Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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My Philosophy on Blog Comments (and Comment Buttons)

As I’ve explained on many occasions, I gave quite a bit of thought to the redesign of this site. I’ve been incredibly happy with the feedback I’ve received and have made some changes because of it (notice the deks are now a darker blue). The following exchange was my favorite because it brought up a point I think I failed to express, but explains my blogging stance quite well. In the comments to my New Design (3.0) post, Amanda had this to say:

I had a realization last night about why I didn’t like the fact that the comments button was so large.

In making it one of the largest things on the page, it seems as though you are putting more emphasis and importance on the comments made rather than on what you have written. While the opinions of others are important and do result in interesting conversation, this is YOUR site and therefore emphasis should be placed on what you have written rather than on what others have to say about what you have written.

I replied with this:

Fair enough, but I do want to make it very evident that this is supposed to be an interactive experience. I very much want to encourage people to comment and I’m not afraid to take emphasis off my own words if that means someone will feel more invited to do so. That was actually one of the goals of the comment buttons, they should grab you and make you want to click them and, in turn, want to speak up.

They may be too big, but that was very much on purpose. I’m not sure I’m ready to change those yet.

Without a doubt, the comment buttons are huge, probably oversized, but that’s because comments are huge. Comments are what differentiate blogs from everything else. Comments are what make this such an exciting form. Comments are what keep me from going on and on without considering other points of view (well, sometimes I do that anyway). Comments are a huge part of the reason I write here at all. It’s much more fun to talk with other people than to them.

I want to encourage everyone to speak up, and if that requires a big, obnoxious, bright orange button, then so be it.

June 8, 2005