Comments Anyone? Part II

Last month, The Daily Post outlined suggestions on comment moderation.  In a follow up article, The Daily Post recently provided tips on proper etiquette when commenting on other people’s blogs.

Although I agree with many of their suggestions, I believe some of the tips might stifle bloggers from commenting on other blogs.  Join me as I pick through each tip and tell you why I agree or disagree with The Daily Post on this topic.

Tip #1: Read thoroughly.

The Daily Post Says:Before commenting, make sure you’ve read the entire post and the other comments before yours. Your comment should never make the writer (or the other readers) wonder if you actually read the material. Also, if your point is on target, it might have already been made by someone else – in which case, you can reply to that person’s comment!”

My viewpoint: Clearly you should read the article before you comment. Otherwise, why would you comment (unless you’re a spammer)?  Now, I’ll admit that sometimes after reading through a post and commenting, I’ll go back and realize that I completely missed a point in the blog post that would slightly change the content of my comment. This typically happens when I’ve had a long week and my brain feels like it’s been put through the ringer at work. But more often than not, I’ll take my time to thoroughly read through a blog post before commenting.

I do  agree that you should thoroughly read an article before commenting, and I would add that if you’re trying to squeeze in a comment and the blog post you are reading is lengthy, just come back to the post when you have more time (or are more rested) to make sure that your comment makes sense. Unless the author closes up shop and deletes the blog, the blog post will still be there later.

Tip #2: Contribute something of value.

The Daily Post Says: Every post can be the start of a conversation. Try to add something substantial to move that conversation forward. Don’t get me wrong – most bloggers appreciate every comment, even if it’s just a simple ‘enjoyed this post.’ But a meatier response is more likely to result in visits to your own site.”

My viewpoint: This topic was touched upon in an earlier blog post Comments Anyone? The Daily Post’s previous article on comment moderation suggested that you shouldn’t reply to each comment left on your blog, especially if it’s just a “great post” comment.  The Daily Post posits that such comments do nothing to advance the conversation forward.  As the host of a blog, I disagreed with this tip and I feel that every comment deserves acknowledgement, even a “great post” comment. The suggestion above appears to follow the same logic, implying that if you don’t have anything of substance to say about a post, don’t bother leaving a comment.

Although I understand their viewpoint, I disagree with this tip.  Yes, it feels good to have comments that spark a discussion on the topic. Yet I recognize that some people leave “great post” comments because they want to say something, but aren’t quite sure what to say.

Of course, you can just “like” a post and be done with it, but a quick comment seems to add just a little something extra to a “like”. The tip above mentions that most bloggers do appreciate short comments, but between the two Daily Post articles it seems like WordPress discourages bloggers to leave these short comments.

I think of “likes”, “great post” comments, and substantial comments in terms of thank you notes.  The “like” is akin to sending a thank you to someone by email, the “great post” comment is similar to a quick phone call to say thank you, and a substantial comment is like the hand-written thank you note sent through snail mail.

There isn’t anything wrong with any of the three methods, but the last one just requires a little more effort and feels special compared to the others. However, all three options are welcome.

 Tip #3: Keep your comment comment-sized.

The Daily Post Says:  If you have a lot to say on a certain subject, leave two or three representative sentences in the comment section, then link to a post on your own blog where you have expanded on the topic. This is a clever way to engage readers who share your interests.”

My viewpoint:  I’m guilty of leaving lengthier comments. Nothing to the point of it being as long as a whole separate blog post, but sometimes my comments span a paragraph or two.  Although I’ve been more cognizant of leaving shorter comments, I’ve never felt that any bloggers were mad if I left comments longer than 3 sentences.

Overall, I disagree with this tip.  The previous tip discourages three word comments, then the following tip criticizes longer comments.  There could be valid reasons why you might leave a longer comment instead of blogging about the topic.  The blog post you just read could be about a comical incident and you want to relay a similar incident from your life back to the author but you don’t necessarily want to take the time to compose a polished blog post. Or, the blog post could connect with a passion of yours and you might have additional information to relay back to the author.

Sometimes longer comments are okay and fit within the context of the discussion. Just because you have more than three sentences to relay back to the author of the post doesn’t mean you necessarily have enough material to blog about it.

Tip# 4: Don’t leave shameless plugs.

The Daily Post Says: One of the top complaints in the comment thread on my last column was commenters who leave nothing but a link and a ‘thanks!’ There’s no shortcut to building a readership – intelligent and thoughtful comments are the way to go.”

My viewpoint: I agree with this one.  This seems more like a blog maintenance problem.  If you have Akismet turned on in your blog settings, then comments like this would most likely be shielded from you or at the very least, thrown into your Spam queue. Now, there might be some bloggers that feel this is a way to advertise their blog.

If this is a huge problem on your blog, make sure you have some type of comment moderation set up for your blog.  Some bloggers have it set so that all comments must be moderated before they are displayed on the blog.  Other bloggers hold comment moderation on new commenters.   

Tip #5: But do link to your correct site.

The Daily Post Says: If you leave intriguing comments, other people will want to check out your blog – so make it easy for them to find you! Make sure your website field is updated in your Personal Settings, so that your username links to your site. Upload an eye-catching Gravatar and fill out your Gravatar profile with your social media links and a short bio.”

My viewpoint:  I agree with this.  So many bloggers fail to at least link their blog to their Gravatar profile. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine.  I’ve seen bloggers continually “like” some of my posts, but I can’t ever figure out the web address of their blog.

Tip #6: Mind your manners.

The Daily Post Says:  “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it in their comment thread. Criticism is fine, but there’s no need to be hateful. And remember, only a blog author can delete a comment, so if you comment in haste you might repent at leisure.”

My viewpoint  Ditto.  Constructive criticism can be helpful, but outright meanness is just not cool.

Tip #7: Be yourself.

The Daily Post Says:I’ve discovered many favorite blogs by becoming a fan of a certain commenter. Rather than any one comment, it’s the style and personality of a commenter that really makes me want to read more of their work. Whether you are smart, witty, or just plain bizarre – be you! No matter your perspective, a unique voice will get attention.”

My viewpoint: Agree. This is perhaps the best advice that can be given regarding comments. It also extends to blogging.

Overall, most of the tips make sense.  The main “beef” I had with these tips was in regards to the length of comments.  I know some people are hesitant to leave comments, and the suggestions above might prevent some bloggers from joining in on conversations.

My suggestion to those of you who holding back on commenting is to just read a few posts and observe how some of that blog’s regular readers comment.  Most bloggers will be happy to have you chime in, whether it is just a “great post” comment or a paragraph long comment.

Do you have any thoughts on the tips above?  Do you agree wholeheartedly with The Daily Post? Or do you have a tip you’d like to share?

Also, don’t forget the read the entire article, Say Something: Commenting Etiquette at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/say-something-commenting-etiquette/

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12 thoughts on “Comments Anyone? Part II

  1. They definitely have some good points. And I agree with the same ones you do – as well as agreeing that people should comment with “great post” if they can’t think of anything more to say. I get a lot of people who will “like” my post, never write anything, and never “like” another post. And I’ll wonder if they actually read it, or whether they were just trying to get me to look at them. I’d prefer someone who liked and left a, “I like this!” comment as opposed to nothing!

    • Yes! Exactly. If someone at least stops and leaves a “great post” or something similar, it seems to validate their “likes”. I think that is a way for people to “dip their toes in the water” before leaving lengthier comments.

      Although the Daily Post does provide some great tips and prompts for blog posts, sometimes I feel like Daily Post suggestions suck the fun out of blogging.

  2. I always wonder how you are able to come up with such things, those were really the same views as mine… I too enjoy each comment whether long, short, one worded, paragraph anything unless it is a spam!.. Comments make me feel that I had actually put up something in my posts…!

    • You bring up a great point. My observation is that most bloggers enjoy receiving comments, be it long or short comments. It’s good to hear another blogger validate that observation.

  3. Well said and totally agree, especially with #2. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say but want the blogger to know I really enjoyed the post and want to add something other than just the “like” button. AND really wish bloggers would link to their site also. I just received a notification that someone started following me and when I clicked on to check out their profile, all I got was a gravatar. Maybe they’re new and still figuring out the system.

    “Thanks, great post”….lol

    • Hi Ingrid! Good to hear from you. It is frustrating when you want to check out someone’s blog and you can’t link to it from their Gravatar. It isn’t the most intuitive process to log into Gravatar and fill out your information, and I also wonder if such profiles are those of newbies.

      Thanks for the “great post” sentiments. This comment thread wouldn’t feel complete without one. 🙂

  4. Hi there Nicole, I can certainly relate to what you are saying. The thing that stands out to me is, I too sometimes leave a lengthy reply to a comment. I think that its sometimes paramount to explaining the point you are discussing. Best wishes, Nicole. SN

    • That sums it up better than I did – sometimes the lengthier comment is needed to clearly explain your point. I was disappointed with the Daily Post when they suggested a three sentence maximum. The whole point of a comment thread is to discuss ideas. I don’t see how limiting people to 3 sentence or less comments helps advance a conversation if someone has more to say.

      Thanks for chiming in!

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