Back when this domain received about 15 or 20 percent of the traffic it now receives there were many more commenters. What happened? One of the reasons the Sepia Mutiny weblog was shut down was that as the commentariat withered after 2007 there was less motivation to keep a community going (there was none).
The explanation at the time was that people were moving conversations to Facebook. Today we would add Twitter and Reddit to the list of “culprits.”
But there’s another thing that is hard to ignore: about half the traffic that comes to this website is now on iOS or Android. That is, half the traffic to this domain is mobile.
I’m pretty sure that the nature of browsing content on a phone discourages the sorts of intense back & forth exchanges which were the bread & butter of comments sections of weblogs in the days of yore.