04 August 2007

Getting all meta on you

Some questions - and I would love to have your answers, too:

Do you read blogs that don't allow comments?
I don't, usually. Dooce is an exception. For me, it is a huge step backward in communications - it takes me back to the days of reading great columnists in newspapers. They would inform, inspire or madden me and then I would have to write a letter and mail it if I wanted to say something back to them. I am kind of done with one-way conversations.

What do you do if you leave comment after comment on a blog and they never respond or reciprocate in any way?
I am probably more guilty of this than I like to admit. There are so many blogs in my reader that I am kind of reluctant to add more, so it might take me a while to get over to a new commenter's blog.

But conversely, if I am one of less than 10 readers a blogger has, I can get pretty cranky if they don't ever reply or comment on my blog. I'm all "Dude! How self-centered can you BE??" And then I delete them. Because I am self-centered, too.

WTF is wrong with your google feed, Suebob??
I don't know and I wish I did. I had a word with them at BlogHer, and they promise they will get back to me in a week or so.

I love that they told me earnestly "You need to click the box to enable feeds." I am no computer genius, but even a dumbass like me can figure that one out.

I almost started shouting "I was writing CODE when you were a FETUS," but then I remembered what kind of code I used to write, and I thought I had not better go there. Let's just say it was enough to earn me a C in Computer Science in the 1970's, back when they were handing out Bs just for showing up and not being too stoned in class.

Proof that I actually worked at BlogHer


Working Girl said...

Hi Suebob,

I do read two blogs which don't allow comments. One is Dooce. The other is a sort of occasionally funny but usually meanspirited blog that I read but I pretend that I don't. But I agree with you about the being done with one-sided conversations. And this applies to many other aspects of my life.

I am sometimes guilty of not responding to my own commenters. Not that I'm super busy here -- just super disorganized. I finally started keeping track of comments received and returned in a little notebook -- the hope is that I won't ever completely dis some kind soul who has read my blog.

I stumbled on to a beautiful post one day written by a pregnant mom with a toddler. She wrote eloquently about how isolated she was during her first labor and birth, about some of the conclusions to which that experience led her, her frustration about her perceived powerlessness to avoid that same isolation again...Anyway, I was moved to TEARS. I responded in the most supportive voice I had and gave her some tips to picking a health care provider, hospital...(I'm an L&D nurse.) She not only didn't respond in her own blog to my comment. She never commented on my blog. I'm pretty sure she never even visited my blog. Oh well. Maybe I overstepped.

I kinda felt like I was back in high school cateteria, trying to sit with the mean girls.

Unknown said...

I read only one or two blogs that don't allow comments. My problem is I read them in a reader and normally don't have time to leave comments. I'm trying to get better at this but I will only go so far before I forget what I'm doing and go back to CNN.com.

I don't mind so much if someone doesn't respond because I know that people are busy. And sometimes I don't respond to people so I just tag it as karma and go on about my day.


Anonymous said...

I don't read blogs that don't allow me to comment. I used to, but I hate not being able to respond...to me, that's the point. I also don't read blogs that only allow commenters that sign up to their particular commenting group - or Blogger users who only allow Blogger accounts to comment. Ugh.

If a new commenter posts on my blog, I always go check out their site. Sometimes I comment there, sometimes I don't. The way I see it, I'm not going to add another blog to my reader if their blog isn't my kind of read just because they're a reader of mine. And I usually give blogs a few chances before I give up on it totally.

Just for added measure...

I also don't comment on blogs that don't have their full posts in my feedreader. Except for Sweetney and, on occasion, Mom-101. I'll cave for them. :)

BetteJo said...

I actually haven't run across any blogs that don't allow comments, or maybe I read one or two and didn't feel the urge to comment so didn't notice.

I am fairly new to blogging and don't have a lot of expectations I suppose. I am aware that just because I like to read someone's blog - doesn't mean they would like to read mine, and that's okay.

I guess I should say - I don't generally leave a comment to get one in return. I like to let someone know I am reading though, only lurking kinda creeps me out!

ecogrrl said...

My life's been weird lately, so I'm here to apologize if I missed responding to your comments! (Picture me looking really embarrassed...'cause I am.)

Anonymous said...

Hrm. I guess I don't think too much about this whole thing.

- I read blogs that don't allow comments all the time, and quite honestly, I don't comment on about 90% of the blogs I read daily -- I get busy, I read them at work through a reader, and sometimes I just don't have that much to say other than "werd," so I don't say anything. I used to get really yanked out about comments and traffic and whatnot, but as we've discussed, I'm not all that ambitious about blogging, so I get enjoyment out of it, and that's about it.

One of my favorite blogs is Mimi Smartypants, who has none of the traditional trappings of a blog. I also read The Sarcastic Journalist, who doesn't allow comments, and many more.

I do not read Dooce, however, and I haven't for many months, in large part because of her comment policy. I actually really like her, but I find it offensive that she doesn't allow comments on any posts, but instead chooses to open them on her hate mail posts, for the sole fact that she wants the hate mailers to see how stupid they are by way of hundreds of people saying so and beating down the hate mailers. I find that just as offensive as the original hate mail. So in a way, comments have affected when or how I read a blog, but not in how you'd think.

- If people don't respond, I'm not offended. I don't respond to every comment or commenter all the time, but if someone comments to me, I *always* read their blog at least once, usually pretty regularly. My commenters are a pretty predictable group, though, so it's easy for me (a rotating group of 25 people or so). More than that, like someone like Amalah, then no, I don't think it's easy for her to reciprocate.

I guess the net/net is that I don't get too yanked out about this stuff. I am guilty at times of failing to respond to e-mails, blog comments and LOTS of things. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate it, it means that I am ... well, occasionally thoughtless and entirely absent-minded. So I usually assume the same of someone else.

However, this is a great example of someone I read daily (you), but don't always comment on (booo, jonna!). But when I'm moved to answer something? Holy shit, I can go on like nobody's business.

Anonymous said...

I think the only blog I read that doesn't allow comments is Mimi Smartypants; but I don't decide based on this.

If I left a ton of comments with no response -- I would definitely stop commenting, and maybe stop reading too. When I get a new commenter, I always try to go to their site and read a few posts and leave a comment in return. If I sense I'll enjoy the blog, I'll add it to my reader.

meno said...

1) No, i don't read any blogs that don't allow comments. It's all about the interaction.

2) I stop reading. I spend lots of time replying to my commenters. Repeat: It's all about the interaction.

3) Your google feed works for me. I am special.

Anonymous said...

Also to add: your feed works just fine for me on Google Reader. And to clarify re: Dooce, it's not *her* that turned me off, it's the commenters. If someone has commenters, I like to get to know them and their style - it makes me feel good to know that we're all in this readership together -- I've gotten to know some great bloggers through others' comments.

But when I only see the worst of them (and seeing groupthinky adults swarm over the bodies of dead hatemailers qualifies as the worst), that's when I feel oogy.

SUEB0B said...

Wow, thanks, everyone.

WorkingGirl - isn't it odd, when you feel like you worked hard to help someone or when you wrote a brilliant response...and nothing?

Chantel - yes, I read a lot of blogs through a reader and forget to comment for the same reason. Or I read in a place where I can't see the CAPTCHA image because of censorware (ahem) so I don't comment.

Chase - yeah, the truncated post thing drives me nuts too. I am pretty lazy. I don't even like the ones where it says "MORE" on the site and you have to click thru. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Bettejo - It always freaks me out how many lurkers I have!

Ecogrrl - How did you know? It IS all about you! (joking)

Jonna - I never thought about that with Dooce, but you're right, it is rather exploitative and mean-spirited. Of course, she has the most psycho emailers on earth, too.

Mayberry - I actually had one guy in mind. He was always talking about how socially inept he was, and how much he wanted to find a girlfriend, and I was one of his maybe 3 commenters, and I commented and encouraged and cheered him on because he was intelligent and funny...and nada. No comments back, never read my blog...I finally realized why he had no friends and no girlfriend.

Meno - that is even weirder. It works SOME of the time? This is going to give the google people fits.

Julie Marsh said...

Mimi Smartypants, absolutely. There aren't many sites that routinely make me laugh out loud, but hers is one.

I fluctuate between being a good blogizen (reciprocating comments) and a complete flake. I just hope that people won't hold it against me.

To Chase's point about the full RSS feed, I've starting publishing the full feed again. Screw Bitacle.

Stephanie said...

I don't have any trouble reading your feed in Google Reader. *Is* there a problem?

ecogrrl said...

Damn it, I knew it! This is all because I missed BlogHer... ;)

TaraMetBlog said...

I agree with your first response. I don't like reading blogs that don't allow comments, because that makes them a website not a blog. A blog is supposed to prompt discussion after all and be interactive.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the idea of doing something with a certain response in mind. When I comment, it's because I have something to say. Not because I expect anything in return.

That said, I rarely comment on other blogs, so I'm sure I piss off the comment martyrs all the time. But Mimi Smartypants once called the idea of obligatory reciprocal commenting one big circle jerk, and I have to say I agree with her. When I have something to say, I do comment or reply to a comment, but other than that, I'm not going to comment/reply just for the sake of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm just saying hi. It's the middle of the night (well, early middle) and I should be in bed. I really enjoyed your anti-W rant, your BlogHer reflections, your Flickr set...You've inspired me to pack the Beefeater for my upcoming high school reunion.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually read blogs that don't allow for comments. I love hearing what everyone else has to say, even if I'm too shy to leave my thoughts. Generally, it takes me twenty minutes to write a comment (I have to re-write and edit it at least a dozen times) and then I either give up without posting or post it and feel dumb for saying what I did. I think I have some weird issues.

On both blogs I've had, I've tried to respond as soon as I can. However, if a reader leaves two or more comments in the span of about 15 minutes, I tend to pick one and reply to it, rather than writing a sentence or two for everything. And then I feel guilty for not responding to the other comment also.

I don't understand how this whole feed thing works, so I'm really not sure what's up with your google feed! But it makes me think of that Oatmeal Crisp commercial where the father has added a G to the box, so it says Goatmeal Crisp, and says "strap on the feed bag, Billy" to his son.

Working Girl said...

It would have been really funny, Suebob, if you had totally ignored all these comments.

Christina said...

I read Dooce, but I don't think there are any other closed comment blogs I read. Not because I don't like them - I just don't come across many.

I try to always check out the blogs of those who visit mine. I'm not always good about commenting - unless I feel I have something to add to the conversation, I often won't comment. I've also got to deal with the baby now - I can still read blogs with a mouse click, but typing comments one handed is really hard. But I also don't worry if those I read don't comment on my site, either.

One tip for everyone - if you want someone to respond to you, it helps to make sure your e-mail address is visible in your profile, or easily found on your blog. I've had many times that I wanted to respond to a comment privately via e-mail, but couldn't because no e-mail was available.

Anonymous said...

Following on Schnozz's comment, I'll add that it kind of makes me sad that comments are a sort of game -- that people only comment to me to get something back. It's a strange currency, that, and while I love the interaction, I don't like seeing it as a sort of obligation on either side.

And this discussion kind of sums up what makes me sad about blogging. I LOVE to blog, and I love the people I've met, and the cathartic release I get from writing every day-ish. I would hate to turn it into anything beyond that, and by thinking about comments or what I expect in return from other people too much, it becomes infinitely less pleasurable, and more job-like.

And to think that others expect something of me as a reader, well, that kind of makes me sad, too.

I've always been a little turned off about the ambition side of blogging for that reason. It takes away from the genuine nature of the interaction.

Anonymous said...

And finally (oh my God, I will shut up eventually), I'll say the same is true of links. I hate that links have become some kind of political hotbed. My link list is bloggers I read and love, period, and I love reading others' link lists for the same reason. I hate that link lists have gone the way of the dinosaur because they upset people. Whaaa?

I don't have anyone on my link list out of any sense of obligation, and I don't feel bad if I link to someone and they don't link to me. Why has this become such an issue for some people?

SUEB0B said...

I think the commenting back and forth is merely the electronic version of polite conversational noises ("Mmm-hmm" "Yeah" "Sure" "What??"). We all like to be reassured that our communications are being received.

I had an exBF that DIDN'T make those polite conversational noises. He would just sit there, blank-faced, as I talked. It was most disconcerting. I suppose lurkers and non-responders irk me in the same way.

As far as the link list goes, mine is hopelessly (like a year) out of date, so I hope no one is offended. This is MY blog and I will add people when and if I feel like it.

Mom101 said...

Good questions!

*I read what interests me. Some blogs don't require much discussion - like the gossip blogs or design blogs- or sometimes I'm fulfilled just reading and not participating.

In fact we closed comments on Cool Mom Picks early on because it was unproductive; mostly people saying "Pah! I could make that for free!" and considering we're trying to support small businesses, it was uncomfortable to think of a reviewee reading that and feeling bad. We try to make our emails prominent though so that people know we're open to feedback.

*I try to get to all new commenters' blogs at least once, but some fall through the cracks on days I get a lot of comments. But I do remember early on, commenting a few times on blogs I loved with no commenters, never hearing back and thinking that they hated me or it was somehow personal. I try to keep that in mind. But still, there's only so much time I have in a day (ie none).

I get more excited when I find that my readers start their own communities after connecting in my comments. That's probably more fulfilling for them and I get to feel like a matchmaker.

*Yeah, damn you! It's so frustrating not getting your feed. I've tried like a million times to fix it so I'm glad it's not me.

Mom101 said...



Some people were publishing my posts without permission on those fake blogs so I stopped publishing full feeds. Sorry 'bout that lazy readers!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Hmmm, interesting.

- I read a few blogs that don't allow comments (like Dooce) but not many. I like the back and forth, the give and take, but to that point...

- I don't always comment on the blogs of people who have left a comment on mine. I do try to visit each one of their blogs but I don't like to leave random comments that don't have any thought behind them. If I don't connect in any way to the post then I don't leave a comment. But I'm there and I'm reading.

- I pick up your feed through bloglines. No problem there.

Anonymous said...

I am really bad at responding to comments. I don't get them emailed to me, and then I feel like if I respond in the comments and miss people the people I miss will feel singled out.

I go through periods where I feel like commenting on lots of posts I read and then times where I feel like I have nothing to add to the dialog.

And it really would have bee funny if you ignored all the comments on this post.

Anonymous said...

I try to respond by commenting on blogs. Sometimes I respond by e-mail, though not often. People who never EVER pause to check me out at all and who stay inside their own circle of conceit? They bug me.

Dawn said...

I can't think of any that I read that don't allow comments.

I turned them off for two days on TWC cause I was feeling moody and irritable.

And I TRY, I honestly TRY to read any new commenters.

I get your feed at Bloglines just fine....

And oh, did I laugh at the whole "I'm not a W type of gal".

I wish I was, I honestly do----but I don't think I am either. It was the "pay per coffee" thing that sent me over the edge.

That and the stepfordish swede waitress.

Anonymous said...

I'm always surprised when I get comments. I sort of forget that a few people actually read my blog. I try to reply to comments if there is anything reply-able, though, because I really do appreciate them.

I think the only blog I read that doesn't allow comments is Dooce, but I'm not sure.

Your Google feed is working fine for me, BTW.

Anonymous said...

I read very few blogs, but the ones I do read, I read to chat with the bloggers. It's all about the contact.

Anonymous said...

One thing that worries me about having blog buddies is that some people seem to confuse them with real buddies. If I connect with someone in cyberspace, that's a cyberpal: not entirely real. I meet my friends. Now, with BlogHer, one's cyberfriends could become real friends, but until one sits close and sees and hears their voice, it's all a little make-believe to me. There's just too much opportunity for projecting and delusion in this cyberformat.

Anonymous said...

I used to feel a little weird when I'd leave a comment on a blog and then never hear anything from that blogger. I thought about just not leaving comments, or waiting until I felt like I knew more about that person. Then I decided I didn't care. I don't have any problem introducing myself to people in person or having a little chit chat to get to know someone... so what purpose would it serve to keep my comments to myself? Granted, most of my comments don't serve much of a purpose at all, but what harm is there in showing up once in awhile to let someone know you were there?

Major Bedhead said...


I don't think I've ever read a blog that never allows comments. I don't read Dooce - I have enough poop in my life, thanks - and everyone else I read usually allows comments. On the odd occasion they don't, I don't sweat it because I know it's not a normal thing.

I try to respond if someone new leaves a comment on my blog. I'm usually so chuffed to get a new reader that I usually add them after perusing their blog. But if I comment regularly on someone's blog and she/he (although usually she) doesn't respond on mine, I don't get too worked up about it. I'd like to have more readers, but it's not making me lose any sleep.

LoriHC said...

I do read a few blogs that don't allow comments (Dooce, Mimi Smartypants, and my friend Val's blog, which she uploads manually to the Brown CS server after generating the pages locally in Movable Type). I rarely mind that Dooce doesn't allow comments (if I really have something I want to tell her, I send her an e-mail directly), and I almost never think to comment on a Mimi post. The fact that Val's site doesn't have comments (it can't) drives me insane, though. Usually I try to save up all my comments and stick them in an e-mail every few days. :)

Regarding responding to people who comment on my blog, I usually e-mail them back directly (and sometimes post my reply in the comments so others can see it, too). If it's someone whose blog I read regularly and the comment doesn't need a specific reply, I hold my end up by reading and commenting on that person's blog. There are one or two commenters who come regularly and post such random thoughts that they look like spam comments at first glance (except that they contain no URLs), and so responding to them moves down the priority list. Ironically, these are the readers who are most offended when I don't reply -- and they seem to think I *need* them as readers, and that taking their eyeballs elsewhere would be a major rebuke to me. As I've said before, I'd write whether anyone was reading or not, so if such a person thinks I'm snobby or rude, they can remove me from their RSS reader. I have no desire to be Dooce.

LoriHC said...

P.S. I also wanted to say that I agree with Chase: I won't add a blog to my RSS reader just because that writer reads my blog. The blog has to be one I'd read anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think about this sometimes - and want to make sure that I only comment when I really have something to say, not only because I'm hopeful someone will return the favor. If I lvoe a post I'm not sure that "I love your post" is a valid comment. If I think it's an excellent or ridiculous point, or if it's incredibly well-written, or just touches me in some way, then I respond. Sometimes I think I should just comment so that others will come to me and comment, but I just can't do it.

NotAMeanGirl said...

First, I'd like to say I find this conversation FASCINATING.


::hangs head in shame:: I'm guilty of not responding to comments left on my blog. I didn't realize I was supposed to. When I read a blog I go to it daily... once a day. I never go back to see if anyone has responded to a comment I made. I... have no words.

Finally, if I comment on your blog its because you touched me somehow. You either made me laugh, cry or think. I don't expect any reciprocation or response. Now, if you WANT to respond to me great! I'd love to have a conversation with you outside your blog if you feel my comment is worth that. However, if that's not the case, no harm no foul.

We're all busy people. Blogs are a way for us to reach out and be heard. They shouldn't be a popularity contest. ::shutting up::

Sorry if this offends anyone. I'm just kind of shocked that this sort of stuff is expected. What the hell happened to my rock? eh? ::Crawls back under::

Anonymous said...

I only read a very few blogs that don't accept comments. It just isn't nearly as fun.

I don't care if people resopond to my comments or if they come visit me and "comment me back" after I've commented. I used to, but I don't anymore. I can't even remember who I comment on anyway. (I'm not that bright.)

Yeah, and what the hell is wrong with your reader? I thought you were onvacation or something.

SUEB0B said...

Wow. Thanks for all the comments on comments.

Now I am even more confused about Google Reader, since it works for some people and not for others. Yikes. Now I'll NEVER be famous. Sniff.

Anonymous said...

Is it too late to comment about the comments? My problem is that I'm usually behind on blog reading & commenting too late. I don't get offended if there's no response - but if it's a pattern, I do start to wonder whether I'm offending the blogger and usually stop commenting there so as not to feel like a blog stalker.

Namito said...

How late is this? How many unwritten rules am I breaking by this grossly late entrance on to the scene, after all and sundry have moved on?

What the hell. Answers:

1. Not very often, truth be told. I like reading comments. Sometimes I even like leaving comments. And sometimes, like now...I just feel like I HAVE to leave a comment. I like having the option.

2. Nothing. Should I?

3. What's a google feed? KIDDING!

sort of.

OhTheJoys said...

I love this post.

"I was writing CODE when you were a FETUS," made me die laughing.

And comments well... lord love 'em.

leahpeah said...

wow, great discussion. i read every comment someone leaves on my site and i almost always go and check out their blogs. exceptions would be if i literally don't have the time. i enjoy reading new blogs and virtually meeting new people.

however, i am a terrible comment-leaver. for example, out of the approx 50 or so blogs i've read today, this is the second comment i've left and they've both been to your site and i feel like i'm overstepping and hogging your comment section. it's hurts me a little, is what i'm saying. : ) so i sure hope that people don't feel bad when i don't comment.

Debbie said...

I have to break my almost-100% non-comment rule to chime in. Cause it's such a good post. And it deserves a response.

I don't comment because I truly don't have time. I barely even read blogs anymore, because I've had to recognize that if I want to blog at all, I had to ditch the guilt of not reading them. I mean, I really do utilize my blog as a sanity space, a place to poop out the brain goo and ready the reservoir for new poopy fodder. And I've had to accept the extremely small audience that goes with that sorta crap. (Sorry. Puns are my lot in life.)

It makes me really bummed when I can't respond to people, though, when I have the two seconds to rub together to consider it. Because I care. I really fucking care.

I wish I had more time.



the mystic said...

I have a very very loose and unorganized manner of reading blogs. I don't understand how those feeder things work, so pretty much if someone comments on my blog I check them out. I also check out commenters on other blogs if they seem interesting and I have time.

I rarely respond to commenters on my own blog. Evidently that's bad form, but I just never expect people will frantically be checking back to read responses to their comments. I know I rarely do. And I figure everyone likes comments on their own blog, so I just click over and do that instead.

My blogroll is also old and very non-political. Basically, either you were there from the beginning or one day I tired of scrolling down my posts and through comments to find you or you were on my mind one day when I happened to be updating my blog and I added you in. If I routinely comment on a blog that's not on my blogroll, that means I can easily get there from another place I go to all the time and so haven't bothered.

There are people on my blogroll I hardly ever read and people not on there I read all the time.

It's interesting all of this etiquette stuff -- I am also always really behind and so commenting on posts that are days or weeks old, because I just don't have that much time to read, but I try to catch up when I can.

Sukhaloka said...

Whew! Trying to read all the comments on this post has set my head reeling!

All in all, that's a very sensible post you've made there. Thank you for writing about it, and here's something which might make you feel better. However many readers you lost for writing this post, you certainly gained me!
(And I shall be even more conscientiously regular about replying to comments from now on. :P. Although I invariably acknowledge all but the most insubstantial comments on my own blog)

Suzanne said...

I don't generally read blogs without comments because I find that they are too popular and that's why they don't have comments. I'm probably cheating myself out of good reads, but I love Pyrrhic victories. I try to visit the blogs of everyone who leaves a comment on CUSS, but sometimes I get behind. That's my 2 cents, 46 comments into the conversation. (And incidentally, thanks to you I met your commenter #1, Working Girl, who read my blog after I left her a comment, even though I was initially unintentionally a little scary.)

SUEB0B said...

Wow. I am still reading, 47 comments later! Love all the conversation.

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