Saturday, 27 February 2010

A Call to Commenters

Blue Eyes tweeted recently that "Nobody comments on my blog anymore". How can he say that?, I thought. After all, I visit pretty well every day, and I've appreciated & agreed with several of his recent posts. Like this one, this one, this one, and especially this one.

Then I thought for a moment. Whilst I had appreciated those posts, I hadn't actually commented on them. I hadn't left a comment. Blue Eyes was right. I hadn't even left a comment along the lines of the one Blue Eyes left here.

Why is this? Why do I read a post that I agree with, and then just move on? I think the reason is that I subconsciously think that a comment which just says "Yes, absolutely right, thanks" is not worth making. A comment without any real intellectual content is somehow pointless; I am, after all, adding nothing to the discussion.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Often, the posts here that attract a long string of comments are those where an early comment is made that disagrees with something that I said. Then, others wade in to disagree with the commenter and agree with the post, and a real discussion starts. But when there is nothing to argue with, it feels like there is nothing to comment on. The xkcd analysis as to what motivates us on the Internet is, as ever, spot on.

But I'm wrong in thinking this. Blue's quick comment on my EU post did indeed add something to the discussion. Specifically, it added some encouragement for me. So I'm going to try and change. I'm going to try and comment every time I appreciate a new post. Starting now (ulp!). I'll apologise right now in case the comments become dull and repetitive, but I hope they encourage everyone else just as Blue's comment encouraged me.

And while I'm apologising, I'll say sorry for not commenting on any of these posts by Stuart Sharpe, these ones from Raedwald, or these from Dungeekin, or endless ones by JuliaM (who blogs too fast for me to keep up!), all of which were appreciated.


  1. Good post P.R totaly agree.

    Ahhh... was that enough? :-)

    Aye. I have noticed for a while that the comments get tied up into making comments about the comments, rather than about the origional post.

    I must take a look back at my own posts to see if I am doing it.

  2. On some forums, appreciation is shown in the most banal form imaginable:


  3. I've seen comments that are just smilies!

  4. XX Why is this? Why do I read a post that I agree with, and then just move on? XX

    Because we are all of the same mind, and all visit the same bloggs, and have seen any answer we could give on all the other Blogg sites, which tend to pick up the same story en masse?

    Take the recent Captain Queeg Brown story. EVERY blogg site was covering it. Nothing more could be said that had not been said elsewhere, or many times, in different words, on the same site.

    Perhaps bloggers themselves are to blame for all being too damn similar in Weltanschauung, and their readers as well.

    When I accidentaly stumble upon some commy shite propoganda blogg, I normally have PLENTY to say about their topic, because I am virtualy the only one saying it, therfore my view is fresh, if not immediately "edited" by the bastard Stalinists in "charge".

    I think it was "New Centurions" or "The choir boys" by Joseph Wambaugh who said "If you want thanks for the job you do, join the fire brigade". Perhaps Blogging is the same?

  5. Good point. Maybe the way round it is to show ongoing appreciation by means of a permanent blogroll link. On that basis, please take appreciation for the above posting on alcohol as read.

  6. I think you're right - certainly I don't comment enough. Though I'm trying to do better.

    I agree with Cazzy Jones though - if I think someone is consistently worth reading, I tend to add them to my Blogroll as well.


  7. I don't comment enough either, probably because I read, nod my head in agreement, and don't realise nobody's looking!

  8. General agreement, then. And a reminder to me to update my blogroll!

    I'm still trying to comment (in some form) on posts that I appreciate. a mere "+1" does indeed seem a little banal, though I may resort to it. Especially for Blue Eyes, if I get the chance.

    I think Mrs R* may have hit the nail on the head, though!

    (*Welcome, by the way!)

  9. Kind of you to say so, but in reality I'm more likely to hit my thumb.

  10. Ow. Try shouting loudly, then running wildly around the room waving your hand in the air and cursing.

    Helps for me, anyway.... :-)

  11. I have one of those punch bags they use to train kick boxers hanging in the cellar for such occassions.

  12. Which kind of proves Patentlys point about commenting on posts rather than the main subject.