My good friend Moshe Koppel, a professor of computer science at Bar Ilan University, just called to tell me that it is a serious mistake to shut off reader comments. I had already reached the same conclusion and on the same grounds: One of the primary attractions of the site is the ability to participate in the discussion and to have one’s two cents recorded. Absent that people will simply stop coming. We should not kid ourselves that any of us are (yet) such famous names, ala Andrew Sullivan or Glenn Reynolds, that people will just rush to hear our latest pronouncements.
That said there still remains the fact that the blogsphere attracts its own peculiar denizens: people who appear on every blog site pushing their particular hobby horse ad nauseum and beyond. Moshe says the only way to deal with them is to remove their postings and hope against hope that they will tire of posting before you tire of removing them.
But without readers and respondents, the writers too will soon grow tired of magnifying their small differences from one another.
I run the comments section of my blog the way R. Moshe Koppel suggested and it has, more or less, worked so far.
I don’t think having all comments be reviewed for approval before appearing would work either. People want the internet to run real-time.