Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blogging, Comments and Manners Online

When I first started my blog, I got a pointed lesson in blogging etiquette when, after sending a fellow blogger an email in which I praised the blogger's blog, I received a rather tart reply to the effect that I should have left my remark in a comment, since this person did after all leave a comment on my blog and didn't I know that it's poor manners to not return a comment. Oh, wow. And here I was thinking I had given this person a nice compliment- but apparently that wasn't good enough, and I had failed to meet my obligations. I didn't know I had any! Is it good manners to point out someone else's breach, even when that person meant to be kind? What is the well-mannered blogger to do?

For that matter, what are our obligations to other bloggers? What constitutes good manners in the blogging world? Responding to every comment? Visiting every blog that visits yours? As a new blogger that email created this anxiety that I had to visit every single person who visited me, that I had to respond to every single comment. As I found out, nobody has that kind of time.

So how to strike a balance? How to manage all this without hurt feelings? I post pretty regularly about five to six times per week, and there are people who comment on (nearly) every post, and I love them. But unless they also post five to six times per week and I can comment on every single post, I can't catch up in terms of raw numbers. Is it enough to visit once or twice a week? To comment because I have something to say, and not just to even up some balance sheet? Over time, I've come up with a very informal policy: I make an effort to visit the blogs that visit mine, to keep up on the blogs I follow in my reader, and to respond to direct questions. I leave them in my inbox until I've done something with them but if I have six comments from one person and they've posted once in the last week, I'll read and comment on that entry but not wait for five more to call it even. And, whatever's left over in the inbox at the end of the month gets deleted. And as hard as I try to stay current, I know that ultimately it may be a losing battle; there's always going to be more content out there than there is time to read it.

There's also the issue of what you say. People who leave rude, negative comments on a book when I've reviewed it positively? (Oh you liked that? I hated that!) Or say mean things about someone who died who they didn't like? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I'm open to hearing opposing views, but I don't need to know you visited if you're going to be flat-out unpleasant.

Then there are people whose blogs I read and comment on regularly who I don't think have ever commented on mine. Do I continue to read them, even though those bloggers have shown no interest and no sense of reciprocity? Well, I like the blog, so yes, probably, even though honestly it can feel disappointing. Not because I think they should comment now and then but because I wish they would. After all, I enjoy their blogs- why don't they like mine? *Sniff* But I think keeping track of who comments and who doesn't, and how that stacks up against who I read is petty, and since I have no right to demand anything, I'll just have to respect other bloggers' rights to set their own policies.

There's also the issue of email etiquette, a topic about which I could write another post. From time to time I'll get an email from someone asking me for advice of some kind- on library school, or blogging, or something. Sometimes it's a friend, or a friend of a friend, or sometimes it's someone who reads my blog. Either way it's very flattering- who doesn't love being asked for advice, right? So I try to respond promptly (within a few days) and I do my best to give good answers but I've noticed that in nearly every case (except for one personal friend who emailed me for advice about library school), the person asking the question never writes back to say thank you. Now that's what I call bad manners. And if you think it doesn't matter, wait to see how far laziness like that gets you in the long run. I'm not perfect- I've made every mistake in the book when it comes to etiquette, and I've suffered the consequences- but I'm learning.

So, when it comes to commenting on blogs, let's just say we'll do the best we can to show interest in others, appreciate when others show interest in us and try to resist the urge to keep tabs on who has and hasn't reciprocated this or that. Don't complain to me that I haven't commented enough on your blog. Nothing will do more to encourage me to ignore you completely. And please, if someone takes time out of his or her life to answer your unsolicited questions, thank that person for his or her time and attention to your concerns. Why make a bad impression when it's so easy to make a good one?

71 comments:

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

This isn't grumpy - it's just a reminder of common etiquette (I know, perhaps not so common after all).

Each blogger has a commenting/responding pattern that works for her or him. I agree, it's not a score-keeping game. You do what you can/want, when you can.

As for not responding with a quick 'thanks' in return for advice or assistance - that's just plain rude, and isn't limited to bloggers or online communication in general, sadly. That could be an entire post itself, couldn't it?!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, Marie!

Trish Ryan said...

I love this...thanks for being so candid. As I was finishing my book this summer, I totally fell out of the blogsphere...I couldn't juggle all that reading/interaction and write, too. Now that the book is in, I'm feeling overwhelmed and so far behind with all the blogs I follow for exactly the reasons you mention--it's a relational world out here, and that takes time & effort. Your post inspires me to jump back in the game and start commenting again :)

nomadreader said...

I try to visit the blogs of those who comment on mine. In most cases, we read somewhat similar things, so I chime in when things interest me.

The hard part for me is how to reply to specific comments. I do not presume many people subscribe to comments on individual posts, so if I reply to their comment on my post, I don't really know if they see it. If they're on twitter, I'll tweet. Sometimes, I'll seek out their email address from their blog and reply to the email notification of their comment. I wish there were more interaction within the comments of posts. Sure, I love to blog what I think about books and hear what others think, but I also like to keep the conversation going:-).

Tina's Blog said...

Well said. Also enlightening. I don't know if I ever really thought about commenting/answering every single person who comments on a post I make (not that I get that many comments). Sometimes it does just seem like we are keeping a score sheet. I am more for the idea of commenting when I have something to say.
Thanks for the post.

Andrea said...

You shouldn't have to write blogs like this.

I never think about comments. If I have something to say, I do. I think I've gotten less than five comments on my blog, but I don't care. I write it because I like books and writing about them.

Sometimes I can't believe what people choose to spend time worrying about. There are more important things to think about than whether someone made comments or not. I'm sorry people were cross with you.

Wendy said...

You said EXACTLY what I think...I have to admit, I have been a little bummed out lately about all the talk about comments and how we should reciprocate every comment to our blog. I get a lot of visitors and a fair amount of comments...I respond to every comment on my blog, but I just cannot go to every commenter's blog and leave a reciprocal comment. I would never get off the computer! Like most bloggers, I have a family and a job...ie: a life outside my blog. I follow over 300 blogs in my reader. Although I read a ton of posts, I don't comment on all of them...I comment when I have something to add to the conversation. I've been reading your blog for a very long time now, but I probably have only left a few comments - and it doesn't mean I don't love your blog! It is more a symptom of my own busy life!!

Re: unsolicited emails...I get a few, and I always respond to them quickly. Like you, however, only a handful of people write back to say thank you which annoys me. I wonder sometimes if people think our "job" as bloggers is to just respond to their questions!!

Anyway, thanks for a great post...have a wonderful day (and I do NOT expect you to reciprocate this comment with a comment on my blog *laughing*)

bkclubcare said...

I know, I know. and thanks so much for visiting me. :) I'm probably lax on that thank you response (ouch) but I also am not sure I often ask for advice, and if I do, I bet an crazy back and forth exchange happens anyway. I do feel bad when I win a prize and can't remember who I won it from when it arrives - OOPS. I always try to add my blog address to prizes just to spark a memory and not necessarily to say VISIT ME AGAIN PLS.

Marie said...

Care, I wasn't talking about you. :-) I never remember who I win prizes from. Totally hopeless! :-) I'm a big mess on all this stuff too. Sigh.

Alayne said...

Wow, it definitely would be rude of people not to thank you for answering their emails after you've worked hard on a response. That's just ignorance on their part and it's a shame you have to deal with it. And it's pretty ridiculous that person emailed you back to tell you to leave a comment. I'd laugh in their face, via email of course. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I tend to respond to comments via email, because I figure it is the rare person who has time to come back to the blogs and see if the comment got a comment. Re comments I make on blogs, I almost never comment if the post already has 20 or so comments - I know right off I'll have nothing new to add! But I have emailed people like that just to let them know I'm reading but I'm usually to late to the party to join in. Because I do think it's nice to let other people know you are reading; I know I appreciate it. And I appreciate even occasional comments from people's blogs on which I regularly leave comments. But yes, I do go to them less if they never (visibly) show up on mine. There are a zillion good blogs out there, so my theory is, why spend time with someone who is not interested in you?

logankstewart said...

This was an excellent post to read. Blogging & email etiquette, well, really all types of social etiquette, is interesting to me. I believe strongly in respecting everyone and it is upsetting to be offended or to read about someone else being slighted.

As far as commenting goes, I try very hard to respond to every single comment that is left on my blog. I don't get too many, though, so it's not much of a problem.

But it is disappointing when you leave a comment expecting a response and never get one. Oh well. Great post, once again!

nickruffilo said...

I completely understand your issue of time. A few tips that I've seen used that work very well:
1) Revisit your posts 2-3 days after you write them and respond to all comments in ONE big comment. If someone doesn't really add much to the conversation, simply don't address them in your response.
2) E-mail Etiquette: When you receive an e-mail, respond with a simple: "I will be getting to this" or "I won't be getting to this, I am very busy" then file it in a "todo" or "don't do" folder. Visit your todo folder from time to time and when its done, file it to a "done" folder or something else like that.

Hope these tips help! (you need not visit my blog or respond to this, its cool :) )

Lenore said...

Leaving comments takes a lot of time, but if I read a post, I usually leave a comment - just to let the blogger know I've been there.

I also try to visit the blogs of people who have visited me and leave a comment where appropriate and possible. But I agree it really is up to the blog owner to decide what kind of policy they have time for.

Alyce said...

I agree with pretty much everything you have stated in this post. I try to visit the blogs of those who comment on my site, and I have noticed that there are times when I don't have time to visit their sites and then they don't come around for a while to leave a comment on my site.

On the flip side there are a few sites that I visit on a regular basis whose owners hardly ever visit my blog. To me, as long as I'm enjoying their content I don't stress about it. (Well, I try not to - if I'm honest I have had pity parties before, but then everyone has those days.)

I have decided to just assume that we're all trying our best to balance our lives on and off the computer.

Oh, and I didn't know about the etiquette of returning visits for comments for months after I started blogging. I was blissfully ignorant. :)

J.T. Oldfield said...

I don't really keep track of who comments on my blog or whose blog I comment on. I also don't always respond to comments on my posts.

I only comment on posts when I feel I have something to say. (and it's the same when responding to comments on my own posts--if someone asks a question, I answer it, but if someone says, I am going to add this to my tbr or great review, I don't say thank you or anything because I don't really feel that that furthers the conversation, and I don't want to be forever commenting on my own posts).

I will say that I don't believe in being rude on other people's blogs, even if you don't agree with them. I might say, wow, you liked this? I hated it. but then I put a smiley face or say LOL, so that the blogger (hopefully) knows I'm being good natured about my comment.

In sum: I post only when I feel I have something worthwhile to say and try to be polite about it or let people know I am smiling even if I do have something negative to say, which would only, of course, be about the book, not the blogger.

how do you feel about ridiculously long comments? LOL.

Liz said...

Very interesting remarks. I don't have my own blog, so I just drop in and visit all kinds of blogs written by others. I tell you, I get tons of good book suggestions that way. Some I've liked, others I haven't, but I don't blame the people who suggested them at all. I think other people's blogs have really enriched my life. That said, because I don't have my blog, and I tend to follow links and thus don't have a cohesive pattern, I don't feel necessarily connected to any one place. I guess that has its good and bad points. But I don't think I could post and then respond to remarks on other people's blogs, if I had my own blog as well.

Just my 2 cents. I enjoy your blog!

Amanda said...

It gets confusing, right? I just figure that most people don't intend to be hurtful and I just do what I can. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Melissa said...

I leave a comment when I feel like I have something to say beyond "I agree" or "I disagree" (like today :D ). Blogging isn't a tit-for-tat zero-sum game; there's no competition.

OTOH, I think some people use the blogosphere as validation of their existence so those people want EVERYONE to come comment on their blog, etc.

I don't operate like that :)

bermudaonion said...

I don't have time to keep track of who's commented on my blog and whether I've commented back, etc. I think everyone has different demands on their time and we all just do the best we can.

readerbuzz said...

Well said.

King Rat said...

I'm too cranky to follow any blogging rules, even my own. I figure if I'm not pissing someone off, I'm probably not talking enough.

Marie said...

KingRat- Nice. ;-)

kiwimia said...

Well said. I don't blog but I occasionally read them. I write a comment just to express my thoughts as part of a cyber conversation. Do I care if someone answers...NO.
I apply similar rules to all my email and voicemail. They are tools for my use, my way and in my time. Family, friends and work responsibilities come first. Time vampires are ignored.
But a 'thank you' or 'no thank you' is always polite.
Thank you for reminding us:)

Florinda said...

Sometimes I'll link to a post in my weekly roundup instead of leaving a comment. I feel like that lets the blogger know her post got my attention, and that I think it deserves the attention of others as well. Also, to be honest, sometimes it's faster than commenting :-).

I respond to comments on my blog just because it seems more conversational, but I realize that some people may never check back. Occasionally I'll reply with an e-mail, but that's when I want to be certain that someone sees my response :-). But I don't get tons of comments, so it's not that hard to keep up.

I leave comments when I have something to say about a post, period. I do comment more often on some blogs than others, but even then, I probably don't comment on ALL of their posts.

And yes, it's rude not to thank someone who has helped you out. Which reminds me: thanks for responding to my blogger-input request a few days ago! I'll pass your info along :-).

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Hmm, I never realised that saying I disliked a book reviewed positively, was bad etiquette. As long as I explained why, and didn't sound totally condescending, that is.

I was under the impression that it opens up discussion, and gives a different viewpoint.

As for comments, I try to respond to all of them, and I do try visiting all the bloggers who visit me as well. However, I don't always leave comments, as I don't always have something to say, and I don't like feeling obliged to comment.

Marie said...

Anothercookie- I don't have a problem with opposing viewpoints; I have a problem with people who are rude. If you disagree with me PLEASE feel free to say so. I just meant that a couple of times it just seemed obnoxious, the way it was done (and I don't even remember WHO or WHAT exactly I'm talking about at this point).

Frances said...

So well done here! And I agree with all you say. May I also add that one of the best part of comments is not just social but extending the conversation. I love it when people stop by my blog who have read the same book and bring a fresh perspective. Sometimes, even when I have read an entire post and enjoyed it on another blog, I hesitate to comment unless I have something fresh to bring to that conversation. Just don't want to comment just for the sake of commenting. Does anyone else feel like this? Or has anyone felt the disappointment of reading a reciprocal comment on your blog after leaving one on another that is abundantly obvious that that person did not read your post? I guess I am saying that I want an authentic exchange of ideas more than I want to ring up a high number of comments.

Lesley said...

I still struggle with the comment issue and judging from some of the posts I've ready about this subject over the past few days, it's comforting to know I'm not alone! When I first began blogging, I didn't reply to other people's comments, unless they asked something or I had something specific to say. And then as time went on and more people started blogging, I saw that replying to comments became de rigeur, so I tried do to the same. Then it got overwhelming and I felt like I was replying a lot of the time just for the sake of acknowledging a comment, and it got overwhelming, so I stopped. And for a long time, I didn't reply to any comments. Over the last few months, I've begun commenting again but I don't know yet if I'm satisfied with the way I do it. I don't have that many people who visit/comment so it's not like I have dozens of comments to respond to.

Anyway, I agree with your post and the importance of having good manners and common sense. And I don't think you were grumpy at all!

the heart is a lonely reader said...

Fantastic post! I often find myself worried about amount of commenting I do on the blogs that I follow, but being an active reader doesn't necessarily mean commenting on every post. Still, putting your response on the page is always a nice reassurance to a blogger - someone is reading your posts, thinking about them, and responding to them in a way that is usually thoughtful and topic-expanding. I try to keep up with those who keep up with me, but with my uneven blogging time per week, I'm lucky to read most of the updates on the blogs I follow, let alone participate in the dialogue on each post.

Still, an effort is important.

As for not sending a follow-up thank you email when receiving advice, that is just plain bad manners. If you were to ask for advice from someone face-to-face, you would of course thank her/him for their advice after the fact. Why should writing to someone online be any different?

wisteria said...

Marie....You are awesome!

I totally agree with you and love your last paragraph.
I often read blogs, and don't comment. I hope that doesn't take me out of the loop in the blogosphere.

I don't count my comments as a barometer of how I am doing or to valadate my writing. I would love comments and let's face it, who doesn't like to hear from people? Who doesn't like people to read your blog?

I would rather people have fun reading my blog and not feelobligated to comment for the sake of playing a tit for tat game.

Like Rhapsody, I often respond via email, because I don't revisit my blog to check for comments.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing your Blogging, Comments and Manners Online as we prepare to sit at our tables of celebration.

Zibilee said...

I totally understand what you are saying Marie. I often feel like I don't have enough time to leave comments on everything I read, but I like the blogger to know I was there and was reading what they had to say, even if my comment wasn't all that innovative. I think the whole blogging and commenting thing can be a little frustrating sometimes because I want to be polite and make friends in the blogging world, but often I don't know if I am having unreal expectations about all of these things. I would love to know that those I leave comments for are going to leave them for me, but do I expect that? No. It can be incredibly time consuming to leave a comment for everyone who leaves one for you, and most of us don't have that kind of time, I know I don't. I think each person has to do what feels right for them and the limits they have on their time. Also, I remember a few months ago you responded to me with a really nice e-mail about some books that would further enrich me on Jewish studies. I am pretty sure that I responded to that e-mail with a thanks, but just in case it slipped my mind, thanks for sending it! I did use the list you gave me to purchase some things that I might never have known about, so it was very helpful to me.

I hope you have a really nice Thanksgiving and that you are able to spend some time with those you are thankful for!

pinkflipflops said...

I visit everyone who has left me a comment, scan through their blog and if it's not something I want to follow I will leave a quick comment about thanks for the nice comment and what not and then if they regularly comment on my post, I will maybe try to visit their blog again. Sometimes I end up liking what they write and start following them, others I just forget they exist. I have 21 followers and 4-6 people comment almost every time. But yeah, I found blogs via them commenting on mine and have gone from there. I don't always comment/read if its nothing that I care to read. But also if I completely disagree to the point of not being able to say nice things, I tend not too.. other times I just have to throw in my opinion.. :)

Pam said...

This whole issue can be so confusing. Once I had been blogging for awhile I found a rhythm that worked for me. Like you, I try to visit bloggers who visit me and I leave comments when I have something thoughtful to say. Many times I read a post and don't leave a comment. I simply don't have anything valuable to add to the conversation. But, I do think it's important to Blog Guilt Free. There was even a movement to this effect not too long ago, though I noticed the site is down now. When you really think about it, we all blog for ourselves. We have to do what feels right, without being rude to others.

Diane said...

This was a great post. When I was a new blogger in 2008, I waited and waited and waited for comments to be posted on my blog, and once they started I made sure I responded to each one.

I now see how that is no longer realistic. I subscribe to over 150 blogs, and I do comment when I have something to say, but life does get in the way.

Oftentimes when people comment lately, for some there is no link to enable me to check out their blog --somehow I think some new bloggers are not aware of this, and do not have appropriate settings enabled.

I do the best I can, but know I must have ticked off some bloggers along the way, by not commenting, or answering question --- so sorry :(

Mystica said...

This was a wonderful post. I think you just do the best you can in the way you can with the time available to you. We all have so much to juggle with - that its not fair to have too much of expectations or rather expectations which are too high from fellow bloggers.

You have expressed sentiments which are felt by many bloggers.

Please continue!

Trisha said...

What an excellent post about manners. I always think manners are common sense, and then I am surprised when someone violates what seems to be obvious etiquette. Unless the violation is direct, I try to assume that people aren't doing so maliciously thought.

pussreboots said...

I have two commitments to my blog (and therefore my readers). 1) A new review every day of the year (barring serious injury or family emergency) and 2) a reply to each comment I get (except for spam ones, of course). I don't make many comments on other blogs. Time is a huge factor in my lack of commenting.

S. Krishna said...

I think you make some very good points in this post! I don't think there's any way to keep score comments-wise unless you have a lot of time and are very dedicated to that! I try to comment on those people's blogs who comment on mine, but I don't always succeed. It's complicated, and people should do what works for them! (And that doesn't include chewing you out for sending an email rather than commenting, sheesh!)

Rebecca Reid said...

Wow, I can't believe that blogger was so rude to you right out of the gate! (Well, I can believe it, but...) I'd be a bit peeved and less inclined than ever to go visit their blog.

I don't think it's necessary to keep score. I don't think it's necessary to always comment when someone comments on your blog. I also always go over to the commenter's blog and see if there is a post that interests me -- I read or skim a few -- and sometimes I don't feel I have anything to say. It's not that I don't like their blog, it's just that I don't think "Nice post!" comments really mean anything. I don't keep score.

I'd rather people left comments when they have something to say. I have been doing a lot of skimming lately because life is a bit off but I try to comment when I can or when I feel I have something to add. If other skim my posts and don't have anything to say, so be it.

I do assume people subscribe to comments or will come and check the comments if they leave a specific question. I don't send emails unless it's a long comment and/or personal.

Sorry people have been mean to you. That really makes this blogging thing not so fun.

joemmama said...

Marie- Excellent post, I read so many blogs in my reader, I find myself neglecting my commenting duties. And I also forget to comment on my comments, much of the time. (hanging my head in shame) Thanks for the reminder! You rock!!

Blodeuedd said...

I read this one yesterday and took some time to think about it some.

I used to comment like crazy but I have noticed that it takes up a lot of time. I might not comment all the time on my blogging buddies posts but I do check in.

And I always answer the comments on my own blog, I have seen people do it in different ways. Some answer via email, so go over to the persons blog (which I have done now and again). But in the end I feel that if they asked a question, then they might just come back to get the answer to that question.

In the end like you say we all do it differently.

Though there is one thing I am sure wondering about. Blogs who follow me but have never commented. Are they waiting for me to visit them? Why do they follow me if they never say anything, do they even read it? I do try to visit new blogs that follow me, but sometimes I see a new follower but can't find the person. I wonder what the etiquette is there

Serena said...

I think common etiquette has gone by the wayside in many cases thanks to the Internet, but it is up to each individual to keep it alive and well. Think about all those thank you notes that people sent for gifts, etc. People rarely do that these days. Are we really all that busy?!

stacybuckeye said...

What a wonderfully honest post. If someone emails me instead of commented I am happy. If they leave a comment and no email I am happy. That first blogger who told you what's what in the blogging world really needs to be thnakful for anyone who takes the time to appreciate her.
I had no idea when I started my blog how time consuming it would be. I'm trying to find a way to do it all - posting, commenting, emailing, and most importantly READING - but it is a struggle.

Michelle said...

Excellent post Marie!

Like you I want to be involved and be fair and reciprocal -- but, really there is only so much time in the day with a full time job, reading, writing posts for my blog, etc. Often times I fall way behind on reading feeds and commenting. I try my best but one can only do so much.

In the end I try to blog by the golden rule, do onto others what you'd have them do onto you. Treat people with respect and hopefully they'll do the same for you.

Katie said...

Wow, 44 comments - hot topic indeed!

I agree with Dawn above - each blogger has a pattern that works for that individual. I have never looked at blogging and commenting as a score sheet, I couldn't fathom that and really don't have time to "keep track" of all comments made on my blog or all the comments I make on another one. Bottom line, if I read a blog and have something to share, I'll post it. But I visit numerous blogs daily and never post a comment. That doesn't mean I'm not interested.

I'm thinking that some people may just have a little too much time on their hands?!

Gwendolyn B. said...

Wow. I just read your post and you already have 45 comments! I can't read all that! But, I'd like to.

I'm glad you've voiced your opinion and these issues and also glad that it is very similar to mine! We all have different schedules and different demands on our time. I appreciate everyone who comes by my blog - and I try to stop in all over the place, but I can't keep up. I do what I can when I can. Hey, didn't somebody already say that?!

Alexia561 said...

Excellent post Marie! I've seen several posts on this topic lately, but think that everyone needs to handle it however they see fit. So far as I know, there are no hard & fast rules about blogging.

I've started answering my comments, but it's time consuming. Also try to visit other blogs to support them, but again, it's very time consuming.

I love your blog, but don't always leave a comment. And I don't expect you to leave comments on my blog either. Though I loved your comment of "After all, I enjoy their blogs - why don't they like mine? *Sniff*" Been there! *L*

Amy Reads Good Books said...

Great post! It's especially nice for newer bloggers like myself to hear how others approach comments. I've gotten some good ideas, both from your post and all the comments! Thanks!

Marie said...

Alexia, LOL, you comment all the time! :-)

rm2h said...

I do not like to read blogs as I find them to be a waste of time. I do not require anyone to respond to me but if they sent me a nice reply. I would accept it in good faith. There always going to people who will get offend over something. Like the senator's aide who got upset for the use of her first name with someone who was setting up a meeting and had an extensive email berating the poor woman for it.

bookmagic said...

I've been lucky, I've never had any rude comments on my blog- but I'm still new. The online medium makes it so easy for some to throw common courtesy out the window. But most are nice. I don't mind if I comment on someone's blog and they don't comment on mine. That's not why I comment. I do try to check out all blogs from bloggers that comment on mine. I also try to comment on new blogs b/c people did the same for me

King Rat said...

I forgot to mention: I don't personally mind rude or negative comments at Rat's Reading. Comments I've gotten:

* U SUK
* Your posting this shows your own intolerance so perhaps you should pick yourself up a copy or two of his work and see if they won’t help you find yourself.
* Anyone who writes the sentence “Him I didn’t get hardly at all,” should not comment on real writing.
* I suspect the reviewer was blinded by his prejudices and did not really read or understand the text. He clearly did not know or bother to look up the name of the antagonist from the South. This just suggests sloppy reading or laziness.

And if you want to see some real vitriol directed at me in comments (not from my book blog unfortunately): http://www.kingrat.us/2009/01/cforms-ii-not-gpl-compatible

I guess all that goes with my comment above... If I'm not pissing someone off...

Jenny Girl said...

Well, I try to respond one way or another. If someone doesn't like what I do, or how hard I try, well I guess they can suck it!

Sorry you received some mean comments in the beginning. I would never do that, or think of doing that, but people can be mean.
Excellent post.

mjmbecky said...

This is a really great post. Thanks for posting it for us all to think about. I feel bad, but I think I developed a pretty thick skin after my first year of blogging and feeling as though I was always less than adequate in what I did. Then one day, I realized that because my blog is my hobby, and that I'd met these wonderful people who shared my passion, that there were no other rules than to participate as I could, and to be kind yet honest in the process. I do sometimes feel guilty that I don't get around more to comment, but we each have our own reasons. As a full-time teacher, I usually do my best to read other blogs; therefore, I comment minimally. I do agree with you though that there does seem to be some courtesy applied to it.

I guess in the end, we have to be somewhat forgiving with one another, because we can't be certain why people post or comment for the reasons they do? I love this community of readers, and I think that your post just helps us to "communicate" with one another about practices that might help us all communicate a little better. Thanks! I think I'll try to step up my own awareness out there. :)

Vasilly said...

What a great post! I try to visit everyone who visits my blogs within a few day's time. Life does get in the way and many bloggers need to remember that this is a hobby, serious for some, not-so-serious for others.

Last year a blogger left a rude comment about a book I gushed over. I wouldn't have minded if that wasn't the only thing she had to add to the book's discussion. I never visited her blog after that. Didn't see the need.

I think it's rude if someone emails for help, receives the advice, and don't say thank you. Ugh!

Esme said...

Interesting post-I do not mind if someone says they did not like the book for specific reasons fair enough is my thought-but do not bag on me just because I liked or disliked it. I agree that I will not comment on someone's post if I have nothing good to say about something-unless I will leave specifics about why I disliked it.

Not quite the same but I had someone win a prize and the publisher was very slow in getting out the prize-the comments this person emailed me was too much-good riddance-if you want it that much go buy it-I explained why the delay.

As far as comments go-I appreciate everyone who comments and try to visit their blog-especially if I do not know who they are, but I do not expect people to leave me a comment because I left them one.

Misfit said...

I can barely keep up with reading the blogs in my reader, let alone commenting - especially if I've nothing to say. While it's nice to get comments, the world is not going to come to an end either if I don't get them.

Aarti said...

I try really hard to visit people who comment on my blog, but sometimes I feel like people just comment in order to get more visitors to their site. I don't like leaving comments, either, that are just like, "Wow, great review!" So generic you can't even tell if the person read the review or not. But at the same time, I know a lot of people have a LOT on their readers. It's hard to strike a balance.

And this will probably sound super-rude and possibly elitist, but... I already have a good amount of close blogging friends. I don't know how many more I can take! So, if I REALLY REALLY like someone's blog, then I will start following it and commenting, but otherwise, I might just read it. Or visit it randomly. It's tough to keep up with everything!

Sarah Collins Honenberger said...

Blogging like critique groups or dinner invitations has one basic rule. Do unto others. If the blogging system is to work and bring people with similar interests together, we need to interact. This is a general comment, not directed at any one blogger or post, but ... just posting your own thoughts and never commenting shows your self-centered. And therein is the number one problem with people nowadays. Too self-centered. Getting outside yourself makes you more interesting too. At least words are celebrated in well done blogging, something we writers appreciate in today's sound byte TV-driven society.

Aarti said...

Just a general question- is the rude commenting/emailing COMMON? I must be really lucky as, reading over the above responses to your post, it looks like a lot of people have had bad experiences. Wow. I have never really come across anyone who has been rude to me online (or maybe I am just dense and don't notice it). I feel very lucky now. I don't see why people are rude to others, particularly online. Just because you can't see the other person doesn't mean s/he doesn't have feelings.

Marie said...

Aarti- I wouldn't say it's common. There have been a few things that have happened since I started my blog that have sort of accumulated in my mind and lead to this post. The recent spate of advice emails I've answered just sort of pushed me over the edge and got me thinking.

jewwishes said...

I have been lax in commenting lately due to my cross country move, but think I am now back in the swing of things.

I always reciprocate on a comment left on my blog, and feel it shows the blogger that I am appreciative. Plus, I might find a new blog I enjoy reading.

I have my "regulars" I visit on a daily basis.

Anna said...

This certainly is something to think about. I can't believe someone was upset because you emailed a compliment instead of posting it in the comments! And it's kind of sad if people determine which blogs to read and comment on by taking note of who comments on theirs and who doesn't. There are so many blogs out there that one can't possibly read and/or comment on all of them. I think it's important for everyone to remember that most people blog as a hobby, and it's supposed to be fun, not overwhelming and completely time consuming. I try to respond to every comment but sometimes I don't have the time. It's not that I don't appreciate them, and I do read each and every one of them. And sometimes I don't have time to comment as often as I'd like, but it doesn't mean I'm not reading! It's a touchy subject for sure, but we just have to respect each person's way of doing things.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Marie said...

Sarah- absolutely. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

Thanks for the great post! I think that the hard thing with comments is that we all love getting them, but each of us has a different method for responding and different time allowances too.

I read each and every comment on my blog and love that people took the time to write something. Most of my commenters are familiar and when one isn't I try to stop by their blog. I like the idea of responding to each comment, but I honestly just don't have the time.

When I leave comments on blogs I don't expect a comment in return. Sure, it'd be nice if they stop by, but I know that's not always reasonable.

Book Bird Dog said...

Thank heavens I've not yet gotten any comments that were negative about a good review! I've received a chiding for a negative review, but it was not a nasty one. Wish I had time to do more socializing on the blogs!

Jeanne said...

I came to this discussion from The 3 Rs, and want to say that sometimes it's not just manners; it's the difficult of conveying the right tone in your writing.

I've gotten to where I won't comment except positively on blogs I haven't been reading for a while, because I tend to come off as abrasive as your example "Oh you liked that? I hated it!" Partly this is the result of working in academia, where disagreeing is a sign of respect and arguing is a pastime.

Maybe in terms of manners we should give everyone a second chance!

Marie said...

Jeanne, thank you for stopping by; I think you make an excellent point. It IS hard to convey tone of voice and intention in writing and things can be easily mis-taken and misinterpreted. A great thing to keep in mind. Thank you!

Book Dragon said...

I came to this discussion from The 3 Rs also and I love this post. You say good, common sense things and then we wonder if it's all that common.


I didn't get to all 68 comments but wanted to say I emailed a blogger because I was unable to comment on the post. No one else had either so I thought it wasn't just me. I did get a nice thanks for letting her know.

I once emailed a blogger a question and now I'm wondering if I sent her a thank you......

No one has been rude to me yet, crosses fingers, will I have hit the big-time if they are?

Jessica said...

I haven't even figured out how to respond to comments on my own blog, and I try to refrain from leaving comments on other blogs unless I have something useful to say. Anyone who's offended by that can pass me by, I'm OK with it.

Scorekeepers baffle me. It will never come out even no matter what the arena.

Lex said...

I totally agree with the Thank You etiquette. It is a must to say Thank You whenever it is needed. I agree with Dawn. Not only is this etiquette forgotten on the Blogosphere but in the real world too. Isn't this one of the first proper manners that our parents teach us?

I don't really care much about comments but I feel really really good when I get one. It's okay if the blog that I subscribe and comment whenever something caught my attention does not reciprocate my deeds, then so be it. I try to understand because if I were to compare my schedule with theirs, mine is so bare you could cry.

I love this post. Conscience mocking to those with no err.. manners and thought provoking to the other.