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Is Your Comment Process In Error?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2010

Lately I’ve noticed two things that are somewhat troubling to me as it regards comments. Nope, this isn’t another spam post, although that’s pretty irksome, since I don’t consider that commenting at all.


by James Gentry

The first involves blogs that seemingly accept comments, yet never notify anyone that those comments have been responded to. Sometimes I mention it to those folks, but when they don’t do anything about it I move on. In a weird way, they can’t respond to me because their comments don’t work to begin with. In another way, if I leave a message on those posts I always go back to see what they have to say, and if I see nothing I just don’t go back to waste my time again.

The second are posts that either close comments right up front or close them within a few days of posting their article. We all get kind of busy, and sometimes it takes me a week to finally get to check out a bunch of blogs, and I hate when I want to say something and I find that comments are closed already. Now, I acknowledge that there are certain types of articles that one might not want comments on, and I have no problem with that. But the worry about spam (heck I guess it does pop its ugly head in here) leading to people closing comments so quickly just doesn’t make sense. There are so many other ways to reduce spam without having to go to that extreme.

On my first point, I do believe a lot of people don’t know they aren’t sending comments back out. However, I believe if you’re writing your blog and you’re paying attention and you never have even one person come back to comment on your comment, you have to start thinking something’s wrong. I notice is more often on blogs that don’t thread comments, but it happens on some of those as well. Adding the “threaded comments” plugin would help because it adds a check box at the bottom of the comment section that asks people if they’d like responses to comments, and you can have it turned on by default like I do or let people decide to check it. That would at least help to some degree.

I think the overwhelming majority of us want comments on our blogs. Anything we do that irritates people will keep them from commenting, meaning our blogs will never have the opportunity to achieve any real success. And there’s so many good blogs out in the blogosphere that it would be a shame.

The Spam Cookbook

The Spam Cookbook








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21 Comments »

Spot on Mitch. Yet more reasons why there are people who won’t leave any comments on other blogs. Curios that I have seen some that actually publish post immediately with comments being closed. Wonder why they do that? Most of the sites I have seen that are like this are actually sites which do not publish their own content. In my case, I never close comments to anyone. It is there for anyone to leave a meaningful comment. I take care of SPAM in a different way 🙂

October 4th, 2010 | 10:09 AM
Mitch:

Thanks for sharing, DiTesco. I’ve written that I close comments only on posts that comments make no sense to appear on anymore, but I don’t close comments all that quickly. But I think I’m more bothered by those sites I do comment on and wonder why I’m never hearing anything back, only to discover they did respond but don’t have any way of allowing people to subscribe to those comments easily. And I don’t mean by having to sign into a Disqus program of some sort.

October 4th, 2010 | 1:16 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch
Like you, I go back and check if my questions, comments have been responded to. I also don’t ever close comments. I know when I go to a blog especially from Twitter and I note it is an old post I was wondering if I can still ask questions. I asked a popular blogger about this and he said on his site he always would answer questions but I note on some sites they close comments after so many days. Limits interaction and they are not the blogs I visit often.
Patricia Perth Australia

October 4th, 2010 | 10:23 AM
Mitch:

Pat, Problogger used to have all the comments still open on his blog, including his oldest posts, but I noticed he’s now turned them all off. I think that’s too bad, but knowing the kind of spam I get I’m going to assume he’s getting it a lot worse. There can be a case for turning comments off on some posts, or if your blog has heavy traffic. Otherwise, I don’t get it.

October 4th, 2010 | 1:18 PM
Patricia:

I don’t get it either and on some of the big blogs they don’t answer questions so maybe they figure it better to not allow comments so then don’t even have to bother reading them! These guys have started blogging in the early days, made heaps of money and so treat ppl anyway they want. I stopped visiting some of these sites and prefer to build relationships as I am learning heaps from lesser known but really nice bloggers.
Patricia Perth Australia

October 4th, 2010 | 11:54 PM
Mitch:

Pat, I will cut some slack to some of those guys who get 200 comments because I don’t know that I could keep up with all of it and still have a business. However, answering a few people here and there shouldn’t be a problem for anyone; I’d certainly read all the comments to see who was offering something that deserved a response. But not knowing if people are receiving anything from your blog in the first place is something I’d hope everyone would at some point figure out, or if someone tells them that they’ll try to fix it.

October 5th, 2010 | 9:50 AM

Hey Mitch, I’m not even sure they read all the comments. Have you ever noticed they leave some that you and I would have deleted?

October 15th, 2010 | 6:33 AM
Mitch:

That I do, Sire. I also notice lots of gaps in responding to comments. However, those that do respond to comments have to wonder why no one ever questions anything they say later on.

October 15th, 2010 | 7:44 AM

Yeah, and another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of them lack the conversation you get on other blogs. It’s as if all people are worried about is being noticed and little else.

October 15th, 2010 | 11:06 PM

I have seen something similar on my blogs regarding comments on the old posts. I think is something related to anti-spam plugin which crash website. However, I fix it easy after I good the information.

October 5th, 2010 | 7:39 AM

At the risk of sounding completely ignorant and asking you to again explain something you’ve already been through repeatedly, how do I make sure I’m notifying people that I’ve replied to the comment? I just assumed if they subscribed to my blog, they would get an email telling them there’s been a response.

I closed Comments only once, when I wrote about September 11. It was something that just felt right to me. I wanted to write about the topic but didn’t want to make it about me at all, including any possible comments. I’m still questioning the decision, but that’s what I was thinking at the time.

October 5th, 2010 | 9:37 AM
Mitch:

Charles, your issue is that you’re on WordPress.com. What happens on your blog is if someone subscribes to comments, they immediately get an email asking if they want to subscribe to comments. However, it only works for that one blog post; you get another email the next time you comment again. That irks me so if I comment on a blog post of yours, I’ll send myself an email and check within a day to see if you’ve responded. Either way, I then delete the email and move on. So, on your blog right now, something is automatically going out; probably not everyone is subscribing, like me. And I don’t know if there’s anything you can do about it either.

October 5th, 2010 | 9:55 AM

Hey Mitch. Its funny you brought this up because I had to check on my settings today. I know I have it where if someone has commented before then all subsequent comments get approved but I have gone almost a day and had comments there and not realize it. I fixed that. One thing that irks me that you mentioned although its more so, me being me, but when someone responds to the person who commented before me AND after me and just straight passed me by. I then go and look to see if they did that to anyone else, if so then I’m cool, if not 🙁 …lol But if I ask a question I go back and see if it’s been answered. If not I just won’t be asking them any questions anymore.

October 6th, 2010 | 2:46 AM
Mitch:

That happens from time to time, Karen, and I don’t always mind it unless my point was so original that it just invited a response, if you know what I mean. Sometimes people say the same thing over and over and you decide to skip one or two along the way.

October 6th, 2010 | 8:12 AM

I have heard that quite a few people are no longer allowing comments….

I can imagine ProBlogger and the other big guns get TONS of spam.

I get my share of spam, usually on older posts, so I can see why some people close comments after 45 or 90 days…but right away?

October 6th, 2010 | 8:07 AM
Mitch:

Exactly Carolee; that just seems extreme for most of us.

October 6th, 2010 | 9:29 AM

Great post! I do agree with the point on this terrible inconvenience, caused by the need to get back to check further comments. That’s why I adore those “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” check-boxes, like you have. Since I do some guest blogging, I prefer posting at those blogs, that have the same box available. This does save much time.

October 6th, 2010 | 10:59 AM
Mitch:

Good stuff Arkadij, and you touched upon one of my pet peeves, that being to make sure you go back to blogs you guest post on to see people have questions or comments for you to answer.

October 6th, 2010 | 11:26 AM

Hi Mitch,

I have always wondered how a commenter is notifed that I have responded. Whenever I have had the opportunity to inquire, the commenter had no idea. Unfortunately, I am not always aware that I have a comment to approve unless I go to my site (which I do not do every day).

Thanks for telling us about the “threaded comments” plugin. I just installed and activated it.

October 8th, 2010 | 2:28 PM
Mitch:

Glad to be of service, Rachel, and I think it’s the type of plugin that gives your blog a chance to grow because people love seeing their comments responded to.

October 9th, 2010 | 2:17 AM

I usually don’t go back to a blog unless I really have a need to see if they replied to my comment.

I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I let people know they should install a subscribe to comment plugin. The smart ones do.

October 15th, 2010 | 6:36 AM