Comment behavior

Comments and commenting behavior on blogs is really interesting behavior. Some people love commenting, some hate it, some just want to flame and some just want to link to their own web site. Fascinating! :-)

Naturally, when I write something I want as many comments as possible. It makes me happy, it shows to me that the post is actually being read (no, just checking stats isn’t sufficient :-)) and it opens up for interesting discussions and different points of view.

Then we have the interesting phenomenon of remote commenting, meaning that if someone links to something I’ve written, all or most comments end up in the linker’s post than in my original one that contains the topic everyone’s talking about. This seems to happen to everyone and I wonder why. Should linkers turn off commenting to make sure that the discussion go on in the appropriate forum? Or will those who comment only do it at the linker’s web site because they feel safe discussing things there as opposed to doing it at a weird web site they’ve never seen before?

Another thing I wonder is: What do you expect when you comment here?

Do you want/expect/demand a personal reply? Would you be offended if I replied to some of the other people’s comments but not yours?

Please let me know what you think and what your behavior is like. Also, comment, Comment COMMENT! :-)

Posted in General |

25 Comments

  • I don’t care what you do with my comments. For all I care you print them out and use them as toilet paper (although it would be one awesome kind of toilet paper).

    I comment because I feel I have something to add to the subject at hand. If someone feels they have something to add in light of my comment, then so be it. But I don’t expect you to thank me or reply to me every single time. That would be silly :-)

  • Michael Odden says:

    It depends on the kind of comment :) Whether I actually asked for something relevant or if I just commented how great (/ terrible) something was.

    So if you ask for response to something, and people give specific feedback / requests, I guess I’d expect (hope for) you to respond. If even just to say that you evaluated the comment. (Of course with subject to circumstances, number of similar comments and/or relevant comments :) )

  • I just comment because I like terrorising Smurfs openness and the fact you have good humour.

    No, I wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t reply in person (what I expect, when I do post is that I’ll make grammar errors) anyway I am probably past curing. ;)

  • Jakob Heuser says:

    I find it harder to get something into my Bloglines than to get up the courage to comment. I usually save my words though for when I have something worth saying or (as in this case) the author wants the feedback. As for what I expect, I’m simply hoping someone may find the information useful or be inspired to write something themselves. I’m not really one for expectations though. If someone did find the supplemental paragraph or two interesting, all the better, but it’s not the end of the world if nobody notices it either.

  • Richard says:

    I comment for the sake of adding to the discussion. A personal reply to every comment I write isn’t expected at all. Though I do feel more inclined to comment when I know some sort of acknowledgment is likely – which is why I rarely comment on high traffic high comment blogs, your comment just gets lost in the rush.

  • Stuart says:

    Like everyone else I’ll only comment if I feel I have something to add.

    I do think there’s a knack to writing posts that invite commentary and over time I’m hoping to work out what that is :-).

  • Jules says:

    @Stuart

    Like everyone else I’ll only comment if I feel I have something to add.

    Me too!

  • Andrew says:

    On some of my sites, the unique visitor/comment ratio is extreme. Many repeat visitors, but only a small handful of comments. Lately I’ve been wondering if my “spam protection” (in my cases, an intermediate step where I ask the poster to answer a simple math question) is stopping the show. Maybe it’s just one step too many in the immediacy of the web (click. *bored* click. *bored* click. *bored* etc.)

    What is your comment/visitor ratio?

  • Tim Huegdon says:

    @Jules

    Me too!

    This!

    (Sorry Robert, I just can’t resist a comedy band-wagon!)

  • Joel says:

    I comment to let the author know I appreciated what they wrote or to add to the discussion (which may be a response to the original article or to someone else’s comment). I don’t expect a personal response or acknowledgement.

  • Robert de Mildt says:

    As most here, I try to limit my comments to the (rare) occasions I feel I have anything meaningfull to add. No need for personal replies to my comments.

  • I feel a little guilty for the remote commenting that tends to take place on my site… but hey, would you rather have me not link to your articles at all? ;-)

  • Johan says:

    Hi Robert, there have been some *comments* already:
    Robert Nyman, Jonathan Snook and Dustin Diaz – a triple interview

  • Kanashii says:

    I lurk around in the shadows so I don't expect personal replies to my comments ^.^;

    I think if people post an entry on their blog linking to someone elses article they should disable commenting and direct their visitors to comment on the main article's system just as a courtesy to the author.

    *goes back to shadows*

  • Jules says:

    Sorry guys, couldn't resist before! LOL

    I can be long winded at times so sometimes, if I feel that I have more to say than just a basic comment, I will create my own post and reference the original.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks everyone! Here goes…

    Robert W,

    Thanks for the compliment (and, by the way, being compared to Smurfs is great, I love them! :-)).

    Jeroen,

    Oh, great idea! :-)

    Michael,

    If even just to say that you evaluated the comment.

    Trust me, I evalute every comment thoroughly. :-)

    Jakob,

    With our talks at SXSW in mind, my belief is that you're way smarter than I am and have more good things to say, so write away! :-)

    Richard,

    Though I do feel more inclined to comment when I know some sort of acknowledgment is likely…

    Yes, and that's one of the reasons why I take the time to answer peoples' comments, to encourage them and to show my gratitude.

    Stuart,

    I do think there’s a knack to writing posts that invite commentary…

    Most likely, and that's what I sometimes try really hard to do. :-)

    Jules,

    You're just going crazy now, right? :-)

    Joel,

    I comment to let the author know I appreciated what they wrote or to add to the discussion…

    And that's exactly what we authors love! :-)

    Robert de Mildt,

    No need to limit them for my sake! :-)

    Roger,

    Ha ha, you know I'm a sucker for links! I don't blame you for people commenting at your web site, I just wonder why they choose to do it there instead of here.

    Johan,

    Yes, I saw that, and I wrote about it today.

    Kanashii,

    I think if people post an entry on their blog linking to someone elses article they should disable commenting and direct their visitors to comment on the main article’s system just as a courtesy to the author.

    Thanks for addressing that. Part of me agrees with that, but on the other hand I'm not sure they would comment at all then. Tough call…

  • Kanashii says:

    I got acknowledged *feels special* :D

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Kanashii,

    I hope you do feel special! :-D

    Please comment again!

  • holepuncher says:

    I think people are more comfortable leaving comments on pages that link to the site, than the original site. Sometimes they know the linker or are closer (even marginally) to the linker than the original author. It might also be because they are more comfortable because they check that site and comment regularly in that community and yours is just a one time appearance ("cool", but foreign post). If I were to link to this post, I would certainly get many comments on my blog about this, but I doubt any of my friends would surf thru and comment on your page (except to prove me wrong). :)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    holepuncher,

    Thanks! :-)

    I think you're spot-on with that analysis. The problem for the original author, though, is that people can question what was written etc, but the original author never gets a chance to reply to that, unless he puts a considerate amount of time into trying to find every web site where he's being mentioned and to follow-up every comment

  • Robert Nyman says:

    bza,

    Yes, you’re probably correct with that.

    By the way, the annoying “Comment preview” thinge would stop many from commenting your blog. Slows down the process and scares users from
    posting comments.

    I’m sorry to hear that you see it that way. Most people seem to like it since they more easily can see what they wrote and how it will look when published. Not sure why it would scare them off…

    Perhaps should linkers activate pingback from comments in their blog to your post.

    Absolutely, sounds like a good idea! However, many blogs don’t accept pingbacks either (although mine does).

  • bza says:

    It's always easier to comment in a blogpost written by someone you know, or someone you have received feedback from before. Therefore if this person blogs about your post, he or she might receive numerous comments on your topic due to this.

    By the way, the annoying "Comment preview" thinge would stop many from commenting your blog. Slows down the process and scares users from posting comments.

    Perhaps should linkers activate pingback from comments in their blog to your post. By doing that they will ensure the comments are crossposted to the original article.

  • Frances says:

    Hey – you know Jeroen? Slight sidetrack, but I noticed him on the left. JM is the bee's knees.

    Personally, I get a little sad if I don't get replied to if I make a comment I've actually put more than 2 minutes thought into, but then… I don't reply to every comment I get, so I suppose I should lead by example. It does have a nice feel-good factor to get acknowledged when you comment on a blog of someone you're interested in (professionally, I mean), or respect in some way (fangirlism).

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Frances,

    Yes, I know Jeroen and I think he's a great guy!

    It does have a nice feel-good factor to get acknowledged when you comment on a blog of someone you’re interested in

    That's why I try to reply to most comments I get. I mean, people put time and thought into sharing, so naturally I want to show my gratitude for that as well as encourage it.

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