About half an hour ago, a post that was published on the Digital Inspiration blog hit Techmeme. The title of that post left little to the imagination: it read “TechCrunch Removes Reader Comments From All Older Blog Posts”.
That allegation in itself is inaccurate, as is most of the rest of the article, so I felt compelled to respond quickly and offer our side of the story. Which, on a sidenote, we weren’t asked for by the person or people behind the blog (at least not to my knowledge).
I’ll start with the part that checks out: yes, comments on older blog posts are not being displayed at the moment, although they are still stored in the database on our side. But no, we did not remove them because we were looking to decrease our page load time – although we’re constantly looking for ways to do so – and there’s no big search engine optimization conspiracy behind it either.
This also has nothing to do with the fact that we actively moderate comments on posts around here – we’ve always welcomed civil discussion and that hasn’t changed. Criticism and disagreement is fine, but we want to keep the comment section a nice place to come for everyone, and those who keep that from happening – spammers, anonymous trolls directing personal attacks, etc. – will see their comments occasionally get moderated out of sight (read: deleted).
So why are comments on older blog posts not being displayed?
The simple truth is that this is a direct consequence of the widely reported incident that occurred in late January, when we were maliciously hacked.
Since then, our technical staff has been hard at work not only plugging the hole but also making sure there are no other security issues that can be exploited, as well as taking the necessary precautions for such an event not to occur again.
Truth be told, I have no in depth knowledge of what happened precisely when we were hacked, nor do I have any detailed information about what measures we are taking as a result of the security breach. We’ve always been very transparent about the way things are run here at TechCrunch, so I expect that when and if our technical staff feel it is safe to share that information, we will all learn more about it.
Here’s what I do know, though: no comments that were previously on older posts have been voluntarily deleted by anyone here at TechCrunch, and all that were published in the past will be reinstated soon. This is a technical issue.
Your comments are truly valuable to us, they are safely stored, and they will be restored in the near future.
Any questions or comments?