A Blogger Comments on ‘Comments’

July 11, 2006

Blogging without commenting in other blogs is like winking at a girl in the dark. Only you know what you are doing.

Comments and commenting behavior on blogs is really interesting. Some people love commenting, some hate it, some just want to flame and some just want to link to their own web site. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Naturally, when I write something I want as many comments as possible. It makes me happy, it shows to me that the post is actually being read and it opens up for interesting discussions and different points of view.

I don’t mind getting the “Nice Article” or “This Rocks!” comment either. I like to know that what I’ve posted was received well. Also, when I leave a comment on someone’s blog, I become part of a conversation. It’s not the soapbox of a blog. I add a little, you add a little, everybody adds a little, and the post along with those comments is just a little bit more than it was before. I allow comments on my site because I want to have a conversation. I think comments are really what makes the blogosphere come alive.

For me comments are a great way to talk to people right here on the blog. A great post is not a conversation, a great post starts a conversation. And they tend to flow very naturally when you’re commenting. Sometimes one post leads to another one. You might be influenced by one post and want to write another one. I do think there’s a knack to writing posts that invite commentary. I comment to let the author know I appreciated what they wrote or to add to the discussion.

Sometimes, some people comment very annoyingly. I have seen this mainly in News channels or on certain delecate topics like language, sports and religion. And also when it comes to movies and actors! The annoying “Comment preview” thing would stop many from commenting on your blog. Annoying comments slows down the process and scares users from posting comments. When leaving comments on someone’s blog, it’s not really a good idea to be rude or call the author derogatory names. That’s an ill thought out way to build bridges within the community.

Sometimes a post will inflame you, but suppress your urge to lash out. Behave like you have some respect for the blogger or the person commenting (even if you don’t) and yourself. There is a way to disagree or correct someone without seeming like a raving lunatic. Acknowledge that you’ve read the blogger’s entire entry. State the points you disagree with and why. If you spot any errors, point out those errors without being sarcastic or rude. Under no circumstances should you call the blogger or others leaving comments anything derogatory. This should be common sense, but you’d be amazed at how often I see comments left on many blogs that reflect poorly on the person leaving the comment.

If you want to find the conversation in comments, you’ll have to wade through all the comments that are simply providing feedback without contributing to the conversation e.g. “Great post!”. So, while the advantage of comments is that they serve a dual purpose (conversation and feedback), the disadvantage is the very same: they serve a dual purpose (conversation and feedback).

One of the most powerful ways that you can interact with a blog, without having your own blog, is to comment. Which was what I did for a long time before I too started a blog. Even after starting one, I love to read blogs, find topics that interest me and comment on them.

Do you make comments when you read a blog that makes you think, giggle, growl, etc.? What if you don’t know the person at all — you just happened upon their blog by clicking from someone else’s blog or doing a search on some unrelated topic… And what if it’s not a “Domino-blog” or even a technology/ professional-related blog?

I find that I have no problem commenting on blogs where I know the blogger (or think that the person probably knows me). I have also occasionally commented on blogs where I don’t know the blogger but it was a technical blog or a “professional” topic where I thought I had something to add to the discussion. Where I seem to have drawn my own line at the moment is on blogs that are more personal — they’re not by someone I know or related to a business/ professional topic. It’s hard at that point to know if everyone commenting knows the person or is just… commenting. I get comments so far only from people I know or at least know by association.

My blog reading has certainly led to a lot of reflection on my part that as with real people, treating all bloggers with respect is very important. Simply because they are people too! Also, seek first to understand what is being said. Celebrate another’s accomplishments. And use appropriate language.

If you expect the community to take notice of your blog, then get involved. Start reading and commenting on blogs that are similar to yours. When you leave comments make sure you leave a link back to your blog. What I have learnt is that not to comment for the sake of leaving your blog url, but add value and people will naturally come over to your blog. One of the great features of blogging is something called trackback. This is the ability to remotely leave comments on someone’s blog. You write your answer or response to a given blog entry on your own blog and then trackback to the blog in question. This will leave a small link to your blog on their site inviting people to come and visit your blog. Trackbacks are popular and only some blogging hosts support this feature. Keep an eye out for it, it is a wonderful way to build traffic.

A blog is like a telephone. If you have a telephone that never rings, then don’t blame the telephone, blame the fact you never told anyone the number. Make sure your blog url is included in your email signature. Any posts you make to mailing lists, make sure your blog url is included there. Don’t be ashamed to advertise your blog where ever and when ever you can.

Finally, keep writing. Write simple and often. A blog that is updated frequently is one that will be popping up in the aggregators. A few entries a week is acceptable for the average blog. If you have a lot of entries to write, then think about staggering them over a few days as opposed to dumping them all on the blog site at once. Don’t expect overnight success; traffic takes time.

[Why this post? Because I read a few 'annoying comments' today in a friend's blog whom I have blogrolled].

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15 Responses to “A Blogger Comments on ‘Comments’”

  1. Shruthi Says:

    Good post. Commenting is an art in itself. Each time I post something, I always look forward to some specific commenters – who, I know, add value to my blog. Like adding something extra, or giving thoughtful feedback, etc. I also appreciate people who just take the time to compliment you on the post. It might be irritating for people reading the comment conversation, but the author benefits greatly from it! :)) That’s why, sometimes when I don’t have anything to add to a blog post, I still take time to say “good post”, etc, if I really liked the post very much, AND if I have the time :D
    There are some very polite anonymous bloggers too, but it is the rude anon bloggers that really irritate me! They don’t have the guts to put in their name, so they have no right to say what they are saying!
    Btw, your tips are good. Simple and practical

  2. Sanjay M Says:

    nice post RK. I’ve always enjoyed the comments you’ve left on my blog… so you’ve actually lived up to what you’ve said here! :-)

    One point is that even if nobody has commented, the post might still be read. Once I was really suprised to receive one of my posts as a well appreciated forwarded email! At that time, that post had hardly got any comments – still it was being forwarded around in some mailing list which who knew me sent to me.

    So, as long as you’re convinced about what you’re saying… keep writing – independent of comments! :-)

  3. anoop Says:

    Its ok RK, Im not annoyed about the anonymous commenter in my photo-blog, I like being challenged. I’m sure the anonymous commenter is not meaning any harm.
    Now, about your post. I can see you are trying to be honest here. Many people have trouble commenting on others blog, fearing the fact that, the person who has written the blog might think that that the commenter is just trying to link to his own blog thru the comment. yes, believe me there are people like this. If they start thinking like what you have written in your post, those inhibitions can be eliminated and they can comment more freely on blogs they like. Another thing, half the things written in your post doesnt apply to me. I photo-blog for completely different reasons, yes, the knowledge of people going thru my blog makes me happy, but, that is not the ultimate reason why I photo-blog.

  4. RK Says:

    Shruthi: Thank you. you are right that the author benefits from a reader’s comments.

    Sanjay: Thanks guru.(By the way, ivattu Guru Poornima).

    Anoop: I remembered this ‘Gaadhe’ (Proverb):Yele yettho Gunda andre undoreshtu jana andhnanthe.

    I slightly modified that and made another gaadhe to suit this blog: Blog maado Gunda andre comment maadoreshtu jana andhnanthe.

  5. Gangadhar Says:

    I live for the freedom of speech. I think that if I write an article people should be able to comment on it. Nevertheless, there comes a point where free speech and open-mindedness separate and turns into people exercise their free speech in the form of sheer and utter hate.
    I’ve been involved with “blogging” for nearly one and half years. I enjoy the personal self-expression and sharing.
    If your only interest in blogs is pragmatic: ten worthwhile comments can accomplish much in building link-love and have it ramify out among the friends of the blogger whose blog you’ve commented on.
    Writing comment is a good way to get visitors and links. Actually, I write 10-15 comments daily on other blogs and this way, I have got a good number of visitors in my own blog and also from to time, my articles have got linked and helped in technorati ranking.

  6. ari4u Says:

    good post. very informative. Thanks!
    My blog is about my pictures, which i have taken in the last 4 years. People either like the pictures or they dont. Some comment, most dont. I started blogging in june 06 and had over 1200 hits the first month, but few commented. I made couple of friends, comment on a lot of posts and your article defintiely helped me in knowing how i can improve my blog even more. My blogroll is pretty small now, but hope to grow more in the future. :) I like your blog and i am blogrolling you. Take care.

  7. travel plaza Says:

    RK, Great post. It is really informative. I think comments are very helpful for the author as it helps him/her think again about what they have posted and ways to make their posts better. I however agree that it is in very poor taste to post nasty comments. As you say it presents a very bad picture of the person who left the comment.
    I came to your blog from Gangadhar’s.

  8. RK Says:

    Gangadhar:I say, you are a veteran! And I like the articles in your blog.

    ari4u: I am honoured! By the way, just wanted to let you know that I am a veteran ‘Commenter’ and an amateur ‘Blogger’.
    Visited your blog and loved those pictures. Good luck for the future!

    travel plaza: thanks for visiting the blog. Do visit often.

  9. Elinor Mills Says:

    You may be interested to read this:

    Misbehavior forces Post to shut blog comments:

    January 19, 2006 3:30 PM PST

    The WashingtonPost.com said on Thursday that it had indefinitely shut off the ability for people to post comments on its blog Web site because of objectionable postings.

    The company policy was to ban comments that were personal attacks or used profanity or hate speech.

    “Because a significant number of folks who have posted in this blog have refused to follow any of those relatively simple rules, we’ve decided not to allow comments for the time being,” Jim Brady, executive editor of Washingtonpost.com, wrote in explaining the policy change on the Web site.

    “It’s a shame that it’s come to this,” he continued. “Transparency and reasoned debate are crucial parts of the Web culture, and it’s a disappointment to us that we have not been able to maintain a civil conversation, especially about issues that people feel strongly (and differently) about.”

    It’s not the first time a major publication has closed down an interactive online reader service. In June, the Los Angeles Times closed a Web site it had launched three days earlier that allowed readers to rewrite editorials, saying it was flooded with obscene messages and photos.

  10. businessuncut Says:

    This does not strike me as the best way to deal with comment spam/abuse. Anyone that runs interactive content sites or blogs gets affected by unnecessary comments. The way to deal with it is to moderate/filter the comments – not switch them off.

    The next phase of the internet is absolutely about interactivity. Any site media/content site that does not embrace this effectively will lose out.

  11. E B Says:

    Moderating a message board is all well and good when it’s a reasonably sized. Start getting tens of thousands of posts a day, and it become impractical (or at the very least, expensive) pretty quick.

    Shutting it down isn’t the best possible solution — but neither is moderating it. The best possible solution would be for people to behave themselves and act like reasonable adults. Since most people aren’t reasonable adults, however, that’s obviously too much to expect (does that statement itself count as a flame?).

  12. mike h Says:

    Actually, there’s some evidence the official line from the
    Washington Post is simply not true…

    http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/wash-post-deletes-
    hundreds-of-comments.html

  13. RK Says:

    Elinor Mills: Thanks a lot for the information. I feel they really had no option. And do visit again.

    businessuncut: Moderating or filtering thousands of comments is really tough! Thanks for visiting.

    EB:”Shutting it down isn’t the best possible solution — but neither is moderating it. The best possible solution would be for people to behave themselves and act like reasonable adults. Since most people aren’t reasonable adults, however, that’s obviously too much to expect (does that statement itself count as a flame?). ”

    Well said!

    Mike H: That’s a useful link. Thanks.

  14. Veena Shivanna Says:

    ivatthu professor blog browse maaDta idde, so ee link siktu chennagide.
    I remember me getting annoyed for some comments part in one of the blogs & decided to disassociate frm that blog. This was when somebody tried to allegate my country due to my comment which was not very ok with me. byyodidre nanna byli swamy, namma desha nella bydre nange swalpa kashTa annisutte. Later realised that I could have reacted better.
    All said & done, we hold a responsibility to disburse our thoughts & we can’t be so careless even if we are commenting on the blog. It may conflict others views & give rise to unncessary comments. I remember one of such comments on your A for AaraMgetram post.

    However when we comment on anything, we would try to justify what we said is right. The annoying comments generally are targetted for the posts which are quite judgemental in nature or when one take names.

    onDu saNNa vichaarana blog post aagi bariyO nimma talent gaadru illi comment biDoNa antha bande. Keep it up & all the best for more comments. On the contrary to this, I second Sanjay’s comment too.

  15. rk Says:

    Veena,
    Thanks for your comments. Glad you liked the post.
    Maybe, in a few days, a book might be written on Blog-Comments-Behaviour (donno if one is already written!) ;)

    Yes, Sanjay’s comments are really insightful.


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