Why I disabled Comments

So us Europeans and those who deal with Europeans have 3 days to get our house in order before the GDPR come into force.

A major part of these regulations is focused, quite rightly, on personal data security and ownership.

This got me to thinking about the pros and cons of the personal data I used to store on this site. And I eventually realized there were more con’s than pro’s when it came to allowing your personal data to be stored on this site.

And for that reason, I have now deleted all comments and disabled your ability to leave any fresh ones, let me explain my reasoning for this.

This blog has been running since 2010, it never had a lot of comments, about 1100 in total. And of course, many of the people who have left comments have either changed email addresses or are no longer active online. This is their right of course.

However should this blog get hacked, and it has been once. It was always my responsibility under existing European data laws and more so under GDPR to inform you of this hack. As this is not a commerce site, the most likely outcome I can imagine is, you would be targeted by scammers and their phishing emails.

Now here comes the rub.

To be able to contact you, I would have to extract yours and all your fellow commentator’s personal details on a regular basis and have these stored securely somewhere. This article on wpbeginner shows how to do this but also highlights the legal issues around doing it. The GDPR makes it clear, data storage must be secure by design and the process for doing so must be clearly documented, so where would I store your data?

My PC: not secure by design and not scalable.

Dropbox, Google Drive or some other online storage: Secure by design but to use the data, it would need to be extracted and then I would manually have to email every legacy commentator.

Going forward, I could, of course, inform you and anyone else leaving a comment that I would be adding your details to an email list which would only used in the case of my site being hacked.

This is all adding extra overheads to my blogging and in reality, it comes down to one simple question.

What is the value of a comment on your blog?

For me, this leads to the next question, where is engagement most likely to happen? Where your target audience hangs out of course, which is now most likely to be a social networking platform such as Facebook or Twitter.

This is great news because you can share your posts on Facebook, grow your audience and all the responsibility for data security lies with Facebook.

You should and can still grow your email list from Facebook and any personal details you collect will be secured by design if you are working with an autoresponder such as Aweber or GetResponse.

And your content?

Well, if Facebook declines or becomes a place your target audience abandons, all your original content still exists on your blog and you can easily share it with your audiences new hangout place.

So this is why I have deleted and closed all comments on this site.

The value of a comment is outweighed by the benefits of having all content engagement happen on Facebook, Twitter or any new social platform