Catching up on a backlog of news feeds, I happened on the post by Sarah Gooding on WP Tavern regarding the value of blog comments. The post was inspired by CopyBlogger turning comments off earlier this year; ironically, the WP Tavern post has 56 comments as of this writing, in and of itself affirming the value of comments on blog posts, never mind the comments themselves.
Why Comments Matter: My Opinion
My view is that comments are part of what make up the blogging experience, both for the writer and for readers. The following list lays out my reasons for having comments available on my blog, and why I like seeing them on other blogs:
They encourage readers to add supplementary information, link to other resources, or just to thank the writer for the post
This can lead to the comments section adding a wealth of value to the original post, often in the form of additional information or links to elsewhere
Comments provide the writer feedback, acknowledgement for the post, and a sense of satisfaction
I don’t get a lot of comments on this site, but I’m always pleased to receive legitimate (non-spammy) comments
Commenters make themselves known to the blog author, as well as to other readers
Leads to social connections and networking – even if it is over the internet
They encourage conversation on the site, on the same page as the post
Discussion can be done over e.g. Twitter, Facebook, or other means, but having comments as part of the blog keeps the conversation intact and reduces external dependencies
The above list applies to me as both a blog writer and a reader. I get value both ways, and I suspect many others do as well. That is why I keep comments open on this site for some time after posts are published (I do close them eventually to prevent spam trickling in on old posts).
For me, the bottom line is that comments facilitate two-way sharing of information, enable creation of connections, and add a bit of humanity to what would otherwise be monologues.