If I think of the platonian ideal of a blog, it has comments. And Trackback or Pingbacks. A "blog" without them is just a website someone normally updates regularily. Of course, that can have its merits, but it's not a normal blog.
And btw, I "need" comments in my blog. I like them, they add value to the articles and if an article results in a good discussion, to write him was instantly more worth it. How can you for yourself come to the conclusion that no one needs them?
A "normal blog"? That requires that one define normal, with a set of metrics, it also requires a set of websites to be analyzed. Should that set be all blogs hosted with WordPress or Blogger than yes, normal becomes having comments, because that's the default option.
But, if you use a different set, say a group of people who use Jekyll or another static site generator, than normal turns into no comments.
Do we include all sites that consider themselves to be a blog inside of this set? Should there be a number of readers over time and a number of posts over time requirement? Should the content being delivered be of a certain category? You can't say that a "normal" blog has comments without defining those, you can't even define "normal" without defining the set.
Definitionally, a blog does not require a commenting system. I said it before, and you seem to be refuting that. [Wikipedia says that](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)
> Although not a requirement [...] blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments
Yes, I took out the "most good quality" part, because it shows a bias.
Princeton WordNet defines a blog as "a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies", making no reference to comments at all. The Wiktionary also has no references to comments. [WordPress' Codex](http://codex.wordpress.org/Glossary#Blog) likewise makes no reference to comments inside of it's blog definition. Same with [Blogger](https://www.blogger.com/tour_start.g).
There are many people called bloggers who's sites don't have comments, Gruber's Daring Fireball, Marco Arment's blog for a few.
You just proved my point about nobody needing comments. You use the term need, but imply want. Your blog has no commenting requisite, you just enjoy having them. Functionally it would have very few differences if it didn't have comments.
And, I never said nobody wants comments. There are many instances where people may have a site built like a blog where comments are meant to be a discussion board of sorts where some BBS for forum software would suit them better. There's no commenting requirement for a blog to be a blog.
Some people may enjoy discussion inside of a comments section of a blog, and some people may operate their website in a manner dependent on a comments section, but I would argue that in such cases they're the ones who aren't operating a "normal blog", and are instead operating a discussion forum of sorts.
Likewise, trackbacks, pingbacks, and refbacks are not required for a blog either. None of those are official "web features" as specified by the W3C or the WHATWG the two organizations considered to be the "keepers of web standards". And it requires additional work by the publisher as it isn't something that can be implemented by generic server software (note the generic part, server software created specifically for serving a specific piece of software could very easily implement them).
Plus, comments and all of the *backs require some form of a database to run, even if it isn't your own database. Are you saying that a database is also a requisite for a site being considered a blog?
How about following the definition you yourself picked?
>Although not a requirement, most good quality blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via GUI widgets on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.
Even with a reference to an academic paper and exactly what i said prior.
> You can't say that a "normal" blog has comments without defining those, you can't even define "normal" without defining the set.
I define the set. Easily. Take every site on this internet someone thinks is a blog and merge them to a default. You will have comments and ping/trackbacks (and PHP, probably).
You choosed an interesting example: Jekyll. There is that interesting motion that you can observe technical development to follow circles. Those new static site generators are on such a backward circle. As I was told, in those early times before Wordpress, it was common to use systems like this to generate the sites that resembled modern blogs. Then came Wordpress & Co, PHP-based dynamic blog-engines. With comments and ping/trackbacks. I'm pretty sure, like the wikipedia-entry you cited, there are enough definitions acknowledging that.
They became the archetypical implementation of a Blog for many years, just like the iPad clinges to the archetypical implementation of a tablet laid down by Star Trek and functional requirements.
The movement now to generate blogs as static sites is probably a reaction to the awful caching and ressource-usage of Wordpress or a reaction to the popularity of git.
> You use the term need, but imply want. Your blog has no commenting requisite, ...
Really not true. If I didn't have comments, my blog would almost certainly not exist anymore. Which qualifies as a need over a want.
> There are many people called bloggers who's sites don't have comments, Gruber's Daring Fireball, Marco Arment's blog for a few.
There are people sitting on a tree claiming to ride a horse. Gruber for example is so popular that almost every entry of his gets dicussed here. HN is his comment-area. And no, that doesn't refute my own argument that a typical blog has a comment-area, because he has one (HN) and the unknown average Blogger has one on its site, or he gets no discussion at all, making him an atypical pseudo-blogger.
> Plus, comments and all of the ping/trackbacks require some form of a database to run, even if it isn't your own database. Are you saying that a database is also a requisite for a site being considered a blog?
Yep, they don't follow the typical blog-design. Though you can of course have trackbacks with plain-file-blogs without a dedicated database. I assume you included that with "some form of database".
And careful with the generic serverpart required: pingbacks use a generic and stadnardized xmlrpc-call, trackbacks are nothing but a POST with defined parameters. Sure, additional work to implement, but that is true for everything you really do with a server.
Again: Depending on when you started coming in contact with blogs, and I argue still today, it is highly likely that almost every blog you visit has comments (sometimes deactivated, nonetheless the engine has them), has some form of ping/trackback-machanism. It is so common for a blog to have those mechanisms that they became essential for the distinguishing between a static site with constant updates and websites we call blogs.
I wrote a response, but HN ate it, and I don't really care to rewrite it.
Basically, you've got a very exclusive view of what is a blog, and I think you've got the wrong definition of a blog. You say that your blog requires comments and wouldn't exist without them. To me, that sounds a lot more like a discussion forum than a blog.
Look at any top blog today, do they need comments. Would they disappear without them? Or, are the comments just a nice feature that people enjoy, but doesn't really change the nature of what they publish?
To me, comments are to blogs as radios are to cars. Sure, most cars have radios, but they don't need them to function. It makes the definition a whole lot more inclusive, and it should ring true to everyone. Cars of old did not have radios, blogs of old did not have comments, but as they've aged they both added new features that people enjoy (radios and comments), but to function properly, neither needs them.
If a "blog" is dependent on comments, I argue that it isn't a blog, because what is a blog but an online journal? Each of the five definitions I posted (four of which you failed to even look at or comment on) says that blogs are online diaries or journals based on experiences or hobbies. Only Wikipedia mentions comments, and only Wikipedia says "most good" blogs have them. While they may have them, there is no functional requirement that they have to be there, same with the car radio.
All cellphones have more functions than just calling a phone number and being portable. They can all store contacts in them, most have calculators, most have some personalizations you can make. Because they all have contacts, and most have calculators, do all cellphones have to have them to be considered a cellphone?
Your server part irks me. It irks me because it's wrong. You're defining the software that runs on top of the server as the server itself. Generic servers (apache, lighttpd, nginx, thin, etc) have no idea how to process a *back call. They can read POST requests, but they'll just forward that on to the software running on top of the server.
Sure, one could modify them to know how to process those requests in the specified manner, but than they wouldn't be the generic server, they'd be a specialized server.
I still think you shouldn't dismiss the historical technial evolution blogs took. Words have connotations which can differ, but with blogs there really is the interactivity a distinguishing factor. Dismissing them misses their core.
I didn't react to the other definitions because they mean nothing. Your wordpress-Glossary has an entry for comments. The Blogger-definitions talk about how visitors may comment. Sorry, all of that points to my definition. Note that the latter interactivity-part of the wikipedia-definition is not necessarily related to "good blogs" but to all blogs.
If you want to have analogies: Disregarding comments in blogs but calling normal websites a blog is like calling a bike a car because it drives.
Server do one thing: They listen to requests on a port and forward them to a script, or serve the corresponding file. Reacting to such a request is normal business, and implementing trackbacks and pingbacks is a three-liner. They are not more of an artifical extraodinary thing than a php-script serving some output. Don't see what the classification as complex and weird here aims to.