On Blog Comments

Comments from readers are some of the most gratifying parts of blogging. Someone’s reading! Someone felt compelled to send a note!

Even more gratifying is when a lurker de-lurks and identifies him or herself. Those are times when I’ve re-read my post to see what on earth it was about THAT post that got someone to shed their anonymity, and introduce themselves.

It is very much like inviting guests into your home, and making a connection. And sometimes, making very good friends as they return repeatedly for your hospitality, and you in turn, invite them to return for their good grace.

So how do we make our home and blog inviting? And what it is that keeps people returning?

I’ve found that it’s about making your blog safe–and curating the comments, should people disagree and escalate disagreement into barbs. It’s starting a dialogue in your own post, and then facilitating the comments. It’s acknowledging their comments. Saying thank you. Common courtesies, even if you disagree, even if the commenter has hurt your feelings.

Chances are that if people have come around to write something on your blog post, their intentions are good. I’ve found (and maybe I’m wrong) that people tend to be more courteous on personal blogs than on larger sites, for instance Salon.com.

Do you enjoy your comments? What is the best comment you’ve ever had on your blog? What have you done to welcome comments?

Comments

  1. Getting a comment from a blogging friend is like in the old days when you went to the mailbox and actually got a hand written letter. It makes you smile. I decided at the beginning of the year to either ‘like’ or reply to comments. It takes a little time, but it is worth it.

  2. Dealing with negative comments always seems to be a topic of concern to bloggers, but when I talk to most people, they rarely get negative comments on their blogs. I agree with Christine that people tend to be more courteous on personal sites than on big sites or online news sources.

    One of my favorite comments was on a post I published before my daughter was born, about a name I saw and thought was cool, but which my husband did not appreciate. A few years later, the person whose name I so admired commented on the post! It was kinda cool: https://winescamper.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/say-my-name/#comments

  3. I absolutely agree. The comments are the blood of a blog. I adore chatting with my readers. They are informative, clever and kind. Sometimes they even chat amongst themselves, answering each others comments, until I come in from doing chores. Without them I would be lost.. great topic.. c

  4. I was wondering about the comments I receive that seem genuine that end up in the spam comments. Does this happen because they are working online and happen to actually like my site, which is what I think is happening or am I being delusional? I get that many are weird spammy/sales pitches and are actual spam but I am confused that many of my sweetest comments might seem a little broken in English but not really automanted and actually authentically kind. And, Is it weird for me to allow say “Joecheaptires” or some kind of weird online place like that to comment on my spa review? Does it look desperate? Thoughts? Feel free to take a peek to see if I am completley dilusional. I am thinking some people are forced to work some crappy spammy job and coming across my blog makes her happy. I was a telemarketer when I was sixteen. It was awful, but it was my first real job after babysitting 🙂

    1. I hate to say it, but spammers are pretty good at making comments that will appeal to our egos, and it’s all automated as I understand it, not people with crappy jobs. Not sure if that makes it worse or better… :/

      1. Thanks Andrea. I will take a closer look and try to figure out which ones are real and which ones are fake. What do they want from me anyway? They don’t have a link? Is it dangerous for like bugs or something like that?

    2. It’s all about what you want in your “house!” I myself want to make a genuine connection with my commenters, so I will delete spam comments in order to create a space with whom I want to engage. But again, all up to you. We need what we need to keep our spaces the way we want them.

    1. I totally agree — and even better because you own your content and you’re not being sold to advertisers like on FB! 😉

  5. To answer the post direct, the best comment I ever got was from an English gardener in the Forest of Dean (UK) who described how a poem I wrote made him feel, and said he was not a poet (but obviously was, with the words he used to describe his feelings), and I responded this is why I write here, to have that kind of interaction with people all over the world. When you start, it can be like crickets — a funny thing, that people hesitate to comment or some blogs just go untouched that way. But when it catches on and you get a lot of comments it’s really a different dimension, alright. For me it’s like a free writing class and I can get all these reactions to my work just like that: no wasted paper or awkward shuffling in our seats, in a real classroom. And I’ve been lucky to have zero negativity on my site. Here’s to that.

    1. What a great story! That’s what I love about blogging — the ability to share my writing/thoughts/notions so widely. I was just thinking this morning about how isolated I was when I was a teenager and didn’t know many people who were into scifi/fantasy like I was. These days, I think it’s so much easier to find a tribe.

    2. And I’m sure the zero negativity has a lot to do with the content you create–and how you make them feel welcome! When we are vulnerable, it’s amazing the love we receive.

  6. For me, it’s important to reply to each and every comment. When a lurker sees you do that, they know you’re interested in a conversation, not just a one-sided expression of your thoughts. My posts can deal with tough subject matter and replying to comments has been my way of creating a safe space. I’m less likely to comment on another blog if I see that the blogger doesn’t reply to comments.

    1. That’s interesting, Karen! Sometimes I feel a little embarrassed when people reply to the comments I leave on their blog, but sometimes it’s the start to a great conversation! 🙂 I guess it depends on context, like everything. 🙂

      1. It does depend on context. Some of the people who comment on my blog are coming from a vulnerable place and I can’t leave them hanging without words of encouragement. But in general, even when it’s not a personal blog, you’ll find that people will comment more when there’s engagement from the blogger. That’s been my experience at least!

  7. Comments are a great acknowledgement for me that someone took time out of their day to read my post. I respond to everyone of them and let them know I appreciate them. Never receiving a response to comments is a sure fire way of loosing a reader.

  8. This is something I see even the best bloggers go through. We’re all human. And when someone attacks something you’ve worked so hard to produce, it’s hard not to take that personally. My comments aren’t a democracy. I only allow comments that uplift, motivate, or propel the conversation forward. And yes, sometimes those can be “negative”. It’s about knowing your audience in regards to ensuring they feel comfortable to comment.

    Often times, some commentators can monopolize your comment sections. Tough to control but definitely a concern for me at times.

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