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Comments Still Matter

by Gip Plaster on February 18th, 2011

In recent months, I’ve been pleased with how many really good comments my posts have been getting. To me, comments still matter.

Many of these thoughtful comments are from other bloggers. While you could argue that some of you post comments here hoping to get click-through readers for their own blogs, you can’t argue about the quality of the comments. Some of you regularly write thoughtful multi-paragraph responses to my questions and offer gentle critiques of my position when you think I’m wrong. And I don’t mind you promoting your own blogs here. In fact, it’s an accepted and expected part of the blogging world.

I’m grateful to my commenters because you provide the proof that this blog isn’t just whistling Dixie.

This is, in fact, a perfect opportunity to offer a big thank you to all of my readers — including lurkers, blogger-commenters and non-blogging commenters.

Because I have a nice group of faithful commenters, posts that don’t get any response really surprise me. Was the timing bad and you were busy with something else? Didn’t the post make sense? Or did it fail to compel you to comment? Was it so bad that the most polite thing was to say nothing at all? Maybe the post offered such complete coverage of its topic that you had nothing more to say.

I was particularly surprised when my post Ancient World Lessons in Simplicity on January 11 didn’t elicit a single response.

I was compelled to write the post after a couple of museum visits during which I saw the level of devotion to certain ideas and projects by some ancient people . I wondered if the fact that they had time for such devotion meant something profound about their lives that we could discuss here. Maybe the post simply left you puzzled too.

Have you ever thrown a party to which no one came? Have you delivered a speech, and no one laughed at your best joke? Have you ever written something important to you, then released it into the Internet’s hissing vacuum, never to know if meant anything to anyone else?

As always, I welcome your comments on this post and that one.

Do you have a long-neglected masterpiece post you’d like to share with the So Much More Life community? Leave a link to it here.

Do you notice how many people are commenting on blog posts you read?

By the way, comments on my older posts never close, so your voice is always welcome. Find a post you missed, if you have a moment, and write an interesting, meaningful and insightful comment on it.

Comments are as important to a blog as the posts themselves — and often just as interesting as the posts onto which they’re appended. Some bloggers say otherwise, but their readers, apparently, aren’t as interesting or as interested as you.

I’m not sure why my post on ancient-world simplicity wasn’t very popular, but there’s a reason this blog’s most popular post to date is called Comments Matter.

To me — and apparently to most of you — comments still qualify as part of a simple, deliberate life.

Believe it or not, I write professionally! If you need professional writing services from a web content writer, visit Fort Worth Copywriter.

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From → Writing Life

30 Comments
  1. Sam permalink

    It’s funny that you mention that article (Ancient World Lessons in Simplicity) as it was one that I saved to read more in-depth later. I’m a very infrequent commenter as I’m more likely to jot down ideas from a post that I like and respond in some way on my own blog. I’m still undecided as to the true value of comments on my own blog, but I know that I can always turn to you to find some good reasons to keep them on.
    Sam recently posted An Interlude Of Sorts

    • Comments, at the very least, share the love with other bloggers. It’s easy to tell when a blogger is commenting just to get traffic and when they genuinely have something to say. I’ve done both myself, so I figure it’s just part of blogging.

      I like the feedback and validation anyway.

      I have to say that I like the comment system that comes with WordPress, though. DISQUS often discourages me from commenting on your blog because it usually requires two or three login attempts to get thru, and I’ve given up many times. I used to have the same problem with David Damron’s blog. I can’t think of anyone else using DISQUS at the moment, but there must be others I read who do.

      Minor rant there… I’m apparently on an anti-DISQUS campaign these days.

      Gip

  2. NMPatricia permalink

    Comments – I am probably classified as a semi-lurker, i.e. occasionaly I leave a comment. Why only occasionally? Leaving a comment frequently feels like I am making a statement as a reflection of me rather than part of an exchange. You graciously responded to me comment before – that is a rarity in blogs I have found. When I give a part of me and it just hangs out there, it feels incomplete, and I have by in large given that up. Some blogs move me more than others. I have never figured out why a blogger would like a comment or what they want. For some blogs (and this is not necessarily a reflection of this one), I feel like the author doesn’t care what I think. So why bother. It would just be me flapping my gums for my sake. The only time it feels right is when the author of the blog does respond, which is rare.

    And I have given a party and no one showed up. It was dreadful. I have put myself out there on numerous occasions and have gotten no response. And it does feel crummy.

    Another aspect is that I read the blogs that I follow on Google Reader. Which means I have to click over to the original posting to comment. Just one more step which I don’t always want to do or feel like doing.

    Thanks for asking.

    • I wish there was an easier way to make the connection between reading in a reader or by email and commenting. It only takes one click to get to this site and I don’t require a login to comment, but I understand. I read other blogs by email, and I would comment more often if it was easier.

      I try to respond to about 80 percent of the comments this site gets. Some things don’t need a comment, but I assume people who post a comment are usually expecting a two-way conversation. I hope they (and you) are coming back to the site or subscribing to comments to see the answer!

      I’ve been getting a lot of conversation on recent posts, so I hope I’m doing everything right.

      Gip

    • Jeff & Gena S permalink

      We so understand that, that’s why we try to respond to our commenters and one reason we were so impressed with Gip, he genuinely makes an effort to connect with people who take the time to share part of themselves: their thoughts and feelings on a subject. Mahalo Gip for being real!

      • Thanks very much, Jeff and Gena. Connections are important to me, although they haven’t always been…
        Gip

  3. Kat @ Kat Simplified permalink

    I know I’m always excited when I get comments on a post. It can validate what I’m thinking / feeling or show me a different perspective I didn’t know.

    I also always read the comments following posts (like yours) because it continues the discussion of your topic. Sometimes the comments are as good as the post. I also get to know other bloggers and discover new ones through their comments.

    I’m always bothered by blogs that have the comments turned off. I feel cheated.

    Case in point, I thought the discussion after your hair post was lively and fun. I received a few click throughs from your mention and that was nice.

    The post you mentioned, “Ancient World Lessons on Simplicity” didn’t ring a bell for me. I’ll have to go back and see what I missed!
    Kat @ Kat Simplified recently posted Minimalism and the New Shower Curtain

    • Cheated is the right way to put it, Kat. People can do whatever they want with thier blogs, but they’re not making the most community-oriented choice when they turn off comments.
      Gip

  4. Gip most of the times I think a lot of your claims and assertions are irrational.

    That being said, I happen to have a lot of respect for you. In the genre of Minimalism/ motivational self help blogs you are one of the few bloggers who keep their comment section (fairly) open. Often times you actually respond to people more critical comments, instead of just deleting them, or writing posts about how you don’t like “negativity.”

    FSA

    • Fat Stupid American, your comment is proof that I approve all comments from real people — even if I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about.
      Gip

      • Excuse me if I weren’t clear.

        I find that bloggers who write in the roughly the same genre as you to often police the the hell out of their comment sections. I understand the need for moderating out spam however moderating out critical comments is also very common.

        I often come across writers who make very fallacious claims, ripe with non squiturs and I will often comment asking how they came to such a conclusion, or asking for evidence for their claims. These comments simply get moderated out or I get accused of being “negative.”

        I find such hive thought like this to be a disgusting farce, it does nothing to advance the discussion.

        I am not saying I am the king of critical thinking. If I make a claim that is fallacious I hope my readers would correct me.

        Why do I make this little rant on your blog? You are one of the few who actually allows for such critical comments to show up on your blog, and you actually respond to them. I have a lot of respect for that.

        • Most of it comes down to writing too quickly. And I’ll agree with you on this: There’s a lot of bad writing out there.
          Gip

  5. Hi Gip,

    As a new blogger, getting a comment is as exciting as Christmas morning for me. I always reply to each comment I receive (not too hard since I don’t have that many!), and plan to always do this. It’s not a conversation if only one person is talking, right?

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ll come across as a stalker by leaving comments of lots of posts of the same blogger, but I’ve decided to try and leave a comment on every blog post I read. If I’m going to take the time to read it, I’m going to take an extra minute to leave a comment.

    You know, it’s the “whole do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mentality I suppose.

    Happy Friday! 🙂
    Jenny recently posted Thankful Thursday

    • You’re on the right track, Jenny. I’ve only started getting lots of comments in recent months. Before that, I would often log into WordPress and see zeros looking back at me. Very discouraging.

      I read lots of posts that I don’t comment on, but I’m commenting now more than ever — now that I realized how important it is.
      Gip

      • The best part of (threaded, like you have) comments is the ability of back-and-forth conversations and interjections as I’m doing right here. After commenting in a thread, it’s much different being flat on a blog’s comment section without the thread.

        I also observe many people only reply to the author and/or to whoever replied to him/her rather than getting involved in the comments by replying to anyone, no different than saying hi to the random person on the street.
        Ari Herzog recently posted Meet Delena Silverfox on Facebook

        • I like threaded comments, too, which I didn’t have turned on for a long time for some reason. In WordPress, it’s one click to turn them on and it has greatly increased the number of comments I get.

          You’re right. Conversations do usually involve a comment, then an expected reply by me with very little cross-talk. I’d like to see more commenters replying to other commenters as well.
          Gip

  6. jenny smythe permalink

    Glad to hear that you welcome comments. To me it’s like a welcoming hug when you visit someone’s home. I have to confess that I am turned off by blogs that no longer welcome comments. Because to me it’s like saying ‘your comments don’t matter’. I value comments because that person has taken time out of their schedule to provide feedback. I think that is so valuable. And I’m sure you agree.

    • I do agree, Jenny. A blog without comments is incomplete, in my opinion.
      Gip

  7. marianney | A Life Set Free permalink

    Haha, I wonder the same thing sometimes Gip! I guess that just a part of blogging. Sometimes I don’t get to read posts until a day or two after they are posted, but for some reason, like Kat, your Ancient World Lessons on Simplicity post doesn’t ring a bell. I must have missed or it didn’t get out in Feedburner for some reason?

    In any case, I usually comment on each post that I read, but sometimes I won’t because I don’t like just saying, “great post, thanks for sharing” (tho i have said it in the past). I just would rather leave a comment if it’s going to be useful and sometimes I just don’t feel like I have anything clever to say.

    That’s all I wanted to say. I totally LOVE comments, I love leaving comments and like Jenny, receiving them is like a Christmas present, awesome!
    marianney | A Life Set Free recently posted 11 Up &amp Coming Minimalist Bloggers You Should Know About

    • I do consider comments a gift, I suppose. I don’t really accept many actual physical presents anymore, and words are about the only thing I collect.
      Gip

  8. As you know Gip I’m not shy at voicing my opinion and I think you may know by now I am pretty straight down the line – so here goes:
    1. The Ancient post – I don’t think I read it/or I may have skimmed it – I can’t remember but I know it would be because of the title of it.
    2. I can 100% confirm that I don’t comment to promote my blog. I only comment on blogs that I would had I not got a blog. In fact when all the comment thing kicked off late last year I considered not linking to my blog when I commented as I didn’t want people thinking that was my purpose for being there. I choose not to because I am here to meet others, and that would defeat the object.
    3. I love it when bloggers comment on my blog, as that adds value to my readers and also to me. They (and I) can find other blogs that may be of use, that’s how I found everyone else. If the links weren’t there it would have been harder work.
    4. I adore getting comments, adore, adore, adore comments. I hope that my replies are of value also.
    5. The link I am going to leave isn’t one to my blog. It’s one to a blog that I was featured on and it is totally on subject – It’s about comments and why had I not been able to comment would not have continued my journey. Another blogger picked up what I had said and ran with it. I will be eternally grateful to Eric, because that day I realised I had made the right decision to start blogging.

    Mt. Everest Out of Ant Hills…Comments Please!

    By the way I am just showing off with my teeny tiny HTML knowledge above…
    🙂

    Have a great weekend y’all – It’s Friday evening here so I am off for a large glass of wine
    Jo@simplybeingmum recently posted No Waste Tastes Great – 18 Feb 2011

  9. Jo H. permalink

    I do not blog, but I DO like to join in the discussions on blogs I am interested in. I appreciate the time and thought that other people put into their blogs and also like to acknowledge that.

    If I think there is an important dimension to the post that hasn’t been mentioned, I usually comment. If a post is very engaging, well-written, humourous, moving or useful in my life, I will usually comment. If I feel another commenter has made an unjust or unfactual statement I may speak up if I feel it would be helpful. I think I basically just do what I would do in face-to-face conversation, but in writing instead.

    However, just like in face-to-face situations, if I feel I have nothing to offer, or am feeling tired or hurried or less sociable, I may not comment and it’s nothing to do with the post or the blogger. Fact is, there are a lot of blogs I find interesting, but there’s only so much time to spend on the internet. Sometimes there’s only time to read, not comment. That is unfortunate for the bloggers who have put the effort into their work.

    I have noticed that on some of the blogs I read regularly, some posts will elicit many more comments than usual, for example if a blogger holds a draw for a prize and in order to enter you need to leave a comment, even just your name. Does anyone know if there is an estimate of how many readers comment in general and what that might indicate about total readership (i.e. how many more readers there are who do not comment)? In the blogs I mentioned, I would guess that about a third of readers actually comment at any one time. But that’s based solely on my observation of usual versus exceptional numbers, and there are probably still readers out there who don’t comment even on those particular posts. Might be interesting to google that!

  10. Jo H. permalink

    Ack, I didn’t mean to write a book!

    And Gip, I truly appreciate that you reply to your commenters – thank you. That contributes so much to the feeling of community. That is what I feel distinguishes the blogs I enjoy – the sense of connection even though we may be in different parts of the country or continent or world.

    • I like long comments, and I appreciate all the points you made.

      I can’t imagine doing this without the feedback. I really can’t imagine what the point would be.

      Gip

  11. Anne Sales permalink

    You are right. The popularity of commenting is here to stay, I believe. It’s the only visible proof that a particular post is popular. On the other hand, some blogs won’t get as much attention as the others but you did what is right. You mentioned the other post here and made your readers aware of its existence. I see it has got comments now.
    Anne Sales recently posted Eleven2 Promotional Code

  12. deb Lifebeyondstuff permalink

    I’m just lurking around your blog because I’m linking to Jo’s guest post in my latest post and I saw that google have placed an ad for hairspray on your post about minimizing hair care. LOL

    • Thanks for lurking, Deb. It’s hard to imagine advertising hairspray. Could one brand really be that much different from another?
      Gip

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