Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Commenting Conundrum

In my last post I experimented with returning comments directly using the reply feature. It's a very handy feature Blogger introduced this year that makes direct responses to your post comments easy and efficient.

Drawbacks are that I'm not sure people have the time to click back and see if I replied to them or not; and also, it seems crowded with my own comments. Another drawback is that if you reply to one you should reply to all and then if you get distracted and don't do that, it's like you're ignoring people.

Don't think I'll keep it up.

Another way to respond is email directly when a comment shows up in my email. Drawback to this is that many bloggers have the noreply@ ________ address, so you can't reply. Otherwise, emailing back would be my favorite method to respond to comments.

I used to try to return the favor. If someone comments on my post, I'd click over and do the same on theirs. Only lately so many go straight to Google Plus and it's a big hassle finding their blog link, especially if I'm not in their circle and can't see anything. So forget that.

Wouldn't you know it. After three years of blogging, I'm more confused than ever about how best to respond to comments. That is messed up.

39 comments:

  1. I have comment moderation on for my own blog, then when I moderate I reply directly to that post, every post. I encourage people to suscribe to the comments so they get my response. It works well for both me and my readers.

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  2. I've always just replied to a few in batches on my own blog. If someone has a specific question, I'll either leave the answer in a comment on that person's blog or send an email if I have it.

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  3. I know exactly how you feel! I hate it when I go to reply to a comment and I want to reply to one person specifically but then I don't have anything to comment on other comments but I feel obligated to reply to all of them. (If that made any sense) :)

    Konstanz Silverbow
    nothoughts2small.blogspot.com <- (This is why leaving your blog link in your comment is such a great idea!)

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  4. I've always wondered if there was some kind of commenting etiquette. But I've decided that I'll do what I can and let others do it their way. I comment on blogs I read when I want/need to and occasionally reply to comments on my own blog. I used to think I had to reply to everyone but I soon realized that not every comment needed one in return.

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  5. I follow the same idea as Alex. When I discussed it once on my blog a LOT of people told me they hated getting the extra emails, so I didn't want to go that way. Other people love getting emails... It's so hard to choose!

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  6. I don't often visit bloggers who never respond. Isn't communication a two-way street?

    What are blogs for, if not to communicate with your audience of readers? Alex C.'s solution is the elegant one, IMO.

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  7. Unless my fingers move faster than my brain, I always 'subscribe to comments by mail' so I can keep up with other comments.

    As nice as a personal email is, I don't expect people to go through that trouble. On my blog, the comment thread is as much anticipated for my replies as it is for the discussion that inevitably follows.

    It creates dialog and community. This is why I prefer to answer in 'public'. But I think bloggers are as unique as their particular following. Do what feels best for you first.

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  8. D.G. and Maria, This is assuming that people who comment are going to have the time and interest to return and see if there's a reply. That seems like more trouble than most busy bloggers will go to but maybe I'm wrong.

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    1. When you subscribe to comments, you don't have to physically return. The comments come directly to your email. This is how I saw your comment.

      As you said, I am too busy to come back and see if someone replied to my comment. But when I subscribe, the comments are there for me to browse at my leisure.

      Delete
    2. Hi Karen, Yes that is assuming that they take the time, since I also have comment approval. That's a risk any blogger takes. I don't mind coming back where I've commented, and I usually do if the blog owner replies (like you did).

      It's a subjective decision, good luck with whatever you select.

      Delete
  9. I prefer responding in the comments section of the post. This lets new visitors know that I read and respond to what they say or ask. I frequently get replies to my replies. This is not to say that I never use email to reply, but the email is always in addition to at least a public acknowledgment.

    On the flip side, I almost never subscribe to comments I've left on other blogs. If I anticipate a reply to what I've said or asked, I'll either leave the tab open and refresh later in the day or temporarily save a link to check back later--often a day or two later when I'm busy.

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  10. I try and respond to comments made on the post itself, even if it takes me a couple of days, plus I then try to get to their blog and check out what they're doing. Blogging is so time consuming, but some real connections can be made.

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  11. It's a dilemma right enough. I like to reply to comments when I have time, as the dialogue entertains me and I appreciate the kindness of commentators, but once a sense of obligation is attached to it it loses its goodness.

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  12. I subscribe to comments, so I always get emails, and it's easy to turn off the subscription if my comment has been answered. I see it as my responsibility to see whether my comment has a response, not yours. So I take the same attitude with my own blog.

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  13. It can certainly be tricky. I'm with you on the reply option--I don't think people go back to see if you've replied to their comment. A few, maybe. But most of the time they don't. I'd say don't sweat it. :)

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  14. You raise the best issues. I may go back if I know the reply feature is on the blog, but only if I had a question or some sort of dialog was possible on something I felt strongly about. I just don't have time to read replies to my comments ~~ and I'm retired with nothing much to do. Instead, I go back and comment directly on the person's latest post. I haven't run into any Google Plus problems. I still don't know what Google Plus is and haven't tried to find out since I am no great fan of Google. I once dreamed that Google ate up my entire blog!!

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  15. A conundrum indeed! My first thought about the reply feature was 'yippee' because it seems a very quick way of responding to comments. Personally I value every comment because actually they encourage me to write posts in the first place. To me there is nothing worse in BlogLand than publishing a post and getting a very poor response. Thinking further I agree that the reply feature would make one feel obligated to respond to every comment for fear of upsetting those not replied to.

    I prefer, when I have time, to post up a comment, listing every person commenting and adding just a quick response. People would soon get to know if this was done and the added feature is that people will visit the post more than once:
    a) to see what is said about the comment
    b) to make further comment(s) - hence increasing the dialogue.
    c) to see what other people are saying.


    The other way of course is to visit each blog.

    Problem - it is all time consuming LOL, as is for that matter, blogging, which Mrs Bluelights and others considers to be a monumental waste of time when there is lots of boring domestic chores to do instead.

    Some of this brings back memories of a post I did yonks ago called A Blogging He Would Go! http://eddybluelights.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/blogging-he-would-go.html
    which raised a few titters LOL

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    1. Eddie, I too value each comment. I know every blogger does, which leads to discussions such as this about how best to acknowledge and respond without being silly about it or overdoing. And I have to smile at this part of your comment:

      Problem - it is all time consuming LOL, as is for that matter, blogging, which Mrs Bluelights and others considers to be a monumental waste of time when there is lots of boring domestic chores to do instead.

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  16. This is very complicated. I try to respond to people when they write, in the comment space on my blog. And I tell them that's what I'm doing. But I never know if people will check back, if they subscribe to comments.

    You can lead a horse to drink, but can't make it water.

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  17. I use the reply feature as that works best for me. And a agree about the google thingy. It IS hard to find people's blogs through it and sometimes I give up! If I do comment and someone has the reply feature I'll often check back - if I said something that might encourage a reply. Before having the reply feature I'd just post a comment and respond to everyone that way which I also see done a lot. Lastly, I always check commenters blogs whenever possible and try to comment back.

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  18. I prefer to respond by email, b/c i can expound on comments, if I want to, or ask questions of that reader that they may not want public. I've also found it helpful to type a word or two above your comment box, explaining how you respond to comments. Then, readers will know what to expect, where to find your reply. I don't usually go back to see if bloggers have responded to comments I made - that would be endless.

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    1. clarification: I've typed a statement above my comment box so readers know how I respond.

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  19. Well, I really appreciate the response to this commenting conundrum of mine. Clearly it is a well-thought out issue for us all. With this post, I emailed some commenters, replied to some directly on the post, return visited a few and generally combined a mix of everything. The eclectic approach that works best for me I think.

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  20. Hi, Karen,

    It is hard to figure this out. Generally If I already have a relationship with a blogger I will email them. I, personally enjoy getting emails from blogger friends.

    For new blogger friends I kind of feel out the situation, sometimes I visit a blogger and leave a comment on their blog about what they had commented on mine. It's a delicate balance.

    Karen, I've known you for a while now, and I think you are a very considerate and caring blogger. SO please don't stress about it too much, just enjoy your time with your blogger friends.

    Have a great weekend.

    Michael

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    1. Michael, I too like the emailing option, and it can help to create a stronger friendship beyond the commenting. Which is why when I try to email someone who I've already built a relationship with and want to reply more intimately, I get the noreply@blogger.com or whatever it is. (And thanks for your kind words, Michael.)

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  21. I don't expect a reply back for my comments. When it happens, it's nice, but unless a person replies to everyone, I don't come back to check because it's a waste of time if there's no reply. As for emails, it's also a waste of time if all I get back is "thanks for commenting". I do like answers if I ask a question, though.
    I think what I prefer most is if I commented on someone's post, it's awesome if they can comment on my post (doesn't have to be every single post, though, because I know how busy people can get when we should be writing).

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    1. "As for emails, it's also a waste of time if all I get back is "thanks for commenting". I do like answers if I ask a question, though."

      Hear hear!

      Delete
  22. Hi Karen,

    I also try to do this. Luckily, I don't receive nearly as many comments as you do! I'd like to - perhaps I will when I start my book giveaways.

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  23. I think this is always an issue, and it's interesting to hear about the huge variety of ways in which people deal with it.

    I think you're probably right; to use a bit of a mixture of things when replying. I think you just need to do what feels right for each situation.

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  24. It is tricky. I never use email myself, just a mixture of replies on my posts and return comments on others.

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  25. I usually don't reply to the comments, but I try my best.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  26. My comment box is simple; it lets me comment on my blog as if I were any other commenter. I like it. Sometimes I respond to everyone my name, sometimes I only leave a general comment letting everyone know I've read all the comments and will return a visit to their blogs. If there is a link-back to a blog and not just a fb/google plus profile page.

    I swear, the simpler blogger/google tries to make things, the more complex it is to understand.

    ......dhole

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  27. I wanted to stop by and say thanks for following my blog. But I thought it was such a "coincidence" that the subject of a present blogfest I joined is on Social Media.

    And it is frustrating when you ask a question in the comment section and never hear the answer. Especially when the question is sincere and I *really* want an answer.

    It's been an interesting week already as I am learning the in's and out's of Social Media.
    Thanks!

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  28. I'm much more likely to see replies to my comments on Wordpress blogs, because Wordpress tells me when there's a reply to my comment, and I don't have to subscribe and read all the comments. Of course I'd like to read all the comments, but don't have time for that.

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  29. I personally don't really care for the reply right in the comments deal. Just because sometimes a comment will lead to further discussion, which is better handled through email. And then sometimes in the course of emailing like that, I'll make a new friend-! :D

    But I think everyone just has to do what works best for them, right? We're a pretty laid-back bunch. (Oh, I do reply in the comments to the ones who have "noreply.") <3

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  30. And then there's those who have decided the best way to handle it is to turn off the commenting feature altogether. I've actually run across a few like this.

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  31. Hi Karen .. I'm at the library - so this comment might work and not disappear into the ether.

    Some one told me I had too many comments and shouldn't reply individually - at that stage probably under 20 - so wasn't unreasonable for me to reply individually ... now I do what Alex does and reply in one comment to a few at once.

    If someone asks a specific question - I usually take the trouble to reply individually too .. if I've got their email address.

    But I stopped subscribing to comments by email when Blogger pulled it 15 months ago .. and am quite glad it's not on all the time now.

    I do as one of your other readers does for her blog - leave the post open - so I can go back and re-look ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  32. Well that’s really great and I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

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  33. This has been most interesting, especially all the commentors. Every once in a while i do the "Next Blog" thing and every once in a while, I come across a most interesting Blog n Post, which I take the time to read. I like to comment to the individual that wrote the Post, however, do not expect or perhaps have time to go back to read a reply, however, if I really enjoyed the Blog, I save to Favs and go back when time permits for extensive viewing. Sometimes I become a follower. I do truly appreciate a visit back and am thrilled when someone leaves a comment saying so. I do not reply to each and every comment. Then you have your regulars, which I do reply to but usually by email. Sometimes for me, it is more convenient to just leave a short message in the comment section. I was going to add the "reply to comments" on my Blog, but just cannot seem to get around to it yet, as enjoying summer way too much. For new Blogger to me that visit my Blog and leave a comment, I go directly to their Blog and check it out - I guess courtesy or etiquette best descsribes my feeling - if you took the time to visit me, I am definitely going to check you out. This was most interesting. Cheers, Lilly

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