An interesting #blogchat on Twitter tonight. The topic was how to get more comments on your blog.
Some said that people are deterred from commenting if comment moderation is enabled. (This means your post will not be published until the author approves it.) Some also said that captchas, or word verifications, the distorted images of warped numbers and letters you have to type out in a field to minimize spam on the site, also deter people from commenting.
These may be deterrents for a number of reasons.
For the first point about comment moderation, some people would rather their comment appear right after they click "Send" to maximize the number of visitors who see it, as your post will probably get its highest volume of traffic soon after it is posted. This means exposure for commenters. Another point is that potential commenters may not like the idea of their comment or others' being screened. These people might feel you will censor them, or reduce the comment discourse to praise, not publishing criticism.
And as for captchas, I think the main, if not only, reason is that they're just such a pain to read. Some people on #blogchat said that many people just can't be bothered with the extra step before their comment is delivered or published.
I've never been deterred by comment moderation or captchas. I want my message read and published no matter what the circumstances are. But as an experiment, I changed my blog settings. I no longer have comment moderation or a captcha enabled. I also entered my email into the comment notification box. And I set the comment section to open in a new window. My previous setting changed the page when people commented. I don't think that's wise because it will mean people will be less likely to go back and look at your other posts. It's more work. I'm not sure why I chose my original setting...
What does deter me from commenting is another sign-in, be it to the particular site or to a comment system like Disqus. I don't want to have to register for anything, or re-enter my username and password or try to remember a username and password to some site I seldom use.
I'm also very deterred by commenting on sites that don't provide a field for my URL. These are called no follow sites. With URL field, it's called Do Follow. Obviously, Do Follow takes visitors to your site if they click on your name after it's published. But Do Follow is also helpful to improve search engine optimization. I will comment anyway if there is something I really want to say. Also, I will occasionally put my URL into the comment field if I'm feeling particularly bold. I don't do that much, though, because I think it looks a bit spammy. I will link to a particularly post if it's relevant, though, and explain the relevance. I have gotten great traffic through doing that.
I also refuse to visits sites whose owners have asked me personally to visit their blog, in a comment on my blog, in a Tweet, email, etc. If you can't be bothered to use my name, say anything meaningful about work, give any kind of incentive for me to visit your blog and don't even tell me what your blog is about, than I want nothing to do with you. Traffic and comments must be earned. I'm not part of the blogosphere just to do favours for people. It has to be more meaningful than that.
And I am deterred from commenting again if people don't respond to my comments on their blog, don't visit mine (or others' apparently) -- especially if these people then complain that they don't get any comments! So many want something from nothing.
The blogosphere is a community. It's about building relationships, expanding your knowledge and engaging in meaningful discourse.
What deters you from commenting?