Poll: Comments or no comments?

Is silence golden?
It seems like every day, I’m getting emails about the comments on Bike EXIF. Some folks are unhappy with the current tone of comments, while others are enjoying the fierce debate. I’ve been asked why I switched off the comments on the Justin Kell interview and not the Jeff Decker interview. (It’s because I didn’t have regular internet access when the Decker interview went live.) Some people have even suggested that I switch off commenting altogether.

In the interests of catering to Bike EXIF’s fast-growing readership and keeping the peace, I’m canvassing opinions on this.

  • Sportster Cafe

    Don’t shut down the comment section! We are all big boys and girls, we can chose to read or not, and we can ignore the comments we don’t like! Just keep the comments civilized towards the other readers. In the end, It’s like I tell my fellow Harley riders, it’s only a motorcycle!

  • http://waynedahlberg.com Wayne Dahlberg

    It’s easy, keep the comments — but authenticate the commenter. There are many ways to do it, the most popular being through Facebook and Twitter.

    The following is the best use of incorporating comments on a website that I’ve seen to date. Real people. Real names. Real conversations.

    http://cognition.happycog.com/article/the-magic-number

    As soon as you get rid of the cover of anonymity, the quality of your comments will go up, and the exchange of honest opinions will come from named individuals. (“Daniel J. Peterson” has such a better ring to it than “turboKitten134″ or “burt”)

    I’ve never shied away from using my real identity on web sites I care about, particularly this one. I’m more careful with what I say and more respectful of others when stamping my comments with my real name.

    /2¢

    • Superg

      This is not the right answer at all. I don’t have nor want a facebook or twit account. Keep the comments, we’re all grown-ups, this isn’t China or Russia. Free speech.

  • Adam Aldum

    I think keep the comments its always nice to hear the thought of other people. I do understand that some time folks do get a little heated about your and out shiny or more importantly not so shiny bits of kit!

    And for those you get offened DONT BLOODY READ IT!

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Censorship of any kind kills honesty and any semblance of true discourse. Sure, there will be people that disagree, argue and occasionally flame someone for a thought or opinion. Yep, there are even a few that are repulsed by anything that is not so political correct and sanitary that it can’t be featured on Sesame Street. I say let the opinions roll freely, don’t get bent over a few &*#$ expletives and understand what blogging, commentary and feedback is really all about.

    If you just want kind responses with sugar sweet approvals and Gosh That’s Cool comments, go on over to that other site that starts with The Kn….er.

  • David Enfield

    Have to keep the comments on the bikes . The interviews don’t need comments .

  • Mule

    Seems like it changed in the last month or so. Me, I like the comments, but like others, I’ve kinda gotten all caught up in the moment. I think one of the last comments on Jeff Decker summed it up best. The guy did an honest, candid, interesting interview and the next thing you know, everyone is psychoanalyzing the poor guy. That’s when you know it’s goin all wrong.

    Plus everyone’s “Opinions” get big and important with all the safe distance between the keyboard and the people reading them.

    Love the site! Love the back and forth banter, but not really into the negative stuff. That said, when something is featured that strikes a chord with people, they are moved to respond. And it might not be a love letter.

  • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com/ hoyt

    Remove the comments and so goes the ability for the web to serve a great purpose of connecting people & small businesses.

  • gary

    I do not allow any type of secondary app on facebook so I cannot cast my officially. I too feel that comments should always be allowed. It creates a feel and a open forum, both useful things. If the comments are negative it is because someone feels negatively about something. That should be okay.

  • mike

    The reason for closing comments is that some people cant help but look at them, and are bothered by them. Which i can kind of relate to, as I am going to scroll down anyway, and there they are. Another easy option is to add a button to expand comments. People that dont want to see them wont have to click it, but can see the full article. People who do, will.

  • Kai

    I think the comments should stay, I rarely leave one, and don’t always read them, but they’re an important aspect of sharing this culture online. If we can all agree to just be civil everything will be fine.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/1962_cb77_restore/ Scott Pargett

    Comments are what define a community and provide further insight to an article. I think it’d be a big mistake to axe them and completely counterintuitive of what the internet is, as well as what the future holds.

  • PB

    we are grown up even if we are kids inside and ride all sorts of motorcycles!
    and who´s not respectful towards others won´t be taken seriously anyway.
    l still can say l find a bike cocky, that doesn´t mean in any way l don´t respect it and the ones who ride it.
    l think this is a great site for bike lovers, not just for the pics, but because you can mix up opinions and open your mind a little.
    and that´s a good thing!
    so welcome comments! welcome irony! welcome anybody around the globe who shares a view on what it´s a passion that we ALL share here.
    cheers.

  • RD350

    I really enjoy these interviews (a great idea by the way) They set your blog apart from the ever increasing number of bike blogs.

    I also thoroughly enjoy reading the comments section. I like to know what others think about builds and such.

    Please keep both.

    Some of the comment posters need to think a bit more before they type ..
    the harsh tones seem completely unnecessary given the subject matter.

    That said, I would never advocating curbing free debate …

    Keep up the good work.

  • Coreigh

    um, … I am disappointed that this post dis-placed a real post with a motorcycle in it. :-(

  • Tim the enchanter

    Yeah, I agree with what everyone else said above. The interviews are cool because these are really influential guys in the motorcycle world and they are generally speaking their mind, from what I can tell. And leave the comments, most people can handle themselves. A few people turn into blowhards when someone disagrees with their point of view, apparently. But for the most part, I think the commenters are civil and different perspectives are always welcome in a creative environment.

    This is a cool site, let’s keep it that way.

  • http://vx800-restoration.blogspot.com Stephen F.

    Keep the comments! The site is way more fun and interactive if we can add our feedback. It would seem too much like a magazine and less like the internet if there wasn’t the opportunity to comment. It’s true, that commenting on the internet generally seems to go toward the negative side, so maybe just moderate when necessary?

  • SaltireNYC

    constructive comments are essential to creating a sense of community around your website. you need to moderate the comments, have a signup for a dedicated login name and ban those that have spam like comments.

  • mudplug

    ^ what mike said +1

    Opting in to read comments is a good idea, and caters for those that would prefer not to have the comments.

    Moderation is very time-consuming and often based more on a set of generally-accepted, unspoken social constraints than a list of laws.

    It would appear that you already do a bit of moderation Chris, and we should respect what you choose to remove / leave. Our input may be useful to a degree, but it’s not going to be possible to please everyone all the time, so the interests of the majority become the focus. Maybe I would moderate more. Maybe someone else would moderate less!

    I moderate on a motorcycle forum, and have heard experienced moderators comment that when you’re working to a set of rules on a website that is made by the members, then you can only please 50 per cent of the people, 50 per cent of the time.

    This isn’t an owners club forum, so at the end of the day we should respect what Chris chooses to allow or remove, since we can individually choose whether we read the words or just look at the pictures.

    I think the comments make people feel a part of it, like we have a share in the site, and a chance to show our appreciation. I’d like to see the comments stay.

  • mart

    Thanks for your good work.
    I would like to join your poll, but why is it on facebook? I dont like facebook and i dont have an account there. Voting only for facebook users? I hope there is a better way for that.

    Cheers Mart

  • Revdub

    ^ Agreed. I don’t use facebook, but would like to vote. Anyway, Shut ‘em down! The comments do not add to the site. In fact, I try and stay away from them as much as possible.

  • Ash

    The issue seems to be with anonymous commentary.
    It’s amazing what happens when there’s no accountability.

    If there’s any way to force people to register before commenting, then do it.

    I don’t recommend using Facebook connect … Facebook is creepy as hell and I know, not only would I not comment if you required it, I’d actually stop going to your website all together.

  • http://subcaferacer.com Brendan Falkowski

    Keep the comments, and police them. It’s your town.

  • John T.

    Chris-

    Your website is like a really good radio station and you are the programmer. About 95 percent of the time you are playing really great music that makes the listener feel good. The other 5 percent may be a song you didn’t necessarily want to hear, but would never justify changing the station, because it is still listenable and fits in with the overall theme of the station. You are Sirius BIKE EXIF. It is sad to see people post negative comments fuelled by ignorance, anger and hatred, but the comments section does not affect the utility of your website. If you never read any of the comments, the site would still be awesome, as intended. My opinion is to keep the comments section as a forum for builders who would like to add additional info about their bikes, but I would strongly suggest that you discourage people from using the comments as a means of simply voting on whether or not they like a particular bike. Maybe consider some sort of voting mechanism.

  • Brock

    +1 on keeping it off Facebook. It’s as welcome as a virus warning and I tend to treat it like one.

    The view on comments seems positive. Personally I’d recommend keeping them hidden under a link that could be clicked for those who want to read and contribute, pleasing everyone.

    Cheers

  • bart

    As usual with these feed back sections, there is a lot of poo-pooing and of course the subsequent boo-hooing. Too bad.

    Leave the comment section and if people need a cry after, they can venture to their respective bedrooms and have a cry into a pillow.

  • Rick

    The comments read on this site are no different than what I hear and observe riding on the street. The difference, if any, is that anyone who gets off their ass to actually express their feelings is a cut above the chronic bitchers you’d find at any gathering place. People who bother to post a comment are generally more creative than most, so it’s a hoot to read them.

  • ChrisMcC

    What comments?I don’t see any comments? ;-)

    I don’t have time to get worked up over someone else’s opinion. Just like I don’t have time to write a 300 word essay on why i think you should or should not have comments. Cool Bikes Coll interviews, I don’t come hear to read peoples opinions.

  • Charles

    Also adding my two cents, as I’m not fond of Facebook myself.

    Please keep the comments section up. A lot of the posters here have a considerable amount of knowledge in the motorcycling field, and a lot of us enjoy having that information shared with us. Obviously with the quantity of readers that you have, many will disagree with other’s opinions. Hopefully they will choose to respond with some semblance of respect.

    Regarding the interviews, people should be allowed to share there opinions (seeing as this website does allow comments), just as your interviews contain many opinion-based questions as well.

    However, personal attacks shouldn’t be tolerated. I don’t know of too many blogs or forums that DO put up with that sort. I don’t want to suggest censorship, but I think some sense of moderation IS helpful for the comments section.

    Being able to handle criticism (constructive or not) is a bit of an indispensable skill after all..

  • http://bikeEXIF John Murrill

    I like comments that add to the conversation in an intelligent way. I can do w/out the high 5 “cool ride dude” attaboy posts that sometimes come up. So all that said I think that an edited comments section is a positive and should be considered. Great site and keep em coming!

  • HATER 2.0

    I say leave all comments up. You’re a baby if you feel like someone insulting someone in a comments section is “ruining your experience”. Grown men typing insults at each other is what this here internet was founded on.

    PS – The site rules……..

  • joe momma

    ….comment away……i jes’ wish some of youse would larn how to spel……

  • http://sellersmarine.com Jay S Sellers

    Leave them, but I never read them

  • roadoiler

    keep the comments. I learn as much from what the readers write, than I do from the actual post.
    the comments add some gravitas to your post.
    By the time I finished reading the comments to the Justin Kell interview, I had learned a lot, and even found myself with an informed opinion about the CB750- it left me cold when they were introduced- but certainly many riders bought them, liked them, and still do. and much easier for the average rider to buy, as compared to a Vincent -which was one example of a true classic.
    so keep the post. and let those who read and ride decide.

  • t-squared

    Keep the comments on. Many bikes featured here have drawn a variety of perspectives from different shores, which has added an interesting dimension to EXIF. There are also several designers and builders who often share their thoughts, which I particularly enjoy.

    I think we need to be convinced that in the end readers will discern between sincere critiques and the vitriol.

  • Dexter Chapin

    Comments are like politics: always better when you know who is speaking and when the speaker is “standing where he can be seen” by everybody. Keep real names.

  • Matt

    Personally, I never even noticed comments on this site. Its the Internet, with extreme anonymity people will say and do childish and anti-social things. For the most part, I think people can self-regulate themselves and have intelligent discussion that would be a true loss if disabled. Adding an account system would help to bring some level of personal accountability, but either way, the good comes with the bad and the former tends to outweigh the latter.

  • RobL

    There’s a difference between making a comment and being an asshat.

    There’s a difference between constructive criticism and insult.

    There’s a difference between coherent explanation and knee-jerk opinion.

    There’s a difference between reputable identity and sociopathic anonymity.

    Moderate the comments so the Bike EXIF is always the former and not the latter, and the site will be all the better for it.

    I agree with the idea of legitimate registration; if a person has something to say, they should do so with full exposure as to who they are.

  • http://knsweb.net Kumo

    +1 to @AlwaysOnTwo, @David Enfield. and @mart

    Comments are always helpful in some way. Just to know how your site is making it Or to share info between readers and add content to the post.

    Yep, some comments could be negative or strong or whatever, but we are (or should be) enought big to handle that.

  • Noel Woodroffe

    I don’t often read the comments let alone post many. However, I hope you decide to keep them. I know that many of us live for motorcycles and ride them daily. Some don’t. Some folk are positive and some are negative. That’s life.

  • Frank MonteCalvo

    Keep the comments!

  • KIK

    keep the comments on the bikes and scrap the interviews, the most heated arguments i see are on the interviews..

  • Pascal

    +1 on keeping comments on bikes but not interviews
    +1 on only authenticated users making comments
    +1 on making comments viewable on an opt-in basis

    I come to Bikeexif for the articles. The comments are a bonus, but I wouldn’t miss them too much if they went. As long as the article quality and diversity remained as high as it is, I’d continue to visit every day.

  • John

    Hi,

    I love the site but wont allow you to grab all that info off facebook. good luck with that.
    The comments should be part of the bike exif experience, perhaps with the interviews you should allow the interviewee to respond/answer, if the question merits it. you can always moderate their comments.

  • Pascal

    re: +1 on only authenticated users making comments

    HFL does this fairly successfully, I think. Surely it must help to filter out trolls and venters, as only the truly interested (or the truly crazy ;) will bother to create an account.

  • David M

    I’d like to see you keep the comments. It would be nice to be able to flag the more abusive ones.

    Twitter and Facebook authentication would eliminate those of us that don’t use those services.

  • http://www.hp2.info Andrew Macpherson

    I’d suggest starting a separate PHP bulletin board for all comments, discussions etc.

    I run a couple of websites, and use VBB for one and PHP for the other. The plus with VBB is it is free, and you can build up a great community of resources, readers projects, market place, etc, etc.

    I think you’ll find that comments will grow into community, and that will be very good for your long term growth and development.

    Whatever you decide keep up the great work, I love the site and the updates.

  • G W. Davis

    Concur with many others… we should all be big boys and girls and have the right to read or not read the comments.. It’s a sad commentary that we are even having this conversation… My response is to ignore those who are not civil and enjoy the insight of those who are.

  • Big Mike

    Sorry dude, I have a weird,” No Facebook” policy, but I’d like to say, keep the comments. I have, at one point or another, wanted to comment, but never have. At times I get pretty sentimental, Husky auto for instance, and want to convey how important some of these bikes are, and were. Just having the opportunity to share makes it more quaint, kind of like hoisting a pint at the local, and shootin’ the breeze. Some of those cats are worth talking to and others, you just nod at and let them be. Can’t please everybody, but I for one read every bit I can, even the “Grumpy Gus” comments. Love the site, the content, the broad spectrum of bikes and fans. Keep up the good work.

  • Swagger

    It seems to me (and others above) that it’s really easy for some to get to feeling really important about their opinions when there’s a computer between the world and themselves.

    Personally I think comments about the bikes are fine and dandy because generally nobody gets attacked directly, however when a person is involved…I don’t care how good that person is or how much they’ve contributed to (insert important thing here) there will be someone who doesn’t like them. Whether that’s because of something real or imagined is unimportant in the end. Perhaps leaving comments off for the interviews IS a good idea…..

  • Paul Lespage

    Turn off the comments. Who cares what anyone else thinks or says!!!

  • Jenny K

    I tend to not read the comments anyways, unless i REALLY have a burning desire to. Also, I don’t know why people bash eachother on here anyways. Who cares? It’s all about the motorcycles baby!

  • Lew

    Some people can be offended by anything. Personally I like to know the opinions of others even if they disagree with mine. How many times I’ve been told a youtube video that I made for friends was ‘gay’ or ‘that I sucked’ by 12 year old kids with no content of their own, I’ve lost count. You just need to develop a thicker skin or delete. if you can leave a comment, you’ll always get trolls.

  • FichenDich

    More often than not I don’t even notice the comments section. For me it is all about the bikes. By all means allow the comments section to remain. Obviously it is important to more than a few people. Just keep the pictures coming !

  • tonytiger29

    keep the comments. i check in everyday to see the array of bikes you show and read peoples’ opinionson them. drop the interview parts though. if i click in and see an interview i click out just as quickly. i tune into the site for the bikes and comments on them. or if you keep the interviews post a new bike that day too. i really do come for the bikes. keep the links below the bikes that connect you to a similar bike too. i love seeing bikes that are related to the featured bike. keep up the awesome site.

  • Ray

    I tune in for the content provided by Chris, I like what brings to my mailbox everyday and I’m interested in the people he choses to interview. As for the rest of you bums; get your own blog and stop freeloading on this one. If I want your “comments” I’ll subscribe to your site! Seriously, it’s not about “us.” Every site or blog that drinks the “comments kool-aid” ends up in the same quagmire. Lets just keep this one “pure Chris.”

  • http://www.bestbloggertemplates.net Blogger Guy

    Never left a comment in my few visits guess it’s ‘wont miss it until it’s gone’.Great site :)

  • Art Treff

    I have found Web generated comments to be (mostly) a waste of reading time, so I do not read them. It matters not to me whether they stay or go.

  • jayel

    keep the comments and interviews, no to facebook

  • John V

    I must say I quite like the comments as often there are some very knowledgeable people that write in. Their sharing of information, their own work, links that relate to the article etc. All in all I think they can add just that extra value to a post and enable extra engagement on a community level (and let’s face it, this site has it’s own community that is obviously passionate about bikes!)

    Just my 2c.

  • bill darbyshire

    Please keep the comments. I know it takes time to moderate them, but I also don’t think you have to monitor and censor.

    I agree with Wayne, PB, mudplug and Bart (among others): respect for the work people put into their bikes and respect for others’ opinions go a long way toward making this my favorite every day.

    The few who need to trash others can easily be ignored.

  • Kerry

    I think it all depends on you Chris. I think this blog got to where it is because of what it did; feature lots of bikes through great photography. And, frankly, I think it’s a format it should stick with.

    I think about the Ducati bike the other day. About the only thing I said to myself was “that’s interesting.” Never bothered posting because what good would it serve. Bu that never stopped a number of regular contributors to offer their 2 cents worth that ultimately spirals into how knowledgable each of them thinks they are.

    Jeff Decker’s interview was great and most of the idiot comments caused me to finally post something. That Jeff himself was thoughtful enough to participate in the discussion speak more about him than anything one ever said. But not everyone is Jeff Decker.

    The Jason Kell interview is perhaps the best example of why comments aren’t necessarily helpful. All it did was cement in many people’s minds how much of a dick Stephen Pate is, likely borne out of jealousy because you hadn’t interviewed him about being the current engine builder for Falcon Motorcycles.

    It’s easy to say “just ignore the the comments” but why should we even need to bother being interested in what other’s think about a particular bike or builder? There are plenty of other boards where your topics get discussed, let those moderators police their posts.

    I’d avoid the aggravation of constantly having to monitor a commentary section since they, more often than not, devolve into darkness which ultimately reflects badly on your hard, good work.

  • Simon Godden

    Keep the comments! The knowledgeable contributions and observations outweigh the prejudice.

  • rex havoc

    As much as the quality of the comments have deteriorated since you started, I’m totally against censorship. If it means I have to skim 8 comments from peons to get to something worthwhile then so be it.

  • Ricky

    I read for bikes, photos, background and specs, not comments. I have no interest in random chatter. (I seem to be among the minority here but maybe only people who care about comments are commenting)
    I second an earlier motion to contain comments in a separate link. Another alternative might be a simple ” like this” click option.
    btw I love the embedded links; keeps me busy for hours sometimes.

  • jeffree

    Keep up with the comments section and keep doing what you’re doing.You are changing the face of motorcycle media.

  • andré BIANCO

    Bravo continuer vos articles ici on adore !!

  • Woody

    If they want a totally positive moto-blog experience, they can go read fucking Kneeslider.

  • Hornet

    There are way to many comments to read them all thru, but just for the sake of voting to the site that I sincerely care; I’m voting for keeping comments and even their current anonymity.

    I find this very conjuncture extremely humanist.

  • Sondy Ward

    How do you know what people are thinking if you don’t allow comments? If you get complains about certain commenters, block them after three warnings. I think that’s fair.

  • Fei-lo

    Forget the comments – you already provide a great informative source for bike enthusiasts – comments will need moderating and this will take resources and time and you will upset people constantly – for what – well mostly for people who just want to have their say or push their opinion – not worth the added trouble and adds zero to the information – keep up great work.

  • shawn

    Yes, keep the comments.

    Please try to police them, if thats not possible then remind people to be respectful when expressing opinions.

    Most imortant thing about comments is – with them we are a motorcycle community and without them we are all “together alone”.

  • el vencejo

    Keep the comments on the bikes… builders/designers might actually read them???
    I don’t think there is any place for personal comments about the interviews unless the interviewee invites argument. I live in Spain, so I’ve never heard of most of them anyway.

    I don’t do Facebook.

  • Aaron Burke

    Having watched this great site take off over the better part of a year and the community grow with it I must first congratulate Chris for an amazing effort.

    I can however empathise, that as the person putting so much effort into the site it may be difficult to know what to do when good (and robust) discussion with sharing of information and opinions disintegrate into hostility and name calling.

    I would hate to lose the ability to share with the builders how we feel and respond to their efforts to create these bikes. For it is not just a practical machine but an emotional experience when viewing or riding a motorbike. Maybe, having people authenticate themselves will ease up some the issues.

    As a special note, your interview section has been overall a great thing. Hell, I would like to see you give your opinions, maybe interview yourself?

  • Michalis

    Please keep the comments. Censorship in any way, shape or form should never be an option. Adults can handle a bit of spirited dialogue.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    So many interesting ideas here, and some very valid viewpoints too. I’m leaning towards keeping comments, but using an (easy) login system that requires email verification and makes occasional moderation easier. Not Facebook though—it’s obvious that many of you have mixed feelings about that site.

    Thank you for the compliments too, the escalating traffic figures are proof that something is ‘right’ but it’s always much better to get real human feedback.

  • Dirk

    Interviews is just that interviews so no need for comments on those topics. The other stuff I agree comments should be allowed even if it turns into some banter.

  • Mule

    Epiphany time this morning! After reading a lot of the “opinions” on “Opinions”, I realized an important factor. It pertains to the 5-90-5 rule. Five percent of the people will take what ever is delivered to them and they’ll be just tickled. The other five percent will never be happy about anything and will always bitch and complain. The majority, ninety percent will more or less be middle of the road. If something is super clean, innovative or exceptional, they’ll say so. If something doesn’t look right or not so good or the subject of an interview seems out of wack, they’re likely to speak up.

    But after you’ve read all the magazine articles and roadtests or all the advertisements, the comments here and other places are what real people think about a bike, product or person. They aren’t paid to think or speak one way or the other. You get to do your ownpersonal filtering of these opinions.

    Like the dented tank Honda. I had an opinion and I voiced it. At the same time, I was amazed at how many people loved it at this website. I would never have thought that. This site is a form of market research.

  • mudplug

    Just a thought: this discussion is helping to shape what people want / expect of the comments section.

    With some general boundaries slowly forming, and a clearer perspective on the value that comments can have, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the number of comments posted actually increase.
    Less likely, but even more appealing, is the thought that the quality of comments might increase too.

    Although I agree in principle with G W. Davis, “It’s a sad commentary that we are even having this conversation…” – now that it’s being discussed, it will probably bring some good results.

    Thanks for asking us Chris, it does dignify the readers, though that’s probably undeserved…

  • http://www.thierryvincent.com Thierry Vincent

    Please, do keep the comments open. I think they are what makes an internet magazine worth reading, the mere possibility for everyone to interact.

    I think that for both web and print press, the way not to eat each other is to be different. To me Bike Exif is nice to read because it brings interesting yet short info easy to read (eg having a 5 minutes break during a computer work session), I like its simplicity and the possibility to be part of it, yet it doesn’t stop me to read print magazines mostly because they cover the information in a longer way (hence it’s always nice to sit in a sofa and relax with it) and also because I like the material aspect of a magazine.

    In conclusion, I find your concept very adapted to the web users and the comments are part of this, so keep them!

    Cheers!

  • http://www.makergo.com Matt Rennick

    YES to comments. Even the most ridiculous ones are usually worth reading…

  • Go_big

    Chris – Keep the comments for sure. That slinging match the other week made me tire of sifting through them for anything of substance but showed they are an interesting social science experiment and besides, the option is always there for us to just not read them.

    Keep up the top notch work and never mind the haters !

  • http://45dgree.com/ steveb

    tough stuff, every online venue tackles this as it grows past it’s core

    my .02:
    yes >to comments
    no >to anonymity

    if you want to comment, take ownership of your position

  • Jim

    Keep the comments.

    Those who aren’t interested or feel they are a distraction, should simply not read them. I regularly comment, but do not always read the comments on every post and frequently skip those that I believe are written by idiots.

  • Jay

    First, I believe the comments should stay. I think most people here believe the same. The ones who post negative comments or foul language will always happen and are on many online content sources that I read on a daily basis when it comes to this sort of thing…news, sport related and art sites, etc. It is to be expected. I will continue to read and post comments as long as this excellent source exists!
    Keep on keepin’ on…bike/cycle exif is by far my fave source of every morning reading! Infact, it is my homepage! Your friends in Vancouver, Canada :)

  • CB750

    no comments means less material to look at. people will spend less time on the site. come on man, its easy.

  • DougD

    Facebook polls invade my privacy. Leave the comments on. People can choose to read them or not. It’s an indispensable aspect of social media.

  • hoyt

    Why do some not want comments for the interviews?

    It is as close to being part of the dialogue as you can get regardless if some do not use tact

  • http://www.bendpress.com Jenks

    Keep the comments, maybe just moderate them. If there are comments being posted that are just plain hateful, delete them. But the fierce debate is good — there’s definitely a place for strong debate… why not here, on an intelligent website?

  • Andrew

    I think the comment section is an integral part of the blog experience and should stay as part of Bike EXIF. How cool is it that the average person can interact with and react to a posting? Of course there will be the fringe. Sometimes I am moved to think differently by an entry. Overall my blog experience is enhanced by the readers comments. I don’t think you should moderate the comments. Participate in them? Yes, but sensor them, no. It would take too much of your valuable time from scanning the net for more cool bikes. Its a daily post, not a forum.

  • http://www.neoedo.com neoedo

    Chris, I think your post is right on:
    “So many interesting ideas here, and some very valid viewpoints too. I’m leaning towards keeping comments, but using an (easy) login system that requires email verification and makes occasional moderation easier. Not Facebook though—it’s obvious that many of you have mixed feelings about that site.”

    Thumbs up for a login system, and a big thumbs down to Facebook.
    I’ve managed to keep off of that system since it began and would hate to look the ability to participate here due to my stubborn refusal to embrace that site!

  • Tropical Ice Cube

    That’a lot of comments on comments/ I must confess I haven’t read them all extensively, sorry.

    Agree with Mike (7614) and others on the Button:
    make it à la arstechnica.com, one more click if people want to read/discuss.

    And if too much flaming occurs, there’s the wikipedia way: limited number of intervention over a fixed period of time; when you force people to think, it usually works.

    I like the ID idea from Wayne Dahlberg (7604).
    But that means registration… In other times, there were discussions (research?) about registering as a slowing down process that does not drive more interesting input, but just harsher, and from people that just don’t have any better to do; an unregistered comments systems allow anybody – not only the most extreme – to post an opinion. This is the way it is now, and I love its openness.

    As for Nicknames, I don’t agree: It’s on the verge of censorship and it’s so hugely informative when someone displays his/her self behind… Hu, ho, let’s not make mortal enemies right here, right now: mine is stupid enough, but people can find me on HFL with it for instance.

    Please keep BikeEXIF away from from the private-data hungry devils at FB, Twitter and suchlikes, thanks.

    A last input: a very community (albeit a bit boring) thing to do is to put the ‘rules’ on the table to be discussed among us. Not that I see much to change to it… A short one on (nick)names, maybe. And more technically, if you have the coding resources, have them displayed the first time a seemingly new IP click on your shiny new ‘expand comments’ button.

    Your moderation counts, and counts a lot, because it helps build the tone of your website, thus creating a sense of community that is really, I believe, a great traffic generator.

    Keep up the good work; and don’t hesitate to trash whatever you hate: it’s your website, and it seems a lot of people like it.
    Jean-Philippe

  • Buzz

    All, wake up! This sight has NEVER just been about motorcycles, it’s also about photography, consumables, fashion, it’s whatever Chris decides to put on it. Him trying to make all you “hater-haters” clam up with your complaints about negativity is almost revolting. Vitesse doesn’t make bikes,did any of you bitch then? I know I’ll never fit in their stuff, but that doesn’t violate my personal happiness quotient. It’s still cool and nice to look at. I know I entered the Schott Leather giveaway last year, did you freak out about it? “Oh, a contest, how beneath me” Are you serious? Chris makes comments and list how the photography was done, haven’t you noticed? Canon doesn’t make anything motorcycle related, did you flip out then?
    “I’m so astute, cool, intelligent, better than everyone else, I’m just here for bikes, builders, leather, etc…” Can’t you see your own hypocrisy?
    Chris, please leave the comments. I have left Facebook and don’t Twitter, since I’m a luddyte, troglodyte, troll, crazy, ignorant, unwashed, stupid, etc…
    It is your site, and those of us who appreciate YOUR work, appreciate you exposing things to us we might not otherwise know about or ever even see.
    I got a big kick out of the bicycle addition! Even though I may never pedal again, and most certainly will not like everything I see….God Bless you, boyo!

  • iRivas

    I think the comments are important to this website. Obviously there are some people who take it too far, but otherwise I enjoy the experience of putting in my $o.o2 and reading what other people have to say.

  • burt

    I am not on facebook or twitter and do not intend to ever have an account with either organization. This is a deliberate choice, as facebook has the worst security/privacy policy on the net! If that means your survey is not available here, so much the worse for the readers.

    That said, whats wrong with using “burt” as a name for leaving comments? It is, after all, MY NAME. I rarely leave comments, but I like to have the ability to do so. I have stopped reading blogs that had no clear way to leave a comment, whether by design or ignorance on the part of the authors (or possibly ignorance by the user…).

    This blog is mostly a visual experience, but there have to be words that explain how the effect was created, and the experience tends to be better for everyone if this is a two way conversation, not a lecture.

    I am mostly ignorant of the problem, though. I am not a BIG fan of Harley Davidson motorcycles, but I am just as sure that many readers are not fans of “rice rockets”, “cafe racers” and the like. The thing is, when you learn a little more about them, you can’t help but appreciate them a bit more. All it takes is a modicum of civility and tolerance for what is, and must remain, a matter of taste, after all.

  • Brooks Moses

    Add me to the chorus of people who don’t have Facebook and thus can’t participate in the poll. I think the comments are valuable, and part of what I like about the site is seeing people’s reactions to the bikes you show.

    Thus, I’d cast a somewhat cautious vote for keeping them. My caveat is that at some level of size, the noise starts growing faster than the signal and you need moderation, and good moderation takes a bit of work. I don’t think you’re near there yet, but I also think that if it gets to that point and if you don’t have the time (or volunteers with the time!) to do decent moderation, then no comments is better than a vicious thought-free mess.

    The level of moderation that I’ve seen as working well to maintain a high-signal community really seems to be on the firm-but-simple end: Asshole posts get deleted, quickly, and the moderator applies an “It’s my blog, I know it when I see it, and if you don’t like it, get your own blog” rule for deciding what’s assholery. Gripes diminish tremendously when the moderator has a firm grasp of the distinction between “This bike is horrible trash and the person who made it is [insert insult here]” and “This bike is horrible trash, for these well-explained reasons.”

    I’ve also seen communities that have an interesting level of comments where the moderation standard is “everything goes in the queue, and only the particularly interesting and insightful stuff is approved”. I stopped commenting on one when only maybe 1 out of 3 of my (good, I thought) comments got posted, but they still seem to get plenty of comments — and they get ones that disagree as well as agree with the initial post.

    Of course, any of these moderation strategies mean that you’ll need to put up with the “you abridged my free speech by deleting my ranting from your blog, how dare you censor me like this” self-entitled jerks who are unclear on the concept, so you need to have a thick skin — but that’s what leather jackets are for!

  • Trav

    It’s this simple. If you don’t like comments, don’t scroll down this far!

    You need to get beyond whatever it is that you can’t get your mind around, not stricken it.

    Better yet; can’t take it? go take a RIDE.

  • http://see360studios.com davidabl

    Traditional webgroup guidelines should be enough:” no politics, no religion,
    and no personal attacks” with offending comments getting zapped by an
    admin. If it works for the crusty folks on the Ironhead Sportster forums it
    ought to work anywhere else in motorcycledom. You may need a comely
    intern to read all the comments…

  • Brooks Moses

    Also, I want to add a very strong voice of disagreement to the idea of requiring people to use “real names” to comment. I do it, but that’s because it’s not a particularly risky choice for me. For my friend who happens to be a woman and happens to have a completely unique name, it’s a lot more risky — anyone who wants to spend 10 minutes at it can find out her address, and the number of creeps who would say, “Wow, a chick who’s into motorcycles; I have to go meet her” (or something like that) and turn into creepy stalkers is really not zero. We men –particularly white men — tend to forget that other people have to think about such concerns!

  • Thomason

    Would just love to see this post be the first to go beyond 100 comments…

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    The Ducati Diavel post grabbed that honor, I’m afraid!

  • Thomason

    Oh yeah, didn’t clock it. Ah well.

  • Doyle

    I feel comments should stay but the commenter should be friendly and civil. Maybe not quite to my Mom’s admonishment “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything” but criticism should be couched in civil terms if the commenter feels compelled to put it out there. On Bike I feel like I hang out with a bunch of friends I’ve never met who share a common interest and I’d invite any of them to hang in my shop. But if I was hanging in your shop I’d certainly not tell you bluntly if I thought less than highly of what you are building–especially if you were proffering beer…!

    Sorry I won’t actually vote. FB and Twitter somehow give me the creeps (my Luddite tendencies I’m afraid) so I don’t use them. But chalk me up as a permanent fan.

  • Dan Lurker

    Plus one vote for keeping comments. I’ve never commented before, and doubt I will much in future. But I think the comments add a lot of value to what would otherwise just be a photo gallery.

    I like reading the comments, and I actually particularly value reading the criticism – I’m not condoning people being mean or abusive, but I do value the different opinions that are voiced. Often a piece of considered criticism – of the form: “I would change this because of that” – makes me think differently about the bikes on display.

    I have sympathy that the bike builders showcased don’t necessarily invite the criticism on this site, so I would hope that different opinions can be expressed in a polite and constructive manner.

    Without the comments I would probably not follow this site, as it would not offer much more (to me) than a google images search.

  • Mark

    Keep the comments, PLEASE, but posters please keep them positive or constructively critical. I never comment on the bikes I don’t like…what’s the point? If someone rode up to a bar on a bike I didn’t like, would I go up to him and tell him how ugly his bike was? Not unless I wanted a fight! Just be polite, constructive, civil…all that good stuff.

  • http://caseyg,com.au Casey

    Keep comments alive!
    If you need assistance moderating comments there are bound to be people on here who will help you with that job. You will know who trust with that job by their commenting history. THere are also excellent 3rd party tools to help with moderating comments on blogs (like disqus.com).

  • mack-o-matik

    I really appreciate this site, lots of totally devoted bikers here. I think the comment section should stay – if one can’t handle it, just don’t scroll down. I would like to have some comments about the fotographers’ jobs as well…
    cheers mate

  • Buzz

    Chris, you also asked if you should “keep the interviews” after a fashion. I also think that that was the impetus for this question. If people are willing to give you interviews, and you have time to process them, by all means do it.

    I sliced off a piece of my thumb on Saturday, it won’t be coming back. I would prefer that I hadn’t made that cut in the first place. Keep this site how YOU feel it should be. Don’t make cuts you’ll regret to placate a vocal minority. It is no democracy or republic. It is yours, and we are indebted to you for sharing it with us. If you can, please keep it free, because I know I couldn’t afford a subscription right now.

  • Alberto

    I will like to vote with the poll….but I don’t have a Facebook profile…
    I think many like me are not Facebook fan.
    Anyway, leave comments on articles not on interview. It’s my choice.
    Great site!
    I like it very much!

  • Jason Welsh

    The comments section has truly become a pain in the ass in a lot of ways, mainly because so many people write things they’d never say to peoples’ faces (at least without a busted lip). I have spent many comments writing to overwhelm the bullshit that the negative bunch posts.

    Here is a great list of ways to improve the comments section: http://powazek.com/posts/1063

    The NY Times, I’m told, has a dedicated staff of a dozen, headed by a Community Manager, to manage their comments section. With management, comments really can be as interesting as the posts themselves, and some amazing readers contribute A TON to the dialogue. When it is encouraged to flourish, it does very well. Without a dedicated editor or two, it can become unbearable.

    A management philosophy and dedicated staff is obviously required. That’s resources. I’d step up to help if I weren’t going overseas. This article suggests shutting it down for a time, then reopening it with a stronger moderation bent:

    http://open.salon.com/blog/scott_rosenberg/2010/04/13/newspaper_comments_forget_anonymity_the_problem_is_management/comment

    Hope that helps. Bikeexif is amazing, and I think the comments can step up to that level, as well. Thanks for asking–I’ve started to post something in this regard a couple of times.

    Yours,
    Jason Welsh

  • Harry Farquhar

    Chris you are definitely doing a lot of things right. Having said that I can’t think of any thing I would criticize so just keep doing what you are doing.
    You’re developing the paradigm for the future of online magazines. My only concern with comments is if moderating them takes time away from other more intersesting items and features for the site.

  • joe momma

    …yah mon….keep the bikes coming…..i can handle these dorxs……..

  • Ron Fairbrother

    Dude,
    Whatever you decide is fine by me. I’m happy that you take the time to produce this site and, although your choice of bike is not always to my liking, I would miss my regular visits here.
    I guess as long as the comments were self regulating and the commentees refrained from getting personal or indeed rude, then there’s no real problem.
    Just don’t stop doing what you do…..please.

    Many thanks

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    There’s a great article from the NY Times on commenting here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html

    Within the next few days, we’ll be implementing a stronger commenting and moderation system that should keep most people happy.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris Hunter

    We’ve just installed a new commenting system and it’s being tested right now. At the moment, anyone can comment, but we’ll probably move it to a login system that prevents anonymous comments. This should cut down the flame wars.

    Another benefit is the ‘like’ button — if someone takes the time to make a particularly good comment, you can ‘like’ it. You can also ‘sort’ comments using the bar at the top of the section, for example to see the most popular comments.