Are there still academic blogs that have active discussions in the comments?

Reading my archives I feel sad that the commenting that was so key to blogs has disappeared, drifted off into closed conversations on Facebook that will be unsearchable and unfindable just a few weeks from now, and dotted around in truncated tweets. I wrote eloquently in 2001:

“How can we speak personally to one another and not be self-centred?” asks Jane Tompkins (in Kauffman, Gender and Theory). I think the clue is in the words “to one another” – and this is why blogs are so powerful: we write to one another. Blogs are always part of a context. We comment on one another’s writing, we comment on what we read, what we experience. Each post in a blog is anchored to a time (the time stamp, the immediacy, opinions in time rather than in a fictitious eternity) and to other writing (the links that posts revolve about) and to an individual. Blogs are personal, they are writing in context.

Are they still? Some blogs have certainly retained this. There are lots of comments on Soulemama’s post about gathering warm eggs from their hens, or on a sewing pattern posted at A Beautiful Mess,

Is it just academic blogs? Cyborgology is a blog I enjoy reading, but there are very few comments there – with the recent heated discussions on the posts about “seminal” being a sexist word being exceptions. danah boyd gets some comments, not too many (the post about the Oculus Rift being sexist got a pile – see a pattern here?) wrote last week about missing blogging, and is going to try blogging as part of a group called The Message at Medium. Medium has comments on each paragraph, which makes them a lot less visible (you have to click a number beside the paragraph to see them) and the discussion certainly becomes more fragmented than when comments are all on the whole text. Maybe I’ll get used to it.

I have to admit I don’t comment much myself these days. I read blogs – academic and other – regularly, but mostly on my phone with an RSS reader, and I rarely click through to the blog itself to comment.

Which academic blogs do you enjoy? Are there academic blogs that do have active comments?

04. May 2014 by Jill
Categories: Blogging | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. Historiann and Tenured Radical both have active comments.

  2. I actually just started an academic blog and after my first blog entry, I went looking around for other academic, specifically rhet/comp, blogs to follow. A good majority of the ones I found hadn’t been updated in over a year. While I’m sure the content on those blogs, as dusty as it may have been, is interesting, I wasn’t compelled to “add” them to my favorites. Subconsciously (or consciously), I wanted fresh content. It’s a weird phenomenon. I’m not sure what to make of it.

  3. I must admit I get very few comments on my academic blog (if it counts as academic?).

    Scientopia seems to be a good source of well-commented blogs. I found Dr. Isis via that site (, and I followed inbabyattachmode for quite some time: she has /just/ moved over there on

  4. I still think of weblogs as a reaction to Usenet (newsgroups). The only moderator (i.e. entity with power to prevent or remove entries – messages in Usenet, posts and comments in blogs) is the author/owner of the weblog. It is more difficult to find relevant weblogs than it used to be to find a few newsfroups but the signal to noise ratio is much better.

  5. Funny, I am now manually copying and pasting my old blog from a saved database and am now revisiting all these old entries and comments. It was happening in 2003. Following links back to those that posted, it seems there is a general shrinking of the active blogosphere. Less prolific, writing or a quitting altogether of these old friends.

  6. Andrew Gelman’s blog “Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science” (at is very good and there is plenty of valuable discussion as well.

  7. you’re so right! I miss those days too. Although i must say, i am much more a reader of comments than a producer.

    I wonder if we just made commitments to each other, would it bring it back???

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