When Do You Unsubscribe From Posts?

Before I begin talking about the subject, I thought I’d put this message out first to see if those folks I consider as comment spammers will actually read it. This blog has never accepted keyword names, but if a first name is present I’ve always left it alone. Other comments, if I thought they were good, I’d go in and edit the name so that only initials showed up. Thing is, not one of those people has ever come back to say anything about it or leave another comment. Therefore effective immediately, any comments with only keywords in it will be deleted; I’m not even going to take the time to read the comment. I need a name, something to call you besides “Vacations In Paris”, or whatever goofy thing someone wants to promote.

via Flickr

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Because I comment on a lot of blogs, I often subscribe to the post for a while to see if someone will respond to it. That is, when it’s an option; otherwise I’ve just figured I’m already subscribed and I’m good with that. I don’t mind seeing other comments… for a while at least.

We all know what happens most of the time. Blog posts aren’t known for their periods of longevity when it comes to getting comments. A post can get a comment many months later, but most of the activity happens very early. Just a few days ago I got notified of a comment on a blog post on someone else’s blog that was written more than two years ago; that’s actually pretty neat because it gives you an opportunity to go back to that blog post to see what it was all about and possibly read it again.

But what do you do if you’ve commented on a blog kind of early and then you’re starting to be bombarded with a lot of other comments? How do you personally handle that type of thing?

The way I handle it is to first wait to see if the blog owner starts responding to any of the comments. I’ll give that a few days or so, and if the blog owner hasn’t started responding to any comments by then I will usually bail. I know that people go on vacation and have other things to do sometimes, but in today’s world everybody has access to the internet within at least a couple of days.

Also, if I’ve written a comment and already gotten a response but there’s still tons of comments coming, I’ll take a look at the comments to see what types of things people are writing. If after a while I notice that almost every comment is kind of junkie, I’ll leave. After all, one always hopes that other people’s comments are going to add to the conversation, and if that’s not happening then why bother?

In being truthful, I have to admit this isn’t a problem I have to deal with all that often. There may be a few blogs that end up with tons of people who comment all the time that I have to deal with. I actually applaud those few blogs because the owners are also responding to the comments. But I like to think I know when it’s time to move on.

So I’m asking you, do you ever unsubscribe from comments at a certain point or do you stick with a blog post no matter how many comments and up showing up until they just finally stop?

54 thoughts on “When Do You Unsubscribe From Posts?”

  1. I actually don’t unsubscribe to comments, but I don’t read them on the email as well, if I think there are a lot of responses / unrelated responses to a particular category.

    It would be better if only responses to our particular comment is emailed to us, so that we can go back and join the conversation. Don’t you think so?

    1. Raj, I actually don’t think so. I’ve learned a lot from people who comment before or after I do, and I think that’s invaluable. Now, there are times when there’s a lot of junk as well, but one gets the good with the bad.

  2. Sometimes when I am very interested in how the conversation goes, then I stay subscribed to the post until the activity dies down. And then there are times when, I unsubscribe as soon as the author replies to my comment. It really just depends with me. Many times I forget to unsubscribe too.

    I personally don’t like having a mailbox full of responses on a post. That’s just me. So I usually unsubscribe early on.

    1. Evelyn, when activity dies down, most of the time we forget because I don’t even know if there’s a way to access an unsubscription area without getting a message notification first. And I’m like you, at a certain point it can be overwhelming.

  3. I get notices if someone has replied to one of my comments, but I don’t necessarily go back and read all the comments that were written after mine. I probably should every once and a while just to see if there’s something interesting or useful. Great insight, though.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I tend to unsubscribe after 2-3 months. Some posts have spurts of dialogue and the comments remain interesting and germane to the topic.

    If I see a post where there is more spam than real comments, I’ll unsubscribe. Or, if a post has hundreds of comments, I’ll unsubscribe. Otherwise, when I’m doing some inbox cleanup, I unsubscribe to those with little action or where my interest has waned.

    One thing blog owners should check: does their “unsubscribe” function really work? I’ve contacted a few on occasion because I attempted to unsubscribe and it wasn’t working.

    I stay always remain subscribed to any guest posts I’ve written so I can respond if needed.

    1. Vernessa, I do the same with guest posts; you just never know. As to the other, I have to admit I haven’t tested my unsubscribe to see if it’s working, but I have written people over the years to say their unsubscribe doesn’t work. Every once in a while they take it personally, and you have to tell them “it’s not you, it’s me.” lol

  5. Hi Mitch,
    Interesting post. You know that is something we all (I think) worry about and fret over. We like to see comments answered at some point too. And, we would like to think that we have just created this terrific friendship with our comment. But…that just isn’t always the case. We have unsubscribed, as well. It’s tricky!! Thanks for sharing a touchy subject with us!!

    1. No problem Ann. It’s something I can’t think of ever seeing anyone else address, which is why I put it out there because all of us have to deal with it at some point.

  6. Hi Mitch

    I’m a fairly hard-core blog reader and used to subscribe to posts.. now I don’t really. I was getting over 100 emails a day and it became impossible to manage.

    Often when I see another post from a certain blogger I will check out the most recent post I remember having commented on to see if that blogger has replied (especially if I know that blogger is in the habit of replying to comments..)

    Blogging only works if there’s relationship and interaction. .. Otherwise it gets poisoned for everyone.

    I have a blog commenter in my team but she has been specifically instructed to always use her name, not a keyword, to check back to see if the blogger has replied, and to build relationships with people.

    This helps the blogger build an engaged community and is just a good way to give back…

    1. Interesting stuff, Mat. I have to subscribe because I’m also a power commenter, but I can never remember where I’ve been, which is a shame. You’re right, blogging only works if people talk to each other, and it’s a point I keep hammering over and over. And I appreciate that you followed the new comment policy; you wouldn’t believe how many people totally ignored that first paragraph.

  7. I rarely subscribe to comments as I regularly visit the blogs that I am interested in. On some posts however, the comments generate a lot of discussions and on those, I do subscribe and let the subscription stand till the comments finally stop.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rummuser. You know, I wasn’t sure how I had it set up for comments on this blog and I see I have the box checked by default but people can uncheck it if they wish. At least I’m giving people a choice, which is pretty good. I do what you do only on the blog types where I know I won’t be getting comments back the regular way because I won’t subscribe; there’s still a few people I’ll do that for. 🙂

  8. For the first part, it is a rule not to use keywords for comments, probably some commenter is spammer, but probably the others are just entering into blog commenting, but for sure, deleting those comments is the right thing to do.

    Sometimes I do unsubscribe from comments, as there is large number of emails, however sometimes, just blog owner have decide to tight up subscribe to comments with subscribe to my newsletter “thing” which I think is unethical.

    1. Well Carl, you know one of my pet peeves are those popups asking people to subscribe to newsletters. I’ve never talked about those people that have it in a sneaky place where you pop in an email address thinking you’re putting it in to comment, not to subscribe to anything; I hate that as well.

      1. Yesterday, accidentally comment on blog, 3 pop-ins, 1 pop up and just before comment form I saw 3, 120×600 skyscraper ads from AdSense, wow! One thing is for sure, I put this website in my host file, so I will never visit it again.

      2. Hi Carl, A pleasant good morning to you Carl: I am not quite sure that i understand what you mean Re: the pop-ins; what is the danger. since you said you will not return to that site?

  9. Hi Mitch, I am glad that you touch on the subject of commenting, personally I do feel that you are a loyal commenter, that’s how I found you commenting on another blog, and I admire you ability and determination to reply to comments made on you site that is indeed commendable. The truth is I like to comment late which gives me a chance to see what is on the minds of Carl, Grady, sir and some others and to be truthful I enjoy the exchanges I think it’s a learning experience. You made mention of two things that I want to comment specifically on one, you have taken the decision not to tolerate spammers and some how I agree with you.
    I am currently facing an onslaught of persons just leaving any and every thing as comments on my site. Some 100+ per day it makes me feel as though I am being violated. But as a newbie I somehow feel that I need those links, maybe you can advise me.
    Secondly on the matter of commenting early and then being bombarded with other comments. That’s interesting because I receive via email (on my Blackberry) every comment made on your blog, after I have commented, and I eagerly anticipate your responses sometimes trying to predict what you will say, not that I ever gat it right, and as I am writing this comment some thing just came through on from Carl on “guest Post……. Driving traffic to site so for me if the comments are interesting and educational there is no need to unsubscribe.

    1. William, let me take these separately. Leaving spam comments on your blog is a bad idea for two reasons. One, search engines don’t like them and eventually they’ll get to penalizing your blog. Two, seasoned blog commenters don’t like them either, and if we see those things all over the place we think the person writing the blog doesn’t care about it and thus won’t leave comments ourselves. It’s better not to have any comments than all spam comments.

      Two, as I said, if the conversation is a good one then I’ll stay with the comments longer. What I don’t like, and it calls some people out, is when the blogger typically decides to wait until there are lots of comments, and then responds to everyone at the same time. One makes allowances for a 12 – 24 hour period, depending on who it is, because of work, vacations, sickness, etc. But when it’s an every time thing, when after days you suddenly get a rash of comments and they’re all from the person whose blog it is, well, that’s kind of irritating as well because as someone following the comments, you thought you’d already gone through the mad rush of email.

      As for all the spam you say you’re getting, I took a look at your blog and it doesn’t look like you’re running any of the anti-spam things that are available. Go read this post of mine, then get the plugin I recommend. You’ll see a drastic reduction of the spam comments, though not all of them will go away.

  10. I’m not sure that I’ve ever unsubscribed to comments. Like you say they are usually only for a short term and most of them I just whiz past. However sometimes there is a real gem that leads me to a blog of interest. And it is kind of neat when a comment that is not spam sometimes comes long after the fact.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Good stuff Arlee; by the way, what’s wrong with your gravatar, or have you never had one? When I see an intriguing comment I will go back to the post and, if the blog has CommentLuv, I’ll often check out what someone’s had to say as well. But sometimes you just start getting overwhelmed and it’s time to kill the thread.

      1. Guess I’ve never had a gravatar–not sure how I do it even. I’ll investigate and try to add it.
        By the way I should have added that when I subscribe to comments I usually have them sent to an email address different than my primary one. That way the notifications are very easy to spot and filter through and don’t clog up my more important emails.


      2. Arlee, check out this post that I wrote in 2008 about the process; it’s really easy, and you might laugh at one of the images I have on the page. lol

        And that’s an interesting thing you do with the email addresses. I’ve never thought about doing that because I’d want to know when someone was writing me an actual email for whichever blog I happen to be highlighting and I might miss it if it went elsewhere.

  11. I normally do not subscribe to comments because the few times I did my inbox was just inundated with comments others had made and most of them made little sense. This is partly because I was commenting on a lot of blogs at the time and have a lousy memory so when comments like, “Yeah, that’s right, I agree” come in, they mean nothing.

    I do very much appreciate those blogs that use a comment reply notifier. Normally I will wander back into the blogs I read regularly to see what has transpired since I was there, but it may take some time if I’m in a busy week. If the blogger replies with a general, “yeah, thanks for commenting” sort of thing it doesn’t matter. But if some discussion is continued and I need to reply to their reply I want to get back to them quickly.

    On a rare occasion I find a post that promises a lively discussion on a fascinating topic, I will subscribe to comments on that post, just to keep in the loop, but most of the time the threading gets all messed up and as people start replying to one-another’s comments it turns to gobbledy goop, but it helps to know what is being said.

    In these cases, when the discussion dies down, I generally forget to unsubscribe, and will sometimes get one, like you did, from a long past discussion that kind of throws me for a loop.

    1. Thanks for the comment Allan, and I know exactly what you mean. It’s those nonsense comments that suddenly come in droves that start getting irritating, and then I just have to bail and move on. But every once in awhile a topic really is a great one and I just want to keep reading what others have to say. And, of course, as long as people are commenting here I’m not upset with any of it. 🙂

  12. Mitch, although you’re talking about unsubscribing here, one thing I find weird is when people don’t subscribe to the comments after leaving one themselves.

    Several questions come to mind: How will they know someone has even responded to them? Don’t they care about the response to their comment? What if someone asks them a question for clarification?

    One can always unsubscribe (so long as that’s working correctly) but one can’t receive notifications if they haven’t been requested.

    1. Vernessa, I’ve always wondered about that as well. That’s why I changed mine to have the check in there as a default, after learning this summer that someone who commented on this blog had never received notice from me because she didn’t know to check the box. But as you’ve read here, some folks prefer to leave a comment and move on.

  13. I don’t always subscribe to a blog posts. It haves to be very interesting and related to my interests for me to do such a thing, because I hate getting those followup e-mails, I find them annoying. Most of the times I don’t subscribe but I do come back to see if anyone replied to my comment and maybe comment some more next time I visit the specific blog and I do this before reading the new articles.

  14. I subscribe via RSS feed rather than email except for a very small number of blogs that don’t seem to work well in RSS. For me it depends on a lot of different factors, including the blog and the person blogging, and the types of comments their posts receive. Some blogs, I stay subscribed for a long time to one post (Charles Gulotta’s posts are a case in point as I find the comments he receives as entertaining as his own posts!) Yours I stay subscribed to until either the comments reduce to a trickle, or until they receive so many that I can’t keep up with them!

    Most blogs that only get ‘ordinary’ comments (ie, ones that aren’t likely to turn into discussions), though – I wait til my comment receives a reply, and then delete the subscription.

    Recently I’ve stopped subscribing to posts that don’t have their comments replied to (sorry about the lousy grammar, I plead lack of sleep for a change!)as I just can’t be bothered. Most of the time I don’t comment on them but when I do – why bother subbing to them? Pointless.

    However, my RSS feed has been letting me down quite a bit lately and not showing all the responses, so what I do now is if I post a comment that I think might get a particularly interesting reply or if I think I’ve said something in it that I want to remember later, I bookmark it on my computer in a folder called ‘Comments I’ve posted’!


    1. Goodness Val, you have a file for the file of your files, if you will. lol Still, you pretty much do what I do, so it seems we’re on the same page with this one. That’s a good thing. 🙂

      1. Not only that, Mitch, but I just discovered I’d inadvertently subscribed to this post’s comments by email, lol!

      2. Chances are I checked the ‘Notifiy me of followup comments via e-mail’ instead of the link to a post of mine… oh well, we live and learn (well, you probably do, but I sure as you know what don’t).

        Yes, the hiatus is over. (Do you ever confuse ‘hiatus’ with hernia’? I do.)

  15. @ Vernessa… if someone subscribed to comments by RSS feed, would you even know about it? People don’t only subscribe by email.

    1. @Val Hi Val! I hadn’t thought about subscribing to comments via RSS. Of course, the option is available on most blogs, and now I see some people actually do that! 🙂 I never have because (1) never considered it, (2) I don’t use my RSS reader enough to stay on top of comments.

      I don’t keep tabs on who has subscribed to posts or comments on my site. Reading Mitch’s post jostled that question to the forefront and reminded me why I almost always subscribe. I know I can unsubscribe at any time.

      Always nice to see you Val.

  16. When I find anything interesting I subscribe that one. When It dies down then I unsubscribe it. However this a very good topic you have discussed. Keep sharing. Thanks. Wish you a good luck from our Vacation Rentals team

  17. I generally subscribe that post which I think useful to me. It may be informative or funny. But when I see that the updation goes down and it has nothing new as useful then I unsubscribe the post. This is very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing this.

  18. I like to think that it would be useful for me to give people time to respond to comments and, of course, the post. After a while, if my email gets all spammed, I will most likely lose the interest to sort it all out.

    Of course, this is only true for the blogs that I am already biased about. The ones that have shown their credibility in the past don’t have that treatment. I go through them more carefully.

    1. Ana, I’m not sure what you mean by blogs you’re already biased about. I mean, why would you leave a comment on a blog you didn’t trust? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying here.

      1. Mitch, I’m sorry if I’m sounding too confusing! There are some blogs that get me interested at first. However, later on, I can see that, perhaps, they weren’t that good as I previously thought. Something like those one-hit-wonders from the eighties 🙂
        I give them the benefit of the doubt. I hope I’m making more sense now.

      2. Okay Ana, now I know what you mean, and I’d have to agree. I do subscribe to blogs that eventually seem to disappoint me, either because I suddenly don’t care about the topics they’re writing about or they’re just not writing.

  19. I don’t subscribe to very many blogs—yours and the Absurd Old Bird are the most active ones. I am not into reading LONG posts—I’ve said that before. I do read yours because I’m always inclined to learn something and I enjoy reading what others have to say.

    I do, however, check out the blogs I receive from my google alerts and comment on them if I have something of value to add.

    1. Bev, it’s not necessarily the blog, but the comments part I’m talking about here. Course, maybe you just go back to the few blogs you follow to see if you got a response, which is one way of doing it. For me, with as many blogs as I follow, I have to subscribe, otherwise I’d be lost.

    2. Bev, I think if you only follow a couple of blogs it’s easy for you to decide if you’re going back to visit those blogs to see if people responded to your comment. For me, I follow so many people that it wouldn’t work for me.

  20. Well, I don’t unsubscribe to any blogs because I want an update if there’s any useful idea coming from any of the commentators. I also need to know if someone had replied to my posts but you have a point. It is vital to know when to stop receiving mails from a certain blog post. But for now, I am learning a lot from them.

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