Weekly Geeks: For the Love of Comments

This week, let’s talk commenting.

I love receiving comments!   Mine is not one of those super-popular, high traffic blogs.  So I’m overjoyed when I receive a comment or two.  Every post holds the promise of discussion, and I’m really happy when someone takes that extra moment to share their thoughts.  I’ve tried to be a better commenter lately myself.  When I comment on a post, I actually prefer to give information about myself (like my blog address), in hopes of striking up an ongoing dialogue.  I have also been making an effort to subscribe to follow-up comments by email, because I like to see what others have to say, and I would hate to miss a reply from the blogger.

Here at Musings, I don’t have a comment policy per se.  But in preparing this post, I realized I’ve set things up in a way that reflects my own practices as a commenter:

  • You can subscribe to posts or comments via RSS
  • When you leave a comment you can subscribe to follow-up comments via email.
  • I don’t moderate comments.
  • I don’t use word verification.
  • You do not need to register, but I do require a name and email address.
  • I really like it when you also give your blog’s address.  I’ve discovered some great new blogs that way.

I make an effort to respond to all comments, especially when the commenter has offered an opinion or insight.  I usually respond right on the blog, so it can be read as part of the conversation.  I can imagine situations where a personal email response might be better, but that hasn’t happened on my blog yet. I’ve been fortunate in that all of my visitors are wonderful people — I’ve never experienced flaming or other difficult behaviors.  And so far I’ve been impressed with how WordPress handles spam.  I’m surprised how much spam there is, but fortunately the spam filter works well, and none of it has ever been published on my blog.

Now, I have a couple of questions for you:

  • I’ve read some negative blog posts about the name & email requirement.  This is a fairly common practice, and has never prevented me from leaving a comment.  But if it bugs you, leave a comment and tell me why — I’d like to understand the issue.
  • I’d like to generate more comments and discussion, but I haven’t found the “secret sauce” yet.  So here’s another comment opportunity for you.  What inspires you to comment on a blog post?  What turns you off?

Tell me about it … please!

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12 thoughts on “Weekly Geeks: For the Love of Comments

  1. Great post Laura! I always get a little thrill when someone comments on my blog – mine isn’t ‘super popular’ either, so it’s great when someone takes the time to stop, read, and comment.

    If a post has interested me and I know about the topic I will usually comment. Sometimes I read a post, think, oh I’ll come back later and comment, and then never get around to it! A lot of the time though I just don’t have anything to say – if I haven’t read a book and don’t plan on doing so, I won’t really add anything to a conversation. That doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the post, it just means I don’t see the point in writing ‘Great review but I’ll never read this!’.

    Comments can really cause issues with getting paranoid – ‘oh why isn’t anybody commenting!’ etc but most people who read my blog never comment if I can believe the stats I get on wordpress – and I assume it’s because of the same reasons I have.

  2. I haven’t seen any posts about the name/email requirement, but I’m not sure why it bothers people – it is so easy to get a new email address and invent a name if you want to be anonymous.

    I think the secret to getting more comments is to ask a question at the bottom of your post – as you have done here. I hope you encourage more people to comment, as I love a good book discussion whereever it happens to be!

  3. I also require name/email – I don’t like anonymous comments and I think allowing them encourages negativity, nastiness and sometimes spam (although I agree with you…Wordpress is great at filtering spam. Sometimes they can be too aggressive however, so I always check to make sure a REAL comment hasn’t been filtered).

    As to what motivates me to comment – largely it depends how much time I have to visit blogs! When I have some time, I like leaving comments on reviews of books I’ve also read, or books I want to read; and I usually weigh in on controversial subjects 🙂

    Great post, Laura!!

  4. It took me a long time to realise that bloggers actually want comments! It wasn’t immediately apparent to me, even when I was blogging. And then I didn’t realise that commenters might want a reply… maybe I’m just slow.

    But anyway! I tend to comment when the topic interests me, when I have something to add to the conversation, and when the blog has a friendly and approachable feel to it! Blogs that seem really professional, very structured, or are clearly very involved in the publishing world tend to scare me away (intimidating).

    I also like blogs with a bit of a personal touch so I’ll probably comment more if I sort of have a feel for who the blogger is, as a person.

  5. I don’t allow anonymous comments on my blog, and it’s nice to have the e-mail option to respond, although, like you, I usually reply to comments right on the post.

    I don’t think I EVER feel like my posts get enough comments! Asking questions can help invite people in. But I tend to comment when I connect with a post in some way, and that’s totally subjective – just write the best posts you can, and leave room for readers to share their thoughts about your topic. (Yes, I’m sure that’s totally NOT helpful :-D.)

  6. As your other commenters have stated, I will leave a comment if I feel I have something to add to the conversation.

    I’m one of those people who don’t like to type in my name, email and website every time I leave a comment. Here’s why. I read a lot of blogs and it slows me down to have to input that information. I just want to leave my comment. It’s frustrating to have to add a bunch of other information. That being said, this time all my pertinent information was automatically filled in on this post. Not sure why. That I don’t mind.

    Personally, I respond to most of my comments through email. All comments made on my blog are directed to my email address and if the commenter has their email address attached to their profile I can respond directly to them. I used to respond to comments with the comment section of my posts, but I don’t think many people come back to see if their have been any responses. I know this is an option on WordPress, but not on Blogger.

    Hope that helps.

  7. How exciting … I think this was my most-commented post ever! It has been really fun to read all of your thoughts. Thank you all for sharing your views on commenting and I love hearing what you like and don’t like. I hope to hear more from you in the future, too!

  8. This was a very informative post. I am very new to blogging and not really sure how to handle the commenting aspect. Are we supposed to answer peoples comments? I know that probably sounds stupid but I just don’t know what the proper ettiquette is. I do comment on others blogs but only when I have something to add to the conversation. Like I said I am very new so I am definitely not popular but I am enjoying what I am doing.
    Well that was probably way more then you cared to know about. Thank you again for you insight into commenting.

    • Bobbie, I’m no expert on blog etiquette! I think responding to comments, while not “required,” can encourage commenters to keep coming back.

      You might want to check out some of the other Weekly Geeks posts this week (follow the link at the top of my post, and then look for the links posted by other participants). I haven’t had time to read them all yet but thought you might get some good tips on commenting from reading them.

  9. Who doesn’t love comments?!? I really enjoy chatting with other book lovers/bloggers and would never hesitate to leave my name and email for a comment. If the blog post asks a specific question, I may be a little more likely to post a comment (like this post for instance!).

    • Kimberly, I’ve been following your blog since you joined The Complete Booker challenge. I’m glad you stopped by to comment!

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