Today Smashing Magazine published a thoughtful article on the state of blog comments. They cite our lack of time, A+++ comments, and a bunch of other stuff while they talk to us about the lack of meaningful conversation in posts.
Sure we're all flying this way and that way online in our lives but I think that the real person that can affect change in the comments of sites, is the site owners.
While the post in question has a fair few decent comments that are thoughtful, many repeat the same ideas as another commentator (a 'me too' comment) and at least one just says 'great post' (vanity comments). My question to Smashing Magazine and all popular blogs is why on earth do you let people provide useless 'great post' comments? The very fact of not removing them in the first place means that you're contributing to the problem.
I have a firm policy of only allowing comments to stay on my site if they are actually useful. Sure I've never gone back and made sure that old comments are only like that but for a few months now I haven't approved any comments that are of that nature.
I realize I'm a small blog and don't have the problems of scale that many sites will have when moderating comments. I know that if you're using WordPress scanning through some comments and removing any that aren't useful isn't really all that time consuming.
So here's a call to all bloggers. Don't let useless comments get on the site. Then when someone is interested in making a useful comment they won't have to wade through a ton of crap saying 'good job' to post their comment. I know that vanity comments on posts often mean any useful comment would be lost so I just don't comment.