"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
April 20, 2007

Rethinking Comments II: I’m Not Going To Comment On Your Blog Anymore… Maybe

Yesterday I mentioned a rethink of my policy on approving blog comments. Well the flipside is that I’m also rethinking the time I spend commenting on other blogs. I’ve become progressively more aware of how much time I spend commenting on fellow blogger’s posts. At the risk of getting all confessional, it feels like I’ve […]

Yesterday I mentioned a rethink of my policy on approving blog comments. Well the flipside is that I’m also rethinking the time I spend commenting on other blogs.

I’ve become progressively more aware of how much time I spend commenting on fellow blogger’s posts. At the risk of getting all confessional, it feels like I’ve overdone it. Not everyone welcomes long or critical comments, which tends to be my style and not everyone is looking to have a conversation either.

It can be frustrating to spend 15-20 minutes carefully composing a response to someone’s thoughts, only to receive a “thank you for your comment” reply, which surely must be the blogging equivalent of “your call is important to us.” Maybe I’m just setting my self up for disappointment by writing long comments anyway? Heck, I’ve been as guilty as anyone in failing to really engage with commentors on this blog!

Comments are great and extended comment tails can make wonderfully rewarding reading. But, they can become like internet forums and if there is one thing I have learnt, it is that I don’t enjoy dense online fora as a means to debate ideas. Something really gets lost in the high-speed interlocution- something to do with detail and reflection. I like reading the comment-open sections on newspaper and magazine websites, but they don’t really tempt me to “throw in my two cents worth.” I’d rather hold off and make bigger bets.

I had hoped that extensive commented would get “strapped” into conversations via Web 2.0 applications like CoComment or simply by bloggers simultaneously picking up themes, but for me it hasn’t worked out that way.

So, instead of extensive commenting, I’m going to opt for more roundups, more responsive blogging and denser linkeage in topical blogposts. You might get see fewer comments from me, but in return you’ll get a tiny bump in your technorati ranking; hopefully that will compensate.

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Responses
Paul 16 years ago

lol, ah yes and all i can say is guilty of the thank you, but usually to short one liners. Longer comments i find can be the best and can actually generate more conversation than just a couple of lines – probably because the 2 liner is in agreeemnt where as the 20 liner is more likely to be presenting a different view or going deeper into that view which is always welcome.

John Smulo 16 years ago

As with Paul, I’m often guilty of the one-liners too. Though not always. I know if you comment less I’ll miss reading your thoughts! Don’t forget that just because people, especially blog owners, don’t always respond with long comments it doesn’t mean that everyone who reads your comments don’t get something from them. I know I especially find your comments helpful.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Paul – I guess my experience has been that the length of comment doesn’t really corelate to the level of conversation.

As for me, whilst the comments of agreement can be encouraging and nice to read, it’s the comments of disagreement, or perhaps more precisely, the comments of almost agreement that are most compelling.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

John, you are quite right – an absence of response does not always mean an absence of appreciation.

However, I’m a firm believer that “the trend is your friend.” In past six months I’ve been commenting a lot around the blogosphere often commenting more words per week than I’ve blogged. The trend has been to less and less response.

Toni 16 years ago

I’d say for me, I have experienced a similar frustration to you, but with those I disagree with. Made me even stop bothering to read a particular blog for a while – if my interaction was so unimportant, why continue to to invest in a non-conversation?

Eventually it seems we gather generally like minded people around us. I see this a being a flaw with the blogosphere conversation format: we all just agree to disagree, thank each other with meaningless politeness and walk away. Not sure if this is better or worse than a forum flame-war, but it certainly doesn’t inspire.

Jason Clark 16 years ago

yet you make such great comments, I hope you keep making them at my blog 🙂 But I understand, when there is no acknowldgement, or reponse, I stop commenting too.

Jason Clark 16 years ago

…maybe a post on advice on commenting on blogs is in order…

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Jason, you can probably set your clock to the fact that I’ll change my mind on this eventually.

Certainly one trend I’ve seen over the last 12 months is a dramatic increase in comment traffic on a lot of smaller B and C list blogs, which in and of itself is great. But the upshot is that a number of people I’ve chatted with are feeling a little cold about it.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Toni, the last thing I want is a blog-flame war, but I tend to agree that the constructivly conversational disagreement is missing from the blogosphere, or at least it has cooled off.

For a while now I’ve felt we need more bloggers criticall engaging and reviewing other blogs. Something more extensive than commenting, but more purposeful than flaming.

It kind of suprises there is isn’t a LOT more of that given the academic credentials of so many Godbloggers and emerging/missional bloggers. It’s the bread and butter stuff of the academy.

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