I had hoped to find a hilarious “ur doin it rong” to go with blogging, but alas, you’ll have to be amused by these representative samples.
Anyway, I have a few pet (pun intended) peeves related to blogging, or rather to commenting on blogs. The assumption here is that the blog has comments turned on; if not, it’s not really a blog, is it?
Peeve 1: Moderated Comments
This gets to why someone starts a blog in the first place. If the goal was to open topics up to discussion, moderated comments throw a wet blanket over that. I’m by no means a serial commenter, but when I’m motivated enough by a post to comment, I like to see my comment immediately.
It’s the instant gratification, not dissimilar to what Twitter provides. Moderating comments also lengthens the feedback loop. So not only do I wait for my comment to appear, I also wait for the blogger to respond.
People don’t comment without expecting or at least hoping for a response (more on that later).
Most arguments I’ve heard for moderation are pretty thin, IMHO.
- All kinds of spam will get through.
- I want to censor people.
- I can’t keep up with comments.
Any blogging software worth its salt will have pretty decent comment spam blocking. However, even a good spam blocker, like Askimet for WP will fail to catch everything. Just like with email, spammers find a way.
Some posts attract more spam that slips through than others, but if you keep a watchful eye on your comments, which you should anyway, you’ll be able to spot these and remove them with ease.
Spam tends to flock to popular blogs too, so if you have a small audience and low traffic, you’re probably not going to have major problems.
Now for censorship.
Censorship has a negative connotation, but what else would you call when you moderate what people can say on your blog? I believe most moderating bloggers have good intentions. They don’t want cussing or flaming on their blogs. However, the odds of that happening are like spam. They go up as you get more readers. The problem for me is that if a blog moderates comments, and I have a negative or dissenting viewpoint to express, what’s the likelihood that my comment ever makes it out of moderation?
Finally, time constraints.
This one is counter-intuitive to me, since it’s less effort to let all the comments through without moderating them. Like I said, most of the comments you get will be from interested readers who want to have a conversation. This is why people start blogging, right?
Peeve 2: Black Hole Comments
While we’re talking conversation, I just don’t get why people blog and don’t reply to comments. One major tenant of Web 2.0 is the evolution of publishing into participation.
So, if you blog and don’t reply to comments, aren’t you just publishing? Even bloggers for a highly trafficked blog like TechCrunch or ReadWriteWeb reply to comment, which often number in the hundreds. Maybe they don’t reply to each and every one, but when you get 400 comments, that model doesn’t scale.
When you only have a handful, what’s the problem?
Yeah, I know people are busy, but I’ll ask again, why did you start the blog?
IMHO if you have something to say and feel passionate enough about it to comment, why not put your stamp on it? I’m not defending marketing walls here either. I think they tend to encourage anonymity in the form of psuedonyms.
A blog should have a commenting system (like Disqus), ideally that supports OpenID (and by the way, I would like to know why the Disqus blog widget doesn’t allow OpenID authentication), or a form that allows a quick way for commenters to identify themselves and give their comment.
Anonymous commenting makes people suspicious, and it’s not that anonymous, as Vinnie pointed out last year. People may not know you’re a dog on the Intertubes, but they do know a lot more about you than you think.
Not all anonymous commenting ends up as hate, but when it does, it’s yet another reminder of how easy it is to say hurtful things when you don’t have to confront someone. It happened to Kathy Sierra, and it just happened to a friend of mine, Corvida Raven. It’s despicable, and it’s happened to countless others and will continue to happen.
Not all anonymous commenters mean harm, but if you make the leap to comment, why not tell the bloger who you are?
So, these are my peeves with commenting. What do you think? Am I full of it? You know what to do.
And you’ll find your thoughts unmoderated and definitely answered.