I was forwarded the excellent article below which was published on the Harvard Business Review. It is about authenticity in leadership and is well worth a read. However, I was struck by the promotional bar across the top with a big red 0 above the comment box.
Having a comment counter is a way of bolstering the authority of an article through social proof. That is to say, people are more influenced by messages that have a broad base of others agreeing. So, conversely, having a comment counter which displays a Zero on an article that was written in 2005 (as this one was) is extremely detrimental to the authority of the article.
It just seems such a pointless own-goal but you see it all over Business-to-Business articles and blogs. Just because your CMS offers a comment counter does not mean enabling it is a good choice. The initial state of any article will be Zero comments, pointing this out not only diminishes the authority of the article, I'd argue it also dissuades people from engaging.
Perhaps just set the comment counter to not be there until an encouraging number can show...
Our growing dissatisfaction with sleek, ersatz, airbrushed leadership is what makes authenticity such a desirable quality in today’s corporations—a quality that, unfortunately, is in short supply. Leaders and followers both associate authenticity with sincerity, honesty, and integrity. It’s the real thing—the attribute that uniquely defines great leaders.