A couple of weeks after SethGate, Mark Cuban has apparently decided to kill comments to his blog posts. Honestly, I can't put this in the same vein as SethGate, or even Scoble deciding to monitor his comments. In this case, I think Cuban is making this move as a fan who's upset that his team lost the NBA Finals. I wouldn't be suprised if he turns comments back on shortly.
But...what I'm worried about is the bigger message that this might be sending other bloggers. Seth and Cuban are very influential bloggers, how long is it before another A-Lister, or A-Lister wannabe, decides that they don't need the 'hassle' of feedback from their communities. If Seth can get along without them, why do I need the 'hassle' of reading comments?
Here's a thought for those bloggers that are thinking of dumping comments from their readers, because they 'add no value': Start making an effort to CONNECT to your readers, and maybe they'll give you better feedback! Take the time to get to know these people that are taking time to come to YOUR blog, and maybe they'll get to know YOU a bit better, and give you better feedback.
Don't lock yourself up in an ivory tower and call down to your crowd that 'you guys just don't get me'. They don't 'get' you because you won't JOIN them.
If this trend continues of high-profile bloggers banning comments, either the readers will eventually migrate to the blogs that DO embrace their readers, or eventually readers as a whole will get tired of blogs. Which hurts everyone.
I talk a lot about the need for companies to 'join the community', but it applies to bloggers as well. And as a blog grows, the blogger should look for MORE ways to embrace their communities. I see so often, the exact opposite happening, in that many bloggers reach a certain level of traffic, and think they don't need to pay as much attention to their community anymore. The result is that some long-term readers will leave, and as new ones start to read the blog, there's little interaction with the blog owner. The end result is that the readers that understood the blogger, because he used to interact with them, they leave, while the new readers have no interaction with the blogger, and therefore don't understand him/her.
So if you aren't accepting comments because you aren't getting 'value' from your readers, that's not their fault, it's yours. I read on another blog a few weeks ago that 'a blog gets the readers they deserve'.
There's a lot of truth in that. Building bridges is almost always preferrable to burning them.