Who Comments on Blogs, and Why?

On most websites or blogs, the ratio of readers to commenters is gigantic. On this blog, a post that garners 40 or 50 comments is considered quite a bit, even though there are many thousands of readers. The stream of comments can take many shapes, depending on the nature of the post. And, once again depending on the nature of the post, the commenters here can seem like a fairly diverse lot. But lately I got to thinking: what kind of person comments on a blog, and why?

I like blogs as much as the next guy, but I don’t think I’ve ever left behind a comment, even though I have plenty to say about lots of things. So what distinguishes me from a blog commenter?

I realize there is a selection problem here: anyone who responds to my question about why commenters comment is, alas, a commenter. Which means that regular commenters will be overrepresented in the comments — unless, of course, a whole bunch of you who never comment decide to go ahead and log in and, in the comments section, tell us why you never comment. Or why other people do.

Comments welcome.

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  1. Matt W says:

    I read many blogs and I’ve commented a total of probably 3 times so I may have a good view.

    First is the fixed cost.. it just took me 3 minutes to register with WordPress and that’s a long time for the internet age.

    Second, usually, on a high traffic blog like this, commenters have usually taken most points of view in an hour or so.

    But mostly, it’s just like in school where there’s a class of 30 people but the same 5 or 6 are the only ones that raise their hand.

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  2. Matt W says:

    I read many blogs and I’ve commented a total of probably 3 times so I may have a good view.

    First is the fixed cost.. it just took me 3 minutes to register with WordPress and that’s a long time for the internet age.

    Second, usually, on a high traffic blog like this, commenters have usually taken most points of view in an hour or so.

    But mostly, it’s just like in school where there’s a class of 30 people but the same 5 or 6 are the only ones that raise their hand.

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  3. twofedoras says:

    Supply and Demand. There is a surplus of easily accessible opinions in the blogosphere. Comments simply add to an already over-saturated market of ideas on a limited subject matter.

    I suspect when information is more niche, you will find a greater percentage of participation since ideas, opinions and even hard information is much more scarce. Therefor, people will meet the demand by supplying their own comments.

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  4. twofedoras says:

    Supply and Demand. There is a surplus of easily accessible opinions in the blogosphere. Comments simply add to an already over-saturated market of ideas on a limited subject matter.

    I suspect when information is more niche, you will find a greater percentage of participation since ideas, opinions and even hard information is much more scarce. Therefor, people will meet the demand by supplying their own comments.

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  5. mcjane says:

    i usually don’t comment, although after reading this i commented on the next post as well :) i view the comments like a large group of people having a conversation. i feel the need to read through all the comments before posting a response myself, because otherwise it seems like running up to an ongoing conversation and blurting out something. but on popular blogs i get overwhelmed with the large number of comments. to me its like being in a very large room of people. the more outgoing ones are likely to be the ones carrying the conversation. which is funny, because that’s me in real life, but not online. i think i feel like i have less invested in an online conversation like blog commenting. i generally don’t feel like my comment is worth the effort of posting.

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  6. mcjane says:

    i usually don’t comment, although after reading this i commented on the next post as well :) i view the comments like a large group of people having a conversation. i feel the need to read through all the comments before posting a response myself, because otherwise it seems like running up to an ongoing conversation and blurting out something. but on popular blogs i get overwhelmed with the large number of comments. to me its like being in a very large room of people. the more outgoing ones are likely to be the ones carrying the conversation. which is funny, because that’s me in real life, but not online. i think i feel like i have less invested in an online conversation like blog commenting. i generally don’t feel like my comment is worth the effort of posting.

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  7. JakeSutton says:

    I agree with Matt W’s points.

    I comment regularly on the blogs of people I actually know, but very rarely on the blogs of strangers or on what might be called “public figure blogs”.

    I think a lot of it actually comes down to basic human shyness. Nobody wants to speak up for fear of sticking their foot in their mouth. ;^)

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  8. JakeSutton says:

    I agree with Matt W’s points.

    I comment regularly on the blogs of people I actually know, but very rarely on the blogs of strangers or on what might be called “public figure blogs”.

    I think a lot of it actually comes down to basic human shyness. Nobody wants to speak up for fear of sticking their foot in their mouth. ;^)

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