ten commandments of blog comments

The big online goal for me this year was to get back into reading blogs. I set up the Connected list and created an easy, one click, way for someone to subscribe to the entire list. (There are over 135 blogs listed, by the way! These are bloggers that are WRITING.)

I am not great at always being able to read everything. But even if I carve out time to read blogs once a week that is 100% better than what I was doing.

{and obviously – if you looking to connect with more blogs please add your site to the list.}

After spending some time reading yesterday evening I realized that I have some VERY specific gripes about how some sites manage their comments. (don’t even get me started on contests and giveaways)

When it comes right down to it the easier it is to leave a comment on your post the more likely you will be to receive comments.

Ten Commandments of Blog Comments

1. Do not close your comments.
I used to close comments on posts about day to day Alzheimer’s stress because I assumed anyone reading it would have no idea what to say to me. I shut myself off from support when I really could have used it. As a reader it is frustrating to become invested in a blog post and feel motivated to comment, even if it is as simple as, “so sorry”, and then discover that the author has closed comments. There are a handful of blogs that I had to stop reading because I just felt so twitchy that I couldn’t respond.

2. Do not rely on Facebook for comments.
A new trend right now is a plugin that allows people to comment on a blog post and have that comment be published on Facebook. This is unsavory for two reasons:
a) it is not mobile friendly
b) I don’t want my comment to you to be public on my personal Facebook wall

3. Do not require readers to be logged into specific blogging platforms to comment
This is specifically an issue with blogger and wordpress.com sites. I do not want to have to log into my gmail account to comment on a blog. Nor do I want to log into wordpress.com. {If you have this going on on your site and want help fixing let me know!}

4. Don’t get me started on disqus
I know this comment system has a loyal following but I am not a fan. For starters – it is not mobile friendly. It also doesn’t foster community. If you leave a really great comment on a blog I want to KNOW you. I want to READ you. With disqus (and many other comment systems) you can not click through to the comment leaver’s site.

Have you ever tried to enter a CAPTCHA on an iphone?

6. Non threaded comments discourage conversation
I try to respond to comments on my site. When I do I use the reply button ON my site. (this sends an email back to the person that left me a comment as well as publicly posts the response) Sometimes a person on another site will leave a seriously KICK ASS comment and the impulse is to high five them. If you do not thread your comments it can get messy.

7. Do not use a fake email to comment.
This is more for the folks leaving a comment. USE A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS! I appreciate comments and conversation so much. It’s one of the reasons why I like to write on the internet as opposed to a paper journal. I like being able to write back to comments when I can, but it is heartbreaking to have a reply bounce back. If you don’t want to use a primary email address for leaving comments consider creating an account that is just for your blog comments. (and check it often for responses)

8. Do not overly lean on comment moderation.
This is a tricky one as it is more about my need for instant gratification than anything else. I know that it can be scary to just leave your door open for anyone to walk into your blog and leave a comment. I know that using moderation allows more control. It also is probably keeping some folks away. What if they don’t see their comment published in a specific window? Does that mean that their comment wasn’t worthy of publication? Again, this is just to put you in the mind frame of your readers. You can always moderate live comments.

9. Try not to overwhelm your readers with logging in options.
Yes. I am looking at you Intense Debate.

10. Why are you writing?
As you are writing think about why. Imagine that you were telling your story or post to a friend. What do you want their reaction to be? I think about this often when I am writing something emotional. Usually the more raw posts receive the smallest interaction. I suspect this is because people do not know what to say. Asking for feedback or advice is nice on a post. Even asking a question that is on topic is kind. I love seeing comment prompts on some posts because it shows me that the writer knows I am there.

Do you have any comment commandments?

See what I did there?

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