Sunday, October 04, 2009

To Comment Or Not To Comment

That is the question.

Or not.

In looking at Google Blogs Search to see if anyone had linked to me (c'mon, you do it, too!) I saw Lori at she treads softly post about time enough: "There is simply not time enough in my day to do it all."


When it comes to blogs (and reading blogs and commenting (or not)) and other social media, there is no real rules. Seriously.

I'm glad you're reading this blog. Thank you for taking your time to read this, whether it's here at the blog or by a reader like Bloglines or Google Reader or via email. There's no need to comment, unless that's what you want to do. If you do, great! But if you don't -- I understand. Because, like you, time. I read blogs, and sometimes I click from Bloglines to the actual post, and sometimes I go to the actual post, and sometimes I comment, and sometimes I don't. And that's just how it is. Whether or not I keep reading your blogs have nothing to do with whether you comment on mine; it's whether or not I like what you write.

Some people feel differently. Which is cool. But guess what? There is no "rule", no "must", no "has to" about who is right and who is wrong about comments.

If you're reading this and agree? Or disagree? No need to comment.

P.S. BTW, when I read via Bloglines I miss things about templates. Lori has Updike's Rules for Reviewing on her sidebar, which is made of awesome.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Unknown said...

I only comment when I have something to add to the discussion.

Like in this case, I think Updike's Rules for Reviewing are mostly misguided attempts at being "fair" to the author but are implicitly unfair to the reader.

Liz B said...

But what reader? Unfair to the reader who has read the book & is talking about it, or unfair to the reader reading the review, trying to figure out what to read next?

While I don't agree with idea/philosophy that anything written & published is already good just because it's published, I also get tired of reader reviews that are little more than responses that don't give other readers much to go on in terms of the book being discussed.

Wendy said...

Liz, in your last sentence there are you saying you don't like it when there's no plot summary? (I'm honestly not sure, sorry if I misunderstood.) I'm never sure about that--I don't really enjoy recapping books even briefly, and I sort of figure anyone who wants to know can go to Amazon to get a summary.

Liz B said...

Wendy, what doesn't work for me is reading publisher copy (often a few paragraphs long) and then little more than a handful of sentences that say "I liked this" or "I didn't like this" without giving much why to put that in context; or the why telling me more about the reader than anything useful about the book (i.e., a book clearly marketed as a romance, then the blogger saying "I didn't like this because I don't like romance books".)

While there are some people where like/dislike/loved it is all I need to then want to read the book or not, that point is reached because of being familiar enough with that reviewer that I know there likes/dislikes because of other reviews. And, truthfully, there are only 5 or so bloggers where that is all I need. Plus, what I noted above doesn't help me at all as a reader.

People can go to Amazon or B&N or the publisher for the publisher copy; and that copy is there to sell the book & isn't always accurate or isn't always how the reader views the book. And, as a reader, especially since often the same book is appearing on blogs at the same time, it gets tiresome to go to different blogs yet be reading the same thing over and over. Add to that where the publisher copy isn't credited at all as being something copies from somewhere else.

Whether or not, or how much, to recap a book in a blog post depends, I think, what is going on. For example? A giveaway/contest -- I understand using the publisher copy (though I wish it were better cited when this is done.) If a review is about an aspect of the book (the potrayal of a brother), there usually is a bit of recap woven in to that anyway - enough to give context to the aspect being talked about.

rockinlibrarian said...

It's funny to hear about this culture of "I'll read you if you comment on me." I'm but a simple hobbyist blogger who started a LiveJournal just to keep up with friends I know personally and to have a place to ramble about things where people could occasionally read it. I read lots of Proper library/book/author blogs just because I think they're interesting, and I comment whenever I have something to say. Imagine reading only the bloggers who commented on ME! I can barely get my personal friends to comment on my posts, sometimes!

But if everyone only reads the people reading them, where's anyone going to find out anything new? Might as well just send out mass emails rather than publish on the 'Net, if only a select few will be reading it.

Funny, when I first glimpsed at this post, I thought for a second you HAD read my blog, because I'd just posted wondering how anyone had the time to actually READ all those Facebook updates, let alone Twitters. Then I realized a) no, it was someone else (this Lori) who had coincidentally posted the same topic as me on the same day, and b) I had friends-locked that particular entry, so NO one but select livejournal people could have read it in the first place.

The Floating Lush said...

I try and comment if I have something relevant to say about the post; I like it when people comment on my blog, but I don't get in a snit if I don't get comments on every post.

I can tell that people read what I write, because my number of "followers" ticks up every now and then, but also because I can check out when and where people read through my Blogpatrol stats (which is really much more useful). In other words, I think comments are nice, but not really neccessary.

And I try really hard to say things--even just plot summaries--in my own words, as it does get tedious to read the same copy over and over and over. Plus, I don't always *like* the publisher blurbs, and am sure I can manage to do it better! :D

Melissa said...

Funny. I was just thinking about posting on this yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I really like Updike's rules for reviewing and use them regularly. I don't, however, use them religiously. I think it still matters how I felt when I read the book, even if that's not necessarily the most objective way of approaching it. I try to make perfectly clear what I think the author's intention was and whether or not I think they achieved that. I talk about what I thought worked and did not work, technically. And then I go all heart on my sleeve and tell you just how I felt in my gut. So that's that, that's how I approach it.

I also hate that I can't see people's layouts and designs in google reader. I know that I wouldn't be able to read all the blogs I do without it, but meh. It still makes me sad.

Thoughtful post! I definitely don't comment on every blog I read and they certainly don't comment on mine. And that's okay! It's nice to get a comment to know folks are reading, but that's about all I ask for. Just a conversation once in a while.

Lori L said...

Thanks for the support, Liz. "This Lori" is not a regular commenter on any blog, but I'm a voracious reader of many blogs. It's always good to see that other bloggers feel the same way - that commenting is not a requirement. (I really do like Updike's rules for reviewing.)

The Spellbinders said...

I read tons of blogs (about 300) and yours regularly, but I'm not sure I've ever commented. I also sub with Bloglines and miss the templates and extra info about the individual blogger so I sometimes click over to see what I'm missing. Bloglines is sure easy though for fast reading.
Sometimes I wonder if I ever get readers at my blog though because I have only a handful of commenters. And for some silly reason I'm not signed up for any free stats counters. HOW do you get those anyway - or a site that will tell you how many visitors you have on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? I'm woefully ignorant on that score.

Uh-oh - I just realized that I'm commenting through my brand new group blog - you can find my personal one here:

Liz B said...

Hey, all! I read once that etiquette should always be about making others feel welcome instead of telling them they're doing it wrong. So thank you for taking the time to comment. It's appreciated.

What posts will inspire comment can be hard to tell; and I have popular posts that rarely get comments. Not everything inspires people to comment.

I prefer for stats. It's free, and the site walks you through what you need to do for making it work at your site. I also use to track how many people read via RSS and to offer people an email option.

Kay said...

Such a lovely post.

I am also one of the "reader-of-many-blogs-commenter-on-few" crowd. While I very much like the idea of adding a personal opinion somewhere, I feel it a bit wrong if I'm only there to leave a comment like "Great review.", because it doesn't add anything to the discussion (even if I did like the said review quite a lot).

As a blogger, of course I'm glad to see comments on my blog, but it's definitely not the end of the world if people aren't commenting. If there are people reading me that's about as much as I ask (not that I mind a nice conversation now and then hee hee).

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Thank you, Liz, for the stats info! I appreciate it. And thank you for a great blog.

Ana S. said...

Whether or not I keep reading your blogs have nothing to do with whether you comment on mine; it's whether or not I like what you write.

I completely agree. I like the social side of blogging, and I like interacting with people through comments. But it always makes me uncomfortable when someone says they'll stop reading a blog if their comments are not returned. There are so many reasons why someone could not be commenting back. If you enjoy the blog, why punish the person for it?

Liz B said...

Nymeth, exactly! I get the social/community side -- one reason I like the online community of childrens/ya book bloggers is that it's something that you cannot find easily off-line, and yes, comments help develop the relationships. But to say "comment or else" seems to not understand that somethings such as relationships cannot be forced and don't develop in just one area. There are people who I never comment at their blog but I "talk" to in twitter. And finally, there is givint the person a benefit of the doubt and realizing we all have varied lives and if someone doesn't comment, there is nothign wrong with that, with them, or you. Frankly, it sometimes looks like the same awkward interaction I see with authors who have been told to interact online but don't know how; they drop comments to plug their books and think that is interacting. It's like saying "great review" here to a review (which, btw, thanks!) but then expecting I'm going to comment back and then getting pissed if I don't. That's not quite how it works.

Bybee said...

I've never heard that before -- a person will stop reading another's blog if the blogger doesn't comment. That's quite babyish.