Friday, February 5, 2010

Bring On the Comment Love Baby!

Comments.  These are a blogger's drug.  They get us "high" and encourage us to continue posting.  They rock our socks.

When I visit a site, I like to leave a comment.  To me, it's like signing a guest book.  However, if there are already many comments (like Kelly mentions), I will rarely leave my own thoughts.

I also expect to receive at least one comment back from you, if I am a regular commenter on your blog. To me, that's your way of saying "Thanks for visiting!"

Yes, I am a comment whore.  What can I say?  I know what it's like to post something and not receive any feedback.  It can get a bit lonely.

How about you? Do you feel there is comment etiquette? Are there certain things we shouldn't say? Times we shouldn't comment?  Or, should we be comment "whores" and comment, comment, comment no matter what?

Do tell, when and why do you comment? Do you comment when you disagree, or do you only comment when you agree?  Is it wrong to disagree with a post?  Is it wrong to say you disagree with a post? And, most pressing in my mind, what do you think comments are supposed to represent?

Do you feel there should be reciprocity?


  1. Well, I am a self proclaimed comment whore. I leave a lot of comments. I will sometimes comment just to let a blogger know I'm reading.

    I used to comment more than I do now, but I do think there is reciprocity in commenting.

    If I really, really need to disagree with a post, or am offended, I usually walk away. If I can disagree and still be respectful, I will do that.

  2. I will offer a different perspective or share my opinion (if it's asked for) whether it enforces or varies from the blogger's opinion. I will never be nasty or argue in comments -- unless it's a debate-type forum, which I know many bloggers enjoy and encourage.

    As for when and where, I try to always comment when I read a blog post. If I notice that I'm always reading (and therefore commenting) on a blog and that person never comments on my blog, I may stop commenting. For me, the lack of reciprocity tells me that blogger doesn't appreciate my opinion.

    However, I rarely stop reading. And there are a few big bloggers I read that I never comment on. I don't usually feel the need to add my comment to the other 75, or 500, or 1,000 comments.

  3. I'm never exactly sure about commenting etiquette myself. If opinions are asked for I will usually add mine. If I think they are off their rocker I usually won't. If someone has already said what I meant to I will usually not comment unless I have a relationship with the blogger.

    I have lists in my google reader broken into categories that could be described as "comment when they post", "comment once a week or so"", comment occasionally", or "trying to decide what I think about their blog". There is also a folder for people who have commented on my blog or friended me. Those people will get a closer look and I will usually try to comment back.

    I do not comment on a new blog with any thought of getting comments on my blog, in fact for a long time I wouldn't comment on strangers' blogs because I didn't want to put pressure on them to come to my blog. I've gotten over that, though. Commenting is a good way to find people with interests similar to my own.

  4. I know what you mean, Charlotte. I used to avoid commenting on blogs because I was afraid they would come check my blog out. Now, I am more confident. Heck, even if they don't come over I will still read them.

    I love that you have "comment" categories in your reader! I have many blogs that are in my "still not sure..." category.

  5. Good. You mentioned being "nasty." I don't think that is ever appropriate. Perhaps that is a piece of this unknown comment etiquette?

  6. OK. Truth be told I stole "comment whore" from you. I would say that describes me quite well. I have no problem commenting on blogs anymore and, hey, I enjoy comments as well!

    I think walking away is a very important aspect of blogging. That is a rule I try and follow as well.

  7. I don't comment all the time, but I do like to acknowledge when someone comments on my blog. I also like to comment when it is something that really gets my attention. I don't mind when people don't comment on my blog. I follow several blogs and read and keep up with them for the most part. I like to try and comment at least every few posts so that they know I appreciate their work and efforts. I am not sure what the proper way to comment is. I am still pretty new and learning.

  8. Hi Amber. You are funny. I try not pay much attention to comments really, though they are nice and I appreciate them when they come but I totally see your point. Thanks for your email. I am super excited about this new opportunity and anxious to get to know you more!

  9. Totally me, Amber. Comment whore, comment addict - whatever, right? It's just really lonely blogging out there in the universe without comments. Even if you absolutely KNOW someone's reading it doesn't feel as good as comments because comments start a conversation, comments start a relationship and, it turns out, the relationships I've formed here in the blogosphere have become very important to me from the comments!

    Once that relationship is formed, I swear I'll comment on anything one of my friends writes, anything!

  10. I love to comment and love to get comments. Maybe we need a 12 step program - LOL! Addicted to comments?

    I do like to let bloggers know that I am reading, even if I am not commenting. There are just times when it is all I can do to get the reading part into the day.

  11. You ask some really good questions here Amber!

    My opinions have changed hugely over the years. When I first started blogging I had one of those stat counter thingys and I obssessed over it. I fretted over the fact that I didn't have near as many comments as I did visitors. I was deeply hurt, I seem to the point of getting rid of the stat counter because I just didn't want to know how many people thought my posts weren't "worthy" of a comment.

    A year or so later I realized how silly and self-centred that thought was and I installed the stat counter again, taking note of the fact that many people visited REGULARLY but didn't comment. And I finally realized that commenting or not, these people were paying me quite the compliment. There are over a billion blogs out there and they were visiting mine! Wow!

    That said, comments are the ultimate validation of what we do here in our little blog corners of the world. They say, You are not alone. You have something worthwhile to say. What you wrote touched me or made some sort of difference in my life today. You matter to me. Your friendship matters to me.

    That latter one is what it's all about for me these days. I blog for me, yes, but I also blog for the interaction with likeminded women. Alas, likeminded women who don't always have the time to comment. Like my friend Lisa in Poland who had a baby a few weeks ago. Like my friend Sarah who means to comment but gets distracted and then sends me an email telling me how much she's been enjoying my posts lately. Like my friend Anne whose youngest has autism and requires much of her time and attention. And my friend Jana whose life is so full blogging is something she does when she has a spare moment, not a daily part of her life like it is mine.

    I came to realize that 1) much as I'd like it to be it really isn't all about me and 2) I can have wonderful bloggy friends who don't/can't always comment on my blog.

    As for me? I used to comment on every single blog I visited. And I used to regularly visit the blog of everyone who read mine. As the years went by and my readership increased I found myself reading blogs of people I didn't feel any connection with, and taking time from my family to do so. Didn't make a lot of sense really so eventually I stopped. Cut my blog reading down from 150 or so to 40. To do this I asked myself, "Is this someone I would be friends with in real life?" If the answer was no, I stopped reading. I don't advocate that for everyone, because there are many worthwhile reads out there and not every blogger has room for more friends...but it's what has worked for me and my life.

  12. I have a handful of categories on my reader that fall under friends, family, mom blogs (like mine), and read randomly. I visit most frequently the people I really know and those I've made a real connection with and try to limit my online time otherwise and visit all others -- although delightful and enjoyable-- less often. I treat commenting the way I would treat a conversation. If I feel compelled to reply, I do. Otherwise, I might just smile or nod my head in agreement and not leave any words behind. I try to at least visit people who comment on my blog the first time in order to "meet" them, but even that sometimes gets overwhelming time-wise. I do not expect the same from the places I visit or comment, though it's always appreciated when they reciprocate. Best rule, I think, is to keep expectations low-- both for yourself and for others-- and just relish the feedback when it comes.

  13. I'm with Steph . . . like in a big group conversation, if I feel compelled to say something, I do. And if I don't, I don't. And I just don't stress about it otherwise. (See my sidebar for . . . I guess my "official" commenting policy. For what it's worth.)

  14. I love to comment, if only to say, thank you for sharing that piece of you today. I see it as a little visit into someone's home...they're own personal space, so I probably wouldn't comment on how much I dislike their curtins, unless they asked me, and I'll probably stick around as long as I'm welcome.

    As for my own blog, I like's a place I often hang out; a place where I think, study, laugh and cry

  15. Inkmom, I love your comment policy. It is great. It also takes the guilt out of it! Now if I could only manage to do it myself!!

  16. (sorry, I cut myself off..hehe)
    ....and company is always nice, weather you speak up or not.

    btw...thanks for stopping by and saying hi :)

  17. I don't comment so much when I disagree, but more when I can relate to something. There are some things I have strong opinions about that I would likely say something about. I don't think mean comments are necessary though, and I've never felt the need. Sometimes I must say it bothers me when people just seem to be saying the same thing over and over again and the comments can seem less genuine, but if I love the post, picture, etc. I'll be sure to let someone know, and I always hope it comes across as genuine.

  18. Fine! Here's my comment! I love to hear from others, if not for any other reason than to know that I am not the only one out there that is whacked. Misery loves company.

  19. I usually comment if I really agree or really like the post.

  20. Inkmom, your comment policy scared me for a little while. I have actually been reading your blog for a few months now, but have been afraid to comment because I didn't want you to think I only commented to have you visit my site. Now, like Kim, I'm more secure in this blog world. I have even considered putting a "comment policy" on my side page. Except that I'm lazy. Thank you for answering this question!

  21. Steph, perhaps you should teach a class on managing on-line time so it doesn't become time consuming. I know I need to be reminded daily!

  22. As I became more secure with my blogging, commenting hasn't been as big of a deal as it used to be. There are times when I receive lots of comments and times when I only have a few. Either way, I write because I need to.

  23. This is a chuckle and a half! And yet, a legitimate issue in this "universe."

    Comments are great, but when you feel required to leave one, it becomes a chore. And multiply that times 20 blogs you may read regularly, and it's not only a chore, it's a lot of time! So what I find, increasingly, is that I comment when I really want to participate in the conversation, to provide support, or possibly to spark more dialog. (That's fairly often.) But some days, either you're too busy, too tired, or you don't have a cogent remark to make.

    So the notions of reciprocity and a certain blogging etiquette must yield to pragmatism.

  24. Wow! Each of you has given me something to ponder.

    I think Wolf summarized what we each yearn for in our life: pragmatic balance. We love to read blogs and love for other people to read our own blogs. Comments can be a way for us to agree, disagree, and just let someone know we are there and listening. If they take over our life then we must re-think our approach.

  25. I struggle with this all the time. Sometimes I leave comments everywhere. Sometimes I'm lame and just read and go. It all depends on how much time I've got or how many kids are pulling on my ankles.

  26. Oh, this is so true! Comments are like a drug!
    When I was younger, I was such a bookworm. And I was totally motivated by report cards. In school, you have a mechanism for getting positive feedback. Every paper, pop quiz, test gave you the chance to earn an A and a pat on the back. But it's not so easy in adult life.
    So maybe comments on a blog are like stars at the top of your assignment.

  27. Great post about a topic that matters to so many of us. And how could I possibly shut down without leaving a comment on this one? :)

  28. Jane up above wrote a great post about comment etiquette. In fact, she and I are trading spaces in a couple of weeks and that is the very post I requested from her.

    I would like to get to a place where I comment only when I have something to say, but, as a relatively new blogger, I so appreciate the words of support, advice, and reflection that people share with me - and there are certainly bloggers out there whom I like to support with comment love, even if it's just a kind remark.

  29. Amber, I love that you wrote this post! Good for you for bringing it up, and good for you for asking these questions. I find that everyone feels a little torn about comments. I also feel that everyone has a different agenda.

    I like to believe that I no longer have any agenda whatsoever. I enjoy reading other blogs. When I have time at my computer I first visit my top five or ten favorites. When time allows I visit the others. If MORE time allows, I try to find new sites to visit by blog-browsing.

    As far as comments go, if I read the post on my computer and not on my phone (and there is a LOT of iPhone-use for blog reading these know, when the kids are in the bath, etc) I generally always leave a comment. But if I have happened upon a new blog, I only leave a comment if something struck me about the blog or the post or the person.

    Hmm. There is so much more to say about this. But all of this is one of the reasons that Jen and I started Five For Ten this fall--and while we'll be doing it again in the Spring. What it comes down to is that we just need more TIME. Time time time....

  30. There are two groups on my google reader roster. Mommy - Faves and Mommy - Other.

    Mommy - Faves are the women who comment and email me, and who respond to my comments and emails. I feel like you've invested some of your time coming to see what I have to say and thanking me for coming to visit you. I make sure to hit these blogs at least once a week and SAY SOMETHING. Because you do that for me.

    Mommy - Other are blogs I enjoy but just haven't 'clicked' with enough to warrant interaction.

    I joke a lot and mention 'my three readers.' I know more people than that read my blog, but only three people are listed as followers and only three people are showing as Google friends.

  31. Apparently, along with our names, we share our comment whorey-ness. I live for my comments...I like to know who's actually been to see me, you know?

    Blogger's comment system sucks booty for replying, so I'm not as good about it as I should be, but I feel like blogging should be a conversation, am I right?

    Rock on, and I'll be back soon...

  32. I *try* to only comment when I have something to say, but like you said, it's a difficult balance. I can't imagine how someone with hundreds and hundreds of readers does it?

    Definitely like the term "comment whore."

  33. [...] thoughts on comments really made me think.  Thank you for expressing your opinions and validating my own need for [...]

  34. Sometimes I don't comment because I just don't have time, but usually I do, just so the writer of the post knows someone payed attention to them, and what kind of a vibe it had. I love commenting when the post really brought up something I want to talk about. Those are my favorite posts to comment on. I don't know if there's ettiquette, but it seems like more of a conversation when you get comments, and not just a diary in your drawer.

  35. Amber, GRRRReat. I haven't read all of your comments, but in my few moments I thought I'd skip ahead and leave my own. I always feel pressed for time, but I do also like to let folks know I've "been here" as much as I can. Also, I do like to leave comments for people who leave comments for me. It's courteous. It's thoughtful. It's a nice pause in a hectic day. Thanks for writing this and just putting it out there. You said what I think a lot of folks spend time thinking about.

  36. Okay, I'll be blunt. Yes, reciprocity is essential and people who don't reciprocate are lame.

    I am reciprocating!

    But it doesn't have to be every post. I'd just like someone I comment on regularly to stop by every now and then and say hi. If they don't, I think, "Hm. Must not want to be friends." And that's okay. And usually I don't read them either any more and I think they probably don't notice or mind.

    I don't get hung up on all of this as much as I used to, but it does kind of bug sometimes.

  37. I find your bluntness invigorating.

    Is blogging like friendship for you, then?

    Like you, if I comment multiple times and don't receive some sort of reciprocity, I don't really feel the connection and will stop commenting. But, I rarely stop visiting. Especially if they appeal to me. (Should I even admit that out loud?)

    It took me awhile to come out of the woodwork and comment on your blog. I was afraid that any comment I mad would be trite and worthless. It took you to ask your blogger's questions that finally urged me out of my funk. I, frankly, didn't expect you to visit my blog. I only hope that I continue to learn about writing from your blog.

    P.S. I can't wait to read your upcoming novel!!

  38. I also like knowing that "I am not the only one out there that is whacked." HAHAH That made me smile!!

    P.S. Would you mind sending me your blog link? I can't find it. ) : Thanks!!!


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