Newbie Blogger Initiative: Are comments important? Hell yes!

Are comments on your blog important?

Yes. Next question.

What do you mean “Is that it?” You want more? Blimey! You NBIers are a demanding lot!

Look, as far as I’m concerned, right after providing me with a creative outlet/hobby/platform for saying daft things to amuse myself, comments are what blogging is about. Obviously you want people to read your posts otherwise you wouldn’t have written them, but other than a few numbers on a stats page how do you know if people are reading you? Comments! That’s how! You want your readers to be so impressed that they stop whatever they are doing to actually write to you.

So for the love of all that is holy, turn your ruddy comment feature on and make sure anyone can use it (Blogger & Live Journal I’m looking at you – nothing guarantees I will never read a blog again than finding I can’t leave a comment) and reply to them!

Ahhh, replying to comments. Should you, you wonder? You’re busy after all, you have stuff to do, things to write, should you reply to all the comments you get? Well, and this is a personal choice of course, but I would say yes! yes! and double bloody yes! Look, if someone has been good enough to reach out to you, you really owe it to them to say something back, even if it’s a “Thanks for your kind comment!” or “Cheers for that!” Also, unless you are a a huge blog like Massively then the chances are you aren’t going to be inundated with comments so I wouldn’t worry about it taking over your life 🙂 Looking at my stats most posts here never get a single comment and I’d call 2 or 3 on a post a success. Hell, even though I’ve been blogging here for 5 years the single highest commenter has only left a grand total of 56 comments!

If you want my honest opinion, we bloggers should be honoured that people read our scratchings (especially the drivel I offer up!) so the least we can do is say thanks when they leave us a note 🙂

But what to do when a commenter disagrees with you, or is being abusive? Well first off you need to be prepared that if you are posting opinion pieces then you will get people who disagree with your opinions and there is nothing wrong with that – I’m a great believer in allowing such comments through and then replying to them, after all an open dialogue is always a great way to spark debate and that in itself will bring readers to you blog. But if you also attract trolls and idiots who just post crap then feel free to delete it and ignore them – do not take them on because not only is that what they want, but such displays of anger will drive the intelligent readers away from your blog in droves. The golden rule is: Ignore comments at your peril but ignore trolls and idiots at all costs.

As an adjunct to that last point, even though I always advise you always turn your comments on to allow people to interact with you, you must equally always keep some form of moderation in place so that trolls, idiots and spammers can’t just post away with impunity – there is nothing worse than being unable to get online for a day only to come back and find some pillock has spammed a stack of your posts with idiocy and/or filth that has then gone out to any readers following those posts. WordPress has a very powerful but very simple set of moderation functions that help keep my blog free of crap with a combination of ensuring that someone’s first ever comment is held back for my approval as well as comment containing even a single URL is also held back – this way not only can I see that a new commenter isn’t a troll, but I can also intercept any mass Russian lolita pr0n links before they get to my readers. WordPress for the win, I say 🙂

This message was brought to you by the Newbie Blooger Initiative and Dr Burro’s Dept. of Mutual Back Scratching.

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26 comments

  1. great post and I completely agree about replying when you can 🙂 I also have it set up that I get an email when *anyone* comments (whether I need to approve or not), as I check email regularly on my phone so its a great way to keep tabs on your site without checking it in an ocd fashion (never been guilty of that *cough cough* 😉

    1. @ suzita
      Reading through your blog brought back many fond memories of EQ and Vanguard for me. I had a Raki ranger that spent many enjoyable hours in some of the same areas you’re exploring… thanx for the screenshots and the nice memories. (tip; start jumping off rocks now… safe fall is awesome, but only if it’s already at max skill level when you need to use it. Really helps with the “whatsoverthereitis” you seem to suffer from as I did.)

      1. glad you enjoyed it – there will be more screenshots to come 🙂 hehe yes, ‘jumping off things’ is also an erm itis (? lol) I suffer from 😀 will certainly practice that thanks 🙂

  2. Ah yes, I love receiving comments. That whole interaction and communication is why I want to blog. Well, apart from making my opinion known, of course. 😉

    I do understand when people turn off comments because they don’t want to be bothered by trolls etc. It’s sad but if the blogger in question writes really good pieces, I’ll still read them. But less often than those blog posts where I can react just because with interaction, you form a different sort of attachment to somebody’s blog.

  3. I loved what HBA said in response to a comment I made on another post here; “communication will save us all.”
    Some of the most entertaining and enlightening conversations I’ve ever experienced were a direct result of differences in opinion. Debate-style, or even confrontational, discussions help a person hone their analytical and communication skills… they force you to not merely voice an opinion, but also support it with facts, analogies, anecdotes, etc et all.

    Having said that, I also subscribe to the notion; “Don’t feed the Trolls.” If someone is expressing a contrary opinion to my own in a thoughtful manner, even if it’s also somewhat confrontational, then I view it as an conversational opportunity. However, there most definitely are lines that should not be, and do not need to be, crossed.

    Written communication on the internet is an imperfect beast, and the loss of subtleties in facial expressions, and voice inflections, can cause misunderstandings. These are frequent enough that folks often mistake a merely vigorously expressed sentiment as “trolling” which I personally consider being overly sensitive. When a post/comment is unnecessarily argumentative or even abusive – that is trolling… simply having an opinion that differs from my own does not qualify.

    These are also very subjective standards. What is “unnecessarily” argumentative to me, may not be to you. I’ve had the… um… “benefit” of growing up with a father who served in the USMC for 20+ years, and several of those as a DI (drill instructor) who would put some of the caricatures commonly seen in some movies to shame. (The fellow in “Full Metal Jacket” came close to accurately representing dear ol’ dad.) It should also be noted that at 6’4″ and roughly 300 lbs. I am the smallest male in my family going back 5 generations… literally the runt of the litter. If you want to know what REAL confrontation is just get involved in a small difference of opinion in my family! I’ve also been around for awhile (5+ decades) and seen most of this world thanx to my own time in the military (USN for me… I suffer from an excess of common sense and intelligence that prevented my participation in the corps and forced me to become an FC (fire controlman/radar tech) in the Navy instead) and as a result, I have a fairly thick skin AND an abundance of opinions.

    The point being, just because I don’t see a particular comment from someone as “too harsh” (everything being relative) doesn’t mean it doesn’t cross a line for someone else, and it’s wise as a communicator to “adjust to the room.” If you want to be “heard” then you need to find a way to express yourself that doesn’t automatically cause excessive defensiveness in the target of your communications.

    Allowances should also be made for emotions. We’re all human (o.O more or less…) and folks who feel strongly about a particular subject are going to express themselves more forcefully. So long as that is not a constant state of affairs it would be wise and tolerant to allow the occassional outburst from someone without undue stigma being attached to them.

    Although I don’t have an active blog myself (prefering to merely comment on a “circuit” of blogs from creative, intelligent folks with common interests in gaming, MMOs, and GW2) I would definitely encourage everyone with a blog to open lines of communication with their readers. Yes, there are “trolls” out there, but there can be very rewarding interactions too, and the later are more numerous than you might think… and “trolls” are quite easily dealt with frankly – if you don’t feed them with the attention they require, they will simply go away of their own accord (or even better, adjust/moderate their own expression so that they can participate in the conversations.)

  4. I’m so with you on this HB.

    Here’s an interesting fact for you, the readers of my main Blogger blog (mostly tales of my adventures) rarely comment _on_ the blog. However, the readers on my WordPress blog (more of an issues blog) comment more in a single month than I get in a year on Blogger.

    I believe that WordPress has a much easier format for people to engage in readers than Google’s Blogger. This is purely anecdotal but it’s food for thought.

    One other thing, I’m finding both Facebook and Twitter are drawing comments away from both blogs but again more from Blogger.

    1. Case in point, I just added a comment to your blogger Yordie. 1. Unnecessary pop-up window (why?), 2. Add comment, 3. Sign-in?, 4. Comment no longer there, need to write it again, 5. The first time actually worked, and the comment posts twice, 6. I delete the repeated comment, 7. I feel silly because (a) I repeated the same comment twice and (b) your blog shows I deleted my comment, which looks odd to just about everyone who will likely ever see it (why does someone delete their own comment???)… Ugh… probably the worst commenting UX out there. On the other hand, this WP comment here is seamless.

      1. Hiya Becky – I totally understand where you are coming from. Blogger just seems to make commenting so bloody hard! And I learnt long ago to copy the comment into notepad before sending because I lost so many of the buggers.

  5. I love comments, I get superexcited everytime I see a orange square up in the corner of my blog, letting me know there is someone who has said something. Good or bad, people are talking!!
    Im a total newb at blogging and wordpress, but think I have managed to put it up so everyone can comment if they like too 🙂

    And If I can’t comment I kinda just walk away as I would like to have the opertunity to say something if there is things I like or disagree with.

    And #Newbiebloggerinitiative, yay!

    1. Hi mate, sorry for the lack of reply but life has been crazy 😦

      I love comments too, without them I almost don’t see the point of the blog 😀

      How are you finding your blogging is going? Are you still enjoying it?

      1. No worries 🙂 I allso realised this was a tad old post *blush* Blogging is going good thanks 🙂 Just got my own domain and trying to set up my page 🙂

        1. No worries mate, the NBI posts on here still stand – I’ve not taken part on the last two (2013 and this year’s) because I think I said all I could in 2012 and, for me at least, nothing has changed.

          I’ve seen you’ve moved – i’m following you on G+ to get the updates – and I think you’ll love it. I had a domain years ago but I let it lapse and moved to wordless.com instead.

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