Commenting policy

WordPress is like a huge park, full of people holding conversations, or talking to themselves. There are 54m blog posts a month, 21.2bn page views, and only 52.3m comments. Given that some posts have over a hundred comments, most posts have none at all.

I want to be read. I am posting more on trans issues because my largest referrer is T-Central, which links to trans blogs. We have an extreme experience yet address universal themes- the tension between being your authentic self and fitting in. But people from there rarely comment, and commenting builds relationships. I would like to be The Blogger, with hundreds of comments, but it does not fit what I do here: I write of who I am, and what I love.

I used to comment a lot on homophobic blogs. Some idiot interprets the Bible to say God hates gay people, I would tell him/her to repent.

Ask you what provocation I have had?
The strong antipathy of Good to Bad.

I wanted them to hear the truth, though they would deny it. I wanted to expunge the last vestiges of homophobia in myself: at one point I thought they were right. I used them to inoculate myself: I would never take such silliness seriously again. And I got clear in my own mind how to express what I felt. It was like wandering through the park and finding a lonely fool on a soap-box, shouting at nobody: I would heckle them. It felt good. But been there, done that.

My comment policy is, “Don’t bore me”. I edit some comments to deride the commenter, but only if I loathe or despise them. I thought of having a Comments Bin page, keeping comments I do not want on a post, but have not had any so bad since. Generally I leave comments, however I find them- readers may judge for themselves; rarely do they insult my other commenters, and never so that I feel the need to intervene. I would, if I felt they could not look after themselves.

Now, commenting, I wander through the park, seeing what people are talking about. If I listen in on a conversation, it seems courteous to say so, perhaps add something. Then I wander off to hear something else. But I really like blogging buddies, a small group of bloggers seeing each other on several blogs.

It perplexes me when people follow. I have 1200 followers, who can see only the first few words of a post unless they visit, yet a post might have only thirty views. I am doing the Commenting Bootcamp in hope of making blogging buddies.

Why do you follow other blogs?

Giorgione, The Three Philosophers

34 thoughts on “Commenting policy

  1. Why do I follow? It’s one of several reasons:

    I find the topics the blogger typically writes about are of interest to me. They promote views I broadly support or am empathetic to.
    The blogger discusses topics I feel strongly about. I follow in approximately equal numbers those I agree strongly with and those I disagree strongly with.
    I follow a few for no better reason than to be able to say to myself: thank goodness I’m better than that. In other words I use them to stroke my ego.
    Those that pique my curiosity.

    I simply don’t have the time to read every blog I follow, but where the title or first few lines show promise, I will read. Of course there’s a few I feel have become buddies, and I read them regardless. They are also the ones I’m more likely to like or comment on.

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  2. In the spirit of your post I’ll respond πŸ˜€ I don’t follow that many at the moment because I’ve only been at this for 2 weeks but I follow blogs for one of two reasons. They write about something I have an interest in. Or the blogger is a good enough writer that it’s entertaining regardless.
    When it comes to commenting, I used to comment on the blogs that pissed me off (like the homophobic ones) but I realised that all it does is piss me off more so I stopped. Trying to fight idiocy is like that Greek guy with the Boulder (or was he Roman?) you’ll push forever and never get anywhere. So because of that I stopped. I also stopped watching the news and things like that because all it does is upset me as opposed to inform me.
    I stopped commenting a lot (and even stopped blogging for years. My current blog is only 2 weeks old) because of this. I’ve put myself of the commenting boot camp to encourage myself to reach out to other bloggers.
    I get what you’re saying about the blogs with hundreds of comments versus the ones with none and it is a shame. You get such a better interaction with the smaller blogs, when your comment isn’t lost in the ether!
    Although recently I did get a YouTube comment responded to on the Outside Xbox channel which was nice to have.

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    • Welcome, Luke. Thank you for commenting, and welcome back to blogging. Sisyphus was the Greek guy- a lot of those Greeks became Roman, but I don’t think he did. He was a king who did not want to die, so he kidnapped a God.

      Anyway, it is good to chat. Imagine a pub where everyone is talking to themself.

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  3. I like to wear my rose coloured glasses through life, I don’t have time for negativity so I rarely comment on blogs I disagree with. I subscribe to the philosophy of Thumper’s mum from Bambi. If you ain’t got nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all.
    I follow blogs fairly randomly, but mostly the writer has a unique wold view. I do follow quite a few blogs similar to mine (focus on grief, loss, more recently healing) but it can get a bit heavy so I also follow a few people I find funny. And with all that reading, I also like to mix in a few that are more visual in nature.
    I am guilty of “liking” lots of posts but not commenting often… hence commenting boot camp πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome, Kiri. It is lovely to have you here. Healing is the thing. It is the human tendency.

      The negativity was not all bad- I met and followed several people who had gone in to take down the same homophobe- a difficult task when the homophobe imagines s/he is Fighting for God.

      I always put in a picture. I get free ones from Wikimedia Commons, and explore artists I hear about on the television. This is The Three Philosophers by Giorgione- how appropriate, for a comments thread!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I came here from the Commons and I am glad I clicked on your link: your blog is really cool! (And I am following you now).

    I admit I am guilty of rarely commenting on blogs I follow and this is for 3 main reasons:

    1) I love to read posts, but I am too shy and insecure to comment. Often, I don’t feel like I know enough or understand enough of a problem to just chime in and say what I think, and anything I would say wouldn’t really add to the conversation, so I just do the equivalent of “sitting and listening”, and try to show support using the “like button”.

    2) I follow many blogs but I don’t always have time to read all of them, so often I look at the title and excerpt, only pick the ones that catch my attention (or are related to events happening right now, so it makes sense to read them immediately), and leave the others for when I have more time. This might make me look like a lurker, I realise now, because I end up reading and liking old posts… especially because of point 1). Ah, well.

    3) Basically everything that @Kiri said. I don’t comment if I disagree with something, because I am not good with conflict and prefer to avoid negativity (unless what I am reading is outrageusly offensive and is hurting other people).

    I follow many art blogs and I find it easier to comment on those, because it is so much simpler for me to find the right words to express how much I appreciate a painting or a photo, than it is to offer in depth, constructive comments on a personal post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Melyanna. Welcome.

      A use for the negativity: it helps to know that sometimes it does not matter what other people think. You can be yourself, with your tastes and qualities, and be entirely yourself. If others tell you what to think and feel, you can judge for yourself what value that has for you.

      I picked that picture for people talking, and now see the man staring into the cave. Plato pictured people coming out of the cave into the Sun- is he thinking of going back, or leading people out? Or something else? (Rhetorical questions, my own speculation.)

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      • Hi Clare, and thank you so much for your reply.
        You have a good point about negativity (and turning it into something postive): definitely a point I need to work on to grow as a person.

        A funny coincidence: Melyanna is my internet nickname, of course. My name is Chiara (pronounced Keeh-ah-rah, it’s Italian), so we kind of have two versions of the same name.

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  5. I have to say that I am a litte afraid of offending anyone, so those I wholeheartedly disagree with I tend not to comment, nor follow. Kinda weid, really, as I have been known to pick my fair share of fights on facebook with anti-vaxxers, quacks, homophobs, conspiracy theorists and others expressing things I find completely idiotic.

    Those I do follow, write about something that interests me in some way. My comments have a tendency to be very “blah”, not personal, not meaningful, no nothing. Just niceties like, “great pics” or “funny post”. And that is why I am in the Commenting Bootcamp πŸ™‚ (and not “Commando Commenting” as I told my hubby that I had signed up for giggles )

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  6. To be honest as now I follow most of the blogs that I come across. Then form the reader updates I read the new posts from followed blogs that catches my interest. I believe in philosophy that if I follow others blog they will follow mine too. Similarly in response to meaningful comments by me I will get other bloggers interset to visit my blog.

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    • Welcome, Megha. Thank you for following.

      There’s the thing, though. I tend to follow if I feel I am going to commit to reading. Possibly I could follow a lot more blogs for a bit- if it did not work out, I can always unfollow. I had one person I commented on hers, she commented on mine, and it became stilted- I was doing it out of a sense of obligation, I think she was too, and then we fell out. I have met a lot of bloggers I really like, who blog for a bit then find something else to do. Come back, Mindy, Questrix, Elemental Profundity! And I have a few I love now- I follow when I really like what they write, and want to engage over months or years.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good policy πŸ˜€ I don’t always comment as commenting requires “commitment” of sorts and not always am I so inclined. I read blogs that I like topics or interest me. Articles usually activate thoughts etc and I like that…

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    • You are my most consistent commenter. You challenge and reassure me, you say wise things, you bless me. You enrich me. I am so glad to have you here.

      And I know far more of Croatia that I otherwise would. Which top politicians can I name? France, Germany, Australia, the US- and Croatia, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a interesting thread. Commenting is one of the most interesting and most angst creating things about my blogging experience. I wouldn’t edit a comment I didn’t like, but I would never publish anything I didn’t want on my blog and that includes approving comments. I do understand the temptation of a comments bin. I once thought of keeping an insults book (marketing people tend to attract excellent, often quite accidental insults, no matter what they do). My idea was that I would feel more pleasure at getting a really good insult for my collection, but I found it didn’t work like that.

    I was taken aback when I started blogging to find I was highly reluctant to comment. I’m happy to talk to strangers, so couldn’t understand it. I’ve thought about it and once wrote a rambling post about the art of commenting which generated a lot of comments but I still can’t practice what I preach. I’ve come to believe the ‘rules’ of online comments are very different to those of normal conversation. I also seem to give more weight to the written word than the spoken one.

    My flower pictures generate comments – usually nice ones – and even when I do write about a serious subject where not everyone will agree with me, I’ve been lucky that the comments have been manageable. I read every comment, ponder many of them, and try to reply to most substantive comments left on my blog with something substantive. I see many regular commenters as friends, but I still have to steel myself to reply if an answer doesn’t immediately spring to mind. I have gradually got more comfortable and I hope nobody who ‘knows’ me online will believe I have any angst about this or put off answering them as if they were a chore.

    I have almost never replied to comments left on pages. I feel bad about this but I didn’t expect comments on pages at first and quite a few have gathered there over time. Now I don’t know whether to start replying (in most cases the answer would be a months old ‘thank you’, which would be both weird and boring) or just continue to leave that bit. Perhaps I need to write a commenting policy. I suppose we can’t get everything right and it definitely takes time to settle in.

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    • Welcome, Susurus. Mmm. Marketing, you must be good at talking to new people- yet you will always have a professional subject to talk of, and a role. As an amateur blogger- unless you want a thousand views a day and to begin to make money from advertising- the role is more difficult.

      I get comments on pages when someone is commenting on the whole blog, rather than one post. If I comment on a blog I have not read before, I am a little peeved by a “like”, I want a response. If a commenter replies to my reply to her/him, I usually let them have the last word. But these are things that feel right to me. I like responding, and generally it seems respectful to give a moment to think up a reply. I used to object to comments that were just “Great post!” or the like, but they have their place.

      One commenter irritated me so much that I deleted her whole comment, leaving only the gravatar, and replaced it with a grovelling apology, then the words “No, she didn’t say that but she should have done”. But that is someone whose entire blog, whose only subject she blogs about, is how trans women like me are sexual perverts. Sadly she is not alone.

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      • You would think so wouldn’t you? That’s what makes it so weird. My blog is personal, not commercial. It’s quite different to represent a company and bare your own soul, even just a little bit, especially if you are quite a private person.

        I admire what you’re doing here. We often think we’re alone with whatever experiences life gives us, and blogs that face issues head on are really important to share ideas and show us we are not alone. It must be much harder to have to deal with people who are unkind. I have set my blog to hold the first comment from each new person until I approve it. I usually approve pretty quickly, assuming I’m online.

        I think the idea of not replying to comments on pages started off with inexperience – I didn’t know that was what people would do. Then I felt it was wrong to reply to some when I hadn’t replied to others. I’m not defending it as right – just explaining.

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        • ❀ Thank you. That is what I attempt, here. It is lovely to be appreciated. ❀

          And- don’t judge yourself too harshly. You can start replying now, to new comments on pages. If someone judges you, it only matters if you feel the judgment is right; and you are allowed to be inconsistent. Only people who are inerrant can be consistent!

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          • I’m taking your advice. I have altered things around slightly so the about page is the only page with comments enabled. I will answer those from now on. Thank you for your wise words. πŸ™‚

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  9. Hello Clare,

    I noticed that virtually all of the comments so far on this post are from WordPress bloggers. WordPress makes it relatively difficult for non-Wordpress bloggers to file comments. You have to give your email, name and it also asks for a website. I’ve never tried not filling all of this in but you really have to want to comment on a WordPress blog if you’re not a WordPress blogger. Perhaps the same can be said for Blogger. I’m not sure what Blogger asks non-Blogger commenters for when they file comments. Also, once you file the comment on WordPress, if you want to follow the comments, you must return an email asking for confirmation. If you’re in a hurry, reading blogs at lunch or before work, it just makes you sometimes just pass on filing a comment.

    In looking at the blogs listed on T-Central, it appears that the larger percentage of them are Blogger blogs, as is the case with my own personal (and long neglected) blog.

    I’m not at all complaining about WordPress. It’s a wonderful forum for bloggers, as is Blogger. Just an observation as to why you may not be receiving as many comments from T-Central readers.

    Now, off to file my email address, name, blogsite, and then to respond to the email asking me if I want to follow comments.

    Love your blog, Girl!

    Calie xxx

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    • ❀

      Blogspot offers the chance to comment as google plus or wordpress. A couple of times I have written a comment, entered my wordpress moniker, and my comment just disappears. This is frustrating. We should press them to merge!

      I don’t think you have to put in a website here, but it means that there is a link from your comment to your site.

      I had been thinking of offering a guest post, because I want you to get search hits: I see Google’s point, that T-Central is mostly links, but the links are useful and you provide a valuable service and you should be top of many searches. My guest post would be on growing up Christian and how that has affected coming to terms with being trans. Would you like that?

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      • Yes, a guest post from Clare would be wonderful! If you look on the right side of the T-Central home page, down a ways, you will see a list of the most read posts. Nearly all of these are guest blogs from a long series of posts that we called “Thoughts and Reflections”. Take a look at a few of those. Jenny, Halle and I are planning on featuring guest posts again, similar to the popular “Thoughts and Reflections” series from a few years ago.

        When I first began reading blogs, I was simply scared to death to file a comment. I was very stealth at the time and feared for my privacy. I also feared just saying something stupid. I finally filed a comment on a lovely Scottish girl’s blog. She has since become a longtime, good friend. I think many who read posts are afraid to comment for those reasons. Sad, because it’s a good way to may friends with the like-minded.

        I just looked at the last post I did on my Calie’s Chronicles (calietg.blogspot.com) blog. 1128 have read the post, but only 18 have commented. That’s fairly typical for my posts. Gee, I’m starting to think about writing again!

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  10. I follow blogs that resonate with me, and those I find that I can learn from. I also believe in community,so every opportunity to build a relationship I try to be involved. I comment when necessary, AND WOULD NEVER LEAVE A NEGATIVE REMARK ON SOMEONE’S POST,EVEN WHEN I DON’T AGREE WITH THEIR VIEWS.

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  11. I don’t follow that many blogs, only the ones that write about something that I connect with. I do wonder if sometimes reading a blog in the WordPress reader doesn’t always record as being read. But I don’t know. I’ve learned a lot from you through the years and I’m glad to see your readership continues to grow.

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    • Thank you.

      I don’t think the Reader records views at all, so I stop it from showing the whole post.

      If anyone sees this on the “Comments I’ve Made” page- this is Ray, whose thoughtful, expressive posts on ordinary life are very beautiful.

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