Fred Wilson is thinking about closing off his older comment streams to help adapt to a new technology that will make his well-traversed blog's comments a bigger part of the clickstream. I understand the rationale - comments have been buried in blog architecture for too long - but I think it's a mistake.
I love getting comments on old posts, and I get them all the time. My Guitars R Us post from way back in 2004 is great case in point. It's become the de facto public commons for Guitar Center employees (current and former) to dissect the company's management practices, compensation structure, and business plan. My original thoughts have been long since cashiered to mere background status; the commenters have been going at it for years. The most recent post there is from August 19th - indeed, that single post has almost reached full-blown blog status on its own.
There are others. I got a comment from a friend of Marina Lakhman just the other day. In the spring 02 2004, I wrote about Marina, a terrific young woman who died tragically young. It was a short remembrance of a colleague and a friend who didn't live to see Web 2.0, but would have embraced its social aspects in all fullness. I get comment on that post a couple of times a year. Last week, I got this from Manny:
I agree with the poster who said she is one of those people that when you hear they're dead, you go "what the..." One of the saddest days of my ife is when I found out she died.
And, of course, it brought Marina to my mind. That's a good thing. I still get comments on some of my Mukhtaran Bibi posts from awhile back. And punk rock fans of a certain vintage are always liable to drop in and defend Johnny Ramone's politics or mourn untimely demise of Johnny Thunders. That's great. Over on Fred's blog, commenter Shannon Clark nails it, I think:
There is indeed value to the comments in certain old posts - I know of many bloggers whose old posts on a given topic have sparked a small community in the comment threads for a given post (usually on topics hard to find elsewhere online).
We need to open comments to the distributed media model; our posts go everywhere, but comments stay home. And comment spam is an incredible annoyance. But I'd hate to see Fred close off comments to older posts - his is an influential blog and it may lead others to take the same step. and I think he'll miss the little late-arriving gems that can really pick up an old post.