I've gone back and forth on whether or not to have comments turned on for my site. I've had them on in the past, but as I use Jekyll which doesn't coming with commenting, I had to install DisQus (which ain't great). I had very few comments on the story when commenting was available, and when I read other serials I think it's rare for the comments to add anything for future readers (but maybe I'm missing something).

I realize that I might be denying readers a chance to connect, but I do have a link to my twitter at the bottom of every page.

Some of you have dozens of comments on your chapters, and I was wondering if anybody else has considered this question.

As long as your readers have a clear and easy way to leave feedback and participate it's all good. Not everyone has Twitter accounts, but it's up to you how much you care about it.

Allowing comments isn't mandatory - your site is your castle - but it feels like a waste to me if you miss out on feedback and participation when those things are such a fundamental advantage of writing online.

Comments don't add to the story as much as they can promote community building. That's only one piece, though, and it doesn't happen overnight.

I love my comments. I can see it's not for everyone, and not all readers leave them, and sometimes they'll only leave one, ever, but I love my regular comments.

Some ways in which comments help:

They occasionally point out typos, mistakes.

I have a female character who was kissed by another female, got confused about her sexuality, developed superpowers, and gender changed. I know what she needs to do to change back, so I was going in that direction. One person left a comment about whether or not kissing a guy would change her back. I knew it wouldn't, but I also realised it was an obvious first step for her, so I added that scene in, and it allowed for some fantastic character development.

I recently posted a scene in which a character may or may not have raped another character (she didn't) and it inspired a fantastic conversation about consent. There's been about 30 comments on it (my previous highest number was 18, so that's cool), and some of the comments are pretty long, and all of them are interesting, and no one is fighting or trolling, so that's awesome, too.

I always post something and Mathtans always reads it and leaves a comment about his impression, and I'm always left scratching my head and wondering how he gets things out of my work that I'm sure I didn't put into it. It's fantastic to have that constant reminder that I can't control my audience's interpretations.

#WebFictionChat on Twitter discussed this on Sunday, too.

Other people said things like "they point out mistakes" and "they let me know if something is funny or cool." This is gold, because it can be so hard to judge your own funniness.

I find that, at least personally, I get a *lot* out of responding to reader questions and feedback. The typo threads are always helpful, and ever now and then I get people who want to power-nerd out about the story.

Reader questions are often a sign of either a slipped detail on my end or slipped attention on theirs (which means I wasn't holding their attention sufficiently), and so either way it helps craft my story better.

Plus, on a hard day where I just don't want to stare at that glowing rectangle of a word processor for one second more, the encouragement of people telling me they just bought my book helps me get by.

@ubersoft What do you think the other foundations of community building are?

Thanks everybody, you've given me a lot to consider. Having readers break out into discussions on the site would indeed be very good.

+1 to Stable's question about the foundations of community building.

Just to highlight something in Patrick's third paragraph there -- for me, encouragement and motivation is a huge factor. I've had some form of comment ability in my sites since I started over 5 years ago, and my expectations have migrated away from "discussion", "community" and "feedback" towards "thank god, not all site views are accidents or bots, some people are reading". (I don't have the benefit of actual local people looking at my stuff, what I write is probably too niche. Yes, niche, it's not badly written it's NOT, someone commented and said it was good...)

Yeah, when you're churning out content, week after week, and the existential dread sets in, and you're wondering why you're spending your spare time on this when there's only 11 views on the thing you put up two weeks ago? Looking back at a particularly nice remark can be very motivational. The presence of comments can also potentially tell you where to focus your efforts; after a year of running two blogs in tandem, weekly, I've started to focus my efforts only on the one people seemed to actually be reading. Maybe if you're running a couple of plot lines, if readers seem to be gravitating more to one, that's a sign of something? (A sign of what, I cannot say, not speaking from experience there.)

@ChrysKelly: I am weird. You're welcome.

I have always had comments turned on for my blogs. Not that they see much action but I am always hoping. Building up a rapport and interacting with your readers is one of the best ways to keep them coming back.

For one thing, comments help you feel like people are actually paying attention to what you're writing. It's good if any of them point out typos you missed as well, since you can fix those and future readers won't run across them. It also helps you to know that any references made in the story have been recognized.

I'll echo all the others. Turn comments on. If you are lucky/good enough that people and not spambots use them, then you've got a good thing going.

I enjoy my comments, even the not-so-nice ones most of the time.

Comments allow my readers to take a more interactive part of the story. I honestly couldn't imagine writing a web serial without comments enabled.

Thanks everybody. I enabled comments on the site. I guess the nice thing about Disqus is that it does allow people to comment from Facebook, twitter, disqus and google accounts, and if people are logged in on one site, I believe, they don't need to log in on each new site they visit.