Led astray by a comment on another blog, Kevin pondered the existence of a lefty-righty blog comment divide:

Is that true? I’d peg the top six conservative/libertarian/pro-war sites to be Instapundit, Sullivan, Lileks, LGF, Volokh, and Den Beste. Only one of those six allows comments (although perhaps LGF makes up for all the rest?)

On the liberal side, I’d guess that the half-dozen most popular sites are Atrios, KOS, Marshall, me, Yglesias, and Max. Five out of six allow comments.

I can’t say for sure that my dozen choices are the right ones, but I’m probably not too far off the mark and the difference in comment friendliness is indeed remarkably clear cut. I wonder what accounts for this, or if it’s just some weird coincidence?

Apparently, yes:

My post yesterday about comment sections on blogs was just an offhand thing, but Stentor Danielson decided to put it to the test. Today he claims that contrary to the small sample of blogs I used, a more, um, rigorous survey shows that 52% of lefty blogs have comments while 62% of righty blogs have comments.

You can inspect his methodology here, and since he has comments himself, you can also comment at his site on his comment methodology. (Links in the original. )

It’s amazing how quickly we can fact check each other–and, apparently, ourselves–in the blogosphere.

Both “sides” seem to think their side argues more honestly, gently, and in a greater spirit of openness. These attitudes seldom hold up under empirical scrutiny. Congrats to Kevin for his quick turnaround on this one.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. 42nd SSD says:

    I find it intriguing that many of the most popular weblogs don’t provide a discussion area for articles. For me, the ability to comment is really the main reason to have (and read) weblogs in the first place–otherwise it’s merely an electronic version of the op-ed column, and loses at least half its value. Reader comments are often worth as least as much as the original article; LGF is one of the better examples of this, despite the occasonal flamefests.

    [I also wouldn’t include Lileks’ Bleat page as a “weblog”, he’s a lot classier than that.]

    On the other side of the coin there’s the comment areas, which is probably the worst example of a “comment board” I’ve ever seen… most of the “discussions” quickly degrade into bad sexual innuendo and hundreds of flaming morons trying to outstupid one another (and, unfortunately, succeeding). Too much popularity is just as bad as too much obscurity.

  2. Paul says:

    Kevin gets another accusation about conservatives wrong…

    Never woulda seen that one coming.


    (At least he did have the class to admit it.)

  3. Creno says:


  4. binoculars says: