mmmm: some comments on commenting


mmmmWhat can I say? I love getting comments. This is because they prove that the world revolves around me.

Actually, I love the discussion, community and relationship-building aspects of blogging, and commenting is a big part of that. (Response posts and linking are the other big part, and I’m all for those, too.) Plus I do like to get confirmation that someone out there has actually read a post, and comments are the clearest indication.

On getting comments

I admit that I am spoiled. I tend to get several comments on most posts that I put up, which I realize is not the case for everyone out there.

If I write a post and no one comments, I actually find it unsettling. I wonder if I said something to offend or made myself look like an idiot. Or (possibly worse) just bored people.

Reading comments

I read every comment that anyone leaves on my blog. This includes those on older posts. I get an email notification whenever a new comment is left. (Occasionally, the email gets eaten, and I discover a comment weeks or months later, but I think this is rare.)

I also read most of the comments on the blogs where I comment. (Do you?)

responding to comments

The blogs I read have varying responses to comments: some bloggers comment back in the comment section, some will send an email response, and some will not respond directly at all. And me, I’m so mixed up, I do all 3 of these behaviors!

I’m a big fan of getting responses to my comments, and I will check back at blogs where the author tends to respond.

Because I like getting responses, I have the goal of also responding to other people’s comments. Sadly, I typically fall short of this goal.

When I do reply on the blog, I try to reply to everyone who left a comment for the particular post. I will sometimes also/instead send an email response to comments. (Actually, I’d love it if WordPress could just send an email to commenters when there is a response to a comment. I believe that LiveJournal did that. There’s now a little checkbox where you can request to be notified of subsequent comments on WordPress, as there is on Blogger, but I only occasionally use this feature. Do other people use this?)

I fully understand why bloggers don’t respond to every comment, especially when they get lots of comments. I’ve noticed that the bloggers who tend not to reply directly to comments tend to leave frequent comments on my blog and around on other blogs, so they keep up a discussion that way.

Leaving comments

I generally tend to assume that everyone else feels the same way as I do, and that everyone else wants proof that they are the center of the universe. Or that they at least want comments. Therefore I make an effort to leave comments. I more-or-less always have the goal of leaving a comment when I visit a blog (except on blogs where I lurk).

Sometimes comments come easy, sometimes I have to think.

I make extra efforts to leave comments on blogs or posts that get fewer comments. If I see that a post has already gotten dozens of comments, I am less likely to work at writing a comment.

I also sometimes read blogs when I don’t have time (or two free hands) to type comments. Sometimes I go back later to comment, but many times I don’t get around to it.

I leave comments on blogs whose authors leave comments on mine. If I leave comment after comment on a blog and never get any sort of return visit, I’ll eventually stop commenting.

Every once in a while, I’ll come across a blog where the author does not allow comments, and I find this odd. I tend to move along, because without being able to leave a comment, I don’t expect to be able to establish any sort of conversation with the blogger. (I can understand turning off comments for the occasional post, though.)

How many comments?

I’m not sure how many comments I leave (per week, for example), but I probably actually leave more comments around than I get. The number of comments I leave, though, is roughly proportionate to the number of comments I get. If I go through a stretch where I don’t leave many comments, I tend to get fewer comments; if I go wild with comments, I get more comments.

It frightens me to realize that I have probably left thousands of comments around the blogosphere in the past couple of years.

My WordPress stats page tells me that I have gotten 5104 comments on 564 posts. This is over 2 and a half years. (2 and half years to the day, as it happens.) Of course, the 5104 number includes response comments that I have left on my own posts, as well as pingbacks (most of which are from my own blog). These probably account for a good quarter of the total count.

The biggest number of comments I have gotten on a post (not counting my own responses) is probably 33. I have quite a few posts that have gotten 0 comments. Most get somewhere between 4 and 12.

My stats also inform me that “Akismet has protected your site from 61,870 spam comments.” Yikes! Thank goodness for spam filters.

More thoughts

I have more thoughts on comments, but I should probably just post this, since I’ve been drafting it for over a week now.

By the way, have I ever mentioned here that I wrote a paper on blog commenting for the sociolinguistics class I took a couple of years ago? At some point, I may share some of it here.

Here are a few other questions I may or may not get back to. (If anyone wants to chime in, please do!)

  • What makes some posts get more comments than others?
  • What makes comments good?
  • What is the right length for a comment?
  • Are lame-ass or short comments better than no comments? (My short answer: usually!)
  • When (if ever) should comments be deleted or edited?
  • What makes us lurk?
  • I remember a couple of other posts from blogs on my blogroll on comments:
    enkerli offered Solving the comment problem (which was in part in response to my own chart of suggested comment shorthand) and YTSL wrote more metablogging.

    If you have more, please leave a link in the comments.

    This post has been another installment of my Merry Merry Month of Metablogging, which may well meander out of the merry merry month of May.

    59 responses to “mmmm: some comments on commenting

    1. … interesting post, thank you!

      I like your concept of “comments” viz-a-viz being the centre-of-one’s-own-universe — which made me ponder why it might be that I’ve disabled comments on my own blog

      :)

      • O’Brien-
        Thanks for coming by, and for leaving a comment! I’d be interested in knowing why you did elect to disable comments on your own blog. (Other than, apparently, not needing comments to confirm your status as center of the universe, of course!)

    2. I like this post. I too love comments. I too get disturbed when I don’t get comments on a particular post. Luckily I have very few posts that have no comments. And I also respond to comments in various ways, and sometimes not at all. I suck in that regard.

      My response to your questions:

      What makes some posts get more comments than others? I have usually found that heartfelt posts about sentimental things generate more comments. However, this is not always the case.
      Posts that ask the reader their opinion tend to get more comments.

      What makes comments good? I like comments that are thought-provoking. I also like supportive comments or when people say, “I’ve often felt like this.”

      What is the right length for a comment? Hmmm, I guess it really depends on the comment itself.

      Are lame-ass or short comments better than no comments? (My short answer: usually!) Short is okay as long as something is being said. Lame ass – well, I’d prefer that there be some substance to the comment as opposed to a comment for the sake of commenting.

      When (if ever) should comments be deleted or edited? I don’t think I’ve ever deleted a comment. I know that people tend to delete them if someone says something negative or inflammatory. I would be more inclined to leave those kinds of comments up than to delete them.

      What makes us lurk? Probably our generation’s inclination towards voyeurism. That’s my theory, anyway. I am a HUGE lurker. I tend to not comment on most blogs I read because I am sometimes so in awe of the blogger that I don’t think anyway I would have to say would matter to them. It’s like trying to talk to the most popular girl in school. ;)

      • Thanks, Leslie! And thanks for giving all these answers.

        ” I’d prefer that there be some substance to the comment as opposed to a comment for the sake of commenting.”

        Hmmm. I think sometimes I comment for the sake of commenting. Actually, when I leave a comment of less substance, I am commenting to say “Hi, I’m here, I read your post and I care.” But I usually try to come up with something a bit more post-specific to respond to. (I’ve never managed to just write “great post!” and leave it at that.)

        Interesting thought about the voyeurism. I’ll have to evaluate that against the blogs where I lurk.

    3. Hmm an interesting entry . My blog isnt popular enough for me to worry if an entry doesnt get any comments . Of course I read other comments people have posted on someone else blog , where I have posted a comment . I will leave a comment if a topic sufficiently interests me to do so .

      Now to answer your questions . Forgive me but for the sake of readability I am going to repeat the questions below .

      What makes some posts get more comments than others?
      The interest of the reader . People also tend to post comments if they disagree with you .

      What makes comments good?
      The fact someone has taken the time to comment .

      What is the right length for a comment?
      Umm I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question . Although it isnt so clear on my blog differnt posting styles exist .

      Are lame-ass or short comments better than no comments?
      The length of a comment has never bothered me .

      When (if ever) should comments be deleted or edited?
      I have only ever had to delete Spam so far .

      What makes us lurk?
      I’m not a lurker I either taken an interest in a blog or I don’t .

      • Hi, Luke. Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving your thoughtful responses! (I see that we both read Brooke’s blog.)

        Interesting thought about people commenting when they disagree. That certainly seems true on many of the political blogs where I lurk. I don’t frequently write on political topics or other opinion-type posts, but when I do, I don’t usually get too much disagreement. I guess there have been some interesting discussions, though, when there has been disagreement.

        Interesting interpretation of lurking, too. I am someone who will occasionally lurk even though I’ve taken an interest in a blog. (Actually, I often go through a “lurking period” on a blog as I get to know the writer before I leave a comment.)

    4. I love it when comments turn into a discussion between the author and the various commenters.

      I also find it more interesting and satisfying when the author replies to the comments … and NOT by email! What about us lurkers? Also, when I have someone reply to me by email rather than on the blog I wonder if it’s because they don’t want to be seen speaking to me “in public”.

      I’ve been using the “notify me via email” option more often these days, especially on blogs that have more conversational comments and there is some sort of debate going on.

      I’m not a lurker per se, though there are times when I read more often than I leave comments. But there are no blogs that I only read and never comment on.

      • Hey, az-
        Yeah, I like when the comments turn into a discussion, too, though that rarely happens here the way it does on your blog. Probably because you are so quick to reply to comments! (Much more so than me.) Although I have to admit that I sometimes have trouble leaving a comment when I come across a post where a conversation is already going on. I feel like I then would need to reply not only to the post, but to what’s gone on in the comments.

        When I reply by email, it’s sometimes because the post and comment were on a sensitive topic. It can feel more personal to me. I also will try to send emails to the couple of people who I believe don’t check back for responses.

        Interesting that you are not a lurker. I definitely am. Though recently I’ve been adding more of those blogs where I never comment to my blogroll. I figure that’s a kind of de-lurking.

    5. Gaaaa, please correct typos … am still in bed and not quite awake! Plus WordPress SERIOUSLY needs a preview button.

    6. I love getting comments, but I’m not very good about commenting very religiously on other people’s blogs (for the record, I’m a lurker on your blog, I read pretty much every entry but hardly ever comment). I need to get better at it, since I guess people are more likely to comment on mine if I comment on theirs!

      # What makes some posts get more comments than others?
      Funniness. And possibly sentimentality. But asking questions is a pretty surefire way to get comments.

      # What makes comments good?
      Actual relevance, answering questions asked, asking questions of their own, starting a comment conversation (coz then it looks like you have more comments lol)

      # What is the right length for a comment?
      If you’re me, epic! I tend to leave comments that are at least as long as the OP. IMO the longer the better!

      # Are lame-ass or short comments better than no comments? (My short answer: usually!)
      Yep!

      # When (if ever) should comments be deleted or edited?
      I haven’t ever had to (apart from spam). I’d leave them, even if they got really bad, because otherwise it can disrupt the flow or be confusing for other readers.

      # What makes us lurk?
      Laziness. Pure and simple! :-P

      • Hi, Brooke! Thanks for the comment, and for letting me know you are a regular lurker. Lurkers are welcome!

        I guess you are right about asking questions being a good way to get comments! The responses I’ve gotten to the questions in this post have exceeded my expectations!

        And I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one out there suffering from comment laziness!

        • Oh, another thing, Brooke. Your name doesn’t actually link up to your blog as things stand. If you’d like it to, you need to add your url by hand to your profile:

          From your dashboard (or other admin pages), it should say “howdy, [username]” up in the upper righthand corner. Click on your username. I think the relevant section on the page you get is “contact info.” Mine shows my email, and then has my blog url for “website.” I suspect there may be no url in that line for you, so put your blog url in there.

          This should make your name link up in the future, though it won’t change comments that you’ve already left. (If you’d like me to edit in your url for this comment, I’d be happy to!)

    7. I use commenting much like you. I love to get them and so I try to always give them as well. If I visit someone and leave lots of comments and they never reciprocate, I stop, too. I think that is mostly because I want to connect with other people out here, not just hear my own voice echoing around. I get between 15-20 comments on most posts, but I leave many more than that around the blogosphere. I think the most comments I’ve ever gotten was 86. It was a post inviting much needed advice and I had blog-friends who spread the word for me, which is why there were so many that time.

      # What makes some posts get more comments than others?
      Commentability. Some topics are very engaging or exciting or hilarious and it is really easy to come up with something to say in response. Other posts aren’t quite so easy to respond to, or it seems like everyone else has already said it all.

      # What makes comments good?
      I think they are good if they are sitting in my inbox. LOL. Honestly, I think it depends on the type of post, sometimes very thinky comments are my favorite, sometimes funny ones, sometimes sort of emotional ones take the cake.

      # What is the right length for a comment?
      Well, this one will be SUPER long, but I usually don’t pay attention to length of comment.

      # Are lame-ass or short comments better than no comments? (My short answer: usually!)
      Yes! But I’d hate to get ALL lame ass/short comments.

      # When (if ever) should comments be deleted or edited?
      When they are spam, or if they are especially offensive. I’ve never deleted a comment for the second reason personally, though.

      # What makes us lurk?
      Sometimes a blog is funny or outlandish and I enjoy reading it, but I don’t have anything to really add…so I just enjoy it and walk away.

      • Hey, Kyla! Thanks for all your responses, too.

        You know, it would be interesting to do an empirical study of commentability. I still wonder what makes some posts harder to respond to. Especially since I run into it from both ends. I’d like to think that in person, one-on-one, I’d have something to say in response. Sometimes lack of comment feels like the bloggy equivalent of a blank stare.

        Interesting that you lurk on blogs you read for enjoyment. I more often lurk on blogs I read for edification!

    8. I like comments, and I comment when I can, and when I feel I have something to add.

      I prefer to answer comments by email – so I like getting comments from people who have attached email addresses (if I don’t already know them).

      I delete the Japanese spam. And the Chinese spam. And other spam. But I don’t think I’ve ever deleted a legit comment from a real person.

      • I love that you respond to so many comments, Magpie. I really appreciate getting those email responses. (Although sometimes I do wonder what you’ve said in response to other people’s comments!)

        I delete plenty of spam, or usually just let the filter catch it. Sometimes there is borderline spam that the filter catches that I don’t bother to retrieve. There have been a couple of other cases though: deletions by request of the commenter, and a few really inflammatory and (in my opionion) libelous comments around the time of the election.

        • “Although sometimes I do wonder what you’ve said in response to other people’s comments!”

          That is actually my main “issue” with email responses. It also makes it look like the blogger isn’t replying to anyone.

          Also, this new system of replying to a specific comment works best if there is a Recent Comments widget in the sidebar. If you are not subscribed by email then most new replies (like this one) would probably go unnoticed.

          • Hey, again, az! So, would you encourage me to add a Recent Comments widget?

            • It’s the first thing I look at (after checking for new posts) when I visit a blog. When you think about it, your Recent Posts widget is redundant since they are all on your front page anyhow.

              • Okay, so I’m giving it a shot, az! I’ve put in the recent comments widget.

                Though I’m inclined to leave the recent posts widget up anyhow, since it is an easy index.

    9. I occasionally lurk. I think it’s partly because I don’t like to comment unless I think I am really adding something. (so, ditto Kyla’s comment on lurking).

      However, reading this post has made me rethink that a bit. I can see how it might be nice to receive even somewhat inane comments, since it sort of validates the posting in the first place, and it does establish or maintain a connection–if the commenter already has some sort of relationship (whether in the blogosphere or in the tangible world) with the blogger.

      Leslie’s comment on lurking (hmm… is this a metacomment if I’m commenting on other people’s comments?) is interesting. I don’t think that my lurking is a symptom of voyeurism… I don’t know if I would say there’s such a tendency to voyeurism in my generation–in fact, I fear that the tendency is the opposite, a sort of look-at-me-ism that requires some people to respond without really having anything to say (though this doesn’t tend to happen on “good” blogs like this one! and anyway, a response that simply says “I agree” or “that was funny” is still welcome if it comes from someone who’s already established some connection with the blogger). But sometimes lurking is in order to avoid wasting people’s time with comments that don’t add anything. And I don’t always want to draw attention to myself, perhaps also due to a bit of what Leslie describes… putting the blogger on a pedestal.

      When I was living in Italy I used to send out an occasional email about my life there and the differences between Italian and US cultures, and in a way that was kind of like a blog except instead of being publicly posted, it was emailed to everyone I knew. I would typically get lots of responses to it, but they were all from people I knew. So maybe lurking, and not posting an actual public blog, is a sort of shyness. I absolutely hate public speaking. And isn’t blogging just virtual public speaking? Though definitely less scary. Hmm. I haven’t fully convinced myself of that, but there might be a relationship.

      • Hi, again, Sally! Thanks for your comment. Which contains comments on comments about commenting. And I guess I’m commenting on that. It’s rather dizzying.

        Yes, even the inane comments are appreciated, especially if resounding silence is the alternative. Good point about there being a difference if such comments are from someone with whom a relationship has already been established. A short comment can seem more meaningful from someone you know than from a random drop-in “interesting post” comment. (Those often strike me as borderline spam, and the few times I’ve seen them, I wonder if the person has even read the post.)

        I think I know what you mean about the look-at-me-ism that goes on. I would say it applies to both the writing on some blogs, and to the comments. At the same time, hey! Look at me! (Also, thanks for saying that my blog is one of the good ones! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.)

        I’m with you about the lurking as shyness. I have a weird sort of shyness about leaving comments that is at odds with my willingness to open up in my own space. I actually enjoy public speaking, and really love to get a room full of people to laugh at my jokes. But I have a strange terror of getting the spotlight turned on me in other cases. For example, asking questions at a conference talk.

        (By the way. You should totally start a blog.)

        • Of course, since you are the center of the universe, your look-at-me-ism is totally acceptable in a way other people’s isn’t!

          I haven’t ruled out the possibility of ever starting a blog, but… well, you know how it is. There’s not enough time in the day and I don’t want to be online all the time. I can’t even keep up with my email.

          • Ah, Sally. Definitely not enough time in the day. But as online time- wasters go, you can end up with something of a product in return from blogging. (Or, conversely, you end up with tangible evidence of the many hours that should have gone towards other productivity…)

    10. Very thoughtful post, and interesting, as I am a comment whore. I get upset when no one comments and I always try to respond. When I get feedback, I’m more likely to write; it’s this whole feedback loop thing. I always try to comment on posts of bloggers that I either read regularly or if I especially enjoy the post.

      • Ah, Ashley. I too am a comment whore. I haven’t yet stooped to actually paying people to leave comments, but I have considered it. I’ve even come close, what with times when I’ve said I’d donate money for each comment left, or that time when I was giving away chocolate.

        And yeah, I know what you mean about the feedback loop. Getting comments is really encouraging. Perhaps it is because we are student-types. Do you also get irritated when an assignment gets handed back with nothing but a grade on it?

        • Yes, I get annoyed at that. I like teachers/professors to star or circle everything awesome and then write things like “very nice” or “profound” next to it. Makes me feel good about my self.

          I also think feedback is important because it gives you a chance to view your thoughts from somebody else’s perspective.

    11. Sometimes if I am late to comment and there are a lot of comments already, I will not read them in order to avoid self-editing.

      I never lurk. Once in a while I check my stats and I cannot believe that my little blog has lurkers.

      I have received a number of blog awards for “good commenting.” I know that my attention to providing interesting comments has earned me my readership more than the content of my blog.

      I barely have enough time now to read and comment, so I don’t usually follow-up on blogs where I have left a comment. If I respond to a comment on my blog, I do it by email.

      I don’t like lame-ass comments because they push me away from the center of the universe.

      • Hi, de! You are indeed a great commenter, but I also enjoy the content of your blog!

        I know what you mean about self-editing when there are a lot of comments. I hate it when I read a post, have a comment in mind, and then click through to see that someone has already used my chosen phrase. And so then I spend more time trying to think up something else to say.

    12. you are getting THE BEST comments on this post about commenting. seriously, they’re posts.

      i like comments so much i am considering whether i should write a post about commenting, too. ;)

      i don’t get people who don’t allow comments. all the relationships that i can no longer imagine blogging without were developed through comments. it’s like little worlds of conversation. i know of nothing more addictive. it’s crack.

      i don’t respond much to comments in my own comments section though…which probably cuts down on the comments i get. huh. note to self.

      • I know, Bon, aren’t these great comments?

        I’d love to see a post from you on commenting. I would even leave a comment!

        I know what you mean about the relationships built through comments. I have established what I consider to be genuine friendships, and this has primarily been through commenting. (Perhaps it’s because having small children permits little social life in the “real world.”)

        And , yeah, comments are totally like crack. You should see how pathetic I am after I put up a post. I keep checking my email over and over for my comment fix.

        By the way, you get wonderful comments on your blog, Bon. Sometimes I have trouble leaving comments because there are already so many pithy comments there, my own just seem lame. (Not that this always stops me. I often just leave my own lame comment. Hopefully you don’t object!)

    13. I am one of those with few readers & I appreciate that you always comment when you read, Alejna. It’s kind.

      I don’t always comment, myself. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to add. Sometimes I’m reading on my iPod and it’s a pain to reply to blogs on an iPod!

      It seems to me that people used to riff off each other’s posts more a year or even 2 years ago. There’d be a lot of “yesterday Bon said X and it made me think of Y” — that’s how I built up my bloglines list, actually. Now bloggers are more like to say “A said X on Twitter yesterday and…” I just can’t get into Twitter, so I feel like I’m missing half the conversation.

      • Jennifer-
        You know, I’ve been lurking at your blog for ages. I actually read much more often than I comment. But I’m glad you appreciate the comments!

        You’re right about there not being as much discussion happening through posts these days. I also used to see a lot more of it when I first started blogging. I often intend to write response posts, but I rarely do. Mostly because I’m a very slow poster, so I don’t get around to it fast enough, and then it seems just outdated.

        And yeah, Twitter. I keep feeling tempted to try it, but I can’t afford the time. It makes me sad to miss out on so much of the conversation, too.

    14. i love comments, too. lame ass are fine, but the best are when people really respond to something i’ve written and get me thinking.

      i try to leave comments, but admit that in the last few months I’ve done a bit more reading through my reader and less commenting… which has largely been a time issue. or I’ll read 2 or 3 posts and only comment on one. I just thinned my reader out, and that has helped. I feel the same way about commenting in that if i leave comments somewhere and they never come and comment at my place I usually stop reading over there. because for me it really is about the relationship. i don’t keep strict track or expect anyone to comment on any post… but i do notice when people stop commenting on mine. i think that sometimes I think I am a bit TOO loyal about it… i really feel badly if I haven’t commented in a while.

      the only blogs I really lurk on and don’t comment regularly are craft blogs, that I just peek at to see if there’s a great craft to do with MQ. I will comment very rarely on these (but still do… on occassion).

      i will occasionally check back with a blog to see if they’ve responded to my comment if I know they are a comment responder, and I feel like i’ve left a comment worth responding too. the e-mail notification is rough for me because they tend to send it to a gmail account I never check.

      i did just change the setting on my blog so that all comments left for me get sent to my regular e-mail, and now I can read them on my iphone, which is AWESOME. I get comments all through the day when I’m out and about, and they often make me laugh or smile.

      and yes, I did just click the “notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail” button

      • Hey, Painted! Now I’m feeling all self-conscious, knowing that this response (and that last one I just wrote) are getting sent right out.

        It’s funny that you say you “don’t keep strict track.” I’ve actually toyed with the idea of keeping track on comments I leave. Not because I want to keep score, but because I don’t want to inadvertantly go really long stretches without commenting on a blog I read faithfully. It’s about the relationships for me, too, and I’m a pretty irregular correspondent in other media, as well.

        I do tend to assume that if I don’t ever get comments from people, they aren’t reading. Which is funny considering that I do a lot of reading without commenting…

        You mentioned having thinned out your reader. I’m curious what criteria you used. (Also curious about how many blogs you read. I read too many, but have trouble cutting back.)

    15. Nice post and thanks for the trackback!
      Some notes…

      Would be fascinated to read your sociolinguistics paper. Been meaning to do more formal work on something similar (ethnography of communication in social media). Works with my current project to bill myself as an informal ethnographer…
      BackType.com allows you to track comments you leave elsewhere and get notifications for new comments. Works quite well.
      I do use the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” feature on WP.com blogs. Works pretty well. BackType is a general version of this, plus more.
      I’m kind of jealous of the number of comments you’ve been receiving. On my main blog, I have a total of 1,631 comments on 869 posts, with many of my own trackbacks and replies.
      These days, I’ve transferred much of my social media activities to microblogging (Identica and Twitter, especially through Ping.fm). It’s working quite well in terms of creating links with people, building something together. So I get some replies there.
      You might get more, but it’s not a competition… ;-)
      I get more frequent replies on Facebook than on Twitter. Facebook has been the most interactive part of my social media life, since 2005. Mailing-lists were it, for me, from ’93 to ’99 or so.
      I also find it unsettling when I don’t get comments. But I have so many uncommented posts that I’m used to it. My self-deprecation has been fed.
      I almost never lurk. If I read a post in its entirety, I leave at least something as a comment. In fact, I leave many times more comments on other people’s blogs than I ever receive. At the same time, I rarely follow blogs. I tried every kind of feedreader and technique to track new blogposts and I was always overwhelmed within a few days.
      Though I probably should, I rarely read other people’s comments on somebody else’s blogpost. One reason is that I prefer to keep a “fresh” view of the post, not being influenced by comments. I’ve also been affected by a number of blog and forum comments that I found too angry. Plus, it can become time-consuming to read all comments on all blogposts. Still, I feel kind of bad about this.

      Ah, speaking of BackType, I’m getting an alert right now that there’s a new comment on a friend’s blogpost about my podcast.

      Gotta go! ;)

      • Hi, Enkerli! Thanks for the comment. (Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. It’s rare that I have so many comment that need responses!)

        My sociolinguistics paper could use some serious editing, but perhaps I will be willing to share at least some of it. (Do you ever have things that you think are good when you first write them, but upon letting them sit for a year or two, realize that they could use a lot of work? Such is that paper…)

        I ran across backtype.com recently, and was rather startled by it…I tend to feel like comments I leave on other people’s blogs are slightly more private than those I leave here, and I’ll sometimes share things that I choose not to write about in this space. But now I see that anyone can fairly easily track down my comments that I’ve left around…Good thing I haven’t confessed to anything too damning. But now that I know about the site, I’ll see if I can learn to use it.

        Interesting to learn that you don’t follow any blogs, but that you almost always leave comments when you read whole post. We have just about opposite behaviors!

        • No problem about the delays. Thanks to comment-tracking, I follow along as you answer everyone. I’m still jealous of your getting so many comments, but it’s nice to see see how well you bond with your readers. It’s something that may be somewhat gendered, as women who blog do tend to favour this type of warm interaction.
          About the ease of tracking your comments, it’s done with the URL you give. To make your comments more anonymous (less “onymous?”), you can use another URL. But it’s true that we tend to perceive comments elsewhere as harder to trace. In fact, we probably comment in very different ways on our own blogs than elsewhere. (I can sound much more ranty on other people’s blogs than on my own.)
          About texts requiring work, it’s probably a matter of getting distance from our writing. But there’s something to be said about RERO: Release Early, Release Often.
          Thanks for all the good work.

          Cheers!

          • Hi, again, enkerli-

            I’m pretty amazed about the number of comments on this post, too. It would seem that commenters have a fair amount to say on commenting!

            It’s an interesting question about the gender-based behavior vis-a-vis commenting. Therein lies a sociolinguistics study topic!

            I hadn’t come across the “RERO” acronym, but the philosophy is one of things that motivated me to start blogging in the first place. I’m a very slow writer, and exceedingly slow to get things to a point I would consider “finished.” I hoped that the blog format would give me some practice for quick and dirty writing and “publishing.” I suppose it’s worked to some extent, but I’m still a very slow writer. Sigh.

    16. I’m not nearly as good as leaving comments anymore since I can barely keep up reading. sigh. I try, though, for my bestest blog friends. =)

      • I know. It is hard to find the time. But I really appreciate it that you still comment here from time to time! (I hope that means I get to be in the group known as “KC’s bestest blog friends!”)

    17. This is a really good way to get comments. ;-)

      I like to leave comments too and I love receiving them. I will admit, I’m not always great about responding to comments – but I am trying to be better. It’s usually due to lack of time more than anything. I want to respond, but I never get the time and then suddenly a week has gone by and why comment now? The moment has passed so to speak.

      The only comment I’ve ever deleted has been the occasional spam comment that gets through the filters. Otherwise, I believe they should stand as is. Of course, I’ve never gotten any really ugly or threatening comments, and if I did I may opt to delete those. I just don’t know.

      • Hi, Kimberly! Thanks for commenting, too.

        “This is a really good way to get comments. ;-)”

        Apparently!

        I also run into that time lapse problem with responding to comments. But sometimes I wonder if I should still respond, even a week (or month?) later…

    18. i think it’s only fitting to warn you that I responded to your comment on my blog, even though I rarely do that. ;)

      I currently have 77 blogs in my reader. I’ve been up to over 100. The thinning included some blogs that have not posted in months and months, some blogs that i was reading occasionally and only out of obligation (dude, isn’t this supposed to be a FUN hobby? although I admit, those were the hardest to delete) and blogs where I was feeling like the relationship just wasn’t there… they weren’t commenting, I wasn’t commenting much if at all… i feel guilty deleting blogs from the reader, but I totally confess that I don’t miss a one of them (well, maybe except the people who stopped blogging altogether… although i have to say i have also left most of those on there in hopes that someday they will shock us all with their return. Alpha Dogma, oh how I miss thee!) and i love that I’m able to better keep on top of my reading. I’d rather have a smaller circle of bloggy friends I can keep up with, than a huge circle of bloggy aquaintances that keep me from the blogs I really want to be reading. hmmm… seems a bit like real life friendships, no?

      • Hey, again, Painted!

        Thanks for the response on your blog. How exciting!

        77 blogs seems like a manageable number. I should probably cut back on mine, too…

        I just started reading Alpha Dogma shortly before she closed shop. (And worse, deleted her archives!) I still have her in my reader, too. I’ve made a folder I call “dormant blogs” for blogs such as her. I get excited when a new post pops up there.

    19. I have nothing profound to add, but could not click away from The Comment Post without commenting.

      Very interesting questions indeed. Should be lots of future blog fodder here!

      • Hey, CityGirl!

        Thanks for your comment on the commenting! As I’ve mentioned, I love even short comments. (And they certainly are faster to respond to. Yikes! I’ve written a lot in this comment section.)

    20. comment! ;) really, nice post and I read the whole thing.

    21. sorry to not answer all of your questions, but i really appreciate your thoughtful post. i’ve often wished that the comment sections would turn into more of a dialog, like this has. for my part, i’m sorry that i generally lack the time to comment on people’s blogs. when i do take the time to compose something thoughtful, it’s frustrating not to get a response.

      some people consider blogging more like a newsletter, others more of a conversation.

      i’ve tweeted this but i’d say twitter is like a cocktail party where you draw people in with your personality and wit. maybe blogging is more like a dinner party where you can have that tete-a-tete.

      • Hey, maja! Commenting on blogs is indeed time-consuming, so I really appreciate it when I’m the benefit of such efforts. I know what you mean about being frustrated at not getting a response to a thoughtful comment. It’s one of those ways that public, online communication falls far short of person-to-person communication. You wouldn’t tend to imagine silence as a response (or at least as a polite response) to a spoken comment…

        “some people consider blogging more like a newsletter, others more of a conversation. ”

        Excellent point. I guess for me it has aspects of both, depending on what I’m blogging.

        I like your twitter vs. blogging party analogy. And I find it funny that I tend to prefer dinner parties over cocktail parties! Cocktail parties tend to make me feel lost in the crowd.

        Thanks for your comment, seester!

        • But it’s a “cocktail party” of personally selected guests as you only receive updates from people you choose to follow. It can be any size party you like.

          It works for me because sometimes I’m just in the mood for a quick tapa and not a full meal. I’ve also “met” some rather amazing people there. Plus I see another side of blog friends that I already know since there are many things that may not warrant a whole blog post but are still interesting and worth mentioning.

    22. 47 comments! That must be a record for your blog, Alejna!

      “What makes some posts get more comments than others?”

      My experience is that the posts that contain subject that people feel they know get more comments than those that they feel they don’t have the knowledge, experience, etc. to comment upon. And, of course, posts that are interesting in the first place — and thus get read.

      BTW, do you have friends and/or family members who read your blog posts but, if they ever comment about them, do so verbally and/or via e-mail but NEVER on the blog itself? I definitely do… ;S

      • Hey, YTSL-

        Yes, this seems to be the highest number of comments so far, but seeing as a good half of them are from me, it’s not a record in terms of actual commenters so far. My 33-comment post has comments from 33 individuals…of course, most just said “congratulations,” or similar. (It was in response to Theo’s virtual birth announcement.)

        It seems like it would be an interesting study to see why people comment. It seems that there are many different reasons people do so. As you suggest, I often comment when I am somewhat familiar with a topic. But plenty of times I don’t actually comment in such cases.

        I also have a handful of friends and family members who don’t tend to comment on the blog, but let me know they are reading through other communications. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that a few of my “real life” friends regularly read my blog, and it makes me feel closer to them!

    23. Some random… Comments!!

      I entirely understand turning the comment feature off, and in fact if I ever start blogging again I might do that. Leaving a post open for comments is I think one of the things that made blogging nerve wracking for me. Too much worry about how the post would be received, even in totally non-controversial cases, and when no comments appeared, even though I KNOW most blog posts get no comments, there is a worry I can’t shake that I’ve said something wrong. Turning off comments would allow me to post and move on.

      That being said, facebook has actually helped me become more comfortable with posting something and forgetting about it. If a status update receives no comments, it’s just not a big deal. So maybe I can apply that mentality to blogging?

      What makes comments good? If you’re the blogger, almost all comments are good. The two exceptions would be those that burst your bubble (basically, you say X makes me happy and the response boils down to X sucks) and ones that create tricky social dilemmas, where you find yourself thinking “oh god, how am I going to respond to that?”. Outright drive-by hostile ones are hard to deal with too, although I think that happens more to “name” bloggers (including one I can think of who shut off comments for exactly that reason).

      If you’re not the blogger, then that limits which comments are “good”, for me at least. I know interactivity is what this is all about, but for the most part I’ve stopped reading comments in most places- it just takes too long and they rarely add anything of value. Obvious examples I can think of are youtube and boston.com, but even where the comments tend to be more substantive (salon?) I just don’t have time. With personal blogs I’m also reading comments less (sorry! I guess it would serve me right if no one reads this), especially if I’m pretty sure I won’t know the people commenting. Again, just a time thing.

      One of my favorite blogs is a tumblr (no comments), and it’s actually a relief to wonder how people reacted to a particular post and *not know the answer*.

      My own commenting policy is to only comment if something comes to mind immediately. Again- it’s a time thing! If I don’t know what to say I spend way too long composing and revising. Hell, I spend too long even when I do have something to say. Whether or not I comment isn’t a reflection on the quality of the post, it’s purely if something sprang to mind while reading it (and how quickly I think I can get that thing out). I can read an impressive post and have nothing to say (although I guess I should be better about saying “Great post!”), but something like “omg the x-files movie sucked” will get a response from me. (maybe this explains the general shift from blogging to facebook?)

      Can a comment be too long? Yes- this one is! I have a tendency to be wordy.. Sometimes I think people are probably relieved if I *don’t* comment!

      • Hey, bshep! It’s funny how the possibility of comments is both exciting and worrying. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who gets paranoid about having said something wrong when I don’t get comments.

        I’ve actually grown to really like the “like” feature on facebook, and wish that there was something comparable for blogging. Sometimes you just want to acknowledge that you have read and appreciate a post, without necessarily writing something. You know, a code for “I acknowledge that I have read and appreciate this item.” (I guess I half-jokingly came up with that table of shorthand comments, which did some of the same thing. It didn’t catch on, though.)

        Reading comments does take a long time. (And sheesh, reading the comments on this post could take days!) Sometimes I do skim through comments sections (on other peoples blogs, unlike on my own, where I savor the comments) to find comments from people I know.

        Damn, I feel like I should respond to everything everyone says. Here’s another place where online communication falls short of person-to- person contact. Maybe I should call you up right now to answer the other points of your comments.

        Oh, also, I hear that the x-files movie sucked.

    24. oh crap- that really was long! Why is the actual comment way longer than it appears in the box when you’re writing it??

    25. Wow, what a huge whack of comments.

      I’m newish to the blogging world. I love receiving comments – heck, “Hi” alone would be exciting. Yet I can be a slow to leave them. Reasons have included:

      – I started following blogs using an RSS feed, which means I often haven’t/don’t click through to an actual post to read comments. It took me a while to discover how fabulous comments can be.

      – I’m still in the process of finding the blogs I want to follow, and have accumulated a lot to lurk at for a while before taking that step of commenting. I’ve only commented on about a dozen of the blogs in my feeder (currently 168, but most of those I don’t have time to view regularly). Once I know I’m definitely sticking with a blog I’ll start commenting.

      – Unless, of course, it has oodles of commenters and I would follow the blog purely for the posts with no expectation of trying to get to know other readers.

      – Plus, with well-established blogs that clearly have an existing community of commenters I feel like the new kid at school – I don’t want to just barge in there.

      – There is not enough time to write my own posts, so finding time to comment on others’ posts can get difficult.

      More generally, one of the things I like about commenting is that I feel freer with what I say. My parents and a couple of colleagues are likely to read something on my blog, but way less likely to find me here (that’s partly because I’ve not yet updated my links – oops!).

      Actually, I would be interested to know whether others modify their posts (tone things down, or simply not write about them at all) because of particular people from their real life who are likely to read it.

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