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How Some Bloggers View Commenters

Posted by on Oct 23, 2010

Wednesday I participated in something that’s called Community Manager Chat. The moderators of the chat, which occurs on Twitter every Wednesday at 2PM Eastern Standard time with the hashtag #cmgrchat, always have a general topic, and 4 questions during the hour, and those who want to participate can and do so, while other just read what’s going on.


by Andrew Feinberg

The topic on Wednesday was blogging, which y’all know I feel I know fairly well, and thus I got to participate a lot. At one point the question came up as to whether people who wrote blogs responded to comments on those blog. I wrote that I respond to almost every comment, especially for first time visitors, and I found that wasn’t quite the norm from many people, even those whose blogs don’t get many comments at all.

Some people were fascinated that I respond to almost everything. Some people felt that most comments were just some form of “I agree”, and thus didn’t deserve responses. Are you kidding me? Who here remembers my post about feeling ignored?

Here’s my position. I believe that every person who visits the blog and leaves at least a little bit of substance deserves a response. I also believe if someone’s way off topic then it’s probably spam and it’s getting deleted; that’s why I have a comment policy. Now, there are times when I don’t respond to a post that I wrote more than 6 months ago, but that’s pretty rare. And I might not respond to a one line post from someone I know; I never leave one line comments on anyone’s blog unless we’re having a bit of a banter back and forth. Will that potentially change if any of my blogs ever got to the point where they were averaging 200 comments a day? Hey, let’s find out! lol

I expect y’all know I appreciate you, even when we disagree. Civility really does have a place in this world. You visit my crib, I’m going to offer you something. Maybe not my chocolate cake, but something. 🙂 You can always count on that. So think about it; how are you treating the people who visit your blog?

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37 Comments »

Like Royalty.

October 23rd, 2010 | 11:13 AM
Mitch:

You sure do Rummuser, and everyone seems to appreciate it.

October 23rd, 2010 | 1:30 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch
I agree with you Mitch. I always answer comments on my site and if anyone has a question about the lovely lavender I am more than happy to give an answer. I feel it’s all about building community and enjoy interacting with my readers. Also, if someone is just starting out it is good to encourage them when I visit their site by commenting on their blog. I remember how I felt with my first comment on my site. And I hope I come across as appreciating my commenters on my blog too.
Patricia Perth Australia

October 23rd, 2010 | 11:06 AM
Mitch:

Great stuff, Pat, and I’m with you. I’ve read other blogs where people say they won’t comment on blogs with no comments; I sometimes buck that trend.

October 23rd, 2010 | 1:30 PM

Patricia,

I love your statement, “Also, if someone is just starting out it is good to encourage them when I visit their site by commenting on their blog.”

That shows true community building and interaction.

Andrew

October 26th, 2010 | 8:46 AM

hi Patricia, I follow a similar approach. Each time I get a new comment on the blog, I make sure to follow-up and continue the discussion.

A blog is like a party. You meet and greet new people, but don’t leave. You form small groups and interact with each other.

March 10th, 2011 | 7:47 AM

I’ve also noticed that many people don’t respond to comments, and I wonder if it’s part of a larger pattern. I would say that about half the emails I send to individuals and companies go unanswered. It’s the same with written letters, faxes, and phone calls. Are people just too busy? Are we getting ruder? Or have too many of us simply forgotten that communication is a two-way deal?

I appreciate the fact that you always reply, and quickly. And your replies are specific and thought-out, rather than some general response. When I leave a comment on someone else’s blog and hear nothing back, I feel like I’m playing ping-pong by myself. And that’s no fun.

October 23rd, 2010 | 12:09 PM
Mitch:

You’ve got that right, Charles, and I do try not to give scripted responses to comments, especially if someone has taken the time to make a pretty good comment. As for the rest, I just think people are forgetting about courtesy; I called someone on it this week and got an apology for it.

October 23rd, 2010 | 1:32 PM

I let some sit there when I have no response in mind. I usually say “thank you” in one form or another. One thing I notice is that the spammers are getting very sophisticated. I think they may be hiring people to make honest, heartfelt comments that link to junk stuff. I am actually reading the links before the comment and if it is one like I have described, I spam it. Perhaps I am losing valuable readers but these urls are just ridiculous and clearly not those of a fellow blogger or seeking websurfer.

October 23rd, 2010 | 3:34 PM
Mitch:

Damien, if you think it’s spam, go with your gut. Every once in awhile, because I use CommentLuv, I might follow a link back to see what it leads me to if the topic looks legit, but that’s rare. Overall, though, I think most people would love some kind of acknowledgment that their comment was appreciated, which is why I make sure to do it.

October 23rd, 2010 | 6:00 PM

Hey, Mitch. Your replies to comments are surely appreciated. It is nice to know that there are people out there like you who tries to really build relationships with people through commenting and replying. Even if there are times when I do one or two-line comments that some bloggers may see as generic, I do appreciate it if they see the sincerity behind them and reply back.

Thanks.

– Wes –

October 23rd, 2010 | 9:30 PM
Mitch:

Thanks for your kind words, Wes. I feel if someone took the time to leave me a comment they deserve to be acknowledged by me, for the most part. There are also times when one has to learn when it’s time to stop. 🙂

October 23rd, 2010 | 9:40 PM
Carl:

There are a lot of spammers all over my blogs. I guess that they are using some kind of automatic commenting software. Even the Spam plugins and captcha images get bypassed somehow.

October 24th, 2010 | 6:59 AM
Mitch:

Oh yeah, it’s all software, and you can tell by the language. I mean, these folks who buy the software don’t even try writing anything that makes sense most of the time. The few that do; well, those are the ones to worry about.

October 24th, 2010 | 11:34 PM

If I suspect it’s spam by the URL, I’ll spam it.

I am always on the look-out for new blogs to comment on to encourage the new bloggers.

I usually reply to any comments on my blog as well.

I am amazed how many people DON’T comment!

October 24th, 2010 | 8:04 AM
Mitch:

Carolee, I’m not surprised at all. After all, think about when you were in school; how many people ever volunteered to go up to the front of the class to write something on the blackboard?

October 24th, 2010 | 11:35 PM

I don’t respond to every comment because some comments don’t warrant a response…..but I do expect if I stop by and comment on someone’s blog that they will give me the same courtesy. That, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen.

October 24th, 2010 | 10:59 PM
Mitch:

I wouldn’t expect anyone to respond to every single comment, but most comments, like the one you left here, deserve a response because you took the time to actually say something different than just “nice post”, or something like that.

October 24th, 2010 | 11:45 PM

Hi Mitch,

Yes I still try to respond to every comment I received or at least I try to. It’s the least I can do if someone took the trouble to put a reasonably OK comment although there are a few that will get deleted for the one liners. For spam ones I’ll delete and for some spam and audacious ones get the “blacklist” service from me.

For my niche sites though, almost all of the comments I received are either spam or irrelevant and I usually ignore them. I tried reading them one by one at first but now figured it’s a total waste of time just looking for one or two good ones out of hundred junk comments. I totally ignore them as these bloggers are just trying to get a link from me. Outrageous!

October 25th, 2010 | 5:44 AM
Mitch:

Glad to see you after a long time Peter. I’ve never seen any of your niche sites, but I had always assumed they weren’t blogs but regular websites; who knew? I still look at all comments that show up in the blog filter for my blog & the other blogs I manage because every once in awhile there’s a legitimate comment in there, and one always wants to show some comments coming in from somewhere that are good.

October 25th, 2010 | 5:32 PM

Mitch,

I reply to the vast majority of my commenters and for first timers I automatically send them to my new visitors page after commenting. I feel that helps with their welcome.

Andrew

October 26th, 2010 | 8:49 AM
Mitch:

Andrew, I saw that you did that with my comment, even though I thought I’d been to your blog before. I have my own little blogging guide that I’ve linked to in my Pages, but never thought about automatically sending anyone there. I don’t see me doing it, though; with all the things I write about, it might be a bit presumptuous of me to assume folks are stopping by to learn about blogging.

October 26th, 2010 | 9:46 AM

I agree with your comment policy and I actually sort of adopted your policy for my blog. I really like the fact that you respond to my comments; it lets commenters know that you appreciate them and it makes your blog a lot more personal.

I don’t have nearly as many commenters as you do, but as my blog grows I hope that I will be able to provide the same welcome feeling that your blog has.

October 26th, 2010 | 12:25 PM
Mitch:

Thanks Keith. I think your blog is a great resource, and I’m sure it’ll grow and be very popular with lots of folks who need help with technical stuff. And I hope I can always afford to be engaging with visitors here who comment on what I write and share.

October 26th, 2010 | 12:58 PM

That’s just kookie talk – I wish I had MORE commenters so I could spend more time in discussions on my website. And you seem like you love your commenters as well!

October 28th, 2010 | 9:13 AM
Mitch:

I do Susan. I get a rush whenever I see a comment because to me it shows someone cared enough to want to respond to something I wrote. And I’ve been fairly lucky that comments are mostly positive.

October 28th, 2010 | 11:24 AM

That’s awesome. The only negative comments I get is whenever I post about high fructose corn syrup. There are some serious people out there who are passionate about the stuff and will defend it until their deaths. I figure they work for the corn refiners association but still……

October 28th, 2010 | 12:16 PM
Mitch:

Ah, the ol’ HFCS discussion, eh? Maybe you missed my post on it: http://www.imjustsharing.com/hfcs-is-good-for-you-not/

October 28th, 2010 | 12:34 PM
Val:

I appreciate your comments in my blog and I appreciate your replies to my comments here. I’m actually trying (though not with a huge amount of success) to ease off on the speed at which I respond to comments in mine as I’m trying to spend a little less time online/blogging/blog reading. It’s in my nature to respond to people. As long as they aren’t the old oinkymeatbots that we know and hate…!

October 29th, 2010 | 8:35 PM
Mitch:

Val, I think it probably works best for most people if they set aside the time when they’re going to comment on blogs, or even write blogs. I don’t have that filter, but it all works pretty well for me. But maybe you do something like set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to respond to any comments, then get on with life. I’m sure you’ll get to everyone eventually.

October 29th, 2010 | 11:27 PM
Val:

Unfortunately, I’m very slow when it comes to reading and replying (and seem to be getting slower by the day!) – that’s in time, not in brain-power, btw – so 15 or 30 mins wouldn’t even come close to how long I’d need, lol!

October 30th, 2010 | 7:47 AM

Hi Mitch – Like you, I try to respond to every comment I get. I haven’t reached that 200+ a day, either, but *when* I do, I think I’ll follow the lead of some of the bloggers I’ve come across who tend to group similar responses together and speak to them all at once. That seems to work; I’ve never seen any complaints.

Appreciate you stopping by my *crib* — as you say 🙂 — and letting me know you found something that will be useful to you in your endeavors. See you again soon.

October 30th, 2010 | 9:47 PM
Mitch:

Thanks for the return trip, Vernessa. I have done that multiple responses in one message thing a couple of times, but it’s a rare thing for me.

October 30th, 2010 | 10:00 PM

wow, reaching 200+ comments per post seems daunting. I guess some people might turn off comments entirely or once they get more than they could handle.

what do you think?

March 10th, 2011 | 7:49 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Codrut, I think once you get to that level on a consistent basis you might not respond to every comment every day, but I’d never turn off comments and I’d make sure to answer enough people to show I still cared and was still participating. Of course if I were making money as well and it was because of the blog that was getting those 200 comments, I’d answer all of them! 🙂

March 10th, 2011 | 9:17 AM

This is a very good post, Mitch. Too often, bloggers forget that there is another human on the other side of the keyboard. I love your comment to Susan, about getting a rush from people leaving comments. To me, it’s like getting a postcard in the mail.

Interestingly, since I’ve installed the (soon to be famous) GASP plugin, I’ve only had two spammers and a third person who left a terse comment with a link to his blog.

The point about not realizing a human on the other side of the keyboard applies to commenters, as well. Since it was just one comment, I followed the link and it turned out to be to a fascinating and RELEVANT site. Therefore, I took the time to email the commenter and, without being preachy, explained that I would happily link to his site if only he would tell us a little bit about himself.

Happily, this person took my request in the spirit in which I had intended. He sent a very nice response back, which, with his permission, I simply pasted over his old spammy looking comment.

That’s a win-win relationship-wise.

Cheers,

Mitch

November 1st, 2010 | 7:01 PM
Mitch:

That’s a good way to handle that, Mitch. It’s probably better than my just deleting it as spam most of the time, although I do hope that I can tell the difference. I respect everyone who stops by and leaves a comment, and I respect those people who don’t comment here but send me email instead. It’s what helps keep me going.

November 1st, 2010 | 9:10 PM