The well-regarded photo-blogger David Hobby (the “Strobist”) got fed up with moderating blog comments and invented a way to use Twitter in their stead. Each blog post will have a unique hashtag that people should use in their tweet. He writes:
Using Twitter for related discussion does several things. First, it encourages brevity. Second, comments are attributable only to the person who made them and not, by proxy, to this site. You wanna be a troll? Fine. Anyone can easily block you on Twitter. Have a nice life. Or don’t.
But above all, Twitter is a great and wonderfully efficient discussion engine. And because of the brevity (and the lack of a need for my timely moderation) those discussion can happen in real-time.
If you’d like to chime in on this particular topic, the Twitter hashtag is #StrobistComments. (And and always, include an @Strobist at the end if it is important that I see it.) But also understand that each new post will get its own hashtag, so please only use #StrobistComment for this particular issue.
I can understand getting fed up with moderating comments. And moving to the gated Twitter community will obviously leave behind many spammers – as well as some legit commenters. As David writes, “And for those of you who have contributed to the comments who for one reason or another choose not to participate in the Twitter version, I am of course sorry to see you go.” However, might Twitter seem less spammy only because it is newer? Blog-spam-bots have a head start on Twitter-spam-bots, but the latter are getting better all the time. Also, and more importantly, even if this works for David for a while, it doesn’t scale for the rest of us. Can you imagine a unique hashtag for every post on every blog, without collision? Imagine the hash-crashes.