Friday, September 21, 2007

Commenting on Comments

I’m never quite sure about responding to comments. I know how good it feels when someone responds to mine.

My readers take the time to talk to me about what I’ve written. I like that.
They’re free to let me know what they think. They can take exception to what I’ve said or agree with me.

I have been reluctant to add my words after theirs because of all my years working at newspapers. Letters To The Editor gave the readers the last word. With rare exception they ran without editorial remark. This is how it should be.
But if the letter contained information that was incorrect or completely asinine then the editor made a bracketed comment underneath for clarification.
This was rare. Often even the most asinine of comments was routinely left to stand on its own merit.

I have been blessed here. My commenters are witty, intelligent, insightful, and supportive. I like them to have the last word.

I am also lazy.

But recently the little hamster that powers my brain put some extra oomph in his exercise regime and made the wheel go all the way around. I understand now.
If I like to have my comments answered it follows logically that my commenters, many of whom have blogs I visit, feel the same way.
So I’ll try to do better in the future about responding to the people who are kind enough to let me know they’ve been by.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my hamster needs a nap.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Oh boy do I struggle with this one. I go through periods of not always answering and I feel really guilty. People notice and not as many drop by.

Then I go through periods of answering every single one and I get tired of my own voice saying the same things over and over. And I find that between answering comments and trying to visit others' blogs, much of the day has gone by and I haven't even started a post of my own... let alone gotten to other things I need to do outside of the blog.

At some point I'm going to have to figure out a way to answer some, but not all comments, but the best method seems to elude me. I don't want people to feel extra ignored, noticing other comments have been answered but not theirs.

Great topic! I could go on and on forever.

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby, you can go on and on here to your heart's content.

Anonymous said...

Being rather new to all of this, and quite shy, as you well know, Leah, I lurked around a long time before taking the huge step of making a comment (who would want to hear from Me?), finally deciding that the blogger puts themselves 'out there' and would probably appreciate some feedback - rather like a conversation. Now that I've started commenting, it's like I can't stop! (is there a 12-step program...?)
I enjoy the comments of others, and have even had some of them respond to my comments, but most gratifying is when the blogger answers my comment, even if just to acknowledge that I stopped by. Isn't that what this is all about? Can't imagine what it would be like to have a blog that no-one ever commented on, which is the biggest reason I don't have a blog! It would be too humiliating to have a blog no-one ever read.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I often don't respond to comments on my blogs because I don't know if the commenter will return to see my response. If I have something to add, I'll go to that person's blog or send them email, if I have an addy for them.

It's not the way it's supposed to be done, but whose blog is it, anyway?

I myself read most of my blogs off my blog reader (I use bloglines), so I only open up actual blogs when I have something to say. Ergo, if I've left a comment somewhere, I'm not going to necessarily get a mental prompt to go check if the blog owner had anything to add.

I tend to assume other people are doing the same as I do-- reading my stuff on a blog reader and not necessarily hanging around the comments part. That's certainly what my hit counts show, at any rate!

I love comments, but most of them don't seem to require any kind of answer. When they do, I make the effort to make sure the commenter gets an answer, even if I have to take it to their blog.

Uh... thanks for letting your commenters ramble on, Leah!

Leah J. Utas said...

Hey Bag lady - I bet plenty of folk would like to hear from you.
I always appreciate what you have to say.

Bunnygirl- I always stop by to see if my comment has had a response.
Thanks for coming by.

Anonymous said...

I think it is really generous of you to spend some of your time to come back and answer.

I wouldn't feel slighted if you didn't respond though.

I enjoy reading others comments as much as I do your blog. The first time I checked back because your comments count had increased and you had responded, to me(!), I was pleased as punch!

Bag Lady should start her own blog!

(Sorry my English sucks today)

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb - Thanks. I'm glad you were pleased that I responded.
I echo your suggestion about Bag Lady.

Talia said...

I try to respond to comments,but sometimes I'm too busy or there's nothing useful I can add to the discussions!

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Talia - Good to see you here.
Thanks for coming by.
I understand. Sometimes all I have is "thank you."

Anonymous said...

The Bag lady is far too shy and boring to have her own taxes her tiny brain just to come up with clever comments for other people's blogs! But thanks for the votes of confidence! (Perhaps she will surprise you all by doing a guest post somewhere...)

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Bag lady,

Please do the guest blog, I promise to come and read and comment. Just tell me when and where.


This is a really tough topic. Someone told me a while back that it is proper etiquette to respond to each comment. For me it has been fairly easy. 1. I share a blog so I only blog once a week or so. 2. Most of the commenters are my friends, blog mates or people like you guys who I already know, having met on Dawn's blog or on Travis Erwin's blog, etc. Now we all visit back and forth and it's like telephoning a friend. If the friend doesn't answer the phone, that doesn't mean the friendship has ended.

Having said all that, I think a brand spanking new commenter should always be greeted and welcomed.

If anyone gets a chance to wander over to women of mystery, I put up a picture of the cover of the anthology that will hold my first published work. Let me know if you like it!


Leah J. Utas said...

I'm looking forward to the guest post, Bag Lady.

Terrie - I have to agree. A new commenter should be welcomed.

Big congrats on publication! I must have a look.

Odile S said...

I'm someone who goes around visiting blogs because I want to read about a certain topic. Although I have a small group that I visit very often. I don't respond to comments when I need time to think about them. Maybe I should then write: I need to think about this.
Or I forget... I'm very playful with blogging and I can make a mess when I visit many blogs and then don't remember exactly where I commented.
When someone visits my blog and left a comment, I go over to their blog and leave a comment.
This goes back and forth maybe two or three times and then there's a pause, until the first of both starts again.

Leah J. Utas said...

Odile S - Thanks for stopping by. I hope you remember you commented here and come back to visit.