Comments on commenting


Thank you for the kind comments and suggestions regarding my last post. As Michelle mentioned, I think at least some of it has to do with the change in the weather (no offence, Autumn). Knitting-wise, I did take Bells’ advice and started on something in my Ravelry queue that will fill a gap in my wardrobe. It’s not quite bloggable yet, but it will be soon.

While on the topic of comments, a couple of interesting conversations about blog comments and replying to comments have occurred recently. It made me think about how I acknowledge comments on this blog, and whether they are within the bounds of good blogging etiquette.

Receiving notification that I’ve got a comment on my blog truly makes my day. It amazes me that people find the content of my blog interesting enough to comment on. It makes me feel part of a community, for want of a better word, and provides me with the motivation to keep blogging; to try to find ways to make the content more interesting. It’s also made me realise that other bloggers must value comments as well, and as such, I comment a lot more frequently than in the days before Pransellknit was around.

All of that said, I really don’t know if I show my appreciation for comments sufficiently. Correspondence is not my strong point, so my way of replying to comments is a mishmash of email, responding in a subsequent post and commenting on the commenter’s blog. Sometimes I don’t reply at all, though this is usually only if the comment doesn’t include a question or I’m familiar with the blogger (in that we comment on each other’s blogs regularly). Now that I’ve said I occasionally don’t reply, it seems rude. Is it?

As a commenter, I don’t expect a reply, but it’s nice when I receive one. Again, I don’t know if this is the norm.

I’m really interested to hear what other people’s opinions are on comment-replying etiquette. As a commenter, do you expect replies, and if so, how do you like that reply to come to you? If you have a blog, do you have a policy for replying to comments? This is all very unscientific, but it’d be nice to continue the discussion, and see if should be showing my appreciation to commenters a bit better.

7 Responses to “Comments on commenting”

  1. twitchyfingers Says:

    i agree – comments make my day too. I reply when I can but in some cases there isn’t an address to reply to and I feel bad. And i comment when i know the person, or when it really hits a nerve, or when I’m thinking about the content after i’ve long closed the browser. When I get something from the post I guess… and when I get time!

  2. Lynne Says:

    I had a similar discussion on my own blog a couple of years ago!

    Firstly, like you I love to get comments (and admit to being disappointed when I don’t!).

    I believe comments beget comments so I make sure I comment on most blog posts I read (very occasionally I can’t think of anything to say). If I like receiving comments then it follows that others (like you) do too!

    Sometimes, though not frequently, I reply to the comments – especially if there’s a question. My first choice is to reply directly by email (sometimes that’s not possible due to noreply@…); sometimes I reply by visiting the commenters blog and adding a BTW to my comment on their post. Where there are many similar comments, I post on my own blog to follow up. For example, when my dad died earlier this year, I posted a thank you on my blog.

  3. bells Says:

    it’s always useful to think a little bit about comments. Some older bloggers will remind us that in the early days of blogging there was no such thing – no expectation at all of comments. You wrote and if you knew how to you could find out how many hits you got. To some extent I still think hits are more important than comments if you’re trying to gauge your audience size, but it doesn’t help with that sense of dialogue.

    I try to remind myself sometimes that if I wrote for a newpaper or magazine, I wouldnt expect to hear from every reader every time, that sometimes just reading is enough. Sometimes I think there’s too much emphasis on comments, but I realise I’m lucky because I usually have a pretty good response rate.

    But back to the topic at hand, as I said to you earlier, I don’t expect replies when I comment on a blog – in fact I sometimes wish the people who routinely respond to every comment I leave wouldn’t – it feels a bit empty to have someone simply write back and say hi bells thanks for that. etc etc. It’s for that reason I don’t respond to every comment I get. It can be a bit cumbersome and a bit pointless. But if someone asks a question or makes a particularly helpful/meaningful/interesting comment I’ll write back. I think the best thing we can do as readers and bloggers is support each other’s work, show interest when we feel it, just make contact as and when the desire strikes/time permits.

  4. jane Says:

    It is definitely tricky isn’t it – I don’t have time to comment as much as i’d like to and I also don’t always have time to reply to people who leave me comments even though it makes my day every time too! I don’t have a policy and I think the mishmash you describe is actually a pretty great way to interact – as Bells says, I guess there’s something a little silly, at least potentially, about replying to *every single* comment that ever gets left even if it’s just ‘great hat’ or whatever, whereas if someone leaves me a question or a recommendation or something, I would want to get back to them of course.

    Then there’s the whole debate about whether to reply via email or in the comments themselves – I never know whether or not to subscribe to the comments on someone’s blog (and this isn’t even an option on all blog providers) and on some blogs I comment on I’ll get 300 emails from all the commenters if I do that! It’s a minefield alright. Fortunately I think blogland is a fairly flexible and forgiving sort of a place, and there aren’t many people who would be annoyed with you for not responding to a comment they left or not commenting frequently enough on their blog. I think about this a lot too though, and am always interested to see what others do and how they deal with it – there’s a lot of variation.

  5. Michelle Says:

    Unlike many other bloggers, I write for myself. I’ve been at it for almost 5 years now, and that hasn’t changed one iota. The comments I get have been mostly lovely and supportive, and well thought out. I am still thrilled when I get a comment, but I don’t tend to write back unless I know the commenter and/or something they have said touches me (or pisses me off – ha ha!). Likewise I don’t expect or even want replies to comments I have made. I figure the blogger has put enough of herself out there in her post without me requiring a reply back on my comment.

    The moment the blog and writing for myself stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it. I suspect that day might be very soon, actually. I have loved the relationships I have formed in real life with people who read my blog (and people’s blogs that I read) but these would be people I would hold dear regardless of whether they have blogs or not, or comment on mine or not.

    Good food for thought, Emma.

  6. bells Says:

    On the contrary, I think a lot of bloggers write both for themselves and for connection with an audience. To me it seems like a false assumption to say that most bloggers don’t write for themselves. If I’m bored by a blog post I’m writing, I’m going to assume most readers will be too. If I have pleased/entertained/challenged myself, then I feel a certain confidence that the audience might connect with what I’ve written too.

  7. Christine Says:

    It’s so interesting to hear everyone’s perspective on blog comments.

    As someone who’s relatively new to blogging (just passed the one year mark! yippee!) I can identify with the thrill that comes from someone commenting on one of your posts, especially if your hit rates are usually low. And while I agree that comments beget comments, I never seem to have enough time to comment on all the blogs I read–I guess I should keep this in mind when wondering why people haven’t commented on my blog.

    As to replying to comments, I agree with most of what’s been said here–unless a question has been asked or a particularly helpful/interesting point has been made, I wouldn’t expect to receive/give a reply. Jane is right, nobody wants to read millions of replies that aren’t particularly informative/relevant. When a comment does warrant a reply though, my preferred mode is for a reply in the comments–although you can’t be sure the commenter will come back to read it, it’s in the most logical place, and can help anyone else who stops past.

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