Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do you want a reply?

When I first started blogging I was lucky if I got even one comment on any post. (Thank you, Jessi, Sylvia and Robin for being among my first commenters.) I made sure to reply to every comment to show that I was reading them.

Now I sometimes get four or five comments on a post before I get time to reply to any of them. Sometimes you talk to each other and I'm not sure you expect a reply. Sometimes you say something short and funny, or profound, and I'm not sure what to say to you. I feel awkward because I'm not sure if by replying to each of you I'm keeping a stranglehold on the blog, or if you expect me to respond.

My sense is that some comments need a response and some don't, although I'm not confident that I can identify which is which. So I decided that I needed to find out what you think. What do you want when you comment on a blog?

21 COMMENTS:

freddie said...

Hah. I have the same thoughts, FHH.

I don't expect a reply when I visit other blogs. I try to make sure I respond to people who comment on my blog, but it's not always easy to get to that in a timely manner. I feel like if I don't reply, I'm somehow being rude, as if I'm ignoring a guest in my house.

fairyhedgehog said...

That's a good way of looking at it, freddie. It's just that sometimes I feel the commenters are getting on fine without my help.

BBJD said...

"My sense is that some comments need a response and some don't."

That sounds right to me. And I agree, it can be hard to know when. (I'm speaking out of turn. I'm still at the 'lucky if anyone even reads what I post, much less comment on it stage' - thank you, Fairy and freddie for commenting. It gets lonely when no one comments. [sob][grin])

freddie: I feel like if I don't reply, I'm somehow being rude.

I feel that way, too. Like you and FHH.

Fairy: Go with your instincts. You've proven more than once those are trustworthy.

freddie said...

BTW, that Freedom software you had on your blog a while ago has been a lifesaver. Now I can actually get work done. Although when it's "on" I almost feel like a new amputee. (That's being addicted to the Internet for you.) But seriously, it works. I can get so much more done in an hour! Just wanted to thank you for posting it.

Okay, going offline for a while . . .

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, BBJD

Natalie said...

When I comment, I don't expect a reply. I usually comment to let people know I'm reading:)

I like when I get comments, I figure other people do too.

fairyhedgehog said...

Yes, I do like comments too, Natalie. Thank you!

sylvia said...

It does feel a bit odd to me not to respond to every comment - like Freddie says, as if I'm ignoring someone who has come to see me.

But I also notice that on other blogs, I don't expect a reply. I subscribe to comment trails when I comment, but only to see what other people have to say, not because I am expecting a one-to-one discussion with the blog author.

If I ask a direct question, then yes, I expect a response (in fact, I would presume the blogger wasn't even reading the comments if I didn't get one) but not for every comment.

There are some people that mail responses to every commenter. This can make me feel a bit on the spot, like I have to say something back now and take part in an extended conversation.

When I started Fear of Landing, I rarely responded to comments. On Can't Backspace, it felt very different. I get a lot more comments there (I think because the posts are more discussion oriented?) and they are quite witty/detailed and tend to add to what I've written, which is great. So I do feel more obligated to respond there but I also try not to drive myself crazy about saying something to everyone.

I sometimes comment just to let someone know I'm reading (because I also find it nice when people wave hello) and I definitely don't feel that a response is necessary.

Jessi said...

I loved your blog from the beginning, and although I don't always comment, I'm always reading, so I'm happy I was among the first few. :D

And I don't necessarily expect a reply most times, but I certainly don't complain if the blog author replies. It really just depends on what the comment is, I suppose.

JaneyV said...

I don't think there's any need to reply to everything. If something strikes you as funny or you feel it requires one then sure but I don't expect a reply unless I ask a direct question.

I read most of the comments by checking my email. I've normally got so much on during any given day that I'm lucky if I get the time to reply. RIght now I have emails I need to reply to, I'm about 30 posts behind on The Clarity of Night contest, I haven't checked out my friends blogs in a couple of days and I have yet to answer the comments on my own blog. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming.

What about those people who get 40 or 50 comments with every post? It'd be a fulltime job to keep up with that. I reckon your assessment is a fair one; My sense is that some comments need a response and some don't.

McKoala said...

I think using your sense is fine.

As long as you reply to all of mine...

Just joking. No, really. Please.

Robin S. said...

I think you're a wonderful person, and I don't need a direct answer every time, I promise. If you want to just continue the discussion along a thread or two, that's fun.
That way, you're participating in the ongoing conversation, but don't need to 'shout out' to everyone. Works for me, girl.

I agree with Sylvia on that - of I ask you a specific question, I'd love to hear what you think, etc., but if not, I'm just sorta pretending we're all hanging out together, chatting occasionally.

And I'm proud to be one of your first commenters!

Mary said...

I don’t mind so much whether bloggers reply to comments or not. But I do reply to all comments left on my own blog. I think you just have to go with what feels right to you.

fairyhedgehog said...

Wow! Thanks everyone for your comments. I do read all of them but maybe I can afford to relax a bit about replying.

Sylvia Can't Backspace is a special blog and I often can't resist commenting there!

Jessi You were my very first commenter so that makes you special!

Jane You make it seem more straightforward and manageable somehow which is odd when you're saying how much you have to do.

McK How can I resist replying to such a cute furry?

Robin You're so sweet to me. Thank you!

Mary Hi! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to try to do that.

In case any of you don't get a reply in future: I do read all the comments. Honestly!

sylvia said...

I think that's the main thing - people who never reply make me wonder if they are reading the comments at all. Responding to the comments that merit it make it clear that you must have read them all (to find those) ;)

fairyhedgehog said...

That's a good point. I wish I'd thought of it!

Scott from Oregon said...

I get my comment via email so I am never in a position to reply without changing what I'm doing.

But everybody reads comments to their posts because that's just human nature.

I have trouble talking back to people I'm not sure will hear me.

Replying to comments all the time is a lot like the flight attendants who thank every passenger who leaves the plane.

After a bit you sense the insincerity, which I can't do...

laughingwolf said...

it's YOUR blog, do as you will

i like to acknowledge everyone who comments on my page....

fairyhedgehog said...

Scott and laughingwolf - it's interesting to me to see two such opposing comments. I will do what I like but I wanted to find out what other people think.

I'm sorry if you feel insincered at, Scott! Mostly I like to reply because it feels friendlier when I can think of something to say back but now I shan't worry so much if I really can't think of anything to say.

pjd said...

The main reason I comment on (nearly) every blog post I read is to let the blogger know I read it. Like Natalie, I like to get comments from people who read what I wrote, so I figures others do too.

fairyhedgehog said...

I do too, so thank you for commenting.

Post a Comment

The comments are the best part of this blog, so please do join in.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...