Friday, 14 February 2014

Why Comment?

Red wrote a post a few days ago entitled Confession.  In it he said that he did not read 'very many comments that are made on other bloggers's (sic) posts'.  Reading the comments made on that post it would seem that few people do.  I know that when I was discussing this with someone last year he surprised me by saying that he didn't because he didn't have time and rarely ticked the 'Notify me' box either.  So what, I wonder, is the point of commenting in those circumstances?  Do some commenters (for those who would correct me and say that I should use commentator please see here) only want and expect their comments to be heard by the person who posted?

The most common reason given for not reading comments was lack of time. 

My Blogland is deliberately small.  I follow blogs for various reasons.  Some educate me (perhaps geographically or artistically for example).   Some challenge and stimulate me by being interesting and perhaps provocative (no, Adrian, your name never even crossed my mind).  Some fascinate me.  Some I follow for purely personal reasons.  A few I follow but am not actually sure why.

I don't manage to read every blog I follow every day and even when I do I don't always have anything to say so I don't always comment.  Generally speaking though if I read a blog then I do commenters the courtesy of reading the comments as well even if only cursorily.

Of course on some blogs the comments (especially on weekly set task posts followed by dozens or hundreds of people) often consist of nothing more than something like 'nice pics thanks for posting'.  Why bother?   I just skim the comments more in hope than expectation.

Almost all the blogs I follow merit a 'proper' comment for one reason or another and many elicit comments which are either controversial (no, Adrian, I wasn't thinking of you again) or really are worth reading.

For me the comments are an integral part of the posting and reading process because blogging is so often an exchange of thoughts.  So if you comment on a post on a blog that I read then you can be pretty much guaranteed that at least one person in addition to the blogger will read your comment.

I wonder if a poll of my readers would elicit the same response as those who follow Red (whose posts are frequently interesting and thought provoking).
 

41 comments:

  1. Well the first comment here was NO COMMENTS ~ so I will follow and say No Comment, but Nice Pics today GB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Carol such a disappointment. Glad you liked the pics though. Hmmm.

      Delete
  2. I sometimes lurk but will comment when moved by something or feel an answer is requested in the post. Biggest hassle is flipping random numbers and phrases to get through - no like button - and the issues I have with posting comments on an ipad or phone - after the second go I give up....
    Notify - sometimes - nice to get a response - but i dont like being spammed by emalls and I HATE confirming the follow on a word press blog.
    Sometimes I just go and like it on facebook!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Fiona. I've been trying to find out how to add a 'like' button. I can't find one anywhere in the gadgets to be added nor in the settings in general. I have a Wordpress account so that I can follow Wordpress blogs which is rare but does cut out the ridiculous confirmation procedure (which I won't do). Commenting with an iPad is a pain and if one makes a mistake it can't be rectified (a problem I thought was just me until Frances pointed it out too) although Carol in Cairns seems to manage without any problems.

      Delete
  3. Ahh, Blogger just ate my comment.... I'll try again.

    And it disappeared again. Thank goodness for Copy-And-Paste. Here's the third attempt....

    I don't usually read the comments on a post as often there aren't any. There are two reasons for this, comment moderation slowing down the conversation, and the fact that I'm often one of the first to read a post, given the way I check for new posts on the blogs I read. If I leave a comment then I'll follow the resulting conversation but otherwise I'm unlikely to return to see what comments have been written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, comment moderation ruins the dialogue so comments often appear which when viewed one with another just look silly and make it very obvious that everyone is talking in isolation. I understand that some people get unwelcome comments (and one person I follow was trolled and her blog was stalked) but in 7 years of blogging I've had just a couple of spam comments which were easily deleted.

      Delete
    2. Yes I think the moderation seriously damages the conversation. I've suffered with spam on some of my blogs and I think the solution I've adopted works reasonably well. I've got comment moderation turned on for posts that are over a week old. This means the conversation flows on new posts, and as the spam always seemed to be directed at older posts (maybe they thought I wouldn't notice) I get to filter that out.

      Delete
  4. I read and respond to all comments on my blog, and I read the comments on other peoples blogs too. For me the feedback is important, especially when I'm posting a recipe, how-to, tutorial and so on. Also, a lot of times, comments have given me new material. A person can comment on something and inspire me to write something on that specific subject. Has happened more then once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mersad I agree and this post was, of course, inspired by a post I had recently read. Your blog for me is one from which I learn about a country to which I have never been as well as enjoying the pictures for their own sake.

      Delete
  5. I've wondered about that too, Graham. I usually read the comments. They can be fascinating and informative and (maybe inadvertently) reveal a lot about the blogger too - great for a nosy person like me...
    However there are times when reading all comments is difficult to do. There is a wonderfully well-written blog I read (The Venomous Bead - Helen de Vries' blog from Costa Rica) where the comments extend to the high tens - and quite often I don't have time to read them all. But that's the exception.
    I often get the feeling that some of those who comment are really not interested in anything more than their own voice/opinions. But I suppose that's perfectly acceptable - there's no rule to say commenters need to take account of everyone else...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne your blog is one which invites comments and where dialogue is important. It is, possibly, the only one with comment moderation where people make long comments and still seem to make sure they keep up with the flow. But then your topics encourage debate.

      Delete
  6. I do it because I enjoy it. The comments are the heart of blogging. That's why I never get involved with Macro Mondays, Wings on Wednesdays etc. Well that is one reason. Laziness and lack of organisation is another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't have said it better Adrian.

      Delete
  7. This sentence of yours: "For me the comments are an integral part of the posting and reading process because blogging is so often an exchange of thoughts." is one I wholeheartedly sign, Graham.
    Still, as for reading other people's comments on blogs other than my own two, I must give the wishy-washy answer of "it depends...".
    It depends on the length and number of those comments, and also a bit on their nature. If, as you say, most of them go along the lines of "nice pitures", I'm not missing out on anything by not reading them. If the post has raised some thought-provoking subject, or for various reasons a point dear to my heart, I want to know what others think about it. If I see comments by people whose blogs I also follow, I read their comments with particular interest. Sometimes I have not only posted my own comment, but also commented on someone else's comment. Those are the posts I love best, when the discussion is taken even further than just between the blog owner and each commenter. I think a fewe of my regular readers have come to my blog originally because they "saw me" on someone else's blog, and the same is true the other way round.
    I am never quite happy when comments are moderated, because spontaneity and communication suffers that way, but I do understand some bloggers have had bad experiences with unmoderated comments. Same goes for word verification.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can tell it's Friday evening and the whole working week is stacked behind me by the number of typos in this comment. Sorry!

      Delete
    2. What can I add Meike? I agree with every word. On the croquet lawns there is a very strict rule when playing doubles. You never apologise for a bad shot. Otherwise some people would spend their life saying sorry. You make far fewer grammatical and spelling errors than most of us so the occasional aberration certainly doesn't need an apology.

      Delete
  8. I think the key to reading other people's comments is to limit the number of blogs we follow as you do. Some people want to follow a wide variety blogs. So we have choices.
    Now Adrian took a few hits here so I will have to read his comments.
    I see my checking got a little careless.
    You have given me much to think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red your blog usually elicits readworthy (okay so there's no such word but I think there should be) comments and I'd rather limit my blog reading and participate than just read lots of blogs.

      Delete
    2. There is exactly such a word in German: lesenswert literally means readworthy.

      Delete
  9. I like to read the comments, and find it fascinating how differently we all view things. And I like the idea that when I comment, you'll read it, even if no one else does! Have a wonderful Valentine's Day! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carol. I had an unusual Valentine's day but an enjoyable one. It ended over eight hours and a long sleep ago. I always find it quite weird to think that you still have much of it to go.

      Delete
    2. I know. The world is very small, but also very BIG! I always have to stop and think before I phone my sister-in-law in the UK, because just about the time I'm ready to sit down with a cup of tea, she's probably sound asleep. xoxox

      Delete
  10. Before I started blogging (five years ago), I had been taking part in a couple of online discussion forums, where the whole point was communication back and forth... I found it a bit confusing at first in Blogland to get used to the lack of a common "code" in commenting. By now I've come to accept the variety, and that one has to learn with each individual blog whether the comment section tends to be worth following as well. Actually many of the bloggers I now follow are people whom I first "met" in the comment section of some other blog though (and like Meike says, it's probably the other way round too). One of the first I came across that way was your brother, and through him you, and through the both of you several others. On my own blogs I've come to apply certain compromises in replying to comments, as I do both "discussion" kind of posts and the "meme" kind; and also know that I have both kinds of readers - some who do read the comments, and others who are very unlikely to do so. As a priority I answer questions and reply to comments that I find add to the topic somehow. (And I do pretty much the same on other people's blogs.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monica I've never been on an online discussion forum. Is that what one would call Twitter? I suppose many of my posts don't really call for discussion but often the strangest topics (or non-topics) often generate the most comments.

      Delete
    2. I never got the impression that Twitter was about two-way communication at all. (?) But as I never signed up for it, I don't really know! The first internet forum I joined was for people living with chronic pain, it was part of a Swedish website run by a physician who is a specialist within that field. For a while I found it helpful both to be able to take part of the experiences of others, and share some of my own. In the long run I felt it got a bit 'boxed in' though, and I gradually withdrew and started to explore other interests. (I'm still in touch with one person I got to know there though, occasionally via email.) The next one was a Harry Potter fan club forum that I happened to find when looking up something to do with the next-to-last book (while waiting for the last one in the series). It was fun because it got me back to discussing literature in general, and in English. The subforum I came to take part in most was of rather academic character, so comparing HP to lots of other books. It inspired me to read and reread several classics, and dig deeper into Celtic, Classic and Norse mythology among other things. Actually I still see that experience as my "key" to the vast variety of information to be found on the internet. And it was fun to have somewhere to discuss reading experiences and comparisons. After the last book in the Potter series was published and thoroughly discussed as well, I felt it was time to move on though - not to get stuck in the wizarding world for ever! ;) And as it happens, that's when (via another friend) I happened to stumble into the Blogworld instead. And here I am still :)

      Delete
    3. When I first read it I forgot to thank you for that information and explanation Monica. It has helped clear up yet another of my (many) areas of Ignorance.

      Delete
  11. The thing I find hardest is those bloggers who ignore ALL comments, always. Of course, it's their prerogative, but in these cases, the blogs are soliloquies, and don't really need anyone else. But then, maybe they don't...?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I follow seriously any blogs like that Frances.

      Delete
  12. I am definitely one of those who read the comments written under the blog posts.
    Sometimes the comments are loaded with additional information on the topic or filled with humour, and I love both.
    For me it's common courtesy to respond to a comment on my blog if someone has taken the time to comment in the first place....but that's just me.
    I learn a whole lot from the comments, and that's how I find myself meandering to other blogs from interesting comments made....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We think along similar line Virginia.

      Delete
  13. For me the comments I leave are usually a kind of conversation between me and the blogger. I tend to simply skim over other people's comments. But I recognise we are not all the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good job we are not all the same YP. I'm not sure that the world is ready for two of you or two of me for that matter.

      Delete
  14. I am only a few weeks into blogging, but I feel that blogging is much like making friends "in real life" (as if this is also not "real') - you see people who interest you, so you talk to them. The ones who keep your interest, you try to keep their interest, because you want them to keep talking to you. Then there are those who initially make a strong impression, but you soon find are only superficially interesting. Again, I'm new to this, but the way that I am approaching it is to be as honest as I can be: I would genuinely like to read and follow dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs... but the fact is, I have a small circle of friends "in real life" for a reason. Most people just don't interest me enough to keep my interest, or they offend me on some issue to such a degree that their very presence is offensive in and of itself. I'm sure I am not very interesting or I am highly offensive to a number of people as well; when I was younger, this would be a disturbing thought: "People don't LIKE me!" But the older I get, the more I realize what everyone eventually should realize: being liked is meaningless, if being liked is all that you are after in life. If people like you for the qualities you like in yourself and others, stick with them; if they like you for the wrong reasons, it is no better (or perhaps, it is worse) than being disliked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't argue with that Nathaniel. Well I could because I was trained to argue. It was part of my job. I should have said that I have no wish to argue with the points you made.

      Delete
    2. GB, my older brother is a lawyer, and he has always wanted me to follow in his footsteps. He claimed that I was a natural lawyer, but I think what he meant was that I was far too argumentative for my own good. That is probably why I am so quick to apologize, because my statements have the ring of an argument even when I just mean them in good fun. Yes, I did get beat up a lot in school.

      So when you say that you could argue, but you have no wish to - now THAT is a compliment!

      Delete
  15. Do I red comments? On my blog, yes - just to prove I exist. On other's blogs? yes - just to prove that they exist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Andrea, commento ergo sum. Very droll.

      Delete
  16. GB, obviously the way to attract comments is to post about them. It seems to have worked for you this time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Frances, as I can't get an audience by writing books or stories or limericks like someone I know then I have to find other ways.

      Delete
  17. Whether or not I read comments depends on my mood, actually. Sometimes I get immersed in them, other times I skim. Sometimes I read what others have said before I add my own comment; other times I prefer to give my views without being influenced by others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds fair enough to me Jenny.

      Delete