Blogosphere Reciprocal Etiquette

Classical ideal feedback model. The feedback i...

Well … I managed to silence you all but good yesterday, didn’t I?

I didn’t realize talking about TV shows would be so unpopular.  When I talk about writing, I alienate the portion of my readers who aren’t writers, and when I blog about other stuff, I’m too boring for words.  My one area of expertise which seems popular is software reviews.  Bi0-data stuff doesn’t count; all I did was swipe a bunch of info from other web sites and link back to them.  Still, the bio-data information remains my number one viewed topic.

So today, let’s talk about something else I’ve been thinking about for a while, and let’s get your feedback.

Once upon a time, I didn’t know whether it was proper etiquette or not to answer blog comments.  By the same token, I didn’t have to worry about it either.  My commentators were few and far between, so it wasn’t an issue.  Now, however, I feel horrible and guilty if I don’t respond to your comments.  You took the time to talk to me, the least I can do is answer you.

But I’ve noticed not everyone does this.  I’ve been to some blogs where the comments are so numerous it would be impossible to answer them all.  I’ve been to other blogs where only select comments are answered, for whatever reason – sometimes the reason is more clear than others.  And I’ve been to some blogs where the blogger just doesn’t respond to comments at all.  They let the commentators prattle on about whatever they want, and never slow that train down.

For me, it’s a matter of courtesy.  You’ve taken time from your increasingly busy life and come to read the crap I’m spewing.  You not only read it, you let me know (most days, anyhow) what you thought of it by commenting.  If you can manage to carve that kind of time out of your schedule to provide input and let me know I’m not alone out here, what kind of jackass would I be not to answer you?

But that’s me.

Again, I’ve seen it both ways.  And if someone’s commenting on my blog regularly, I try and get to theirs at least once in a while, to give them the same measure of time and thought they provided me.  I read their latest posts if they’re a new acquaintance, and I’ll comment on those for which I think I can provide feedback.  It’s just common courtesy, to me.

Then again, I tend to shy away from commenting on blogs where I find a lot of comments.  If the audience is large and verbose, I’ll shut my yap and stay out of it.  I don’t think that person, even if they left me a comment, will notice whether I reciprocated or not.  Again, just my personal view on it all.

What about you?  What’s your practice?  Do you answer your comments, or let them be?  Do you return the favor by commenting on the other person’s blog, or is that an unnecessary reciprocity?

Sound off, y’all – if you want.


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7 thoughts on “Blogosphere Reciprocal Etiquette

  1. Preface: This comment gets pretty rude at times, feel free to delete it if you think I’ve crossed a line. I won’t be offended if you delete this comment.

    After reading your entire comment, I can’t find the offending parts to which you refer. But it’d be hard to cross a line here, and I’ll be sure to let you know if you do, I promise. Feel free to express yourself, especially when I ask for your input.

    I comment when I think I have something of value to say. Yeah, that like never happens. I usually just comment when I can think of something funny to say. Failing that, I don’t really have anything to say. I mean, in your case, I feel a bit uneasy making certain crude comments that I might make on other blogs. I feel the need to play to my audience. With some bloggers, I might make a crude comment (or reply to a comment) and say “Hey baby, show me your tits.” But that would be inappropriate on this blog. Your blog is a family-friendly blog, for the most part. And by being a rated PG or G blog, well, you limit my ability to express myself. (Also, I have no interest in seeing your man-bosoms.)

    Are you sure? I mean, I don’t have a problem showing you my man-boobs if you wanna see ’em. Really. No one’s ever asked to see ’em before. I’d be honored.

    Seriously, though, I feel the same way you do. I don’t always have something to contribute, but I do like to show support for folks. Still, saying something when I have nothing to say is … well, dumb. Which is why I didn’t comment on your blog post today; I figure let those who know you better or IRL comment when stuff’s that strong, that personal.

    In terms of your posts about writing, I’ve got nothing to add at any level. I don’t want to say something rude even in gest because I don’t want to crush your spirit, even accidentally. I think it takes a lot of balls (and a quite a bit of insanity) to even attempt such a career, but if you make it, hey, you’re golden. And in that case, I want to be on your good side.

    I understand about not being able to add anything to the comments when it’s about writing; that’s why I said what I did. I know it leaves folks like you out, which isn’t intentional, but it’s a big enough part of my life to write about once in a while, so I can’t find a happy medium on that one. Still, I have to agree with the “crazy” thing. But thanks, and you’re on my good side far as I can tell. Even if you DO point out my spelling mistakes on your blog. AHEM. (And writing “Author Fonzarelli” instead of “Arthur Fonzarelli” will tell you how much time I spend with my mind on writing.)

    As for yesterday’s post. If you’re going to blog about TV, blog about funny TV shows. I like comedy. The Simpsons for example. Finest show on TV. The fact it’s still one of the finest after twenty years speaks: a) for how great that show really is; and b) for how weak everything else on TV is.
    Also Big Bang Theory is pretty funny. Let’s see how long that lasts.

    I guess my problem here is, I don’t think TV IS funny. Yeah, The Simpsons is still one of the best written and acted shows on television, but I got tired of it years ago. And I sat through the movie when it came to cable for a big “meh”. So I can’t write about the “funny” shows, because I have no clue what they are. And they’re usually not funny to me.

    As for how I behave with my commenters on my blog. I try to reply to each comment because I want to open up a discussion. Pretty much anything is fair game in my little corner of the internet. Sure, it’s led to me being told-off, but that’s okay. I’m not holding too much of a grudge against that bit, er, person. I’m not holding a grudge against that person.

    Yeah, I get that. I think you’re pretty good about answering everyone. I’m glad you got over that bit–I mean, person. Nice to see you be magnanimous.

    Something I’ve noticed about the blogosphere is that it is very estrogenicentric. Blogs that appeal to women are more popular than blogs that appeal to men. Blogs by men who blog about how they behave, well, like douchebags*, tend to attract many readers. I think women outnumber men in the blogosphere at least two to one. And your blog, without being ultramanly, is not estrogenicentric. Your blog, at most times is pretty asexual.

    I try to offer something for everyone. But I’m all man, if anyone’s wondering!!

    * a douchebag is anything that is used to cleanse a woman’s nether regions. Real men, it is their goal to get those regions as dirty as possible.


  2. I used to reply to everybody, and I think that’s the way to go on small, friendly blogs like ours. Lately it’s been hard to do with my finger and lack of enthusiasm and all, but I still like getting the comments. I realize that’s hypocritical. It’s not much of an issue for me to reply right now, because most of the comments I get are from people I talk to on a regular basis, so they know I’m not ignoring them. If I had a new commenter, I would respond on the blog. Responding to folks makes them feel welcome.

    I agree with that, for the most part. And I don’t feel snubbed on your blog. Much. 😉

    On a high-traffic blog, the comments are more about the conversation between readers. Nathan Bransford, for example, couldn’t possibly reply to each comment. Nor the lolcats people. But on little blogs, I normally won’t keep commenting if I get no response.

    I can see this, mostly. But I don’t think it would kill Nathan, or ANY big-time blogger, to do a blanket acknowledgment of their commentators, though, every once in a while at least.

  3. I reply if it seems like a reply is warranted. I don’t always do it for a compliment because I worry that it seems like I’m grubbing for attention…

    I just find it makes people more willing to continue commenting on — and for all I know, visiting — your blog. That’s part of why I do it; not attention-whoring so much as just being welcoming and encouraging for folks to keep responding.

    Well more than usual anyway.

    If a question is asked or a typo is pointed out I do let thanks be known.

    See, now, I always feel like I’m being a jerk if all I do is blow in, point out typos and grammatical mistakes, and leave. So I try to offer something positive along with it — say what I found interesting or what I liked. Otherwise, I’m an unpaid editor, and even if invited, who wants to go unpaid?

    This may be because I have a different expectation for my blog, my regular web page now gets around 50 hits a day. I hope people are reading and enjoying what they find there but I don’t expect to hear from them. (And when I do I don’t always know quite what to say…)

    There’s that sometimes, yeah.

    It goes without saying that if you have somehow inadvertently offended you it was not on purpose.

    I have not, to the best of my knowledge, been inadvertently offended by me, or by anyone else who comments here. 😉 (No, not offended at all in anyway. Really, just a question to get input and thoughts from folks like you.)

  4. I usually reply to most of the comments on my blog, because I love the back-and-forth exchange. I won’t reply if I’m so busy that I just don’t have time, or if it was the type of post that generates the same comment from everyone and it’s not really a conversation (like if everyone just writes “congratulations!” or something to that effect).

    Yeah, those I usually answer with a blanket response, like “Thanks, everyone, for all your well-wishes, yadda yadda, blah blah blah, etc.”

    I also don’t usually leave comments on blogs that have a huge commenting audience already. If I enjoy the writing I’ll simply lurk. I’d rather have a few commenters with whom I have really good friendships than a huge number of semi-anonymous commenters who are only trying to generate traffic to their blogs.

    Lurking is good. And if there are a ton of comments, what can I say that hasn’t been said? And I have to say, I don’t comment on someone’s blog just to drive traffic to mine. I’ve never had that expectation.

  5. I try to reply to comments. WordPress just came out with a reply feature, so it’ll make it easier. And I also visit the blogs of people who come to mine.

    That sounds like the most common way of handling the commentators. And that WP reply feature will show each reply you make as a new comment. It just muddied up my dashboard which is why I reverted to this. I leave it turned on so the commentators can reply to one another directly.

  6. I am guilty of not responding to comments posted at my blog. I guess most of my posts are short stories; there is no interactive element to them. I usually try to visit my favorite blogs like yours at least once a week. I only comment on posts that ask for some feedback or opinion; I think that’s what the blog owner wants anyway.

    We get such a wide variety of things at your blog, we don’t mind if you don’t always respond. 😉 And thank you for the compliment.

  7. Well, I was on holiday and don’t watch TV. That’s my story.

    I comment on comments a lot or not at all. It’s about time. If I have time, I like to respond. I think blogging is about community.

    I must agree. That’s what it’s about for me too. And welcome back.

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