Sunday, August 7, 2011

What Deters You From Commenting?

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 (This means your post will not be published until the author approves it.)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?


  1. Hmmm.
    The way I see it, if captchas and moderation chase you off, you probably don't need to be commenting anyway.

    I still allow anonymous comments on my site, but that has really been challenging as of late due to a couple individuals...

    Extraordinarily long blog entries, repeatedly negative reactions, and confusing comment applications discourage me from commenting, generally...

  2. Very well thought out point. I see you take your blogging very seriously. I had no idea there was a down side to blogging

  3. KatyDid - I like your thoughts! It does seem that some people are too easily deterred, doesn't it? I think if you can't be bothered to deal with a captcha or are too busy to fill it out, than how meaningful could your comment have been anyway?

    I'm sorry you have had to deal with nasty Anonymouses... Someone told me that people are more likely to post nasty things if they can be anonymous, but they forget you can track their IP address.

    Interesting that really long blog posts deter you. I'm the same way sometimes, but it depends on the topic and how well written it is. Thanks so much for your points and feedback!

    Sir Lancelot - Thank you. Yes, I take it seriously. Blogging is one of those things: you should either be fully dedicated to it and follow through on things, or just don't bother. I didn't mean to suggest a downside to blogging; I was pointing out the numerous things to consider. But certainly not getting comments or traffic are downsides. The amount of work involved can be a downside if it isn't successful. And certainly negative comments are a downside.

  4. Excellent post. Though I think everyone is slightly different.

    I don't mind captchas (In fact I use the words to generate a thing I call Bantrum. My own interpretation of what the words mean.) What I really hate is when I've done a captcha but it STILL tells me my comment will be moderated.

    I tend not to respond to comments on my blog because I think it's quite arrogant to expect people to come back to read my responses. I DO make a point of visiting the blogs of people who have commented. And commenting on theirs.

  5. I enjoy some sense of community in blogging. People I get to know a little over time. In a few instances I've been able to do some creative collaborations ( interactive writing, or even visual work on paper exchanged by snail mail.)

    Some have moderation, and it doesn't really bother me. Some are more sensitive to negative remarks, or crank comments. I've found this only rarely has happened in my case, and usually its a spam lure to some commercial site. I simply delete these, and/or report these as spam.

    I do try to react to comments by posting remarks.

    It is interesting to me that my stats indicate on any given day a surprising number of 'hits', and surprisingly few comments. I often wonder who such people are, how they got to my site, etc.

  6. I am actually comment "shy." I don't like to be the first person to comment on an entry! The more people who have commented, the more likely I am to comment. Weird, yet true.

  7. Very interesting post. First let me say I apologize for not visiting in a while. I've just been so busy. :) I do still enjoy reading your blog though.

    I don't like captchas because sometimes they're hard to read and they're generally just a pain. I don't mind moderation though. The main reason I put comment moderation on my blogs is not to censor, but to make sure I see the comments. Sometimes people comment a couple of weeks later and I wouldn't even think to go back and check it without the moderation. It also makes it easier for me to respond to comments, which I always try to do on their blog because I don't really like having to go back to a post I've commented on to read the response. If I comment on a blog that I know responds in their comments I have to leave it up in my browser to remember to go back and check for a response. If I close it I will miss the response. It can be very inconvenient when I have to close my browser or shut down my computer and then wait for fifty blogs to reload when I turn it back on. Just an inconvenience thing. I still do it if I'm really interested in what their response is. I can't stand when I ask a question and get no response though. That's aggravating.

    I actually try to respond both in my comments and on their blog. That way the person asking the question gets their answer right on their blog, but other readers who might have the same question can read the answer right there on my blog instead of having to search for the answer on a different blog. I try to make things easier for other people. :)

    I also don't like having to sign in to comment. I try to stick mainly to blogspot blogs, but some others are fine like wordpress I don't think makes you log in every time. Again not a huge thing, but does deter me from commenting at times.

    Anyway this is long enough so I'll stop hehe. Great post!

  8. Morning AJ - Thank you! I have read several comments here and other stories about people interpreting captchas. I disagree that it's arrogant; I think it depends on the nature of the commenting. Sometimes discussions arise. Sometimes you just want to know how the other person reacts to all the thought you put in.

    Mythopolis - Interesting simplicity. Just delete! I like that you can just move on from it...

    Yvette - Why shy to be the first one to comment? Interesting. I love to be the first to comment! Your comments are great. Believe me!

    Achieve1dream - Wow! Thanks for all the insight. No need to apologize. I like how you keep track of where you commented, but for engaged bloggers like us, that can be a lot of sites to revisit, especially if when you revisit, the blogger hasn't responded yet -- if he/she will at all. Captchas are always so hard to read. One day I will try the audio version.

  9. I think it would make an interesting study to look out how blog sites evolve over time. It seems over three years, mine has changed focus considerably.

  10. Good blog post and lots of good learning on blogging too! I feel that if a post is worth commenting on then I do ...comment that is. Not been here for some time but happy to see that your blog is alive and well. Work challenges have been getting in the way of frequent blog visits!

  11. Mythopolis - And that study could also look at how traffic changed as the blog changed

    Mary - How lovely to see you! I'm going to visit your blog now. It has been a while, hasn't it? Yes, the post has to be worth commenting on. No value for any party in commenting for the sake of it. Thanks for your lovely words!

  12. Hi Ashley,

    This is an interesting conversation. As you might have noticed from my post on Life as a Human, I also take blogging pretty seriously. I run two blogs, in addition to having posts on other sites. It sometimes can be tricky to keep up with everything.

    I actually stopped moderating comments on both blogs awhile back - except for comments on older posts for one of the blogs. I tend to feel that the comments section should be like a dialogue if possible, and so I like giving people the option to post and debate - whether or not I'm actually online to see it right away.

    Although I have had trolling once in a while, it's been rare. And I'd like to think that this is partly an outgrowth of my own way of being online, which is all about mindfulness and leaving meaningful comments if at all possible.

    And I say this as someone who has blogged about some pretty heated topics like racism and classism - subjects that often attract trolls and nastiness.

    Anyway, a few thoughts.


  13. Hi,
    I came across your blog as I was searching for WHAT DETERS PEOPLE FROM COMMENTING ON BLOGS?

    I like your piece. It's awesome. Yeah! I don't mind commenting though I have to crack captchas, I don't mind commenting even if I have to register for Disqus.

    But, I hate commenting on sites that the bloggers don't respond to my comments. I'll make a round to the site that I left my words ...just to check.

    I'll definitely not going anymore...if there's ZERO respond!


  14. Hi Sophyta and welcome to my blog! I'm glad you enjoyed this post and I hope it was helpful to you. Thanks for your compliments and feedback. I comment so often that I often forget to go back to some posts to see if the author has responded. There are mixed opinions on how important it is for bloggers to reply to comments, but your feedback is valuable to me as a blogger, so thanks!