Don't Read the Comments??

Historically, The Scintillating But Ultimately Untrue Thought has not provided a comment section. There were two reasons for this.

First, technical limitations, downstream of technical æsthetics. There are standard out-of-the-box blogging hosts—your WordPress, your Medium, &c.—that are easy for anyone to use, at the cost of taking control away from the user, locking access to your soul away on someone else's server, or, at best, obfuscated in some database behind opaque gobs of PHP. My real-name blog (started in December 2011, when I was much less technically adept) is still running WordPress, and I'm sad about it. In contrast, this blog is produced using the Pelican static site generator from Markdown text files, versioned in Git—simple tools I understand, producing flat HTML files that Nginx can serve. When I don't like something about my theme or my plugins, I'm not at the mercy of the developers; I can just fix it myself. The lack of a database meant forgoing a comment section, but that seemed like a small loss, because—

Second, internet comment sections are garbage and I don't want to be bothered to moderate one. I thought, people who are actually interested in replying to my writing can write a longform response on their own blog (please?—I'll link back), or on Reddit when I share to /r/TheMotte; and people who want to talk to me can find my email address (checked less often than my real-name email; I regret any delays) on the About page.

So I thought, and yet—first, the same do-it-myself æsthetics that make static-site generators attractive, make me cautiously open to the idea of a comment section that I can configure and host myself, rather than being held commercially hostage by the likes of Disqus. Second, perhaps some small consolation for never being a popular writer (I'm not prolific enough, and occupying too weird of a niche), is that maybe my readership is exclusive and discerning enough for the comments section to not be garbage.

So, as an experiment—no promises or warranties—I've set up an instance of the Isso commenting engine to host a comments section at the bottom of each indivdual post page.

Don't make me regret this.

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