I read a lot of email newsletters and I love the simplicity of them.
Receive, read, forward, maybe reply, delete.
If I was starting AVC all over again, I’d head over to TinyLetter, which my daughter uses, and start writing.
But I’ve got legacy issues to consider. I’ve got an archive, a three letter URL with a lot of Google Juice, an RSS feed, a community, and a number of other things that I’ve built up over the years.
Many AVC readers don’t bother with any of that and simply subscribe and read via email. For them, AVC is an email newsletter. The number of readers who engage that way has been growing a lot in recent years and it is now the majority of readers. That speaks volumes to me and suggests that is how most people want to get this content every day.
So I’ve got an email newsletter with a lot more overhead. The community requires moderation and maintenance. We have to actively manage spam. I need to keep up with WordPress, which introduced a new UI that most people dislike (I’m mostly fine with it). I have a hosting service to deal with. And the email and RSS feeds are powered by third parties who do a great job for me but need some level of staying on top of.
That is a fair bit of technical debt that I’ve built up over the years and would go away if I was using a modern newsletter service like TinyLetter.
So I am going to experiment with simplifying AVC a bit in the coming months. One thing I am going to do for sure is cut back on the comments. I have seriously thought about shutting down comments and I have done that for a few posts.
I am either going to shut them down for a week and see how that feels. Or shut them down except for a few posts a week (like Sunday and Tuesday).
The truth is comments are used by a very small portion of the AVC readership. But the people who use the comments are very active and engaged. So removing comments won’t impact a lot of readers, but it will impact the most loyal readers.
So I want to tread lightly here. But I also want to lower the overhead of writing and managing AVC and comments are the highest overhead feature on AVC.
I’m interested to hear what people think of the overall goal and objective of simplification and how I’m thinking about it. And I’m specifically interested in feedback on cutting back on comments.
How I go about doing this is still a bit of a work in progress in my mind and I appreciate the feedback as I think this through.
the ratio of 1:near ∞ is a tricky one to manage.The ‘less is more’ approach? On comments, do a Twitter. Limit the number of characters per comment, maybe (?). Set a limit on the number of comments a reader can make in a specified period of time, say in a week (seven days) – quality over quantity? Is any of this even technically possible with Disqus? I have no idea. Do we even need the tech to ‘dictate’ our behaviour? Perhaps we should all develop greater mental strength and discipline and agree limits and stick to them.Or, just stop writing good posts and we will naturally drift away over time. There’s your answer.P.S. How about one day a week where your post is just a single image (photo, painting cartoon,…), but no words, and comments the same, no words, just a visual reply. It’s fast, and it could be funny, or not. Words are overrated.P.P.S. I’ll volunteer to not comment for the next six months. Lemme know.P.P.P.S. All good things come to an end. It’s just about the ‘when’.Edit 21:30 GMT – on reflection i think Fred should scrap comments, end the centralised nature of his blog, and migrate to a decentralised platform.
Please don’t abandon comments.I read AVC every morning on the website. Emails get lost in my inbox.I get alerted of new posts in my Feedly feed, but I then click through to the website. And the reason why I click through to the website is that the comments are even more important to me than the post itself.This is literally the first time I’ve ever posted a comment here, and I had to actually reset my Disqus password to be able to log in to do so, but I feel strongly enough about the comments that I went through that effort. (edit: actually looks like I posted once, 3 years ago).I’m a comment leecher. I am not a big fan of posting my own comments, and I am not a big fan of attaching my name to things for general consumption on the internet. But I love when other people do.I don’t always love each of the accounts who comment actively here (mainly thinking of the one with all caps…), but I just ignore those. And most of them I can’t wait to hear from (LE, JLM, Phil, Falicon).The online community aspect is powerful to me. I like to hear what many people think and how they react to a common prompt.If comments were removed, I will sadly be less likely to show up every day.Just one leech’s opinion…
Random side note: Just being mentioned in your comment made my day. Thanks for going through the hassle to post it!
There’s a guilt , but large group that enjoys your opinions.
Meant to say: there’s a sometimes quiet, but large group that enjoys your opinions.
I knew what you meant (and REALLY appreciate it too). 🙂
Well, I was stumped. But completely agree. No guilt though.
I think you are full of it.Just looking to be fair & balanced 😉
I’m full of something…that’s for sure…
Super powerful. Thanks for stepping forward!
I second that sentiment. At least half the value that I receive from reading your blog comes from the comments. It’s also a large part of what makes this blog a community, lose that and you’ve lost what is special about AVC.
Agree 100%. It’s a lot of work for you (and I don’t even see what goes on behind the scenes- dealing with spam, etc.), but the comments are where at least 1/2 the value is.
Comments section value (for me) > blog value, which is itself of high value. It’s the combination that really bring great value to my day.
Another comment leech here! I mainly consume the daily newsletter via email, but about once every two weeks I’ll click through to see what the peanut gallery is saying. In fact, I created a Disqus account just to leave this comment.
Thanks for the shout out. I was secretly hoping until I read your comment that Fred would kill comments entirely. That would be the cold turkey that I need to stop wasting so much time here. Then what you said has relit the addiction.That said I think what Fred is missing is this.First let me start by saying Fred should 100% do what is in his best interest. If the comments are causingto much stress then he should kill the comments. If I was his friend that is what I would tell him to do. You have to protect your health and sanity first. That is what I would do. That is what I have said here in my comments in one way or another. Obviously this is to stressful for him. It may be time to pull the plug. I call it like I see it independent of how it might impact me in any way.But the other thing to keep in mind is this.Fred can’t ignore the fact that not only has he gained because it appears that he has a popular blog but that it probably has been good for his business and his image. Maybe that doesn’t matter anymore as much as it did at this point in his life.The fact that there are both many comments (mostly well said I might add) as well as frequent commenters makes Fred and the blog look popular. A blog with little commenting (or trashy comments like you see on newspapers) appears to have little value and therefore is not as attractive and hence the blogger will not be seen as important. It’s like a restaurant with empty seats. People want to be where there is activity and popularity. Even if you have to give meals away it will attract paying customers. This is a basic concept. Popularity sells. (Same in stadiums, right? Why they give away tickets..) Used to do barter for restaurants back in the day. It was solely about keeping seats filled and appearing popular to attract full paying diners.The fact that there are frequent comments by the exact same people ‘cast of characters’ also adds to the familiarity and appeal because there is predictability. What is this similar to? A sitcom. People watch sitcoms, series and consume all sorts of entertainment (Opinion writers) because they can guess what is going to happen and what someone is going to say or do. That makes them feel comfortable and attracts them. (I could ‘blow hard’ longer by bringing in kids and mickey mouse (the eyes and exagerated features make him familiar and non threatening) here but I won’t.I will end with a story about social proof and long lines. When I was a kid I had a seminal experience when we went to Miami Beach for a vacation. (Fountainbleu hotel kick ass back in the day). It was the early 70’s. I remember two things (other than the hotel) one was the jet black and luxurious driveways. The other was Wolfies.As we drove along Collins Avenue there was a restaurant called ‘Wolfie’s’ and there was a really long line (of old Jews with gray hair I might add) lining the sidewalk waiting to get in. I had never seen this before. It was clear that Wolfies was a very popular place. We ended up going there and it was busy inside as well. I had never seen that before. No doubt many people decided to try Wolfies simply because the long line made it appear to be ‘popular and the place to be’. This was certainly one of the first business lessons I observed of many to come about this one topic alone.That said do what is best for you but don’t forget the value of the blowhards either!… https://uploads.disquscdn.c… https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
A comment on a post asking for feedback on possibly nuking comments tells Fred to do what’s in his best interest (agree btw) while at the same time demonstrating the value and perspective comments bring to this experience…It’s like meta and irony had a baby.
I thought the same thing, that will help me cut back my time here. I second the thought that it’s totally up to Fred.I’d just comment that without comments I’d do what I do with many blogs: save up till the weekend and binge read them.I’d read Bethany’s blog but it really doesn’t have comments, neither does Mark’s.I think the two things that make Fred’s blog a must read daily is the fact that he has no zero days and generally the comments are good.The political ones don’t really bother me.But hey if they bother Fred, it might be at the point: “for who for what?”I do think that there are people that have made “a name” here and that might bother Fred. I’d say like any platform the platform provider always hates when others glom on and make “a name” but I’d say it’s generally symbiotic.In any case my two cents like all of my comments, worth what you paid for it, is that if you cut back to let’s say Monday’s and Thursday’s, I’d kill the comments all together.
Fred has brought this up previously as well, and my sense is that comments are something that have been bothering him for a while now.When time does not resolve an issue, it may be time to act and he probably wants to let it go at this point. And if he does, we thank him for all these years…
When someone is over something they may have a tendency to sabotage it unwittingly and let it die a slow death. Not saying that Fred is doing this.I always thought the practice of shooting an injured horse was a sad, sad thing, but I understand that in many instances, it is for the best.
Yup if it grates on you as I said for who for what?
Sometimes when you talk about your younger life, it conjures up scenes from Mrs. Maisel. One of my favorite shows, btw.
Fun show..it has “atmosphere” and is sufficiently detached from reality that you just sit back and observe. And I wonder if you enjoyed season 2 even more after your visit to Paris last year :-)..
I felt like I was there with them.Made me so nostalgic for Paris.
I suggested a Mrs. Maisel sweepstakes idea to the staff of you know who. Win a 3-day all expense paid trip to NYC, including a shopping spree (not at Bonwit’s, that’s closed) and a night out at a comedy club w/ Mrs. Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan).The part of the series that is so attractive for me is the level and attention to detail (e.g., wardrobe, styling, sets). A level of detail like Santo Loquasto captures in Woody Allen movies.That said, I did like Season 1 a little bit better. Maybe cause it was so fresh and new.
What a GREAT idea!Did “you know” listen to this at all?
They need to move that part of the biz to LA, where there’s greater resources and a firmer understanding of entertainment marketing and promotion. There’s a disconnect imo on that end of the biz here in Seattle.
I hear what you are saying about fresh and new. What I did like about Season 2 was that the characters became more complex which made them seem more human. Even though it brought an undercurrent of sadness to the hilarity.
My wife and I watch that show she likes it I am actually not really a fan. We went to those Catskills places as a kid (my wife different generation did not). I think my main complaint is familiarity in some way plus the fact that some of the themes are to me overdone. Kind of in the same way I wasn’t a fan of mad men (yeah we get it men smoked back then..)Separately (and not the reason I am not a fan but as said I do watch it) is I don’t like the way it treats men as buffoons. It kind of plays to the current theme of ‘women are far superior’ that appears to be going around. The men cheat and say stupid things. Have only watched two episodes of the current season so far.Still waiting to figure out how someone on a university salary gets that apartment (even back then) in NYC. Have they revealed some family connection to money yet?
They reveal that the apartment is paid for by the university (university owned).
Yeah – what the heck is the point if we can’t read JLM?
The point is if you want to read JLM, you should read his blog .AVC is not a blog host
Someone once said that Karl Lagerfeld does his best work at Chanel (as opposed to under his own name) because of the internal or external editing. Similarly, I think, JLM does his best work over here.
I got chills reading this comment, Karen.
Donna Brewington White:We really wonder if people actually understand what a Stepford wife means. No one with a brain got chills of what Karen_2 posted. Most likey her husband posting it.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT
Fred should embrace that Lorne Michaels is a comedy genius.
I’ve thought about his psychological frame of being an incredible leader and what that is, including where it may be limited.It seems as if is pen makes up for mistakes lost or his pen proves out what may be won.Either way a spirit we all wish to possess.
Is it about ‘constraint’? It’s difficult to impose self constraint. We see that human weakness everywhere. We need to be constrained by others, but in a positive (productive) way that each benefits from.
I don’t know. You don’t get the same appreciation of irony on a Texan blog.
Isn’t the point to have reactions spark reactions in a chemical manner?
Strongly seconded. I am also a lurker, reading via Feedly and clicking through each post due to the value of the comments.The mix of Fred’s good writing and the commentariat here is something special. I tried reading @JLM’s blog for a while but unsubscribed…too unfocused for my tastes. But @JLM’s posts here are consistently excellent, both insightful and entertaining, and something I always look forward to and stop to read in full. I’ve even copied some of his comments into my Notes app for future reference and inspiration, something that I never do. Without comments like his, this place will lose a big part of what makes it special. And without comments, it will feel dead and uninviting, and I will likely visit much less.On the internet these days, a place with quality discussion is getting rarer, and killing one off almost feels morally wrong to me — like destroying a coral reef and the ecosystem that surrounds it.That said, Fred, it’s your life and you should not feel like this blog is a burden, but I would strongly suggedt you first think about whether there are ways to reduce the burden on you in other ways. E.g., have the community moderate the comments for you, have an intern deal with tech problems, etc.Whatever you decide, thank you for keeping this place interesting all these years.
What if the comments moved to a subreddit or Twitter?
A subreddit would be better than the firehose that is twitter, but in either case, I think the added friction of moving to a separate platform than the original post would be enough to effectively kill comments and engagement anyway.
yup, horrible idea.1 thing that no one has pointed out here is how amazingly non-conflicted Fred seems to act.Disqus is his portfolio company. Yet that doesn’t seem to be bothering his points on comments (where disqus is a leader).
USV sold Disqus.
Changed nothing re my point.
“How hard is it to have a conversation on Twitter? So hard even the CEO can’t do it.”https://www.recode.net/2019…
Ultimately Fred’s call, but:Comments are to blog posts as hors d’oeuvres and digestifs are to dinners and parties. JLM’s comments are like the pickles you have among your hors d’oeuvres – sharp, piquant, witty (a pickle can be witty? oh, go away, spoilsport!).Siding with Patrick in this beef.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
Lot of interesting ones in the list of hors d’oeuvres above.Matbukha looks like it would be tasty, so are many others.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…Many Indian ones too, some familiar, will check out the others.
Oh boy, that looks great! Still looking for gluten-free naan.
Sign of the times? Centralisation is on the way out, apparently. Perhaps Fred needs to migrate to a decentralised platform, where he can write his posts, and where we can write our comments and invest our brain equity, without fear that we will be cut off or kicked out. Isn’t that the zeitgeist of this brave new blockchain world? If you believe in it and you invest in it the moral argument might be that you also have to live it. It’s time. https://www.youtube.com/wat…
You never miss a beat on the blockchain drum
Me too.I read the post on the feed reader, then browse the site to read the comments
Thank you, Patrick. If Fred keeps the comments section, please speak out again.
I, too, post rarely (second time I’m posting). I read and learn from the posts and comments regularly. I really appreciate and enjoy hearing the voices from the AVC community. Hope the comments stay in some capacity.
I totally get it. I began doing a weekend email newsletter (opening commentary with a few shared curated links) over two years ago and that requires thought and maintenance. There are no real-time comments but I do get email replies that sometimes take longer for me to respond to than I would like. I don’t know how you do this daily.From my own experience, feedback and interaction with the “community” can be both validating and insightful as to how the content is perceived. I also think that the connection between you and members of your “community” can be valuable to others at times, so cutting off interaction completely would be at the detriment of the community AND you. I think you will have a hard time turning on and off comments here, as people will get conditioned that there are no comments and you will not get feedback when you want it. I have seen a few blogs I follow do this and I find myself checking back less frequently.One idea: while not optimal, turn off comments here but use LinkedIn or Twitter (or a combination) as your primary source of community engagement. While I think Twitter runs the risk of being a bit more messy, I am seeing it work pretty well on LinkedIn where shared business content yields constructive, meaningful interaction and discussion. With LinkedIn it is also much less likely that someone will post anonymously.
fred, you provide a great service & i admire all the work & diligence required to publish how you do. so i say, do whats best, easiest for you, kill comments, go to simplest, fastest publishing platform & take a day off sometimes. /wb
your blog, your bar, you are the bartender, do what you think is right. One of the reasons I love New Orleans is the city leaves it up to the bar to decide whether to open or close no matter the time of day.
Don’t enable the man, guilt him instead per the trend here before we all get evicted 🙂
I’ve never had any real desire to visit New Orleans until this comment.I can’t even really drink much anymore but I just like the idea.
Take your family to the NationalWW2Museum.org Every American ought to see it. No need to drink because the food in NOLA is the best in the country.
I second the museum and food statements.
Fred, how often do you get value from the comments, or from the relationships that you’ve built there? Is the comments section a public service, or does it create enough value for you to be worth the overhead?If you’re just creating value (for a few engaged readers) but not capturing value (net of comments management overhead), then maybe you should let the conversation shift to twitter.
The technical overhead of running your own blog is worth it simply for having each piece have its own permanent URL on the web that you control. I would say please, please keep AVC going if for no other reason than that. An email newsletter, especially one on a domain you do not own, wouldn’t have that.Re: comments, I’ve been subscribed to AVC for many years and have only chimed in a few times in the comments section (like I am today), but I have used my personal blog to reply to your posts, but have almost never read through the comments on other posts. So for me personally it wouldn’t matter too much.Please, please keep the blog. Subscribed via RSS here.
2 thoughts:- One of the things I admire most about avc is that it eschews proprietary or short-lived platforms and is a good old-style blog the way The Internet intended. It’d be sad to lose it to the dark side, especially at a time we need to move people away from AI newsfeeds and back to typing URLs and curating RSS Feeds. I understand “old-school” is a lot of work, but capitulating to the proprietary overlords sets a bad example, and hastens the very possible demise of the free and open Web. There are already too few sites like yours, I’d be sad to see Yet Another go out.- Comments are a blessing and a curse. Good comments build a community that transcends the site’s content (Ars Technica, SmallNetBuilder…), bad comments are contagious toxic waste. Disqus is only doing the bare minimum (up/down votes and Ignore), real comment sections also feature admins, writer’s participation, a low commenter turnover. Since there’s no easy way to get that, I understand switching off comments can be tempting. To me, it’ll make the site less interesting even if I disagree with quite a bit of them and there’s some trolling going on. Maybe instead of switching comments on for only a few topics, reverse that and switch them off for the few posts that are bound to be a trollfest ?In any case, thank you for you work :!
PS: I think a core issue with using Disqus is that it doesn’t really build a community. I know it’s partly your baby, but…a) I’ve had to hide my activity because of trolls on other sites. So now even friends can’t follow meb) I’m usually interested in comments only in a specific context, ie on a specific site. I’m not following anyone on Disqus because most commenters’ interests and mine only intersect on avc, so most of their activity, on other sites, is noise.c) you lose any indication of someone’s activity and anteriority on the site. On Ars Technica, I *will* pay more attention to old or prolific commenters. After 15 years, I’m even starting to recognize some.d) again, Disqus moderation is very barebones.One of my acquaintances, an IT old-timer, runs a “passion” site about minimachines (.net ^^) (mini both in size and price) and is permanently running into website and comments issue. He won’t switch to a blogging platform or a commenting system because he doesn’t want to lose control of his content and of his community, nor to sell them off.On the other hand, techtablets.com has morphed into mostly a youtube community with a Twitter side-channel, but though his work is awesome, he *is* in it for the money as much as for the passion, and his topic (wheap Chines devices) is very general-public, low chance of creating a positive community.
Mind clarifying… What is the downside of others knowing people troll you? Is it relevant to your work?
I don’t care about others knowing or seeing, actually I’d assume it’s somewhat entertaining for them. But it’s tiring to me, esp. after a while; makes for a bad signal to noise ratio.
I agree w blessings and a curse.That’s life, accept it. No?
I’ve been coming to AVC daily for years. I originally came to learn about VC. Then I stayed because of MBA Mondays.Now MBA Mondays is over with, and I’ve learned about all there is to know about VC that is relevant to me and my startup.Net, no VC will care about my startup before I have revenue enough that I — a sole, solo founder — won’t need, want, or accept a check or BoD from a VC.But I continue to come to AVC daily and post with some frequency.Bluntly the reason I come to AVC is not your posts but the comments of others. Really I care essentially ONLY about the comments. For a newsletter with just your posts and no comments, I wouldn’t subscribe.I find your posts to be simplistic, overly simplistic, maybe deliberately so, and not even realistic. In being simplistic, it is easy to add material. But if no one adds material via comments, then all there is are some simplistic posts of little or no interest.I have intended to announce my startup’s alpha and beta tests on AVC, JLM’s BRC, Hacker News, Facebook, and a few other places — as a good side effect of some data gathering I need to do I will likely find more. But the audience I would like most would be that of AVC. If there are no AVC comments, then I will lose my best candidate alpha and beta test audience.The AVC audience is a gold standard on the Internet. It would be a shame to lose it.BTW, while I haven’t kept copies of all my posts to AVC, for the posts I do keep I have some simple software sequentially number them and see that this post is #2145.Hmm, let me use a few of my little KEdit macros: I see that the 2145 posts formatted with right margin set at 42 characters have 319,844 lines and total number of words 1,711,766. So, I got a lot of writing and typing practice!Over the same interval of time, I may have typed in more words than you did!We all are facing and will face more and more a HUGE problem with Internet content: The total amount of content is gigantic, apparently some trillions of Web pages, as blogs, articles, video, images, etc.So, for each person with access to the Internet, there is a HUGE challenge of how to find the content, e.g., even just a blog to replace AVC, good for their interests.Since we know how difficult it is to get serious attention and significant traffic to a good, new Web site, similarly it is difficult to find a good, new Web site or Internet content.To solve the users’ side of this problem, the key has to be to give the user content with the meaning they want. So, have to make some significant progress on the meaning of the content. Sure, progress on meaning is a computer science Holy Grail problem. A good solution seemed easy enough to me!Uh, computer science natural language understanding has nothing to do with it! Actually, nothing in computer science has anything to do with it! This situation is no surprise since after compilers, database, and some protocols, for anything useful or promising to be useful, computer science is essentially a silly, nearly trivial, field, stuck with no effective tools or methodology. I’ve essentially never taken a course in computer science, but I’ve learned a lot of it, used it, taught it in college and grad school, and done and published peer-reviewed original research in it, and in my current work I have some algorithms that might be publishable, but I still regard computer science as trivial ….I know; I know; computer science now does artificial intelligence (AI). Of course they don’t really understand it; e.g., as athttps://www.quantamagazine….they understand it nearly only at the level of a mysterious black box, not even at the level of an intuitive heuristic; so that means it’s not science, engineering, or even technology, but it’s AI!!!!My back porch has birds, raccoons, squirrels, and kitty cats who discover and learn things with zero training right away, but computer science AI can’t show that 1 + 2 = 3 without a few TB of training data — still it’s intelligent they say!!!IMHO, current means of Internet search do well on only about 1/3rd of the “safe for work” Internet content, searches people want to do, and content they want to find. This idea is old, goes way back to a friend of my father’s; the friend worked with some high level, high quality approaches to information retrieval at Battelle. He was right then and still right now.My work, because of some applied math I derived based on some advanced pure math prerequisites, is spectacularly promising for being by a wide margin the best for the remaining 2/3rds of the “safe for work” content for nearly everyone on the Internet, around the world.The most important of the pure math prerequisites are amazing, astounding, powerful beyond belief; no one would guess or believe that any such things could be true, but they are. The more one understands the math, the more amazed they will be. The first several times I studied the math — while I was in grad school and swimming daily with amazing pure math — I just thought “okay” but didn’t see what was amazing. I believe only because of the advanced pure math, rock solid, with rock solid proofs.Since I’ve got the software ready for production and have some test data, I’ve been able to do some first testing — it all worked just as I hoped, right away, no problem!The problem of finding content on the Internet desperately needs a solution. As it is, there MUST be near galaxies of desirable content that languish undiscovered.An example is AVC — with my work, the AVC audience should be much larger. And if AVC goes away, lots of people will struggle to find a replacement, even if there are several dozen alternatives out there. The search engines that do well on the 1/3rd and do poorly on the 2/3rds are hopeless on the necessary handling of meaning and won’t solve the problem.The AVC comments, going way back, including just yesterday, “The Free And Open Internet” athttps://avc.com/2019/02/the…are just awash in people struggling with the problem my work solves.Then, with some irony, as AVC dies, the AVC audience will have more reason for my work!!!!Silicon Valley competition? Not a chance! They are still stuck under the umbrella that ideas to be programmed into computers should come from computer science. But computer science, the chaired professors and the whole field, just doesn’t know much about advanced pure math — they just did NOT take the required courses in grad school or even ugrad school and will NOT be able to learn the material on their own or even know what material to learn or why. And if I told Silicon Valley about my work, they’d ignore it. They’ve never seen or heard much of any role for the results of original research in applied math based on advanced pure math prerequisites — thus they have no past patterns to use.For everything there is, at one time it was the first such. Thus, people who look only for empirical patterns from the past will never see such first times.As I’ve outlined, there are ways to know, even before typing the first line of code, but Silicon Valley just will NOT use such ways. The US DoD, NSF, etc. will; Silicon Valley will NOT.Ah, enough irony!As I add to my data base, maybe I’ll discover if there are some good alternatives to AVC!!For you, if you get just one more Twitter via AVC, then AVC will be a grand bargain.At first it was frustrating to wave an opportunity for 2/3rds of “safe for work” Internet search, twice as big as the current 1/3rd of “safe for work” search, e.g., 2/3rds for $1 T, under the noses of some dozens of people on Sand Hill Road and get back nearly only silence and not even laughs. Then it was fun. Now the astoundingly strong evidence of just zero chance Sand Hill Road would fund anything to compete with me — the flip side of their silence — is one heck of a business opportunity!Once I mentioned to Moritz that what was really important was math. He DID write back, saying that I was right and it was all math. Well that was a guess from a former English newspaper guy but not really correct. When I gave him some more details, he went quiet!
Still looking forward to the new search engine and interested in how you measure quality. Good luck!
The code is fine: Of course I’ll be tweaking the code forever, but now it’s ready for production. Now that I have the first server running, I want to put in a few tweaks.The code is better as, say, code quality, e.g., no refactoring needed, than what I wrote at IBM’s Watson Research that eventually was shipped as an IBM Program Product. It’s also better than what I wrote to save FedEx although that code was nicely pretty to read!The “quality” of the search results is handled by the math. The math is from theorems and proofs, some that I derived. From the math, the quality is, reduced to one word, perfect.The core techniques are not intuitive heuristics or anything like the math garbage of computer science AI/ML. I can’t keep people from calling the work AI, but that would be an insult. It’s not computer science either. Instead it’s applied math. Of course, the users will not be aware of anything mathematical.I hope and expect that people will like the Web site right away. Beyond the perfect results and the success on the meaning of the content, the user interface has something of a game quality people might like.If people like the site, then it can grow to be a big thing.Thanks for your interest.
I can understand why comments are tough to manage, as you get a large amount of engagement here.While it’s ideal that you read and respond to comments, I would say that many times comments take on a life of their own as commenters just engage with each other. And I think that brings a lot of value that would be lost if you shut them down.Don’t do it, Fred! 🙂
Agree – even for many topics I don’t engage in…or get to late, I find a lot of value in heading over and taking a look to see who “won” the debate…what the big or key talking points where and how it all unfolded.So I take a quick browse through the top upvoted stuff, read some key reactions…and then if I have time, I also take a quick browse through the long tail to see if there are any missed gems (btw, there are almost *always* missed gems down in the bottom of AVC comments — either because the “loud” ones of us took stuff in a different direction or often just because they came late to that specific party and missed most of the ‘comment engagers’).It’s a *bonus* when Fred engages in the comments, but it’s not what actually excites me about quickly digging through them each day (or every couple of days)…
Fred,I think you have set a standard for engaged VCs. You were the first VC I started following, and the one who’s content I read daily. So two thoughts:I think migrating platforms for ease of use and maintenance is part and parcel of modern technology. It’s the time we live in. Do what you think is best and continue generating great, thought provoking content while running your funds and supporting your founders.As for the comments. I only comment about every 10 posts or so, but i enjoy reading disparate opinions and thoughts shared by your readers. The goal of your posts is to provoke thought and dialogue. No comments, no dialogue.Thanks as always for the great post
Go for it, Fred. As a longtime reader/commenter who doesn’t comment often any more, I’d say that some of it is about changes in the way I spend my time. Also, I don’t want to end up in a gunfight — when I haven’t even shown up with a knife.FWIW, I also agree with your view of what’s happening beyond AVC. For the last year or so, I’ve made it a bit of a point to study the newsletter landscape. I think people are increasing “curation” and newsgathering via inbox, and decreasing social media as a filter. (Also, some of what used to happen on social is now happening in Slack, for better or worse.)This is true for me personally, too, and I switched to getting AVC by email a while back and pop in here less often…Godspeed!
Anne – I think this is very true.I’m largely off social media now.I get multiple blogs (via Newsblur) and an ever increasing number of curated newsletters (which forward to my Newsblur).
Yup, my tactics are similar — I get blogs/newsletters at a specific email address. I also get NYT and WSJ in physical formI haven’t been able to quit Twitter, but I view this as a personal failure, lol.
Your newsletter comments are saddening.People retreating further from uncomfortable engagement bodes poorly for the world.Miss you here in the white boxes.
I read 95% of your blog posts via email because it’s easy. For the other 5% I go to your site specifically to see what comments your readers are leaving about the topic. A small portion of your readers contribute to comments, but I bet a much larger portion browse the comments.
I removed comments from my personal blog years ago… it changed the game for me because it allowed me to do what I was most interested in doing (writing) without the additional distractions. This was also a win-win because the community that I had/have around the blog also got what they most wanted too… more writing…. except, I was much more rested and focused because I had less operational / administrative overhead. so, despite a few folks who weren’t enthused about the change, it eventually normalized.My thoughts after 4-months of now comments: https://john.do/no-comments/5 years later…? Still no comments and my community is still around.
Interesting, thank you.
You’ve hit a tipping point (long ago), so wherever you write the readers will follow.That being said – in my mind, the “idea” and “power” of the web is the interactivity…the public conversation.Before comments, it was blog post to blog post to reaction blog post (with some email head’s up notifications)…then the wave of comments allowed for a version of community to develop…then social sort of overtook the world/place of comments…and then social degraded into a popularity and shock-journalism/knee-jerk reaction world…and so people have (mostly) turned back into the simplicity and quiet-ness of their email.As a macro trend – it’s depressing as I’m a strong believer that public, civil, discussion and debate is where the *real* advancements and changes in thinking and society can happen.On a micro level – you do what makes the most sense for you and what you want to get (and give) out of this routine. The crowd will follow…and those of us that like to comment will figure out a way/place to keep the conversation going (it will just be a little harder for new people to find each other or gather around those topics).Also – the humor is not lost on me that you’re asking for comments on what to do about shutting down the ability to comment… 🙂
I enjoy your newsletter Fred. Especially when you write more personally. You’re a bit full of yourself, as are most of your commenters- myself included- but so what. That’s why I think you’re wise to let go of the comments section except for a few designated days of the week. I don’t read this blog for the comments from myself or anyone else. Less is more.
Hi Fred. While I understand the amount of admin involved, please do not remove the comments section as what you and your community write is of great interest (I’m based in London). Thank you.
Fred, for the most part your blog posts are small insights into your life, what you’re learning, interesting perspectives, etc.They are valuable, but so many times they are kindling for a really intelligent, insightful discourse with your community.Take the weekend’s free and open internet post as a recent example. Your perspective was great, but the discussion around it was so much richer. It’s wisdom of the crowd at work.You know how rare it is to find high quality, respectful, open community on the Internet. Well, it exists here, and it’s special. Kudos to you for creating it. I hope you continue to support it.
Maybe you should consider two levels of engagement. One reads your blog, the other engages with a small community of Fredophiles. Similar to how TV shows sometimes have an online community of superviewers talking about each episode, or a wrap up show after the main event; and some franchises offer both. Think Big Brother After Dark, Survivor Online, Talking Dead with Chris Hartwick or perhaps most famously the Howard Stern wrap up show.
And while that seems double the work I think it either let’s you remove yourself from comment monitoring by just letting a comment community grow outside your control (think decentralization of Fred) or some enthusiastic follower who you select runs the community site like AMC pegged Chris Hartwick for Walking Dead even though he has no prior affiliation to the show other than being a superfan
I think the comments are the most valuable part of the blog.No idea what the backend is like for managing the blog, but if you wanted to simplify, I think you could move to something like Squarespace and then your web hosting is integrated with the platform you write on. Also, they have an email campaign feature (never used it) but you can I’m almost certain you can shoot blog posts out via email using the same platform without any 3rd party plugins.Of course it depends on what YOU get out of the comments. Maybe you need to start blogging about different things.
> Comments do add value, though many are too lengthy> Consider declaring that you are limiting your participation in comments> To limit & manage spam, consider closing comments after 48 hours and empowering a few “deputies” who can delete spamWhatever you decide, thanks for everything to date – it’s been fun, inspiring & educational.
Yes, some commenters appear to treat AVC as their personal blog, piggybacking on Fred’s efforts. A wordage guideline might fix this – and reduce the toil of moderation. The occasional deleted comment would put spine into this policy.
Guests make a great party.Great hosts invitie great guests.
>> To limit & manage spam, consider closing comments after 48 hours and empowering a few “deputies” who can delete spamNot sure the 48 hours is such a good idea for two reasons:1) People half-way across the world, and who might not see a Fred post the same day it is posted, due to being busy. Happens to me sometimes.2) Many replies to comments (later parts of comment threads) would be cut off. Just as a good part of the value of AVC.com is in the comments (apart from the posts) (as many have said in this thread), a good part of the value of the comments is in the replies (and replies to replies ….) to the comments. For open-minded people at least, it’s good to hear points and counterpoints, arguments and counterarguments. For example, I sometimes read a comment by reader A and think that he or she is right about what they said. Then I read a reply to A by reader B (which may contradict A’s comment in part or full), and sometimes think “Heck, guess what, maybe A is not quite right in all they said, B has some valid points there”.
As a fairly frequent comment person – i’m not sure I understand why the overhead is so large if the number of people who contribute is so small. (I guess spam management.) In any case, I would miss them. There are some would-be writers like myself who don’t have personal blogs but enjoy responding to ideas and engage in debate. And by mostly avoiding politics you have greatly tamed the comment section.And with all due respect I often learn as much or more from other’s comments than from your original post.
I think we disagree on a number of things (at least on the surface of the topics), but I *really* enjoy reading your comments/thoughts and they almost always make me think a little harder, question my own stance, and develop a stronger understanding of my own assumptions and beliefs…and that’s *specifically* why I like the comments here as well.(so hopefully I’ll be able to follow, and continue to learn from, you wherever the conversation does end up).
Same here. I think that is the power of AVC that Fred himself sometimes doesn’t get to experience.
I will miss the comments. But I understand. Some great people here. I know I haven’t been contributing as much as I used to. Maybe we can engage on twitter going forward?
One of the people whose blog I used to follow had disabled comments and told his readers to tweet at him instead, years ago. It totally ruined it for me: I have no interest in following his (politically-charged) twitter. Will be sad if you decide to disable comments altogether.
I used to be a big commenter but over the years felt I don’t have as much to contribute. I would be sad to see the comments go away as I felt it gave outsider/aspiring tech folk the ability to interact and get feedback with the stars in the industry. Having said that I read The Hustle each day enjoy the articles and the ads which are relevant. I could see having a daily newsletter with your piece as the main thing with say a summary with a link to an AVC team members piece. Maybe select another piece from someone else you liked. Then the ad section maybe could be KS projects you liked.
I generally favor allowing comments as essential to support healthy, open dialog (even though managing them takes some effort and is subject to abuse). I have my own blog, and hate the spam, but I welcome legitimate publicly visible feedback.It generally strikes me as a form of arrogance or disdain when publishers opt to go 100% one-way, and close off the (already narrow) back-channel of public comments — even though the desire to eliminate the noise is very understandable. Email to the author (when an address is available, not always the case) is a very limiting alternative, since public comments often have much greater communal value. Twitter or other social media is an alternative, but that fragments and reconstitutes the audience in a way that makes it more a complement than a substitute for direct comments.
as a fairly active commenter, i would encourage you to kill comments. or, at the very least, don’t do keep comments around for fear of offending loyal readers or something like that. that’s just silly.
have you considered substack? their newsletter platform is excellent, supports free newsletters as well as paid ones, and has a good commenting system https://www.substack.com/
“The truth is comments are used by a very small portion of the AVC readership. But the people who use the comments are very active and engaged. So removing comments won’t impact a lot of readers, but it will impact the most loyal readers.”…I know you and Seth G communicate… I have a feeling you’ve already run this by him. But if not I would. While he ironically doesn’t allow direct comments himself, it seems to me that you’ve achieved exactly what he espouses so often. Targeting (and capturing) such a small, specific group of readers/contributors that the few/most loyal/highest value added members you mention above are drawn to exactly what you’ve created. And the rest of us (god knows how many) are drawn to and count on the otherwise unlikely, daily combination of your insights and theirs to feed our inquiring minds.Your blog and the comments were the first and still main source of my immersion into tech, pivoting from retail/bricks and mortar over 5 years ago. If my next act has any level of success, I will forever owe this “team” a monstrous debt of gratitude.
I have not .Not yet
you and Seth G communicate… I have a feeling you’ve already run this by him.Haha trying to stay out of this today but have to say what Seth thinks is not relevant simply because his ‘product’ and the way he earns his living is not the same as a VC like Fred.Seth writes books (among other things – lectures, speaking engagements and consulting). As such comments could only decrease his image and book sales or other revenue streams. People challenging him in a way that make his books and words seem less valuable. Or take time from his day w/o any specific benefit of upside. There isn’t a value to Seth appearing vulnerable and having faults in the same way as Fred. Make sense?Fred on the other hand has done quite well by showing he is vulnerable and has faults. And is not a know it all. That makes him seem more real and approachable and is one of the key elements that makes him seem like ‘not a tool’. I would imagine he (in theory) attracts more business because of that. This is vastly different than Seth Godin. This is separate from the time needed for Seth to have blog comments. That’s a driver but there is a clear negative for the reasons I have stated that I think is the primary reason for not wanting comments.
Whether right or wrong in this instance, I would never count Seth out of having a helpful point of view. No, they are very different individuals but what Fred has achieved – that so many others attempt to achieve – is what Seth often writes about. That was all.
Love typing in the three letter URL every time.Guess I’m old school.
move your “blog” over to medium.com, i did that recently with jaybhatti.com and love not having to update wordpres anymore. Now, you can either forward your AVC.com to your new medium blog or you can contact the folks who run it and ask them to turn back on the features that allowed someone to mass migrate their WP articles and also set their domain to Medium. I dont know why they got rid of those features.
From my perspective, Cent and Honest Cash (HC) are better options than Medium. Medium and Disqus both use voting to rank the replies, but the replies on Cent and HC can be ranked by spending (example).On Youtube the top-ranked videos are proof that with voting what rises to the top isn’t cream, it’s crap.
I personally do not think AVC would be the same without comments. I totally understand your thought process though. In fact, I don’t know how you manage this and all your other duties. Kudos. I can’t think of a solution at this second but totally understand your thought process here. I’ll update with ideas later in the week.
I would say the main takeaway from your own words is “be your own bitch” – beholden to another platform is going to be difficult. Unless there is a federated self owned service I would tread carefully or look to the full export abilities to move if/when the service goes away.That being said I think the workflow is more important – I have signed up more people personally to “your daily email” and they never visit AVC. Your flow and content ending up in inboxes via the email subscription seems to work well.
Yeah. I love running open source software on my hosting service
To give a similar example from my experience: I check my email’s spam folder regularly (but not often.) 99.999% of emails are indeed spam and it is a spectacular waste of time for me to go through them.But last year, I had one email that went to spam which was an outreach from a lead. I recovered that email from spam folder and responded. That lead became our biggest new client in 2018. Had I not check my spam folder regularly, we would have never signed that client.Have the comments ever been extremely useful to you in a similar way? For example, have you ever built a relationship with an entrepreneur and ended up investing in her/his company? Would this relationship or investment happen if AVC did not have commnets?
Comments need some time off and not necessarily for good behavior!!
I totally agree with cutting back on overheads. In the interest of cutting technical/financial overheads, I would remove comments altogether and let people interested in leaving feedback etc do so via dm’s in social media. It’s the way I would communicate with you today if I felt you needed to hear my thoughts.
I mostly read via RSS and occasionally come over to the site to read comments – maybe twice/quarter. I mostly see predictable responses to progressive/political posts – nothing I couldn’t find on twitter. Same thing for Gotham Gal.Is it possible to pre-moderate comments? I run a Facebook group, and when it hit almost 30k members, we turned on post moderation (vs trying to catch up to moderate) and it’s made life so much easier, and allowed us to ensure the group stays on topic and kind. We still have to dive in and moderate down thread, but that tends to be predictable (political books). It also ensures there’s no spam/self-promotion in the group posts.Perhaps moderating based on topic would make sense, too. I think there’s a wealth of knowledge in the community, but if you can determine which posts take the most time and energy AND aren’t constructive overall, those would be where I mute.
I really love the online community here in the comments section. I learn a lot and it pushes boundaries in my thinking. This is my #1 favorite blog because of the combination of what you write about and the people who respond.However, I also understand why the commenting moderation could be a time suck. It’s unruly and messy here and that takes a lot of diplomacy. It’s why Seth Godin doesn’t use commenting on his blog and I truly understand why. He’s focused on prioritizing based on his goals.On the practical side of maintaining the archive, every tech solution will become obsolete at one point or another and maintaining legacy content will be a chore no matter what platform you use. Personally, I do not use WordPress for any solutions for my clients because the maintenance issues are time-consuming and costly. I use Drupal for more complex solutions and hosted web applications for lower end solutions. But you do give up content control with web applications. You have to make a decision and a plan up-front about what the priorities are in maintaining legacy content.
Also, you may want to think about the small community of people who comment as your tribe, as advocates (even detractors are advocates. most of them are here becase you set a high bar for the level of discussion).
I love Seth Godin’s thinking but, because he doesn’t allow commenting even his best posts don’t have as much meaning as yours.Removing comments injures AVC.(I know from 14 years of moderating comments on My Linkedin Power Forum and 11 years of moderating Brandergy that some commentators make you wanna remove their air supply. But, we should find ways of weakening them rather than removing comments. Removing comments is like removing C from AV…)Have you considered doing like Jethro advised Moses and delegating a few responsibilities to community members you know, trust, and respect? If they’re here and engaged, let ’em help you…I vote that AVC remains as is but, with AVC Helpers…
I did that and they are getting tired too
.Back in the days of the Pony Express, riders changed horses when they got tired.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Question – what’s your definition of most loyal? Is it those who’ve read pretty much every post since they subscribed?Up till now I chose to stay silent primarily because I dislike Discus’ sign-up experience… And I intend to block their cookies after submitting this comment!My two cents is to take the route that works best for you – your blog is appreciated because you share extremely useful, helpful, wise content. I personally rarely read the comments so won’t miss them!Maybe the question for you is whether you rely on the feedback from comments… I know you react to twitter mentions…
When I made my first comment here, almost exactly 10 years ago, in Feb 2009, the AVC community was different than it is today. It was more jovial, cordial, and collegial despite the lively discussions that ensued.It’s obvious that engagement in the comments has been going down lately in quantity and quality. Maybe not every post needs comments, especially not the political ones that degenerate into shots between commenters and brings the worst in many of us. That’s not pleasing to see for anyone, especially the host of course. Some of us forgot that the goal of commenting is to debate issues, and not score points.We tended to take AVC comments from granted. Maybe we shouldn’t be.
I’m wondering if this shift is reflective of the tone that’s happening nationally.
Well said.We met each other here then and yes it was different and generally commenting was an act of discovery as all narratives should be.I never take community for granted and that includes knowing when it needs adjustment. Though indeed at its best, commenting is a wonder.Can you date the change culturally to the change generally in the year leading up to the election? I bet yes but everything not just political issues became politicized.Shit changes.
.How could it not possibly be?We are alive at an instant in time.The country was far more polarized and angry during the Vietnam War Era. Not even close.The other day I was having a coffee with someone who like me was an adult during those days and they said, “These people have no fucking idea. Now, those were riots.”JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
I would argue that it is a shift of tactic – not tone. But is is certainly happening nationally.In modern Liberal thinking, ideas cannot be discussed, instead the people (the messengers) must be discredited and destroyed. This is a tactic, that by definition has a negative tone. Calling people “racists” “homophobes” “climate deniers” “Nazis” does nothing to move discussion forward. The media (on both sides) has largely adopted this. This started way before Trump.And this same tactic has leaked into the blog – by well meaning people who are otherwise very smart and decent people. If you disagree with the overriding “community think” you will be called names and maybe even threatened with expulsion. (I think most conservative members of this community would echo this.) There are other times when it is totally civil and worthwhile.This entire notion of “controlling” people and controlling comments is a Liberal construct. You never hear a conservative talk about these ideas. if you don’t like the comments – don’t read them! Why is that hard? So you see that AVC is definitely reflecting outside forces.I wasn’t there at day 1, but I’ll bet the “good old days” were people who mostly think like Fred agreeing with Fred. Then the “truth deniers” came along and messed things up!
This is baloney.I was here before you and I spent a good part of my time running of assholes who wanted to opine on what a theiving prick Fred was in particular and VCs were in gereral.Free also was dishing way more insider dirt on VCs.There is a lack of debate on other issues because Fred, like most liberals., is operating from a position of emotion. And, like most Americans, he is not doing any real work on those topics.. That applies to too many people on the planet, who are putting democracy at peril.AVC reflects the narcissism of the greater society, as people feel empowered to shame others or to retreat to a manner of existence that allows them to not face any friction…..a cocoon of always feeling good about what you think, even if what you think is follly.It’s a symptom of great societal wealth – everyone is becoming the Emperor with No Clothes.
.I attribute it to the advent of bitcoin/blockchain and those mind numbing incoherent posts and comments.Those blockchain all the time days.When you read those posts, it is like your IQ begins to free fall, like a flat spin in a single engine plane.JKJLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Your blog is a mentoring platform for people like us. Requesting not to remove comment section. It is a great way to engage even for readers like us. Otherwise the blogging is a one sided affair.
.Communities communicate.”Comments are where it’s at in blogging.” Who said that?It’s Valentine’s Day week, so let’s get together and buy Freddie a big Whitman Sampler so he knows how much everybody loves AVC.com.I like about half of Freddie’s posts — could do without the Kickstarter, video, virtue signalling, and lifestyle posts, but they come with the good ones.I like hearing L’enfant Terrible speaking to what he knows. Always have.Every day, I adore and respect the community as I hear voices I would never otherwise hear — talking to you, South Africa, Chile, London, Switzerland, India, Germany, Spain, Galway, Canada, Chicago, Cali, Philly, NYC, you subject experts, you Phd’s, and you America.With a great number of these folks I have developed an email contact, but make no mistake, it started here on the AVC.com commenteriat with the Illuminati, the Intelligentsia, the unwashed, the overwashed, and the folks.I have learned stuff, reoriented my thinking, and left, at other times, more certain of my views.When one creates something of value, a mensch doesn’t abandon it.Be well. It will all be fine. Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Well, you invented the art of the long comment.
Come on William.How many weeks in a row were you the first commenter?How many times have I bounced peolple or posted 20 responses to people?Who cares?Snark is easy.
said the red queen (cut off their heads) Hoe hoe
Just letting you know that someone appreciated this comment before James corrected Hoe to How.
.So, Wm, you chipping in for the Whitman’s Sampler or not?I need to know before I offend you and tell you to fuck off, friend.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
I totally do not understand the issue with long comments. If you don’t like them – don’t read them!
“I’m sorry this letter is so long. I didn’t have time to make it shorter.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky
This pot shot comment is exactly the type of comment that lowers the overall quality of the comments reading experience. What happened to discussing facts, debating issues and staying away from taking jabs at others.I stated a fact regarding JLM’s long commenting. I didn’t say it was good nor bad.
It’s a complete ad hominem.Why bring up the topic in reply to a comment that does not discuss it?
William – I have no idea how you can consider my comment a “pot shot”? I was making a factual argument about long comments – which you are obviously concerned about. “You don’t have to read them” – which is true. It is a logical choice.What in my words was a criticism of you or your position? Did I call you a name? Did I say you didn’t belong here?With all due respect – you are a moderator and have responsibility for this community. Are you not the one the just dragged us down in the gutter with this offensive comment?I have a lot of respect for you – but this was not called for.
I love the term “comment blogging” that I think Fred coined, even as I also feel chagrined as someone who has been guilty of this.One of my most distinct memories from the 10 years of reading/commenting here is the first time I read a comment by JLM and thought, “Who IS this?” and began searching for him in the comments after that. I thought that he provided such a complement to Fred, even when that sometimes involved serving as a contrast.With all the immense value and rich experiences over the years, why did certain events become etched in my memory?– Discovering Fred by following a link to his “Math Problem” post (even though I had to read it several times to comprehend it) and thinking “Who IS this?” which led me to AVC which I thought was one of the most amazing things I’d ever experienced — in large part due to the conversation going on in the comments, but certainly due to Fred, himself. In those days his active role in the comments was just as appealing as his initial post.– Aaron Klein announcing that he had launched a startup called Riskalyze.– The marketing post that turned into a “marketing summit” starring Arnold Waldstein who was on fire!
>I like hearing L’enfant Terrible speaking to what he knows. Always have.>With a great number of these folks I have developed an email contact, but make no mistake, it started here on the AVC.com commenteriat with the Illuminati, the Intelligentsia, the unwashed, the overwashed, and the folks.Strong. Stronger than an acre of garlic.Well played.
.So, you’re in on the Whitmans?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Sure, subject to being able to contribute a sum from India. We have govt. restrictions here on that, more so for personal sends as opposed to corporate ones. although the rules have been relaxed compared to years past. Can look into ways of doing it.
You’re the menschest of the Minches I know, señor Jeff.If we have to move, we move.*tying up boots*
I’m a veteran reader of blogs and a veteran (12-year) blogger. (blog.jimgrey.net btw.) I still follow blogs in a feed reader, but I can see as well that email distribution is growing while feed reader usage is either holding steady (us stalwarts) or shrinking.You would probably cut some of your overhead by switching this to WordPress.com and going with their Business plan, or with WordPress VIP if you get enough traffic. My gut check is that it would leave you with less maintenance to the point where you might only have to deal with comment moderation.I don’t comment often — I learn from you and generally have little of substance to offer back — but every once in a while you say something that I just am dying to respond to, and I’m so happy comments are here so I can do that. I get it, moderation is a time drain. If you decide to do away with comments I’ll understand. But I hope you don’t because being able to comment creates a (low level) feeling of connection to you and what you’re doing, and it’s part of what keeps me (and I’m sure others) coming back.
Wont email volume increase when people want to write back to your email newsletter with their “thoughts”?
I already reply to about 100 emails a day from my email readers .the nice thing about those exchanges is they are not public and 1 to 1 and personal.
I do subscribe to AVC on email but mostly see your posts on my mobile web browser. I can see how replying by email would elicit more honest, open commenting which is possibly less sensationalist and more constructive. Will try that.
Could you encourage the conversation to happen on Twitter? Take the overhead off of yourself.So, use TinyLetter to write then publish to email newsletter, Twitter, and WordPress (post by email…just add yourself to your own Newsletter https://themeisle.com/blog/….Keep your archive of writing here but shutdown comments.You’ll still have hosting cost, will need to maintain WordPress updates, but all other overhead will be off your plate.
Have you had good experiences engaging on Twitter?
Food for thought: you ask for feedback which (I suppose) will mainly come through comments
well he stopped blogging and tweetingat least i still do both of thosei guess if i need to live up to my words, maybe i’ll quit the whole fucking thing like he did
Also a good idea.Everyone simplifies life in their 50’s..Throw a big party though .
It’ll give you time for unnecessary knee surgery. 🙂
You don’t need to live up to something you said over a decade ago, if you have changed and grown, which of course… you have.
Noooo Fred, don’t do it !!! For MY sake !!I’d feel like the 35y.o. still living with his parents, who suddenly tell him they’ve sold the house and are retiring to Florida (and he ain’t comin’!)In seriousness: I worked with Pmarca around 2003 on an event I was running at Stanford Bschool. The guy is crazy sharp, crazy determined. He is also extremely “me”-focused. That last part is unequivocally not YOU– while we also never forget here that you have every right to be that way.And also that plenty can change in 12 years– “well, I changed my mind!” would have been an understandable answer to my taunting comment here.This blog is an enormous gift to the world, in the exact opposite way of the WashPo discussed here yesterday. (and this is a very late comment, don’t know if anyone catches it).
Maybe he’s secretly coding an AI to read all his comments, summarize the relevant ones for him and to generate suitable replies.I’ve loved comments when they’re related to MBA Monday-type content and working life in NY, including transportation issues.The politics-related comments I steer clear of simply because there are people in the community who’ve studied and are more knowledgeable about US political processes so I prefer to read and learn rather than comment.I seriously would ask Disqus team to get AI to summarize the comments for you and to auto-tag comments that need a response. You’d set the “trigger words”. So, for example, if you write a post on blockchain and you’re only interested in comments containing “lien rights”, then the AI should only highlight and filter to those comments.That would ease your workload of having to read 500 comments (on threads and in emails) every day.
“….and more than anything it is my bar where I get to be the bartender” -however, not much of bar if the bartender is the only one there.The value received from AVC waxes and wanes as personal circumstances change. Not least for the person creating the core content from which the conversation flows. There is nothing wrong with citing the end of an era. Nothing lasts forever. AVC was built in the image of the creator and their needs at a certain time.Yoda say – answer to future of avc lies within you not the community.
As Fred would say, “Yessssss.”
Consider going the other direction Fred: taking what you have created and investing more energy and increasing the utility of what you have created by many fold.So many things you discuss could be made into mini classes (with relevant comments woven in the the class material) and put out on Thinkific or Teachable.Right now on your blog one can search a topic, then dig through the comments hunting for valuable nuggets. It could be so much more.This blog has been good for business you’ve said. It could become even better for business and leave an incredible legacy.
This would be the Seth Godin route. The Seth Godin route is a closed system and you pay for admittance. Personally, I’ve signed up for Seth Godin’s TMS (The Marketing Seminar) two times, mainly so I can login and participate in the discussion and find other who have valuable insights that level up my thinking. But that would sidetrack Fred from his business and personal goals (unless his post today is about Fred re-thinking his whole life/personal/professional trajectory. That’s for Fred to say, not me.)
As a reader and commenter for the whole duration, since 2003, I say do what feels right to you. Thank you for your generosity all these years.
It’s been a good deal all around
I’ll chime in that although I rarely contribute I’ve learned a lot from the comments particularly over time once I got an idea of where key contributes to the community are coming from.That said, if you close them down the posts themselves are a great contribution to the community and I’ll still be a daily reader.
The comments are what makes this blog / newsletter special.Lots of VCs have blogs. Many have great posts. But there’s not enough time to read all of them. I choose to read this one because of the opportunity to see an online debate among smart, experienced entrepreneurs (and the occasional investor), in a respectful dialogue. That is SO rare – which is what makes this blog such a jewel. I get to see diverse opinions collide, then I decipher the truth from the aftermath of those collisions. I can’t think of another place like this, anywhere on the internet.I subscribe to your email list, and most days that’s where you would see me show up in your metrics. But the reason I try to at least glance at your email each day (in contrast to the many other VC email newsletters I also subscribe to but almost never find time to look at) is that I am scanning for posts that I think will inspire an interesting conversation (to me) in the comments – and those I click on and read through the comments to see what I will learn.If you drop the comments, I fear this will become just one more VC newsletter I subscribe to but rarely ever read.I wonder if there is a way you can keep comments but reduce your overhead.- What if you stop reading the comments yourself? Just post and go. – Or get Disqus to build you a filter so you only see the comments with >10 likes/replies?- You can enable the community to flag and delete spam so you don’t have to. – Or hire an extra part-time intern just to handle all the administrative stuff that comes with enabling comments. (Don’t these blog comments generate enough incremental value to USV to cover an intern’s salary? based what I wrote above I suspect the answer is overwhelmingly “Yes”)Whatever you decide to do – keep the blog going or pack it up and shut it down (eliminating comments really will kill the richness of the content which is what I come for, but that’s ok – all things must end some day), I just want to thank you for a great ride. Been reading you since 2008, with a few lapses – the comments are what brought me back again a few years ago – and only recently started commenting occasionally myself. This has been a shining corner of the internet – our very own Cheers bar, whether we were participating or just reading. Thank you for creating it and enabling it to become what it’s become.
Don’t shut down the comments. A lot of them are quite informative and interesting.
I agree with the majority of the of commentators: please do keep the option to post comments (and for readers to read others). I rarely do add a comment, at least partly because I respect the time that it must take to moderate them, but I would mourn the ability to occasionally contribute.That said, you own it so do what is best for your good self. Probably not all posts really need that people are to be able to comment?
As an avid reader/follower of your “newsletter”, I quite enjoy the comment section when I find a particular topic of interest. You have a diverse group of followers that seem well informed that participate on your points of view and I believe they are a valuable part of your communications. I hope you will continue to share them.
@fredwilson:disqus On the one hand I greatly sympathize. I have paid, a lot, in professional settings to have people moderate comments, and there are liabilities and matters of taste, ethics, regulation and law one must grapple with. Doing it by oneself, without a budget for moderators, is a hassle. On the other hand: I have learned from comments others have posted here — as I do from comments elsewhere, including on NYTimes. (Times journalists are great, and the community also adds much.) So, perhaps take a lesson from the Times and leave comments on for a few choice posts that you feel could benefit from the wisdom of your crowd? PS I suppose i am one of the few you are referring to who comments. But I bet some of your community who don’t comment have gotten value from the comments. I have once or twice even reconnected with a friend or colleague because of the comments posted on AVC.
Hey Fred huge fan since my days in NYC (2006-2011). I recently wrote about a similar sentiment. Please pardon the click baity title: Why Email Newsletters will be the only form of Social Media that will last and why I’m slowly stepping away from traditional channels. https://link.medium.com/5Gv…
On the one hand I do enjoy reading comments on avc, especially when a topic calls for reactions and the crowd responding to the post is diverse.On the other hand, I wish we could find a way to make the comment section more inviting- sometimes it feels like the turf of a few, whose opinions are expressed so forcefully (irrespective of whether they are right or wrong) that it becomes difficult for some other loyal readers to engage.A more inclusive comment section would hopefully reveal that the observation that “comments are used by a very small portion of the AVC readership”, is to a degree something that can change – with some encouragement, and that comments are valued by many, many more loyal users.
Good Lotd.Pay someone $40,000 a year to handle the tech stuff. Talk to them once a month.Problem solved.If you kill comments, kill them completely.If you kill comments, kill the whole thing.I don’t see you valuing this anymore, for what it’s worth.
I’d take that gig.
I’m not sure he understands the value of it anymore, nor does he engage the community in any real manner – to either help us grow or himself grow – so he’s not going to gain any value or feel reward from it. His questioning shutting down comments is clearly a signal of that. He doesn’t engage with countering thoughts to his own, so there’s really not much deepening or learning happening here anymore when I occasionally do stop by and skim comments.
I’m a 10 year reader. This is my first post. I Receive, read, forward, maybe reply, Maybe Read the comments, delete. I read them maybe 5% of the time personally. Today’s post is an incredibly powerful way to use comments. Possibly turn them off more frequently than you have before. I hope you get some clarity about where to go from here Fred.
Tinyletter has a limit of 5000 messages per month, so you’d hit the wall fast. (I did).Take a look at Substack, where I publish Work Futures (workfutures.substack.com), which includes commenting, and they are rolling out podcasts. I have no financial interest in Substack, just a happy user.
My 2 cents after visiting and commenting for a long time.Comments aren’t what they used to be, as giving or as fun. True for my contribution as well.It is tied to a change in the times and it has reduced the number of commenters down to a handful and the number of new commenters to a crawl at best.Weeks of political storms here in the past, JLM being kicked off–once or twice I can’t remember, nor does it matter.Block four people and you reduce 90% of comments and length.Truth be told–if you cut comments out this community will change. It has already.Do what you will.If I was your advisor and this was the situation I would say go with your gut and open them sometimes on certain topics at certain times and see what the dynamic becomes.Something new might be good.Regardless Fred, I thank you for this, good and interesting times and less so.Mostly for a few handfuls of true offline friendships that I have made and cherish years into meeting them here.
In the radio busienss, the temptation was to take out the hit songs that ‘burned out’ audiences.It killed stations when people tried it.
.Arnold, I never knew you had such lovely dark brown eyes.Freddie and I have never exchanged as much as a testy email on the subject.In his defense, he never kicked me off anything. That is a figment of your imagination, like a lot of other things you profess. Pure fiction.I did take a voluntary sabbatical in the aftermath of President Trump’s glorious electoral triumph, because I could see how difficult it was for the cup cake army to adapt to a new world order, but Freddie kicking mois off?Never happened, amigo.Be well.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
On a low carb diet since Christmas, the mention of cupcakes is a tantalizing mirage in the dessert ;).
I think that rather than sporadically opening the comments, having particular days would be better.
I honestly don’t know.It’s all about intent obviously and being open that this will change the dynamics of the current community which–from a change perspective–I think is a good thing.How this scheduling change will impact things I don’t know.
If you don’t enjoy it why do it and anyway it will make make use the archive more as that is the mother load
I rarely read or use comments. Comments are best left for Twitter.
I see AVC’s comments section as an opportunity for *you* that’s starting to slip from your hands.When I first started visiting AVC, the comments were nearly, if not equally, as valuable to me as your daily post. I have made actual, real-life, in-person, very-important-to-me friends here. Most of whom don’t participate much any more.On the flip side, I’m seeing new people here that I hope to get to know better through this forum and whom I think could bring truly valuable new insight to this community. It seems they’ve come to get what I was so lucky to get out of it 6+ years ago, as they’re asking you straight up not to close comments. Maybe they heard from others what a unique place this is for people who’re willing to contribute thoughtfully.The new people here are the ones we *all* can learn from. We all need to make the effort to *engage* them, make them feel welcome, and really listen to what they have to share.But you, Fred, are the one who probably stands to benefit the most from these new voices in the comments. I like @ericalabuda:disqus ‘s suggestion of subbing out more of the moderation to trustworthy regulars. Also, maybe we can all help propose occasional guest bloggers who will be motivated to engage actively in the comments when they guest post and switch things up a bit.So there’s my very strong opinion, loosely held 😉
A combination of community moderators, guest bloggers (who have a vested interest in engaging), and closing comments on a few select days might be the best way to go. I do wish I had time to sort through to find the new voices!
They might just be new to *me*, as I don’t dive into the comments as frequently as I used to (for same reason as you listed in your comment).
I like your optimism! Maybe Fred will blog about that…
In other long-lived forums, the long-standing community members do a lot of heavy lifting (e.g. moderating). Typically people who’ve posted the most become moderators. The reason for that is you need people who are on the blog a lot since things like spam or an insidious conversation can quickly overwhelm the “front page.” From chat rooms to car forums, the biggest contributors usually play a role in “management.”
William and Shana were once appointed moderators, but I think several of us felt some sense of ownership.
I recently pulled up my guest post from about five years ago and cringed.Really with you on the new voices thing. I used to go through the comments trying to engage and encourage people I hadn’t heard from before. Have slacked off. You have been great at this.
Why did you cringe at your guest post? Now I’m terribly curious 😀
Too many I’s. Too much focus on me.Otherwise, I think it is just what happens when comparing past work to present skill level, when one’s skills have improved.As I shared with Erin, below, what made the post come alive is the back and forth in the comments section which is now missing.
Can you link your guest post?
Ha! I should have expected that someone would ask this.So I re-read it once again and overall not as bad as I had at first thought. (Will respond on that to Kirsten.) But my best memories of the post came from the lively interactions in the comments which are now missing. My favorite part was featuring some entrepreneurs and their companies. Only Riskalyze still exists (and Aaron is a client and friend), but Max has founded a successful company (Lessonly), William has launched a VC firm and Tereza is alive and well encouraging other entrepreneurs in her role at MS!https://avc.com/2012/07/mba…
Comments do enable trolls.BUTI think you will lose a huge amount by doing away with comments.You’re a busy guy, so do what you need to but it will be a sad day.This is one of the places that I get some smart alternative viewpoints.
Founder: “Fred, we’re thinking of doing away with our strongest engagement tool. We know it will alienate a lot of users, including our core heavy users, but we think it’s worth it. Interactivity and community has just become so passé. Yes, we do recognize that providing a forum for engagement for users, a key attribute, has helped grow our base biz, and it’s even driven awareness of our parent company, but, you know, time is money.”Fred: “WTF”JK, it’s obv your bar (and your time), do what you think is right…..and thanks for the ride!
Support the ’email only’ mode. Stopped reading the comments long ago as it’s mostly the same people making the same point(s).
Please keep the comments! Without comments there is no community.The only thing I’d change about AVC is the icon of yourself. When we met in person (at a Patriot Boot Camp event years ago), your cheeks were not nearly as rose-colored as your icon suggests 🙂 Wait, that doesn’t sound right.
That post is prescient, then again I wouldn’t want to be held to everything I said and thought 12 yrs ago.
Exactly. That’s why I used the sarcastic language 😉
Ok, I’ll stop commenting.
I completely understand your point and it is probably unavoidable, but the day you shut down the comments will be a very sad one.For different reasons I don’t comment much lately, but I still read whenever I have time. There was a time when the comment section was one of my favourites parts of the day. Here I’ve known great people and our relationships have transcended AVC. With some I’ve done business with. Once you even took one of my comments and brought it up in a post the next day, which was awesome!Whatever you do, thank you for putting the time all these years.
I hear congratulations are in order!Have been meaning to DM you.
.I cannot believe nobody has used the word “echo chamber” thus far in this discussion.A blog which presents an unchallenged, unquestioned view on anything is just an echo chamber.Echo chambers are where ideas go to die as they are devoid of the fertile power of discussion.When ideas are debated — when they wrestle in the public square — what emerges is stronger, better, more nuanced ideas. One also develops a sense of how embraceable such an idea truly may be.A VC echo chamber — of which there is no shortage — is like a loud fart in church. People recoil. Everybody pretends to ignore it. Eventually, it dissipates and disappears.Don’t be an echo chamber.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Hope you don’t mind but I’m going to co-op that last line and get as much mileage out of it as often as I can.
.”Mileage may vary,” sayeth the Big Red Car.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
BRC would know.
Ha! I had thoughts on “echo chamber” in my comment and edited out an entire paragraph for length.I’ve left many echo chambers in recent years. Life is too short.
A little late to this party. I’m not sure Fred really reads very many comments anymore, he certainly doesn’t engage with any that are challenging the thesis behind USV’s primary investments these days – so perhaps that’s why, or what we’re seeing here, is Fred not valuing the comments. The quality of comments and diversity of people has steadily dropped the past 3 years, and I personally see that aligned with USV’s craze or fascination or seeming “all-in” with cryptocurrencies – that honestly most intellectuals understand they are a combination of Ponzi-Pyramid schemes and overall bad for society; there are only a few blockchain use cases that still require real-life trust networks to exist for them to support that added value creation though. Perhaps that decline of diversity of commenters is related to something else, perhaps lack of Fred commenting as much. I’d love to be able to see or do a deep dive into the commenting statistics – Fred’s + diversity of commenters, along with topics discussed, keywords, etc.
Ah, comments!Here’s my suggestion:1. stay on WordPress so we can use RSS and other tools and avoid the dreaded promo folder swamp that Gmail has created.2. challenge the blogging community to form a bbs (Discourse or similar) where they can hang out and talk to each other.3. keep writing!it’s thankless work, Fred, and you’ve done more than your share, but hopefully this splitting of the baby satisfies most people mostly.
Great suggestions Seth
I’m a little confused by saying it’s thankless work – why would you want thanks for it? Fred has expressed many times the value of writing. You should be thanking yourself for putting in the work, the effort, and hopefully allowing yourself to grow further.If the comments section isn’t engaging you or helping you grow, and you don’t care to engage with your audience – Fred who attracts many intelligent people – to explain to them in more depth, to challenge or counter their thoughtful responses (to help educate them perhaps), then sure – you’re not going to grow, not feel value, or not feel adequate reward from it.
The community could create an AVC sub-reddit to carry on the conversation.
Does Reddit, with some of its old involvements, really have just the right cachet for the Tiffany’s boutique of VC?????The funder of Twitter and Disqus moves their business discussion site to Reddit??The USV offices are to move to Orange County? To West Virginia to be near the coal fields?Sacré bleu!
This is one of the few places on the internet where I can go to see smart people from different parts of the political spectrum engage respectfully (usually :)) with each other. If comments are turned off, AVC becomes another good VC blog, but loses the curated feel and cast of lovable rogues that it is currently.
You said it much better than I did.
You have rolled a 20 for initiative. Your comment hits the mark, and is appreciated across the land. You have now gained 50 exp. and 10 gold my wise, and able, friend.
I think you should hire a paid moderator and dip in and out of the comments when you feel like it.This does feel like legacy territory – it would be great to keep it alive even if you wanted to interact less.Consider closing comments for the lifestyle, Kickstarter, video and political posts. Then do an open comment section post once a week like SSC.You’ve taught all of us a lot. Whatever you decide – thanks.
Like you said, let the comments be on Twitter or Reddit or someone (not me 🙂 can set-up a group site somewhere and moderate it.
Many year lurker. Had to get in before the Studio 54 of discourse and ideas closes its doors. Siskel without Ebert? Sherlock without Watson? AVC without LE, JLM et al? Even sigma whose novel, er, comment today might have sunk lesser blogs via its own mathematical mass! There are enough talking heads on the internet and the suggestions to migrate commentary to twitter are idiocy. Why not xerox them and post them 240 characters at a time by the food court at Costco. Please try to come up with a solution that preserves the comments if you can do so while maintaining your sanity. They are what make this place so very special.
My quick thoughts:1) I used to comment a lot more before this current political climate. It’s partly that my time is now stretched thinner, and partly that I am connecting the dots between business practices and political views, and I’m not yet sure what to do with that information. But it makes the way I look at the comments on this blog differently.2) When I used to comment a lot, I remember a getting into a long conversation with members of this community about spreadsheets. Spreadsheets! (I am pro-spreadsheet, many were con.) How I long for the days when the most polarizing discussion I had in a day was about spreadsheets!3) I am not calling anyone on this blog a troll, but I do see trolling techniques used. Derailment, disinformation, pile ons, trying to discredit the person commenting (often in the most subtle of ways), gaming the comments, etc.4) I am a woman. Perhaps being a woman means I have less patience with trolling techniques listed above. Perhaps I get uncomfortable with the noise and what often seems like a game to me. Perhaps my gender has nothing to do with anything. But I do wish there were more women commenting here. (And since I comment very rarely, I have obviously become part of the problem by not being here.)5) It will be a completely different blog if you don’t have commenters. Whether that is “good” or “bad” depends on your goals.
#4) +1000#3) +750
It does seem as if the problems in the comments section are a reflection of the problems with the world at large, does it not? I believe people in democratic governments are saying the exact same thing.
I see a small number of comments from a smaller number of commenters that seem to fit the bill. It’s usually about Trump but sometimes comes up in other anecdotes. You can stay engaged and ignore them, stay engage and call them out, or disengage. It takes a lot of extra energy to do the first two.
Agree: #NotAllCommentersIt’s not *just* that it takes energy—energy I’ve got boatloads of. It’s that I sometimes wonder if both time and energy is better spent building infrastructure to stop what I see as real abuses of power instead of arguing about or trying to ignore people who seem to be trying to distract from or minimize those abuses.
That’s a good approach. Working at a higher level has more leverage and can give bigger results for the same effort put in.
Thanks. It’s not always an easy decision to make. And as I am once again experience here—I LOVE talking with people, helping build communities, hearing a wide range of experiences and differing opinions.
I am no expert on governments. All I can say is that I no longer comment here because I got tired of feeling a) patronized, b) belittled and c) attacked. It’s a public space which belongs to someone else…but on topics which are of import to many. And as a woman, lately…well it’s rough out there and I suspect it’s about to get a great deal rougher. But I have no intention of subjecting myself to an environment like Twitter…or even AVC anymore. Now, I come occasionally if the topic is compelling, but I just leave upvotes. So I suppose that puts me in the “meh” camp….
Hahaha, I do the same thing—“If the topic is compelling, I leave upvotes.” But doesn’t that put us in the “Women should be seen and not heard category?” 🙂
You may have left that category. But I am an AA woman…and I never did.Sandra Bland, et al the rules are different for us.
I hear you. Thank you for your comments and sharing your experience.
Lisa, you’re on the money. And, I’d actually take #3 one step further: there are people who consistently “troll” others here. I’d also call out some efforts to appear reasonable as gaslighting.
That’s what is so interesting about having rules such as: “you can comment as long as you’re respectful”. I know people who comment very respectfully but are still gaslighting the heck out of people. It’s why moderating comments is so hard.
Yes! “That’s a lovely housecoat you’re wearing, Mrs. Cleaver.”Exhausting for the moderators.
“I wish there were more women here”(on AVC) is usually thought or reiterated by most women who have participated. Many of the women actually have met offline because of wanting to take some of those issues into more serious discussion. I have always trusted @fredwilson, who I know to be a huge supporter of women, as top of mindful of the issues of women in tech, funding, and related life balance pro-family, mainly because he is no bullshit.I met many people here in the 10+ years, and connect offline with them mainly, but value the time spent here making those friends and acquaintances. It was fun and engaging.
I agree @fredwilson is a huge supporter of women. I still subscribe to the AVC blog through email, I read it about 3x per week, dive into the comments most times—but usually to just read and “like”. I, too, have found this community incredible valuable over the years. I too, have met and built relationships with people outside the community that I met here. Men and women. None of what I say should be read as a complaint. It’s “merely” a part of the systemic oppression of marginalized people that seeps deep into our culture. It’s something I am trying to solve.I was remembering back to my conversation here about spreadsheets. I love spreadsheets. I dig deep into them and use them to gain insights and guide my business decisions. But I *also* trust my instincts. I work collaboratively with people. I listen. I lead. I simply use data as a framework in which I do ALL those things. And when I explain that in other places, it sounds like leadership. Here? *Friendly argument ensues*. The very way I operate a business as a CEO was called into scrutiny. Because I like spreadsheets.Which leads me to women in politics. “Why don’t they just run?” was the chant of many guys I knew before this last election. The same guys who are now appearing in droves to say that the women are too old, too young, too inexperienced, too jaded, too aggressive, not aggressive enough, not intelligent enough, too bubbly, too shrill. Etc.Do men get those types of attacks? *Of course*. But men have already been normalized as leaders.I will say one more thing. Being here, having this conversation with this community—-it makes me want to come back.
Two thoughts:1. You don’t edit your posts depending how people comment. That would be superficial. Comments don’t improve your blog quality.2. Discussion forums are great. Seth’s idea sounds cool. Can you send discussion forums somewhere else? Automate community prioritisation or categorisation of discussion themes or topics? That way you can develop both services/products (your posts and the forum you facilitate) well and independent of each other.I almost never comment. This was fun.Thank you for blogging.
Well, here’s a completely different view. I read the blog as an email but also have it on my Feedly. I read it everyday. I’m mostly in it for Fred’s journey and wisdom. I rarely read the comments. Loss of comments here would not be s big loss for me. I’d probably seek them out on Reddit. AVC on reddit would elevate the discourse there and also bring AVC to different audiences.Tinyletter is nice but I can also recommend Substack. It works as a newsletter and a blog. I’m pretty sure you could keep the three-letter URL.Good luck with this. I really value AVC.
“Routines”You talked about it last week. One of the points you made was that you consider routines as the “secret” to your “work life balance”. You went on to say that when you get out of your routine, “…things fall apart quickly. It’s like dominoes”.You also said that there are many challenges with relying on routines. And, you closed by saying that you have, “not found any organizing principle more powerful than routines”.I’ve always gotten a sense that this blog, along with the comments that follow, provides you with not just an outlet, to express what’s on your mind, but has become part of the glue that holds your other daily routines together.I commented to one of our regulars, Phillip Sugar, that AVC has become a daily routine for me. It is both enjoyable and educational. I come here to learn. Thus, I have “No zero days”. It has become part of my glue as well. From the words of an old Gospel song, “Bless be the tithes that bind”. There’s much tithing going on here.
All good things must come to an end. It sounds like you don’t receive the value you used to from us. Your topics are often interesting, sometimes personally relevant, and from a POV I don’t have. The community takes your thoughts and blows them up to include other POVs and tangents that richly develop your post. Maybe you don’t care about that, or don’t care anymore. The SUM(post, community) > post + community.Selfishly, I want comments to stay, particularly on the heaviest comment days. Those are the most exciting and engaging.
nothing brings out the comments like the possibility of them going away.remarkably few new ones percentage wise, lots of old community members chiming in.this is a tough one.there’s intent and the reality of acting on it.i’m at peace with era’s changing as time goes on.blogs and communities and comments and engagement seem part and parcel of each other.
It’s interesting to me that Fred’s basically hanging up the towel here vs. being entrepreneurial and problem solving to revive AVC – which in part means doing a deep dive into understand why diversity of comments has steadily gone down the past 3 years or so. @jameshrh:disqus had a great idea too regarding technical hassle – pay someone $40k/year to deal with it all.
I consider email newsletter as spam. But also, as a new visitor how would I know your email newsletter was worth subscribing to if I couldn’t see what content you have to offer. And to echo @patrick94305:disqus “Emails get lost in my inbox.”
Over the years, I have protested when you mention shutting down the comments.But in recent months I have felt some empathy for you and wondered whether it might be a burden to continue the comments section when often it is the “usual suspects” and some more usual than others or distracting from your intent. (Not that this bothers me, but I have thought about it from your perspective.)I am not as active at AVC as I have been in the past (for a number of reasons*), but it is my 10th anniversary here and AVC has become a fixture in my life. Every one of my kids knows the name “Fred Wilson.”The “community” is not what it once was, from my perspective, but much of my daily online interaction is with people that I met here. I have formed friendships, business relationships and networking contacts that started in the comments.I learn as much from the comments as from the posts, because in the comments, my critical thinking is further ignited. The AVC comment section is still the place where I find the most meaningful online interaction and is the safest place I have found to try to understand a different perspective. I rarely read a post without also visiting the comment section even if I only have time to scan. There have been a few times that I have first scanned the comments and then read the post.So I ask myself the honest question, would I read AVC without the comments? I’d like to think I would, but as much as I appreciate much of what you write, it is often the comments that enhance the value. And when I don’t like what you write, it is often the comments that enhance the value. :)I think of another VC that I once read frequently, who moved away from Disqus and I can’t remember the last time I read one of his posts — although the draw was not as strong as AVC.Fred, those of us who care about you want you to do what is best for you! Things run their course. That’s life. So, whatever you decide, I cannot ever thank you enough for what you have offered through AVC and the platform you have created. I have said this before, but AVC changed my life.*When I changed email addresses I lost the daily subscription which often prompted me to come over to the AVC site. Will fix this.
A LOT of girls and young women need something from you — a book, blog, something, not short, that describes what you do and much more importantly how the heck you understand all the things that let you get it all done.
Very sweet, Siggy. Thank you.Something for me to think about.Although as the mom of three sons (plus a daughter) I am also thinking a lot about how to transmit my knowledge to young males as well. My oldest son is now 23 and has become one of my greatest fans.
Thanks, but no doubt saying anything I do is “sweet” is like calling one of JLM’s acre of garlic a garden of roses!I have no doubt you will be able to pass on easily such social graces to your daughters. For your son, maybe have somewhat lower objectives but still have him understand at least that his mother and sisters, and any candidate long term SO for him, commonly do such things.There is a good portrayal of such male/female differences early in the 1941 movie Meet John Doe athttps://www.youtube.com/wat…where the Barbara Stanwyck character quickly understands what the Gary Cooper character does not and compensates and saves the day!Later in the movie, the Spring Byington character does with the Cooper character a second verse of the same song. Girls and young women need to be told that they might have to help brothers and sons understand such behavior.Clearly the writer and the director Frank Capra saw this stuff with perfect clarity and, thus, was able to get it up on the screen so that movie audiences could also see it.Throughout my career, in interactions with HR people, they were evaluating me on my skills in some social graces gentle game of lawn tennis while I didn’t even understand that any such game could exist and was thinking only about real practical problems, candidate technical solutions, algorithms, code architecture, math techniques, theorems, and proofs! To them I was a spraying skunk at their garden party; to me I had NO idea a party was going on! Even if your son’s aptitude for such lawn tennis is not so good, at least you can explain to him that the game does exist and have him recognize the game when it’s being played! Girls and young women need to understand, for any that don’t already, that boys and men might not see the game!No doubt you expertly and successfully navigate the political minefields of organizations; your daughters will be in line to see such images in 24 bit color and ultra high resolution; to your son there’s a chance he will see such images in low resolution gray scale! If so, then help him; even if not, help girls and young women help the boys and men in their lives who need such lessons!One lesson, no doubt fully obvious to your daughters before they could walk, is “Always monitor what the other person is thinking and feeling and for each candidate word or action accurately estimate what they might think or feel in response.”. Eventually my wife taught me this lesson explicitly. There is the line in My Fair Lady where Elizsa tells HigginsSo you are a motor bus! All bounce and go, and no consideration for anybody.No doubt you will be good, likely already long have been good, at having your son understand this little clash of social graces!But I don’t know the relevant lessons well enough even to list them, much less teach them or do them. Before my wife worked on me with remedial lessons in socialization, I was an extreme case. Girls and young women need to understand that some men are this way; maybe you can let them know. I can believe your daughters already do understand!
Love your perspective, Donna.
Thank you. Appreciate you sharing this.
Ten years, 3-4 times a week. I come to read the posts + the comments. Without the comments, I am way less interested. I appreciate and admire the work Fred sinks into this, but the comments (to me) deliver 2/3rds of the value.
Fred, your posts are not the only source of USV comments on AVC!! So, coming to AVC people can also see posts by Albert, Bethany, etc. And those two are not nearly the same — e.g., it’s fully clear that Bethany is MUCH cuter and sweeter and has a MUCH better smile than Albert! I see Bethany as having a fine mist of champagne bubbles rising above her, with more bubbles rising faster the more she smiles!Without Albert’s posts advertised here, I wouldn’t have jerked his chain on almost sure equality of random variables and a proof of Jensen’s inequality!
Outsource it. Appoint a comment moderator from your community.
FredI have been reading your blog everyday for over 12 years now. Both your post and the comments are 1-2 punch. Nothing is good without the other.Your blog has become my coffee-time reading every morning. If you disable comments , I swear on God i am not going to drink coffee anymore.Please dont follow Seth Godin.We have our own JLM’s , LE, Sigmal, JimHirsh, Girish, Donna , points and so many others whose valuable comments and opinions made us rethink in a different perpectives , includng you.
Hi Fred,Before shutting down comments completely, perhaps you can experiment by giving everyone a quota on the number of comments they can post for any given blog (let’s say 10)?I’m not sure it would work, but it could possibly prevent “drowning out” of your reader’s limited attention span by a small subset of very active users, give more “air time” to comments from a more diverse group of people, force everyone to be really thoughtful about what they post, and reduce the overall number of comments to be moderated (esp. for very controversial blogs).Anyway, just a thought…
I don’t care about comments but would not continue reading if it switched from RSS to email.
The comments are a big part of AVC to me. Don’t get me wrong, the content itself is great, I just love seeing people riff on it, and that likely gets lost in a purely broadcast world.That said, it seems you used to be more involved in replies and it is less bi-directional now, so maybe the discussion lives on somehow as a freestanding community of newsletter readers. Maybe that’s just reddit or something similar?
Fred, what makes AVC so special in addition to your comments are those of thoughtful commentators. Surely you or UnionVentures can justify the cost a p/t editor/technical manager to handle the minutae of maintenance. Please consider how few VC’s offer access to their thought leadership in email accessible format today. Tx, again.
So i have stopped commenting here now for some time but you got me to log in to my disqus account and check a few stats!!!here we go for a bit of fun!- i started following AVC on September 21 2007. – i first started commenting a month later.- I have commented 2423 times.- i received 1126 upvotes – i have 159 followers (huh!)these are not intended to be vanity stats – i’m not completely sure on what they all mean and dont pay attention to them. My point is…..Your daily contribution has caused me to build a 14 year long feed of thoughts and interactions nearly all of which have directly contributed to my career.In that span i have started 3 companies, 1 win, 1 loss, 3rd just getting going….raised over $18MM in VC money (i say this as i drew huge help from your community as i went through that process both times). I fail to believe that i am alone in this regard.My highlights from memory were:- ranting with you on how utterly crap twitter was and that your investment would be a zero! – disagreeing with JLM on just about everything ;)- Meeting Arnold, William and i am sure others….Finally – i’m a reader now, not a commenter – but you have inspired me to consider daily blogging my new startup journey – i just might do that!Either way – thanks thanks thanks for the years…..and a quick WAVE to all of you geriatric AVC followers who i have not conversed with in too long…….
.Congratulations on your success and best wishes for future success.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
All relative jlm.I overheard my 7 year olds hockey coach in the huddle the other day…No losing…..only winning and learning kids…..I was blown away. This is so simple for them and yet profound.Best to you sir.
What about signing up a few vetted volunteer moderators to help with the comments? Pretty sure quite a few would step up. Thanks for writing and thanks for keeping it on the web. Newsletters are ephemeral and avc is a reference.
This is my first comment ever. Your readers should only comment on topics that they deeply care about rather than just “thinking” out loud! It would greatly simplify your life.
You should have disabled comments for this post 😛
IMO, the right decision is whatever keeps you writing. That’s probably what it comes down to. When/if all of that overhead eventually just burns you out, then it would have been better just to reset to something simple.On comments: I’ve celebrated the virtues of comments for so long, and while I still like the ones on AVC, I find myself just reading your post and scanning for reactions on Twitter. If I were you, I’d consider just have a small approved-only set of commenters consisting of the most regular, valuable contributers. I’d like to read that small handful of reactions as a companion to your post. Everyone else can go on Twitter. There’s still some overhead in deciding who is on that small list though.On newsletters: The trend of premium content newsletters is really interesting to me. It’s clearly working for many outlets and people. But it never resonated with me as a user. I hate reading long form content in my inbox. It feels like I’m sorting through my bills and someone just threw a magzine into the pile and asked me to read through the entire thing before I go onto my next bill. I read AVC split 70/30 between in my browser and in the Apple News app.
I feel like it’s time for a change. Good luck whichever direction you take the blog. No matter what the future of AVC it’s been a wonderful place to hang out over the years and I appreciate it and everyone who chimed in.
Here’s my two cents added to the pile. I’m an entrepreneur and a big fan of your blog and the community that has developed here over the years. The reality is that there are solutions to spam and moderation challenges.This is what caught my attention.“The truth is comments are used by a very small portion of the AVC readership. But the people who use the comments are very active and engaged. So, removing comments won’t impact a lot of readers, but it will impact the most loyal readers.”Fred’s sentiment about the value of comments is the same as many content producers but there is a shift in thinking, since it is proving to be patently false.Full disclosure: I’m the founder and CEO of Viafoura, an audience engagement platform that powers various engagement solutions for 600+ media organizations, including chats, live stories and yes, commenting).Since commenting is one of the solutions in our suite of audience engagement tools, we track all related data points to understand the value that we’re delivering to our clients. After all, if you can’t quantify the benefit of your product, your paying customers will be dropping off the other end as you sign them on.We analyzed user behaviour from across our entire network of customers (375 million users) and realized that even though only 5% of the audience actually writes comments, more than 70% of the total audience spends greater than 15-20% of their time on site reading the comments. And since comments keep expanding as the conversation unfolds, notifications keep pulling users back onto the site which generates more page views and advertising revenue. This is just one example. There are a host of other very interesting quantifiable outcomes that we’ve discovered directly as a result of engagement tools like commenting.Since we’re processing millions of comments monthly, moderation and spam is another challenge we had to address at scale using NLP and ML.Fred, the solutions are out there. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Behind every promising brand, there is an active and engaged community.
If spam is to be controlled, I think JLM should not be allowed to put his url on the comments – isn’t that considered spam?
I should probably be emailing you this comment instead, but here goes:What about asking for a small subscription for email delivery? If we all bought you a latte each month, that could turn into a nice sum that can go towards Donors Choose regularly.Similar with comments: everyone has N comments ‘free’ each week (where starter N ~ 5); for each subsequent comment there’s a small per-comment fee that goes into similar coffers as the subscription money. That way we hopefully surface more new voices, and for those of us who have the time to comment multiple times, well — we probably also have the money.My intent here isn’t pay to play — rather it’s to recognize and honor what a great value you’ve built here and ask us all to occasionally buy a round for everyone in a more structured, sustainable, predictable way.
I love reading the comments. They sometimes add value. Sometimes they don’t, but that’s why we have moderation…
I would feel so lost on the internet without this community. As Jesus’s disciples said when he asked them if they wanted to leave him, “But Lord, to whom would we go??!”I joined AVC when I was long-distance dating a guy from NYC and we talked on Skype every day. He was my intellectual stimulation for the morning and I cherished that. When I knew I had to break up with him, one of my major questions was, “how am I going to survive without him always pushing me to think in broader ways about the world and power structures? Who will teach me about finance and give me the inside scoop on politics?” I made the right decision (we still talk tho- I’m editing his book), but AVC proved to be a good substitute for our daily conversations. Even though I haven’t met any of you, I think of you fondly, and reading your comments has taught me so much. As my friend says who trying to get me to do an MBA, it’s the network. The network is priceless.I know that old structures have to give way to new things so people can transform.But wow, the loss of this community would sting real bad. It’s been so meaningful to me.
Don’t remove comments, half the reason I come on here is to read people’s comments.
Also a long time reader. I almost never read comments, but when I do is mainly because the post you wrote has some questions in it/it seems that you are searching for discussion/answers too (you are also active in the comments). I would let those kind of posts open (comments answer a lot of questions/add suggestions) and the rest can be closed (for whatever reason – political, personal, just a post with known facts/truth)…
True – most *real* value does come through hard work though.Cracking “civil discussion” is one of the key and open issues of the internet itself…one could argue it’s Nobel Peace Prize worthy for whomever does actually crack it.
Blog will be deadman’s in a year.Should just kill the whole thing.
There’s no meaningful discussion possible on Twitter like there is with comments on the blog.
Wisdom! Nice to “see” you here Charlie, how are you?One of my favorite AVC moments was recognizing you on Amtrak from your avatar, and asking if you were Charlie Crystle — and you were! I do treasure the IRL interactions, and friends I’ve made, after having met people here.
This is solid. But also all things change, and Fred is probably feeling the need to shake things up.
Do you keep this handy for just those special moments when you need to pull it out? 🙂
It works. Do keep it handy. You never know when just the right occasion will come along.
Oh, good! All is well on my end. And likewise, Charlie, the feeling is mutual.