Should you disable comments on tutorials?

I received this question over email and I have to admit it’s a tricky one for me to answer. Before I get to the answer let me tell you about my outlook on comments and why I enable them here.

I allow comments because I love interacting with people without the 140 character restriction. Comments allow the conversation to continue and it’s nice to hear other points of view.

Pros and Cons of Comments

Before I dive into the question let’s look at some pros and cons of comments:

Pros

  • Builds a community
  • Better SEO
  • Allows you to meet new people

Cons

  • Time-consuming​ to manage
  • Can get overwhelming
  • Trolls, Spammers, and hate (1,200+ spam ones on this site)
  • Overall comments are declining across the web.
  • Posts with no comments

The question

The question is very specific, though, should you disable them on tutorials?

If I look at one of my popular tutorials, Setting up Gulp, Bower, Bootstrap Sass, & FontAwesome, it has 55 comments and most are related to it not working or some strange error.

Being the type of person that wants to help everyone I’ve spent a lot of time trying to debug various errors reported. I feel like when you share a tutorial you are the expert on the subject and when people ask for help I should be available. Much like releasing an open source project.

Then the other disadvantage is with 55 comments are they really useful? I can’t expect anyone to ever read through that many.

Plus most software that you are covering has their own forums or chat room where readers can get more details or clarification.

So it really comes down to you the writer. Can you handle the comments? Do you have the time to manage them? Do you have a thick skin?

If you answer yes to those questions, then I’d enable them. Otherwise no.

Have a question about tech, writing, or something random? Contact me here and I’ll do my best to answer it.