Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why do bloggers not like long comments?

Tēnā koutou katoa - Greetings to you all
No Comment
I recently emptied my RSS reader of all its unread posts - read them of course. While doing this, I discovered that there were 54 posts that I hadn’t read on Stephen Downes’ blog. Just a few days worth of posts from Stephen! It took me almost an hour to read them all. You’ve got to hand it to the man (and I genuinely admire his prolific output). He writes posts the size of the average comment. And every one a masterpiece!

Long comments

But what is it about long comments that some bloggers don’t like?

Is it something to do with the encroachment of the blog space with someone else’s writing? I always thought that was what commenting was all about.

Is it to do with the feeling the blogger has that the post is the thing, and a long comment challenges its authority? A bit like the commenter was attempting to mark out territory on another’s plot?

A habit of writing

I have wondered about this ever since I started commenting on blogs, and before I became a blogger. The reason for this is that I have a habit of writing extra long comments. I’ve been ticked off about doing that a few times too.

But there are other bloggers who welcome long comments and even say so in their replies. It’s nice to get a reply to a comment, even if it’s like, “Don’t come here with your three page comment-posts! Go and write your own damn post somewhere else!”

That’s probably a bit unfair. No blogger has ever said that to me. But it’s sometimes the impression I get of what they’re thinking. The term troll has come up in conversations a few times. I laugh, for I have this vision of an earthy character from Lord of The Rings. Perhaps it’s the Middle-earth connotation - who knows?

Post or comment?

There are times when I embarrass myself at the length of my comment. I have to admit that. I’ll type it and then wonder if I should submit it.

Frankly, the best fun I’ve had writing a long comment is when I submit the comment and immediately copy and paste it into a new post on my blog, linking back to the post where I left the original comment, of course. I can get mixed reactions from doing that, but in the main it’s successful and I’ve often struck up a useful relationship with the blogger who prompted my comment in the first place. After all, full credit has to be given to the blogger for initiating thought, and I’ve always made sure that credit’s given where credit’s due.

Completely ignored

Then there is the post where the blogger ignores my comment completely. I write a masterpiece of a 1500 word comment, perhaps the only comment on the post. And it’s ignored! How deflating is that?

It’s like bringing a circus on to the village green and no one notices the big top. People come on to the green and have picnics. Some come to walk their dogs. But the big top is not even sniffed at. I don’t go back to these posts in a hurry.

Perhaps there's method in ignoring my long comments.

Ka kite anō - Catch ya later


Anonymous said...

Now, Ken, how is one to respond to this post? ;-)

* Leave a long comment, and I'll worry whether I should be posting it elsewhere myself.
* Leave a short comment, and you'll wonder whether I actually read your post.
* Leave no comment, and you'll never know if I was here or not! (Does Google Analytics show up people's RSS feeds?)

For the record, I enjoy your writing and the sharing of your thoughts and musings. Although I might not often venture beyond Google Reader and onto your blog directly, I do appreciate what you write and how you construct this blog, even if I seem to appear 'invisible'.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā koe Angela!

What a hoot! Y'know, I never even gave it a thought about how someone would respond to this post.

Good point about Google Analytics showing or not showing RSS feeds. Britt Watwood wondered about that too on one of my earlier posts. Dunno.

Thanks for your support Angela. I really appreciate it. You're certainly not invisible, that's for sure.

Nice to have you visit.

Ka kite

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I don't mind long comments on my own blog. However, as a reader of other people's blogs, I don't often read long comments that they have received largely because the font size is often smaller than the main post and sometimes it's not separated into paragraphs.

V Yonkers said...

Like you, I sometimes wonder that my posts are too long (I've been writing for an academic audience rather than a business audience for the past 4 years).

I find sometimes it is easier to respond to a long post via a blog posting because I can format it and link it to other sources without having to spend hours putting in html code.

I tend to read longer comments rather than short ones because they have more information (for the most part). However, it has taken me a while to figure out that I need to create smaller paragraphs. I tend not to read posts with long paragraphs.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua!

@Mathew - I concur with what you find about some blogs displaying the comment in too small a font size.

And, yes, the blogs that remove all the paragraphing in a comment does tend to put me off reading too. There is, apparently, not much a comment writer can do about this. Only, if I was aware of that about to happen, it would certainly put me off writing a longish comment. How does one recognise that this is going to happen other than keeping a tally on all the blog types that tend to do that? Sheesh!

@Virginia - yes, writing in short paragraphs is something I got to later in life. Sue Waters writes about this as the first point in writing good blog posts.

I find that long comments tend to contain what's referred to as content. They contain things I'm more likely to learn from, so I take more interest in them. But I wouldn't say I'd ignore the short comment, at least, not on one of my own posts.

Ka kite anō