Monday Musings - Comments, Comments, Comments

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about blog comments

How do you respond to the comments on your blog?

Do you try to email individually or comment on post yourself answering the comments above?

What do you think is the best way to respond to comments and do you respond to all of them?

Do you feel slighted if you don't receive a response back from the blog owner?

This question is well timed. I've been giving this a lot of thought lately - thanks to the Pro-blogger 31 day Blog improvement challenge and Sophisticated Dorkiness Blog Improvement project. I love reading the blogs, but don't always find the time to comment. So, thanks to Reader found it easy to read a jillion blogs and zip through, look and move on. Was this satisfying? No.

When I first starting blogging, I was nervous about commenting on other people's blogs. Especially since I was just dropping in out of the blue. However, from my point of view, I really appreciated it when folks dropped by on me and commented. It's kind of like being an introvert at a party, sitting on an out of the way couch, people watching. No involvement and I could tell you every excuse in the book why: too busy, didn’t have anything to say, etc.

So, I starting commenting and have made some interesting ‘virtual’ friends. I did however overextend myself and found myself ‘following’ over 120 blogs and merely scanning the posts in the reader. I wasn't taking the time to respond to blogs and engage in conversation. It was not only dissatisfying, but overwhelming. I ruthlessly culled it down to 50 and made it more manageable. Now I have time to concentrate on posts and comment. If you noticed a follower suddenly disappear, that was probably me.

An interesting thought came to mind yesterday. A blog is like someone's home. When someone comes to your home, invited or uninvited, you welcome them with open arms and talk. Do they drop in, look around and leave again without saying a word. Do they come in, sit there quietly or explore your house without engaging with you. No. You engage in a conversation and get to know each other, then thank them for coming.

I'd rather be part of the the party, rather than sit on the sidelines watching. I'd rather engage in and encourage conversation, instead of just drop in and be a lookie lou. Problogger had some wonderful tips and I am going to start utilizing them.

My Personal Blog Rules of Etiquette

Answer every comment: To encourage conversation I've started answering all comments within the comment section. In the past, I've just visiting their blog in return and left a comment. From now on though, if you leave a comment, I will respond within the comments section. I really do appreciate it when people take not only the time to read my blog, but comment to. If you want to lurk, I understand perfectly. Just say Hi once in a while to let me know you are there.

Email new readers to thank them for visiting. Darren of Probloggers suggested this as a way to thank readers and encourage them to come back. I think that is an excellent idea and will do so in the future.

Visit commentors blog and leave a comment in return. I appreciate your time and love returning visits. I usually will subscribe to the post to follow up on responses.

The rules are a work in progress and will probably be adding more to it. What rules of etiquette do you have for your blog?


  1. Hey, Robin -- even though the award only asks for 2 "awardees", I'm going to give this award to you, too! (I know, you're not listed in the post I wrote, but that's because, like I said, it only asked for 2 names). But, you totally deserve this award, too, so definitely pick it up! You've been an awesome commenter at Should Be Reading -- very loyal! -- and I've soooo appreciated having you always stopping by, and/or leaving your thoughts. So, thank you! And, congratulations! :D

  2. Instead of responding to comments on my blog, I visit the commenters blog for commenting. I feel it is more interactive and works for me.

  3. wow, that sounds so well thought out and organized...I really need to think about my answers more before I
    I try to comments as much as is reasonable...usually several in one post to save time and I try to visit their blog and comment there too.I think that is much appreciated. i know I appreciate it!
    Google Reader is a blessing..and dangerous. It is too easy to overextend yourself and sort of lose track of the individual flavor of each blog...and then what is the point?

  4. So many blogs to read, so little time,right? I really wish I could get to every blog in my Reader, but if I did that I'd never get any book reading done!

  5. I follow a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I try to answer each and every one because I do appreciate the time people spend reading my blog. However, it doesn't allow me much time to visit others.
    The blogging etiquette rules are a good idea and pretty much the same thing I try to do now.
    Nice Post!

  6. Great set of rules. I used to be better about following through on new visitors, I really need to pick that up again. Nice post.

  7. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic. The rules you set for yourself are very good and I always try to email someone new and to let them know that I appreciated their comment and taking the time to read my blog.

  8. MizB - Wow! Thank you so much, I really appreciate that and will be by soon to pick it up. You just made my day.


    Guatami - I know. We each have our own methods that work the best for us. Thanks for visiting.

    Caite - Yes, I agree Reader is both a blessing and dangerous. Working on utilizing it better.

    J.S. - I know, I wish I had more time. I've had to cut back as it is.

    Jenny Girl. Hi, Welcome to my blog. I think we are all trying to find the happy medium that will work for us.

    Thanks Beth and Staci,
    Now I better practice what I preach and start visiting. :)

  9. Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing your views! I look forward to getting to "know" you better.

  10. I really liked your take on this question! I pretty much feel the same way ... except I don't go back to read replies in comment sections (so you don't have to leave on for me on this post!). I agree that it is being a good "hostess" to respond to new visitors and pay them a visit in return. But I do think it can get too much to try and visit everyone who visits you once your blog grows! I keep cutting blogs to keep it reasonable but then it creeps up again. Great post.

  11. It's interesting, isn't it, the comment thing. I like getting comments, but not all comments are equal. Sometimes with the memes with huge participation the comments aren't thoughtful, but more out of a sense of obligation. I like the thoughtful kind better. (BTW, yours fall into that category.)

    I try to leave comments on the blogs I read, but I can't always think of a response... It's hard to put a vigorous nod into writing, for instance. :-)

  12. Like your thoughts about a blog being like someone's home. When I visit, I leave a comment.

  13. I pondered at this question a lot when I was an inchoate blogger. I wish to be able to reply to all the comments, given that the comments are open-ended. I also want to acknowledge all my readers and not to make them feel they are ignored. The etiquette of dealing with comments also lead to a bigger question of when and how to link a blog. Anyway, I appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts on my blog. :)

  14. My comment policy is pretty much constantly changing. I try to respond as much as possible and definitely visit new commenters or subscribe to the blogs of regular commenters.

  15. I always comment on other's comments on my blog (in the comments section). I always visit those who commented on my blog who are new. And I usually follow everybody who follows me. That means I follow ALOT of blog. Almost 180 now. I'm glad I have time to visit all of them. Some of them I lurk and don't comment every day, but most of them I try.

    It is getting a little overwhelming, though, so I think I might have to cut back a little. You have such a good point about following what you can handle.

    And awesome idea to email those who visit! Thanks for an awesome post!

  16. I admire that you are willing to answer all comments! I'm still struggling on what to do. As long as time allows, I'll continue to try to answer, but when it's time to do other "life things," I'll just have to call it a day.

    I appreciate your visit! And, I like the look of your site ... am looking forward to dropping in on you again another day.

  17. Robin,

    I reply in the comments section to all comments that I approve. My biggest challenge is determining which comments to approve because the spammers are getting smarter and leaving comments that at first glance seem real. As a Do-Follow blogger, I get a lot of comments and a ton of spam.

    I generally don't approve comments that are just "great post" or the equivalent; however, I recognize that sometimes that's all I can come up with comment on someone else's post so I'll accept those comments in some cases, especially from people who have visited before.

    I visit each commenter's blog to be sure it's not porn, etc. Though I comment when I have something to say, I don't comment if the subject I have no interest in.

    I do thank all my commenters monthly.

    I strongly encourage people to use real names rather than keywords, but if the comment is legitimate, I will approve a comment written by a keyword.

    My comments policy is spelled out on my blog.

    I subscribe to a lot of blogs and comment when I feel I have something to contribute. I don't comment just for the sake of commenting. I like to read follow-ups and subscribe to comments whenever a blog offers that option but don't make an effort to go back and see if the blogger responded to comments when they don't offer subscriptions to comments.

    Lillie Ammann
    A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye

  18. Such a small thing to ask, yet the answer tells us so much, doesn't it? I really like how you describe one's blog as one's home. It really is, isn't it?

    I do agree with Lillie, though, about commenting only when I feel I have something to contribute. Sometimes that may be just to pass on congratulations, or a hug. Or just letting people know they've got me interested in a book. (After all, isn't that part of why we share reviews with people? I'd love to know when something I say inspires someone to look into a writer or author.)

    But what 'something to contribute' is may well be subjective. I do always try to check back on comments (although I bookmark the page rather than subscribe to entries. It amounts to the same.), especially when they're comments like this which are more likely to lead to a (short) discussion with a person.

    Comments are strange things on blogs like these. ^-^

  19. Thank you everybody. After reading all the mm posts yesterday, I realized since I get email notification of comments, I could reply to comments that way as well. The thought hadn't occurred to me. I thought it was just notifying me. DUH!

    Lillie - I agree, you don't comment just for the sake of commenting but to contribute to the conversation. I can understand why you may not approve "just great" comments since you probably get quite a few. I have a tendency to do that when I can't think of something to say or am in a hurry. That's why I'm trying to slow down a bit with my blog reading. Gives me more time and ability to make meaningful contributions.

    I don't have to deal with a lot of spam on this blog, but have gotten some on 52 books. Always delete them.

    Whereas Porn is your thorn, swearing is mine. If I go into a site and they either have swearing in the header or they use "f" or "s" in their posts, I'll never go back to that site again. I find it offensive.

    Thanks everybody for your wonderful comments. And thanks Jenn for coming up with the question.


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