Why You Comment on Blogs

In a post yesterday, I asked why people comment on blogs. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of comments on the post. To summarize:

1. A great many of you don’t want to comment unless you have something original and worthwhile to say. Also, it’s time-consuming to comment at all, much less wade through the previous comments to make sure you’re not repeating a point (and risking — ugh! — a flame from another commenter). Also, without threads, it’s hard to have a real conversation.

2. Some of you said that you tend to comment on blogs where the blogger writes back in the comments section — which we typically don’t. This is simply a function of time; I love blogging but I do not want it take over my life. I do read all the comments, and sometimes respond privately. Very often, I believe the comments on this blog are better than the blog postings themselves. This makes sense: there are only two of us, and a lot of you. If you believe even a tiny bit in the wisdom of crowds, you have to love this dynamic.

3. The need to register and log in is an obvious barrier; that said, anonymous commenting tends to turn a living room into a snakepit; and that said, I’ll look into finding a middle ground. We are thinking of overhauling this site in the near future, and it would be nice to make the comments section better.

4. A lot of you read this blog on Google Reader, e.g., which means you probably don’t even see the comments — or ever touch the actual website where the posts and comments live.

5. Many of you think that you don’t write or think well enough to comment on a blog like this. I think you are so wrong.

6. Above all, I learned that you, the people who read this blog, are amazing! Based on yesterday’s comments, you are interesting, kind, smart, inquisitive, and a few other things. I will say this: it seems that the typical blog commenter is more of a Type-A personality than the typical first-time commenter who wrote in yesterday. This is not surprising. As we all know, web dialogue can encourage, and even reward, a sort aggression that is actually punished in the real world. Indeed, there are sectors of the web where the aggression is so robust that it discourages the saner folks from even bothering. I am very pleased, and proud, to be the co-host of a site where so much sanity is practiced. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to think about this subject, to respond, and to continue reading.

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  1. Ike Pigott says:

    Well, take a little credit yourselves, guys.

    You’ve accomplished a rare feat – maintaining a blog that feels more like a forum. There is a better sense of decorum here than in most blogs, and your pursuit of interesting and witty topics is to blame for attracting the sort of people you’ve got here in the peanut gallery.

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  2. Ike Pigott says:

    Well, take a little credit yourselves, guys.

    You’ve accomplished a rare feat – maintaining a blog that feels more like a forum. There is a better sense of decorum here than in most blogs, and your pursuit of interesting and witty topics is to blame for attracting the sort of people you’ve got here in the peanut gallery.

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  3. rafe says:

    Stephen, there has to be a plugin to wordpress that does threaded comments, no? If not, I’m sure there are other systems which have it, or an army of fans who would program it for you :-)

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  4. rafe says:

    Stephen, there has to be a plugin to wordpress that does threaded comments, no? If not, I’m sure there are other systems which have it, or an army of fans who would program it for you :-)

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  5. slyght says:

    i leave comments to let people know that is support/appreciate their points of view, but it isn’t entirely altruistic. i also hope that they’ll check my blog as well, i like to get more readers as well.

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  6. slyght says:

    i leave comments to let people know that is support/appreciate their points of view, but it isn’t entirely altruistic. i also hope that they’ll check my blog as well, i like to get more readers as well.

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  7. bkkbrad says:

    With respect to your third point, you should consider OpenID as a log in option. It permits the authentication of users without having to create a new account for every place a user wants to visit. There is a plugin for WordPress.

    As for the fourth point, I read this blog on Google Reader, and most of the time I’m too lazy to click through for the comments. I only do so when you make specific reference to the comments from your post, as in this case. Perhaps you can syndicate the comments some how?

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  8. bkkbrad says:

    With respect to your third point, you should consider OpenID as a log in option. It permits the authentication of users without having to create a new account for every place a user wants to visit. There is a plugin for WordPress.

    As for the fourth point, I read this blog on Google Reader, and most of the time I’m too lazy to click through for the comments. I only do so when you make specific reference to the comments from your post, as in this case. Perhaps you can syndicate the comments some how?

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