Discussion Post: Responding to Comments

Responding to Blog Comments

Every so often a small ruckus occurs in the book blogosphere as bloggers discuss how often they comment on other blogs and how often they respond to comments on their own.  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t comment on other blogs as often as I would like, due to a combination of factors that includes a lack of free time, an inability to get my WordPress account to be recognized on Blogger, and frustration with trying to comment on blogs that want me to log in with Facebook or that refuse to believe that I am human.  However, I do make a sincere attempt to answer every comment on my posts, even if the commenter only said “Great review!” and even if all I say in return is “Thanks for stopping by!”  Sometimes, due to real life, I may miss a few comments.  But, generally for me, responding is not optional.

I think it can be easy to forget that a comment left on a blog was written by a real person, someone who took the time to read with and engage with a post.  Regardless of whether the comment is a three-paragraph mini essay debating themes in Shakespeare or simply a few lines saying “Hey, I’ve never heard of this book!  It looks cool!”, it is essentially a human interaction.  Someone somewhere is speaking to me.  If someone addressed me on the street in real life, I would feel incredibly rude if I kept on walking, refusing to interact with them.  Likewise, I would never think in a real-life conversation “Hey, I just gave a beautiful and quite intelligent explanation of this thing and all this person can do is answer with ‘cool’?  I’m just going to end the conversation now by pretending I didn’t hear them.”  But that’s what it feels like is happening sometimes on the Internet.  We speak.  We reach out.  And we are met with silence.

Of course, everyone has their own blogging style and not everyone can commit the same amount of time to their blogs.  When we have events, such as the Tolkien one that just ended, responding to everyone can be feel like quite the feat!  I think most of us understand that and probably will not be surprised if a blogger does not answer every single comment.  However, I think many of us also feel secretly ignored when we take the time to respond to a blog or a post, and the author never acknowledges our existence, especially when we comment often.  We are, many of us, here to make friends, to discuss literature, to build communities.  Achieving that is difficult when you reach out only to hear no one answer.

So I think we should try to reframe the way approach blogging and remember that a comment is not just  line of text on a screen, but a communication from another human being.  And those communications are valuable, regardless of the length or content.  Even a simple “Fun list!” is someone taking the time to tell us that they really did read our post and enjoyed it–what a warm, fuzzy feeling to have when our stats are low!  We like when our contributions and writings are acknowledged.  Why not spread the love by acknowledging the contributions and writings of our readers?

Krysta 64

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54 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Responding to Comments

  1. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    Great post! It’s like you read my mind. You have an awesome blog, and I’ve always received a comment back, which is nice. Thank you! 🙂 I also have trouble commenting on non-WordPress blogs, so when I take the time to write the comment and I don’t hear back, it feels like I’m talking to myself. I don’t know if it’s me, but I can never find a button on Blogger to even like a post and it won’t allow me to enter my WordPress account.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I thought I was doing something wrong because my WordPress account isn’t recognized on Blogger! I haven’t seen a like button, either ,though, and I’ve looked because I thought at least then I could acknowledge reading the post, even if I couldn’t comment. But there doesn’t seem to be one. I find this sad as sometimes cool people comment on our blog and there’s no way for me to comment on their blogs. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

        I’m glad I’m not alone. I was starting to think it was me. Sometimes, I just want to like a post to agree or acknowledge the blogger. I originally started with Blogger (which was only two weeks ago) and then I moved to WordPress after one day. Btw, I loved the Tolkien Reading Event. I had so much fun commenting on the posts.

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        • Krysta says:

          I thought I was just technologically inept, so phew! But I agree. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say, but I do want to let the blogger know I did enjoy reading the post.

          Oh, is your move why your blog isn’t coming up when I click on your name? I was going to check out your site but I can’t find it!

          Like

          • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

            I’m so glad you mentioned that. I had no idea. I just went into my account and deleted the other domain. Now it comes up when you click on my name. I’m still getting the hang of this. I keep finding new things every day.

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            • Krysta says:

              To be honest, I let Briana do most of the formatting and techy stuff. I just write here….

              I’m reading your description of Philly on your “About” page and it’s hilarious.

              Liked by 1 person

            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              Thanks! Everyone thinks Philly is like New York but they have no idea. I was going to put a link to the slang words on there. I laughed for an hour straight when I read the list of what non-Philadelphians think we sound like.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    I thought I fixed the issue with my WordPress account. I have 3 domains and for some reason it’s linking to the one I don’t have a page setup for. I’ll have to look into that again. My blog is rantandraveaboutbooks.com

    Like

  3. Annika - Hiding Books says:

    I’ve been thinking about this lately so it’s wonderful to see your post on it! As a blogger I try to respond to comments as soon as I can – and I try to visit back because I know when other bloggers come over to my blog after I’ve visited theirs it feels super nice!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      It is really nice when bloggers visit back! I unfortunately don’t have time to do that always, so I usually end up doing it in spurts, but I think it’s important to try to build relationships like that.

      Like

  4. Lia Levina says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I agree completely, I appreciate any comments I receive on my blog because someone out there took their time to visit and try to interact with me, which feels super nice.
    Thank you Briana for stopping by my blog!

    Like

  5. Dani (@dani_reviews/@booksaremyfandm) says:

    I’m with you on the whole not being able to comment as much as I want. I’m also guilty of not responding to comments that are simply “Nice review!” sometimes… I just feel so awkward and don’t know what to write with, but you’ve given me the answer. I promise to do better going forward!!!

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  6. klyse3 says:

    Great topic!

    I think your point about the person behind the screen applies to commenting on blogs as well–as a small blogger still, comments are confirmation that I’m not writing my blog posts to the air. I almost always respond to comments on my blog and try to frequently comment on other blogs.

    Unfortunately, I follow almost no blogs off WordPress. Between checking multiple feeds and not being able to comment, the other platforms have made it so difficult that I don’t see the point in trying to follow anyone. :/

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, the different platforms do make it difficult! I think we all struggle with that, though, so I’m sure there are no hard feelings about it.

      And I do like comments for the same reason–knowing someone read the post! I can see the stats, sure, but half the time it’s obviously a middle school kid trying to plagiarize a book review or a random search engine hit. It’s nice to see the difference between that and someone actually engaging with what I wrote.

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  7. Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

    Definitely! I alway think about this whenever I see comments on my blog – think about how nice it is that someone took time out from their busy day to engage with my content, and I’m always so grateful for that – that’s why commenting isn’t optional for me too! 😀 Awesome post, Krysta!

    Like

  8. dvasso says:

    I definitely try to comment on all the comments on my blog, and I do try to go to the person’s blog but sometimes if I’m on my phone and I can’t remember by wordpress password I give up. I try to save posts on Bloglovin to a collection for this reason, but sometimes I just forget about it.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I think commenting specifically back on the other person’s blog gets difficult due to time constraints, different platform set-ups, etc. Or sometimes I literally can’t find the other person’s blog. I’m running all over trying to trace from their Google+ account to their Twitter to who knows what and I start wondering if they actually blog or not. But I think most of us have run into these problems and are understanding about it.

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  9. Stefanie says:

    I so see what you mean by this post!

    I also try to reply to everything because it would feel rude not to(so true what you say about them being people reaching out to you, and how some people just seem to forget this). And yes, it does feel like you’re being ignored if someone doesn’t respond to your comment! I do get that some blogs get a lot of traffic and a lot of comments so that it is quite hard to the authors to respond to everything, but even that perspective doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the sting of ignorance a little.

    But I totally hear you as well on the obstacle of posting comments on other blogs! I think it’s really sad how much of a hassle it can be just to get out a simple comment on certain blogs (verifying everything, logging in through whichever service, etc.). I think I would comment more if it were more easy…

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I know responding to a very busy post can be time-consuming and we’re not even that busy all the time! I do like to see a blogger answer some comments, though. When I click on a post and see 20 unanswered comments, I wonder if the blogger even read them and if’s worth my time interacting with them. And if I comment all the time and don’t get a response ever, I usually stop because, again, I don’t know if my words are even being read.

      But I do wish Blogger and WordPress would make their commenting systems more compatible! When I see a commenting system that doesn’t let me just type in my name and URL, I just leave because I know it’s not going to work.

      Like

      • Stefanie says:

        Yeah when none of the comments are answered that just feels even more rude. or I once commented on a blog where the comments had to be moderated (much like yours) but my comment never got added to the blog, even though I said nothing offensive, or mean. In fact I was being really positive and complementing of the blogpost, so there wasn’t any real reason why it shouldn’t have gotten through the moderation process. That really bummed me out!

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  10. saraletourneau says:

    Agree 100% with this post. It’s good to respond to comments on your posts – not only because there are human beings making those comments who deserve to be acknowledged, but because responding will give readers incentive to come back to your site, and not just to reply to your response. 😉

    In fact, I think interaction with readers is one of the secrets to being a successful blogger, no matter what kind of blogging you do. It’s fun, and can be a great learning experience too. You never know what you can learn from your audience.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Krysta!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Very true! It’s also a marketing strategy! I think many of us don’t return to blogs where the author doesn’t acknowledge our contributions. It makes those contributions feel unvalued. But why comment to someone who doesn’t seem to care when you can talk with someone who will engage with you?

      And it’s true that I have had so many thoughtful and valuable interactions with our readers! It’s always fun to see the unique perspectives that they bring.

      Liked by 1 person

      • saraletourneau says:

        ” I think many of us don’t return to blogs where the author doesn’t acknowledge our contributions.”

        I’ve done that a few times, actually – stop following blogs because the writers don’t respond to comments. Bloggers who engage with me make me feel like my time there was worthwhile, and convince me to go back there.

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          I’ve done that, too, especially when I’ve written a particularly long and thoughtful response. It makes me feel like no one’s even reading what I wrote, so why bother?

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Kaitlin says:

    This is something I’m trying to improve at because I’m not a fan of just getting silence. I read comments as soon as I see an email about them, but then I take forever to actually respond. And I always feel bad about that, so I think taking the time to respond (and quickly) is a good thing for both the blogger and the commenter.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Oh dear. Your comment seems to have been in spam, which is why I didn’t answer right away!

      I think most of us are understanding about how difficult it is to respond to everyone and promptly. I think it’s just nice to see that a blogger at least responds sometimes, regardless of how soon it happens. I feel weird leaving a comment on a blog where there’s no author interaction. Kind of like…do they want me to comment? Am I a weird interloper in their space? I don’t know. Maybe I’m paranoid.

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  12. MyFriendsAreFiction (@Kris10MFAF) says:

    Very interesting thoughts on commenting! I’ve been seeing a few posts around about this lately so I feel I must have missed something. I usually am not good at commenting and replying. I get in moods where I’ll do great then life gets in my way or it really feels like a chore. I do, however, read every comment I get for my posts. I treasure each of them. I think it never occurred to me that people might expect me to reply because when I comment I don’t ever think I’ll get a response. I rarely go back to check :-/ I think it just all depends on our personality type and how we see it. I could totally see your point about if someone said hi on the street and you walked by ignoring them. I’ve never considered it the same but you do have a point! Wonderful post!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I haven’t seen anything recently, but it’s a recurring topic so I’m not surprised that you have.

      I think most people understand that bloggers have real lives and get busy or can’t respond to every comment for whatever reason. Still, it’s always nice to have someone acknowledge that you’ve spoken to them!

      I only go back to check if I’ve received an answer if I know the author usually comments back. If I can see they don’t respond that often, I don’t see the point in going back.

      Like

  13. Emily @ Loony Literate says:

    I subscribe to the idea in Wonder that you should be a little kinder than you have to, so I do go out of my way to respond to ALL comments and visit everyone’s blogs back. Because it makes me happy that people think my blog is worthy enough to comment on, you know? Spreading that blogger love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ksenia says:

    Very thoughtful and well-written discussion, Krysta. I like your analogy with situation when someone addresses you on the street in real life. I guess sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are real persons when we interact on Internet.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Sometimes I do have to remind myself I’m interacting with real people. The text sometimes doesn’t come across the way the author probably meant and then I have to step back and think, “Oh yeah. If we were talking in person, this would sound different!”

      Like

  15. DoingDewey says:

    Great post! Like you, I don’t think of responding to comments on my posts as optional. Honestly, I also really have to be loving a bloggers posts to continue reading if they’re not at least responding to my comments on their posts. I blog for the chance to interact with other people and my favorite part of blogging are the connections I have with bloggers who comment on my blog and whose blogs I comment on as well. Interacting with another blogger doesn’t feel like a good relationship to me if it’s too one-sided.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Very true! I like to communicate with people and have conversations, not feel like I’m talking to myself! I do read a few blogs where I know the author is too busy to respond to everyone all the time, but I also really love the content. I would stop following if I didn’t.

      Like

  16. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    Hear hear! I have had very much the same experience as you – when I visit a blog where the author is not responding to any comments, or very few, it makes me feel a lack of interest in conversation, and I tend not to return. I do understand that when there are SO many comments it’s not possible to respond to all of them, but if there is no interaction then it seems really strange to me.

    One thing I wonder is whether people don’t bother to reply to comments because they don’t know whether the commenter will have any way of seeing the reply. (Especially on Blogger, which does not have a good system for this at all.)

    I do appreciate the “Like” feature in WordPress, which means I can acknowledge some comments and posts without having to give a detailed comment or reply, or expect comments in return. I try to avoid meaningless comments like “great post” but sometimes I don’t have more to say.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, that’s true. If a blog isn’t hosted by WordPress, I can’t always be sure if my comment has received a reply, unless i go back to check. I usually do, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. :/ The “like” button can be very useful, though, as you say, just to acknowledge that you’ve seen a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. tiaraamany says:

    Hello. I think your post is here is really thoughtful and true. Commenting is one of the keys to blogging while still making friends. It’s the interactions that make it worthwhile. Just a simple comment means a lot, both to those old and new ones out there. And yes, I also have that reply problem when I couldn’t think of anything to say except thanking them for stopping by.

    Like

  18. KliScruggs says:

    At least for me, commenting is the highest compliment you can pay me and my blog. If you wrote a comment, you found something interesting enough on my blog that made you want to act. My blog is really small, so it’s a lot easier for me to comment, but I joined the book blogging community so I’d have more people to talk to and discuss books with. So commenting is my favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

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