in the comments ghetto. Don’t link or highlight anything good from the comment section; those people silly enough to contribute content to your site for free should feel ignored. If an author does happen to drop in and make a comment, make sure it doesn’t stand out from the rest so it’s lost amid the sea of…

I participate in my comments. Let’s the trolls know that I am here; minding the ship. But I know what Matt is referring to, I have seen that.

Random Crap from Around the Web. Make sure any comments you have are buried by every random piece of “conversation” from around the web, especially retweets, Delicious links, Digg and Slashdot comments, pretty much anything will work here. Bonus points for unmoderated pingbacks, so every scraper spam blog copying the content of the post gets a free link in the comments.

I have noticing that theme creators are now putting related tweets in the comments section. Very stupid. I check each and every pingback and trackback and if it is a splog pingback, it gets heaved to the spam folder.

Design Like NASCAR. The more buttons, widgets, stickers, and visual clutter the better. I want to see every possible login system including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, OpenID, Google Friend Connect, and that Myspace thing. Because of their respective crappy terms of service, use the giant buttons they insist on. Also include a megabyte of “share this” icons for every obscure service in every language. People love options! Complexity is for closers.

I know what this says, but at first I thought he was referring to ads on blogs. This almost prompted a very unhinged response from me. Luckily, I reread it. This is why I use the share this! Plug in. :) As for the crack about Visual clutter. Two Words Matt; it’s called Capitalism. I am a member of several “Ad-Hives” on BlogAds and I am promoting them, hoping like hell that someone buys some advertising on them, you know, so, I can actually make money doing this little venture? I know you California Liberals hate capitalism and all; because it grates against the Marxist values that people out there subscribe too. But cut a Conservative some slack, will ya? :roll:

Abandon Search Engines. Make sure your comment system is externally hosted on a separate domain and injects comments in via JavaScript, so everything is completely invisible to search engines. For bonus points, even if you have an existing database, say WordPress, with all of your comments, make sure the external service doesn’t synchronize any of the new stuff back into it, so you’re at the mercy of the external provider forever and ever.

I have never understood why people use external commenting systems. All of them that I have looked at suck major donkey balls. I use what works, the internal system on WordPress. So, I agree with Matt here.

Be Famous! You’ll get thousands of comments on almost everything you post and make sure only to let through the most sycophantic and saccharine, don’t tolerate real conversation or debate. To spice it up every now and then opine on a known controversial subject like abortion and let your audience loose on each other like gladiators while you watch from the stands.

I see where Matt is coming from here. I tend to avoid that particular subject. I have my views on it. They are quite drawn out and shaded. But I do not like starting debates on it; because people just get too emotional.

Put the Comment Form at Top. This ensures everyone making a comment hasn’t read any of the discussion so they’ll leave a comment anyway even if the exact same thing has been said already or a question has already been answered.

Now this is dumb. I have not seen it on any themes. But yeah, it would make more sense to have comments at the bottom.

No Subscriptions. Don’t allow me to get email notifications of new stuff, make me visit your site and reload the page constantly to see if there’s anything new.

Matt was either reading CNET or Gawker. But a valid point, I have the plug in here.

Make People Click Click Click. Ideally do 1-comment-per-page CNET-style and your pageviews will go through the roof, but if you can’t stomach that just make comments-per-page setting low or have some sort of complicated nesting scheme.

Anyone that does a one comment per page is either an idiot, an asshole, or both. :roll:

Treat Everyone the Same. If I’ve left hundreds of great comments over many years on your site, please make me wait in the moderation queue like some random stranger off Digg. Don’t let anyone know I’m a regular, or talk to me, or invite me to test out beta stuff, or pretty much anything that acknowledges my existence or shows any degree of trust.

This is why I do not enable moderation. Because of stuff like that above.

Don’t Ask Anything of Your Audience. No polls, surveys, or open-ended blog entries. What do those plebes know anyway?

Done polls here, nobody responded to them. So, what is the point of doing them, if no one participates?