blogging gobbledygook and such

All bloggers want it, but some don’t want to return the favour. The favour of commenting, that is.

Think have mentioned before that self dislike bloggers who don’t reply comments to commenters. Likened it to not talking to guests in your home who are speaking to you. Some bloggers defend this attitude, because they apply it to commenters who give one-word, rather pointless comments, like first! (mostly in a blog of a famous blogger) or cool!, that there is really nothing much to say to such comments in return. Some just don’t reply to all commenters for reasons unknown. Ironically, they encourage comments by saying in their about page or about sidebar that readers are welcomed to add to the discussion by leaving a comment.

Then there’s the worse kind – bloggers who select who to reply. This means that the blogger’s not discriminating comments because of their inconsequential content, but rather by which comment that compels him to reply. So even if you’ve written a nice-sized piece of comment, that while is not something incredibly profound but yet is something more than the one-word kind, it does not warrant a gracious reply from the blogger because it does not stimulate him mentally. Perhaps that is a weak way of phrasing whatever feeling that these sort of bloggers have, but you should know what self mean. They really send out a negative message to interactive readers; it’s like inferring that the commenter has not contribute enough to the discussion to receive a reply, which infers again that the commenter is basically not good enough to be replied.

On the other face of this issue, we have bloggers who politely replies to most of the comments in a way that should encourage blurkers to comment, but they don’t. Bloggers don’t only love receiving comments, they love their stats to bits because it tells them something blurkers won’t, like where they came from (search engines or links), where they’re situated on the globe, how long they stayed at our blogs and so on. But honestly, nothing beats receiving a comment from someone familiar, or new, because you get more than just stats information. You get their e-mails, their blog urls, and most importantly their interaction. Because blogging is largely about interacting aside from airing your own thoughts or others.

However, there are many reasons people don’t comment.

1. they’re only looking for information.
2. the blog post hasn’t provide the adequate information they’re looking for.
3. they only like to receive, but not give.
4. they’re “intimidated” by the fact that many people have commented already, and so they don’t feel like their comment would be appreciated or could not add any more to the discussion.
5. they think it’s too late to comment because the post was dated so long ago.
6. they truly don’t have anything substantial to comment about despite enjoying the post.

This issue has been discussed in WordPress forums, and interestingly a theory has been developed about it:

If the entries are almost “post-perfect”, people just like to read without leaving any comments. – knoizki

That’s very, very true. My highest comment posts were always ones where I made mistakes, or people strongly disagreed with me. If I corrected the original posts then things slowed down. – engtech

Another relevant WordPress forum thread

That’s a rather sad discovery, because it doesn’t reward the conscientious blogger at all. You don’t have to do research or think thoughtfully and thoroughly, because if your post is really good in every sense, then people don’t want to say anything. Then again, it could be more of a case that they can’t say anything because everything has been covered by the blogger in the post. It’s those posts that write enough substantially – because if it’s too short it shows a casual passing thought with no intention of seriously discussing the issue – that encourages readers to debate or interact.

Hope the last sentence is exemplified by this post so that lots of readers comment and offer their perspectives. πŸ™‚ Comments are so important to self, even when am spring cleaning some old posts, wouldn’t delete any with comments in it. Self’s personal take on comments in this blog: all comments are welcomed any time and place, new or old. Even the innocently bothersome first! and cool! ones.

Comments on: "What’s your stand on blog commenting?" (10)

  1. lovelyloey said:

    First!

    Ok. Kidding. I TRY to reply every comment. Even if I know the commenter was just a passerby and probably won’t check back. I still acknowledge the post.
    I am doing (did?) a module on Language and the Internet, within which one of the component is blogs. The general consensus is that blogs are in fact online community, even though sometimes communication is one-way – from blogger to reader without the reader reacting to the information.
    But… my stand is that sometimes blogs are more like monologues (like mine). So I really only crave comments when I post up a question, like “what do you think about …” Oh well. Guess this is just me. (And this has been a long comment. :D)

    sulz: it’s okay to want to have monologues, but if the blogger leaves the comment box open that means he’s inviting comments. otherwise he’d have kept the comment box closed. as such, there is an obligation to acknowledge the first time, in self’s opinion, even if he may have left the comment box open not because he was seeking for an opinion.

  2. Same. I try to reply to posts by commenting but the most hardest thing is to find my words and type, hoping I won’t offend anyone, be corrected by anyone around me or say something irrelevant which happens now and then and hope me opinions don’t start arguements.

    sulz: for the most part, negative things are unlikely to happen by replying to comments. πŸ™‚ good on you.

  3. Thanks for the mention.

    I have been reading your blog for sometime now and one I afraid to do is that I might leave a wrong comment in one of your insightful posts. Nowadays, I don’t really bother anymore as to how many people have commented on my blog.

    As much as I want interactions (converational comments), sometimes it’s just a waste of time to reply to single one of them. If a certain post that has many commets, somehow, I thought there must be something wrong with your post. I did all that a long time (in blogging, it is seemed like a long time). But in return, I always acknowledge those who left their comments whether it’s (good or bad) and usually pay the person a visit and thanked them.

    sulz: excellent, another blurker unveiled! πŸ™‚ hey, whichever posts you call insightful sometimes feel is anything but. disagreeing with self’s opinion is okay just as long as the person doesn’t attack self for having an opposing view. reading different perspectives can make self see the issue in a different light than before because have not considered it from another aspect.

    your method seems fair enough. if the post has something wrong to receive so many comments, hey that’s something right in itself! πŸ˜›

  4. When I don’t reply to comments, it’s usually because I don’t know what to say. I appreciate the comments and like knowing different viewpoints, or anything the readers have to say, but sometimes just don’t see any way in which I could intelligently add to the conversation.

    But since your last post about the etiquette of replying to comments, I have been trying hard to acknowledge all comments. So, thanks!

    sulz: that’s a problem that befuddles self too, but would try to respond the first time at least. the second or third time, it’s okay to not reply if you have nothing to say, because you’ve acknowledged the first comment already.

  5. timethief said:

    (1) I don’t like to comment on blogs where I get the feeling from reading the comments that an “old boys/girls club” has been established. I those cases if I do comment I only leave a one liner and don’t usually return.

    (2) I don’t continue to comment on blogs where the blogger has taken an immovable stance like the one you have taken on fat acceptance which I am entirely at odds with. Unlike most bloggers I don’t like to debate and argue and I hate flame wars. However if I do enter the fray, I state my own point of view once and then leave.

    (3) If I do find a blog where a blogger has posted something that interested me and discover they are relying on sexual text or images just to get hits like the Britney Spears crotch shots we witnessed I never comment on what they post I just leave without commenting.

    (4) I read many fine blogs where people who are much brighter and better educated than I am. On their blogs I read enlighten and educate me me but I don’t frequently feel inclined to comment at length other than to thank them for sharing.

  6. timethief said:

    I’m sorry but I couldn’t finish my comment above sulz but we had a client arrive to pick up an order and I had to go and deal with it as my husband wasn’t home. Now I can continue.

    Because of the points I raised first are always in my mind when I respond to comments that is reflected in how I respond to comments left on my blogs.

    Coming from the blogger’s side of receiving comments and responding to them I like to try respond to them all like lovelyloey said. I also try not to “upstage” the person commenting by saying more than they did to me when I reply.

    I have some exceptions to responding to every comment made though. I don’t respond to people who put things in their comments that are completely off topic. As long as they are mostly on topic I just respond to the on topic part if I feel I have something worthwhile to say.

    Also I don’t respond more than once to commenter who is commenting for a second or third time if they are merely clarifying what they said in earlier comments. When that happens I may occasionally say thanks but I don’t usually say more than that.

    Even though it’s easy to respond enthusiastically to a commenter that supports what I have posted I try maintain a balance. Specifically I try not to create an “old boys or old girls” club by favouring one commenter’s point of view over another’s too strongly.

    When someone leaves me a comment I don’t agree with I try to be polite when I’m responding to them. I don’t really argue unless they take truly off-beat stands and provide reasons that are obviously flawed. In that case, I try to point out the flaws in what they said without becoming hostile like edseverippit said.

    I don’t respond to any commenter’s that try to introduce sexy or sexist slants to what they are saying if the topic wasn’t sexy in the first place. If what they say is mild then I try to ignore that kind of innuendo on the first go round. If it’s not mild but really blatant or if they do it more than once then I don’t post their comment at all. I just delete it during the moderation phase.

    When I get comments from a few people one right after the other I wait until everything settles down and then make only one comment box response to all of them. In it I refer briefly to the points each person has made by using an @ sign and their usernames.

    And like kaylani said: ” Sometimes I just don’t see any way in which I could intelligently add to the conversation.” In those cases I simply say thank you.

    The only other posts I have read on commenting were on lorelle’s blog and that was a long time ago. So I’d like to thank you for blogging on this important topic.

    All my best πŸ™‚

    note: timethief’s first comment is taken from the forum thread linked in the post above.

    sulz: you certainly have an opinion on this issue and elaborated on them well. different bloggers treat commenting differently but we’ve established that common courtesy is important to acknowledge a well-meaning comment from a reader.

    thanks for your comment; it definitely adds a lot to the discussion!

  7. In wonder how many visitors a blog needs to get regularly a significant amount of comments… Because I never experienced that. Maybe most of my visitors were too cheap to purchase a keyboard ? Or maybe I mostly attract shy people.

    sulz: actually this blog doesn’t receive many hits, about less than a hundred on average. am very happy with hits to comments ratio because right now this blog is like a small cosy cafe, with lots of room for newcomers to join in the fun. πŸ™‚

    to get your readers to comment, you could write something controversial, with your facts presented well enough for friendly debate. comment more in other people’s blogs, and sometimes you get the favour returned.

  8. Don’t you think my blog is controversial enough ? Maybe women’s blogs receive more comments…

    sulz: some questions you raised are quite thought-provoking, like the language post that has about 10 comments between us. πŸ˜‰ it’s definitely not a gender thing. most of the commenters here are bloggers whose blogs self visited long ago and left a random comment, and turns out we have things in common. some commenters are also from the wordpress forums; if you hang out there you’ll get more hits for sure. come join us – we have an off-topic forum now so we can talk about everything and anything there.

  9. Elle and Mon said:

    My blog receives pretty much NO comments

    sulz: hey, you elle? or mon? anyway, a good way of getting comments is to comment first in other people’s blogs. don’t expect everybody to return the favour, but don’t give up on commenting on other blogs. the comments will trickle in slowly. it was half a year of blogging before had one or two regular readers.

  10. This whole comments business seems to be a bit of a minefield in terms of etiquette. I’ve only just started to get comments on my blog (after a year!) and I think this is only the second time I’ve commented on someone’s blog.

    sulz: am glad to be the second, then! personally, think you’d have gotten more comments if you were more open about commenting in others, because right now am regularly getting comments because of that habit. it took self about half a year of blogging to get regular readers and comments, but it took a lot of commenting in other blogs as well as socialising through wordpress forums to get them.

    good luck!

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