Commenting Commentary (Weekly Geeks 2010-7)

The current Weekly Geeks topic is one dear to the hearts of most bloggers, and one that I obsess over to a ridiculous degree – COMMENTS! Well, to be fair, I obsess a lot more about getting them than giving them – I don’t think I do so badly in the latter department, if I say so myself. It’s also rather timely, since as you may have seen, I recently installed a new commenting system (which I’ll talk more about in a minute).

In Weekly Geeks 2010-7: Commenting, Chris asks several questions about our commenting habits, which I’ll address one by one.

  • Do you have a commenting policy? For example:
*Do reply to all comments? If you do, how do you do it? Email? On the blog?
*Do you use moderation?
*How do you handle trolls? Flaming?
*How much do you tolerate from a belligerent commenter before you close or delete comments?
I reply to nearly all comments; the biggest exception to that is comments to enter a giveaway, because there’s really not much to say in response to those, to be honest. I consider comments part of the blog conversation, so most of the time I’ll reply to them on the same post. However, sometimes I’ll e-mail my reply to the commenter as well – there may be a reason I want to make sure they see it. Occasionally, especially if the commenter is a “regular” whom I’ve gotten to know well, I’ll e-mail them an additional or more detailed reply than the one I post for public view.

I’ve recently set up moderation on posts older than 14 days, but I really haven’t had much need for it. I don’t use word verification. I did disable anonymous commenting through Blogger several months ago, but am not sure how I’ll handle that with Intense Debate, the new system (assuming I keep it). I’ve really been pretty lucky as far as flaming, trolls, and other unpleasantness; I guess I’ve dodged controversy fairly well, or I’m just not high enough on the radar to attract much of it. Fingers crossed that it stays that way!

  • Have you ever gotten a comment from someone you admire? An author? A superstar blogger (the ones with the book deals)?
I know that occasionally a “superstar” blogger has visited my blog, usually after I’ve linked back to them and they want to see what that’s about, but I’m more likely to find that out from checking visitor stats than from the comments, because they usually don’t leave any. But every now and then, someone whose name I know from some context other than blogging lets me know they’ve been here, and it’s always a thrill when it happens. Getting any comments is exciting, but  I’m not going to lie – finding out you’ve managed to be noticed by Someone Notable is especially exciting.
  • How do you feel about author comments? Are they welcome or do they make you nervous?
There are a few authors that I’m aware read this blog and have been known to comment every now and then – and I thank you very much, Beth Kephart and Karen Harrington! – but except for Susan Helene Gottfried, I’ve been slow to get around to reading their books (although I started the Blogging Authors Reading Project to remedy that). When it comes to reviews, though, I appreciate  author comments – AND they make me nervous. I think a couple of authors who’ve commented here were disappointed I didn’t love their books more (although they were nice about it), and I did feel a little bad about that, but I have to be honest, don’t I?
  • And then there’s spam. How do we combat the evil that is spam?

I don’t get too many spam comments (knock wood!), and disabling anonymous commenting seems to help. But when one does come in, I delete it – twice. When I’m asked by Blogger if I really want to “delete forever,” I say yes.

As I said earlier, I recently installed the Intense Debate comment-management system here. It’s got a lot of features that make it more flexible than Blogger’s comment system., and has some resemblance to WordPress’ comments (which has made some WP users happy to see it start showing up on Blogger blogs!).

ID did show one quirk* I wasn’t  crazy about for the first several days I used it, which I mentioned it in my Weekend Review post last week.  Essentially, I was getting two comment streams per post, depending on whether the commenter clicked over from a feed reader or came to the blog some other way. ID Support seems to have fixed the issue, though, so I won’t get overly detailed about it here.

Even so, it wouldn’t hurt if visitors who come over from their feed readers to comment would take a second to click on the post title to refresh the page and its link before they post the comment.  (The feed adds some data to the link and effectively changes its URL.) That should ensure that the comment stays with the post’s permalink URL and can be seen by anyone reading the post here.

(*Well, two quirks – the other involves browser crashes and hasn’t affected me directly, but has been a problem for some readers who use Internet Explorer. I have notified ID and am not sure what else to tell y’all, other than I’m sorry my blog has been misbehaving for you!)

I hope the new system will make the blog more inviting for comments, but if for some reason you can’t get through, you can always e-mail your thoughts to me at 3.rsblog AT Gmail DOT com, and I’ll add your comment to the post for you! We try to maintain a high level of customer service around here.

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