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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Comments Killed the Internet Star

In a recent interview with Seth Godin on Zen Habits, Leo Babauta asked Seth why he removed comments from his website (which Leo did as well).

Seth discussed how difficult it was for him, but he presented sound reasoning for it. Seth explained a part of his brain was always distracted by the comments—this nagging voice telling him his writings wouldn’t be appreciated by his readers. So Seth would argue with himself about removing a sentence here, adding an extra sentence there—all to justify his point of view to avoid offending his readers: “I realized I had a choice—I could have a blog with comments and no posts, or a blog with posts and no comments.”

That was our ‘lightbulb’ moment.

We killed the comments before they killed us. We turned off comments (in 2011) because we didn’t want them shaping our writing into something inauthentic: if that happened, we’d be doing a disservice to our readers. Plus, we were spending 20 hours each week moderating and responding to innumerable comments, which wasn’t adding as much value as it was taking. Comments are meant to engage readers, but less than one percent of the people who visited our website actually left a comment—because there are better ways to stay engaged.

We appreciated the kind words from readers, the feedback, the valuable discussions; on the flip-side, we didn’t appreciate the seagulls. Our website is a portal to engage with others to help them live more meaningful lives—not to provide anonymous trolls a forum to to vent their inane outrage.

Even without comments, though, we’ll remain engaged with our readers in myriad ways:

Our site has always been about the content of our writings—not the responses to them. Our essays are meant to elicit personal introspection, so the best way to benefit from our weekly lessons is via email, which allows you to stay engaged every time we write something new (and no spam—ever).

As always, we’ll continue to engage with our readers via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where many of our most meaningful conversations already occur. You can always comment via any of those platforms: we closely listen and interact with everyone.

If you run a blog and want to comment on a specific essay, feel free to link to that essay: we read the sites that link to ours, and we share the most meaningful content on social media.

And we’ll continue to find new ways to engage our audience: tours, live events, speaking gigs, and other forums for meaningful, face-to-face conversations.

If you find value in The Minimalists, consider donating a dollar.