The Lost Art of Being Silly

by Jan Geronimo on April 25, 2009

Beautiful friendshipImage by Sebastián-Dario via Flickr

Melvin who writes about affiliate marketing, blogging and SEO has an interesting post in which he said that “replying to every comment is silly.”

This post of course takes the contrary view. I don’t find it silly replying to every comment made on my blog. Secondly, I’m a little peeved that my supreme silliness is being celebrated on another blog without at the very least inviting me as a guest of honor.

Levity aside, here are Melvin’s main points:

1. Not all comments add value. Some are just spammy one-liners with a convenient link to the commenter’s blog.

2. 85% of commenters just leave comments and go, without bothering to check if there are replies to the comments they left.

3. Blog writers’ replies to comments inflate the number of comments made on the post.

4. Not every post deserves a comment and even those popular posts – example, a post about announcement of blog contest can generate hundreds of comments – do not reflect the popularity of the blog itself.

For the record, Melvin is a personable young blogger and he replies to comments left on his blog 15 – 35 % of the time. By the way, Melvin celebrated his birthday the other day and launched a blog contest to commemorate the occasion. You still have time to join his contest so pay Melvin a visit.

Why I reply to every blog comment

The first two months of my blogging had been a very lonely experience. I wrote every day and there was nobody around to read them. It did not matter that I opened a vein and smudged it on my post. It did not matter that I spent hours checking if my subject and verb agreement matched. But I stayed the course. It’s a blessing that I’ve written before and I’m not exactly a stranger to being alone.

Here’s a fine example of my anxiety as a blogger with no reader. Note the thinly veiled desperation in that early post.

I remember my first commenter. He’s an American. Of course, I yelled “yesss! yesss! yesss!” while dancing the dance of joy – a silly little affair, so don’t ask. It took me several minutes to contain my excitement. I felt like I should take a bath first, wear suitable clothes before I could even begin to compose my reply.

I seemed to have passed this phase in every new blogger’s life when there seems no one around to keep you company. It’s a baptism of fire. There’s no getting around it. And quite necessary too because if you can survive the loneliness you’re likely to survive pretty much else.

And yet I reply to every single comment because it’s the decent thing to do. Turning my back on them while they’re talking is not polite. I know how it is to be alone and I’ll never let my guests feel that in my blog.

Blog comments are gifts of time and time is priceless

Call it silly, but I still feel giddy every time a reader leaves a comment. I still reply to them, secretly admiring the guts it takes to overcome their shyness. I feel awe that they will gift me with a few minutes of their precious time. They are being generous -

* Sharing personal experiences which under ordinary circumstances I’m not likely to hear about

* Pointing an important idea I may have missed

* Advising me to consider the contrary view

* Telling me I’m cool, helpful, or a pain in the ass – okay, that doesn’t happen yet.

* Discussing with me ideas so candidly that they are almost blog posts unto themselves

* Lifting a veil so I can fill some gaps in their knowledge, implying I can help them.

* Dropping by to say hello and pretty not much else, which by the way all great friends do.

When blog comments become the main event

I’m humble enough to recognize that sometimes the blog comments can become the main event in my blog. The post – my post – is just a curtain-raiser, or a waiter presenting a menu for the guests to look at. I’m not sure if it has happened yet to my blog, but if it does, I’d pay it no mind. I’m big and old enough to merge behind the curtains.

I can be only be proud when blog comments – not my voice, not my post – become this blog’s moveable feast. Just saying.

Dealing with spam comments and inflated comment count

Some comments are dressed up in fine clothes but if you look hard enough they’re nothing but spam. That’s tough, but I have no reservation in deleting them, although I’ve yet to exercise that right. But I will wield it.

And I’m not worried about my comments bloating the comment count on every post. Who’s asking? Who’s checking? I’m not worried about it – it’s my blog after all.

“I just wanted to be liked for something that is uniquely me.”

If guests leave a comment and never come back it’s not their fault. They have no obligation to do that. It’s enough for me they have come and shared a moment of their precious time. That’s still a gift to me.

It all boils down to why I blog. And it’s this – I write because I need to reach out. My posts are my hands extended to fellow travelers. Will they shake them? Will they clasp them warmly?

It’s an act of faith on my part. It’s also a naked plea to be liked. David of Blogger Dad said it best:

Part of it is curiosity about you, getting to know others, learning new things. But I must confess that part of it is also ego. I’d like to think I was above such things as selfish as ego. But, I’m not. I want to write things that you enjoy. As I wrote in a prior post, I want to create worlds where people will lose themselves. In the end, I guess, I just want to be liked for something that is uniquely me.

Building relationships is far more important

Replying to every post takes away precious time that can be better spent on other important blog activities. Maybe so. But what’s more important than building relationship with readers and fellow writers? I’m looking at it for the long haul.

1. These are the people I want to grow up with. If I succeed, I’d take them with me. If I lag behind and lose heart I certainly hope they will remember their old buddy.

2. These are the people that I will tirelessly talk about in Twitter, in StumbleUpon, in my posts, in my private emails to somebody else, in my real life conversations. Because they rock.

3. These are the people that stand by me and are nice and can survive an occasional nonsense post from me. I will stand by them and be nice and by God will love them even if they spout nonsense.

The lost art of being nice

Here’s George’s fantastic article about the
ref="">art of being nice
. George who pens Tumblemoose said that being “nice does not mean spineless.” Isn’t he a genius or what. Here’s an important part of that statement -

Being nice does not mean hiding under a cover, not poking your head up lest you offend someone. Being nice is a mindset that allows you to appropriately respond to others in a manner that results in positive outcomes. Not every result will be sunshine and roses, but if you are nice then you held up your end of the bargain.

And when lightning strikes?

Of course, lightning can strike my blog at any point in the future and from the ashes may rise a blog so famous it has 400 comments for every post. Yeah, yeah. Humor me now, okay? But in case shit happens – what to do? How to be nice then?

I don’t know, to be honest about it. That’s all conjecture for now. But I’m sure my friends – my think tank – will be able to help me grapple with that nightmare if it comes.

But for now my role is cut out for me. I’m comfortable being nice and a little silly.

Of course, I’m curious and would like to know how you deal with your own visitors. Do you reply to every comment left on your blog? Why or why not?

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Related Posts:
Give Me an Insightful Comment and I’ll Promote You to the Front Page
Who Else Wants to be a Topnotch Blogger?
7 Accomplishments of a Month Old Blog

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  • jan
    You've got a point there. That's puzzling - the link takes you to Js-Kit instead of the person's URL. I still have to fully understand the full functionality of this plugin. I will get back to you when I have this figured out though.

    That's really frustrating especially when a commenter has no footer that shows up his/her most recent post (the CommentLuv thing). And you're only left with the username of the commenter.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate it very much.
  • mjdoyle

    Thanks for this post! I got my very first comment yesterday and since then it has been growing. I am responding to every comment only because I enjoy the interaction so much (socially deprived?).

    I have a question for you though. I see you use JS-Kit, and when I click on someone's name who has commented here it doesn't take me to their URL. Is this a feature of JS-Kit?

    Recent blog post: Beat Your Procrastination by Releasing Your Clutter
  • jan
    Oh, well, nadaan sa tiyaga, Elms. Please take note I have no social life. My life revolves around my day job and blogging. So I had better have readers. If not - I'd be wasting a chunk of my time for nothing. :)

    We will think of ways to get traffic to your blog as well. What are these people, clueless? If I like you, they had better like you too! We will grow famous together, all of us, you and me and all of our friends. :-D
  • elmot
    im taking all your pieces of advice big bro.

    i thought my comment was lost...same as my getting lost on installing this precious commentluv, har har har

    wow, page 2! it simply means that there is just tons of comments here.

    Recent blog post: The Father That I Have Come to Love
  • jan
    Your comment is not lost. It's here - I'm commenting on it right now. The comment section for this post has a page 2. Your comment appears here in p.2. :-D

    Be careful with your current template - save it first before uploading the new one. And take your time, you might miss a step. Easy does it, Elms.
  • elmot
    where is my comment? lost in space...forget about it big bro. i am following suit. but installing this one has been a disaster, but my blog is back to normal.

    now, the video tutorial is as long as a turtle though

    Recent blog post: A Sold Out Senate Boxing, Wresting and Shooting Match
  • Jojigirl
    Heh! Nilagay mo kasi sa bote ng Fit and Right. Tuba ba un? Parang suka ata un?! Sige nga. Alis muna ako dito. Gagawa muna ako ng matino, hehe...
  • jan
    Si Joji kasi nakainom yata ng tuba. Ang lakas ng boses eh. O:-) Thanks, Luke.
  • jan
    I will hold the book while Dee read to you your rights.
  • Lucrecio Emerito
    Aha! Caught both of you red-handed! And in case you need to know, Joji, chocolates won't help. I will need a 2 lb Oxford or Webster's Dictionary to understand those words. (At least not a bilingual Tagalog-English)

    Seriously guys, you both write very good that's why I read you. Don't hold back on your words. Anyway, I like to learn new words. Since when is learning bad? Gotcha.
  • Jojigirl
    But Luke will always have dark chocolates just in case. Oh! I kill me. Hope Dee won't find my statements self-incriminating, hahaha...
  • jan
    Your laconic nature has been breached by this presumptuous interloper. ",) Isn't it grand - my fecundity to your laconic ways. Pssst, speak softly Joji. Luke might hear us. This kind of conversation is bound to give him headaches. Besides, I have promised to him not to use big words anymore. You know, for the sake of clarity.

    Luke, it's not my fault. Joji provoked me. :-[
  • Jojigirl
    It's never silly. While replying to every comment is not obligatory, that's some personal touch your blog buddies undoubtedly love. See them constellate after every post. It proved to be rather fun than silly. Besides that, your fecundity gets even more revealing and contagious, hehehe. Even the laconic me gets carried away and would try to muster some worthy observation (you know that I am such a pinhead when it comes to this level of conversations, but it helped me learn to try to share a point, the point of a pinhead,hahaha...)

    Will get back to you buddy through your contact form. Just be patient with my "retreat and return" style, can't help that. Besides, here in the countryside, riding the carabao may not bring me that fast and far in the blogging world but it's a pleasure to know you along the way. Meantime, let me just give this carabao his favorite mudbath and maybe later I can draw something from the mud - oh, no I don't mean deciphering another poem from there, hahaha...

    Recent blog post: Recycling the Paper Some Other Way
  • jan
    Elms, I have to reassure you Melvin is not one of those guys you're talking about who are hell-bent on building rep and authority. And nothing but that. I know because I'm friends with him too. I read him constantly and there's not a shadow of doubt in my mind about this.

    He's on his way up to being popular. And as such he's been visited a lot of clueless bloggers who thought they're helping their rep by leaving spammy comments. I'm sure that's all there is to his point of view.

    I bounced off his post because I take exception to his main points. Only because my experience with readers is a lot different. His are apples, mine oranges.

    I'm glad though we see eye to eye on this. Thanks, buddy. ;)
  • elmot
    now i have to squeeze a big chunk of my brain for this one hell of a well-written blog post of my big bro. and i would not grill you on this one yet, for i totally agree with your sentiments. i don't want to grill myself down here.

    i totally disagree with melvin, as pointed out very well by jan, blogging is first and foremost the building of relationships. other bloggers may become so overwhelmed by the glaring fact of building popularity and authority in the blogosphere that they forget that they owe everything to their loyal readers.

    Spams are spams, which we have to deal with properly. you post to reach out to people and welcome them, though their comments are sometimes totally the otherside of your story or outrageous; that is what blogging is all about - perspectives. if one can't welcome perspectives through the comments of people either one-liners or not, then he should better stop blogging. and as jan pointed out, the burden of responsibility is not on the commenters but on the blogger.

    this is one reason why i sometimes have this irritated attitude with some bigtime bloggers; they forgot where they came from; from scratch trying to welcome even the most nonsense of commenters and visitors on their blogs just in order to keep the ball rolling in their blogging. 8-)

    Recent blog post: A Kiss of Death to Lady Justice
  • jan
    No, it was not lost, Lemuel. It's here on the 2nd page. This post has lots of comments. Your comment appeared on the second page.

    Kinabahan ako dun ah. I thought it was lost talaga. But I distinctly remembered replying to your comment. It's still here - safe and sound. :-D
  • Lemuel Ponce
    hi, jan, i left a comment yesterday. i don't know why it did not post... what do you think happened?

    Recent blog post: Environment Conservation Champions
  • fedhz
    Hey, Jan! I know the feeling of receiving comments. It's always a surprise getting one because I seldom visit other blogs. I'm like the boy in your picture in this post, waiting for someone to arrive. I'm always excited to see new and old visitors in my blog, kahit minsan hindi related sa blogpost. At least may page view pa rin ako, hehe.

    kung wala akong anti-spam, naku, million million na siguro ang comment sa blog ko ngayon. I have learned to read and decline comments na spam lang. kahit minsan well written naman, pero alam mo un, obvious na nag-iiwan lang ng link nila. kakainis.

    As for your question, yup, I reply din sa blogpost ko, pero intay ko muna maraming mag comment para isang bagsakan na lang. pero minsan pag di ako tinatamad respond agad, kase malay mo bumalik na ung commenter, then check nya ung blogpost kung san sya nagcomment. Ganun kase ako eh. So itong JSkit okay na okay, para di na manu-mano ang pag check kung nagreply ka na ba or hindi pa... counted pa rin ba un sa pageview? hehe

    and then, para malaman nila na nagreply na ko, visit ko na lang din ung site nila then maki-chismis din ako kung anong bago at kung san ako maka-relate sa mga sinulat nila. kung wala, ahehe.. eh di no comment. lol

    Recent blog post: Steppin’ Out
  • jan
    First of all, thank you Luke for this guest post. I'm flattered you've relented to my request. :)

    It's a pity we can't collaborate on this as of now. I'm not ruling out future ones though.

    That's a nice tag team you've got there with Dee. You're right about the permanence of the stuff one published in the internet. Our work will indeed outlive us like the common plastic.

    I wish I had an alter ego of my own. Someone who can act as my conscience. Perhaps you can do that for me once in a while - when you think my enthusiasm gets the better of me. I can take it. Secondly, I love your way of saying things.

    One drawback of being single is that I'm not answerable to anybody. Thus, I tend to be obscure sometimes, and cryptic too. No practice explaining stuff to a wifey or an S.O.

    Your longish comment is a challenge for me. It's look like a perfect editorial policy for any self-respecting blogger - the call to simplicity and clarity above all else.

    I'd keep this in mind, Luke.

    Please lose the self-doubt about writing. You're a delightful read, Luke. You can put a lot of blog writers to shame with your great ideas and lovely ways of expressing them.

    Thanks, Luke. Come visit again when you can.
  • Lucrecio Emerito
    True, Jan. In a way, I am Dee's editor; but, only as to content not to form.

    What editing I do goes like this: "You know, that post/article/comment will be archived by search engines. You might want to tone it down a bit."

    I only check what she tries to say not how she said it. :-D The words are all hers. (And mistakes, my own)

    Well, I am not trying to prevent her to write what's on her mind. I am just concerned that she might write something she doesn't want to read later.

    I mean, in nntp, all the posts of Linus Torvalds are still there, the debate between him and his professor Andrew Tanenbaum still there. The rants of RMS (Richard Stallman) still there. Point is, there is permanence and searchability when it comes to posts in the Net.

    That is all I do. I don't touch her words. She does a better job of it than me. My English teacher even once told me to use short sentences only. I asked why and she said so that I will have small chance of making mistake. Maybe she was frustrated reading my work. More talk more mistake, she said. I followed that advice since and seldom talk. Or write.

    As to slipping into Latin and Greek, that not a problem. People write for different purpose. Well, if you write for a daily paper, then you must use simple language—you may even have to limit yourself to vocabulary of 600 unique words max and write things like: "Lucrecio sleeps."; "Lucrecio eats chocolate."; and "Lucrecio ran.". That is because the purpose is purely to communicate in a simplest way.

    But if you write to practice writing creatively, then you must try to be creative with your words. You must push envelopes to the limit. If you practice writing prose, then you must try write prose and not simple sentences.

    In short, simple words and difficult-for-Lucrecio-to-understand words both have their places. Not one is better than the other. It just depends on the purpose. Besides, high thoughts require high language; and Jan certainly has high, complex thoughts. ;)

    Finally, what's wrong with Latin and Greek? I know Greek like Alpha Phi Omega, Tau Gamma, and Sigma Phi. 8-) As to Latin, it may be dead but it is not, and never will be, extinct!

    As to guest posting, never. This blog is too beautiful to destroy by an incompetent like me. Besides, reading is a prerequisite to writing just like Math 11 is a prerequisite to Math 21. I'd rather read your blog. Win-win. I learn and your blog is intact. :) Thanks for the offer, though.
  • jan
    That's very candid of you, Lemuel. That's a wise thing to do sometimes. Maybe I should try doing that occasionally. What might be holding me back though is that my readers would think I might be sick or something. :)
  • Lemuel Ponce
    like you, i was really overwhelmed when i got my first comment. then as time passed by, a number of different people leave their comments too. nowadays, when i post, i read comments to see readers reactions. sometimes i answer, sometimes i don't, because sometimes, i really do not know what to say. anyway, on your part, replying to comments is really great. you make conversations more interesting after posting a topic. keep up the good work! thanks!
  • jan
    You're selling yourself short, Luke. I have it on good authority that you're Dee's Editor-in-Chief. I bet you even eat oxymorons for breakfast,if it comes to that.

    Am I letting my guard down again? Slipping into Latin and Greek, I suppose. Thanks for letting me know. I'd curb my enthusiasm from now on, Luke.

    If you want to you can write a guest post for me. We will work on it. Sa atin-atin lang naman ito. Do you wanna? I'm serious, Luke.
  • Lucrecio Emerito
    Me, it is; but tired of lurking in the dark side, I am not. (Why on earth am I now talking like Yoda?)

    As to dark chocolates, you know why they're called that and why they're good for you, right? they're from us—from the dark side. 8-)

    As to commenting and replying to replies (which Dee and fifi would call a rejoinder), I find it fun. Specially because that's the thing I do because I don't blog. I don't even make a decent paragraph without much thumbing the dictionary much less make a blog post as good as yours or Joji's. (Though I can't comment her blog yet because I don't have Blogger account yet. I comment here in your blog as anonymous as Lucrecio Emerito. Dee said what I just wrote is an oxymoron. (I have to check the dictionary again for that word later ) >:o ) So where was I... Oh yes, your and Joji's posts. Looking at your posts, I learn new words. (Only if I keep a dictionary handy, though) It must be hard to write like that. Oh, I'm not talking sense again. I must stop now before this ends to be a comment and becomes my first post. :-D
  • jan
    Yikes! Oo nga ano. That's bad. Please try logging in with your other profiles - facebook connect, open id.
  • Bingkee
    why can't I have my photo here...some JS kit commenting , it automatically has my photo.

  • jan
    It's what people do at 3:00 am in the morning and still can't sleep. You trawl the internet for a little fun, little chats, little treasures. I found this and installed it.

    Turned out I got the steps mixed up - the commentluv did not work. Slept on it. And restarted the whole process on Sunday afternoon. So there it is now. ",)

    Me techy? Naah. I'm a loveee not a techy. :-[
  • jan
    Yeah, I'm a little worried about the email notification for readers. I don't want to irritate them with constant updates. Will check how to make it less a pain in the neck. Or how to turn it off, perhaps that's the better option.

    You said: "I reciprocate instead to the commenter by leaving a comment on his blog post. I think that's better than replying to a comment he made on my blog post which he may never go back to ...."

    That's a great alternative, Viviene. I've been doing that, too. I just don't realize how effective it is. It must be, as you swear by it. Will do more of the same now. Thanks!

    As you said, "it's more and much better love." I agree.
  • yatot
    hmmm... there is something in this comment section... and i am loving it! hahahaha... what have you done! you're techy na huh...? me answer comments... me put comments... me not spammer! lols :-P

    Recent blog post: A Tale of Judaism in the Philippines!
  • Bingkee
    Hey...a new comment thingie here...a JS kit . I want this to be installed in my blog a long time ago but it's only available in Typepad's Pro Plan , where they give you access to install HTML . I didn't get the Pro coz I don't have any knowledge of HTML. If I get the Pro plan just for the HTML, I'd be paying that amount for the duration of my blog life.
    Anyway, as much as I can, I try to reply back to comments, but I cannot do it all the time or consistently.

    Also , I don't believe I need to go back to the comment I made on another blog. I leave comments and I wouldn't go back to it if I don't need to. If that is the case, my whole day is just spent on the computer, leaving my dirty dishes on the sink and dirty clothes on the hamper.

    Also I see a lot of blogs with the JS kit which makes it easy to reply to every comment---but most of them are "useless comments" like smilies ....a conversation that only the two understand.

    And comments like these add up to 180 comments, and 80 % of them are smilies and one -liner dialogue.

    But u know what Jan? Most oftentimes I do not reply to the comment readers made on my blog. I reciprocate instead to the commenter by leaving a comment on his blog post. I think that's better than replying to a comment he made on my blog post which he may never go back to .....and instead will appreciate your visit and comment again. Most of my commenters come back to comment on my post because I give back comments on their blogs. Usually I don't reply to their comments made on my post but I don't ignore them. I give them "more and much better love" than replying to their comments by reciprocating the deed.

  • jan
    You've just shared a powerful insight. I'm so glad to meet a kindred soul. Thank you very much.
  • jan
    Is it you, Luke? Your sober comment makes me think you're getting tired of lurking in the dark side. Please be kind to as to haul back into the light as much dark chocolates you can carry.

    Yeah, community building sometimes smacks of bayanihan and much sweat and groaning. But it can also be fun. It's where you likely to draw strength from especially in the company of great online friends.
  • Palma | Buddha Trance
    Jan, I agree, it's an investment in future alliances. By investing our time in replying, we are showing to the world that we value a sense of real community. By leaving comments ourselves elsewhere, we show to the world that we want to add our input as a gift to the author, and for the indirect benefit of other readers.

    I think that when this is done with a pure intent of gratitude and adding value, the rewards will be plentiful. Then, the seeds we have planted, the links we have shared, will bloom. :)

    Recent blog post: To the Universe, the customer is always right
  • Lucrecio Emerito
    I don't have blog but I think the answer to your question depends on how active you want your community to be. Maintaining a blog is like developing a community, me thinks, where people share ideas and experiences. Not much replying means not much communion and communion is the essence of a community.
  • jan
    Hi classmate! 8-) That's a great point: We so want to be read, yes. If we need that, well, so is the other guy who takes the time to comment. It's so easy to forget that we all started with nothing. When we used to check every minute or so to if the comment section of our blog is at last showing some signs of life as you mentioned. It pays to remember that.

    We're investing our time here of course. Should we skimp on our time? If your ask me, and I fairly have a good idea this sits well with you, we're building future alliances. We're laying the groundwork on our networks, solidifying links as we go along. It's in this powerful context that interacting with readers should be placed.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Very much appreciated.
  • jan
    I had to start all over this afternoon - uploaded the old template and started from step 1 and finally! I was of course very proud of myself. I heeded your advice and disabled the option for embedding pics. You're right I can't very afford to babysit my comment section. :-D

    Thanks for the tips. You've been of great help. As of this hour, a good friend of mine has followed suit and is installing ks-kits on his blog. Maybe more to come in the days ahead.

    That's very funny: You're advising programmers to find ways to eliminate the need for technical writers. Nice advice from a technical writer herself. :)
  • Holly
    Oh, phooey...this is what you get when commenting before coffee (CBC). Of course you get the list of posts...IF you enter your blog URL.

    Just ignore me, Jan. I'll be back after I wake up.

    Recent blog post: Swine Flu: Do We Need to Worry?
  • Holly
    Hmm. The reply above demonstrates what happens when you simply reply to the email notification from js-kit (no, your Commentluv isn't broken, nor have I lost the ability to properly format things). For some reason, you don't have the feature that lets users choose from the last few recent comments. (On my blog, click the little heart next to "CommentLuv enabled" and you get a list to choose from.) You have emoticons and pictures. I wasn't sure I wanted to risk allowing pictures. I don't want to have to babysit and police my blog that closely! LOL!
  • Palma | Buddha Trance
    Jan, I am also a virtual classmate from 31DBBB. I can so relate to this post! I value every comment, and reply to all of them. Of course, not having that many makes it easier. But I will manage to do so even when they will be numerous. At that point, I might reply to a chunk of them at once, rather than individually.

    I agree with you, it's the polite thing to do. A way of showing gratitude for the time the reader put into sharing a few words, and their insights.

    Replying, makes the commenter feel like their comment is being read. The other side of the coin of the post wanting to be read. We all want to have a sign of life from both ends. I always go back to blogs where I have left comments to see if they have replied to me. It's such a nicer feeling, rather than having a one way conversation.

    Recent blog post: To the Universe, the customer is always right
  • Holly
    First time I tried it, I missed something in the instructions. That's why I
    asked if you'd followed them very carefully. The steps are deceptively

    simple and straightforward, but you cannot miss even one little detail and

    get it right. I've suggested to Andy that he work on a Blogger "gadget" so

    that people don't have to think so hard. (I'm a technical writer who advises

    programmers on ways to eliminate the need for technical writers. How sad is

  • jan
    Cool. Thanks, Kelvin. I'm glad you feel the same way. But it must be hard for you, especially with the hectic schedule you keep.
  • kELviN
    "Turning my back on them while they're talking is not polite. I know how it is to be alone and I'll never let my guests feel that in my blog."

    wow jan...this is so true.. I also give replies in my blog's comments. I support you on this.. :)

    Recent blog post: Our Lady of Manaoag Visit
  • jan
    Thanks, Z. It used to be a lonely exercise, writing is. Now there's instant reaction. Or deafening silence as the case maybe.

    Wow, thanks for meeting me halfway. I'm glad to be your friend, Z. :)
  • Zorlone
    Hello Jan,

    I am late! I haven't been to your site since two days ago. This post reminds me about a discussion at mylot. "do you still get excited when someone leaves a comment/ joins your discussion? Of course, my answer was a resounding YES! Even if they leave a one liner response, I still treasure every letter of every word that was left behind by the person. I get a buzz in my head that wont disappear for hours, and even read the comments again and again to remind me that I matter too.

    About what you said, "My posts are my hands extended to fellow travelers. Will they shake them? Will they clasp them warmly?" let me extend my hand of friendship and comment as much as we want to whoever comments at our blogs.


    O:-) O:-) O:-)

    Recent blog post: Difficult to please
  • jan
    Thanks, Jaydee. So the blog serves as your press center? I didn't think of it that way before. But that's nice, especially for those who are overseas or in some far-flung, God-forsaken areas as they'll have to see what you're up to.

    What's next? I think you had better get a press secretary or a spokesman. :-D
  • jan
    I think it's okay now. CommentLuv doesn't work retroactively? It took almost half a day tinkering with this widget and integrating it with commentluv. I had to revert back to the old template and start all over again. Might have missed something in the first installation. 8-)
  • xprosaic
    Good thing im on the 15% left in #2...jijijijiji... I think i'm guilty with #3... anyhow blogging depends on different reasons... I blog not because I want to be popular, but because at least instead of repeatedly telling my friends what i've been up to, I can just refer them to my blog... hehehehhehe... Happy blogging! jijijijij :-D

    Recent blog post: Tropang Astig!
  • jan
    Ouch, I'm hit, I'm hit. Somebody help me. ",) You're very gracious, Dee. That's why I can afford to show my true colors - being silly and all - in your blog.
  • jan
    Posts that I refrain from commenting are paid posts. I honestly feel I'd have nothing useful to say about that. Unless of course the blogger is talking about Kindle2 e-reader. ",) I don't take it against the writer. It's his/her thing and I respect that. I'd just be back when there's a post I can chew on.

    I'm sure we will not have become buddies if I have ignored your sensible comments on my blog. Maybe we would have, but it might have taken a long time. That's how I look at it.
  • Dee
    In my opinion, I think it's always proper and nice to answer comments however silly they are. Of course, an exception to that would be when it's a spam and it (comment) comes within the four corners of the definition of the word (spam). Answering comments is always polite. It's like when somebody talks to you in person. You don't want to be impolite by not responding. The same holds true in blog comments. Replying is polite. I just wish, though, that I have more time to reply to comments and do it on time. :)
  • Holly
    I'd be delighted to, if I knew what you were having trouble with. But for right now, it's MY turn to go to bed - it's 12:30 AM here! Good night! Have you gone through the instructions and/or video tutorial here: ?
  • jan
    It's all right, Jena. We're just here to chill out anyway. ",)
  • jan
    Jena, I suspect they like me because they don't have to drop anything in my sidebar. They only have to sit for a while, rest their tired feet, and marvel at the ugly view. ",)

    Entertaining? Why, thanks Jena, that's a lovely compliment.
  • jan
    You're not the villain, Melvin - although the two words rhyme. lol. It's a healthy differences in opinion. Although I took the contrary view, I recognize the validity of your points. It's just that they don't apply to my blogging experience.

    Thank you, Melvin. I appreciate your comments very much.
  • jan
    Roy, chalk it up to force of habit. I've made replying to every comment a part of my blog routine since Day One, er, let me correct that - since my second month when commenters started leaving comments. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for conversations. ",)

    I'm set in my ways, Roy. I'm unlikely to change, unless the survival of this blog is at stake - maybe then. And this a nice offshoot of Melvin's intriguing post. If anything, he inspired me to take the opposite tack. Which is just perfect for me because I genuinely believe in my position.

    Melvin is not snobbish, or Mr. Know it All. I'm subscribed to his feed and I follow him in twitter, too. Well, of course the rest of them superstars I can't vouch for. ",)

    The new comment widget? I don't know what came over me at 3:00 am, but this is the product. It's another story altogether.
  • jan
    The task yesterday in Darren's 31DBBB is to do blog commenting. I saw your link in the Darren's forum and that's how I ended up in your nice blog.

    Thanks for this visit,Andy. Very much appreciated.
  • jan
    I still can't figure it out by myself. ",) Can you give me pointers?
  • fifi
    hi jan. i agree with melvin, that replying to all comments aren't always necessary because the reader won't come back anyway. however when i checked your blog, i noticed that you reply to every comment. if each 'commenter' knew that their comments have been replied with, they would come back to your page (just like what i did). the exchanges encourage conversations where others butt in and there's a sharing of knowledge. but i am talking about your blog where people comment to 'say something.' i've been bloghopping too and some posts need really not be commented to nor the comments worth replied to. so again, it's about the posts and the comments or both. sensibility becomes apparent in these exchanges and some blogs or comments are just dearth of that.
  • Jena Isle
    oh, should I say: "...TO WELCOME EVERYONE WHO HAS BOTHERED...." my keypad is acting up again. lol
  • Jena Isle
    You know Jan, you've got quite a following even without the EC card, and that's remarkable. People drop by your blog because they want to read you and nothing more (not because they want to drop and run - as with the case of EC droppers).

    I agree with you that replying to comments in your post is showing respect/courtesy to those who have bothered to read it and said hi. You are the host and should be gracious to welcome everyone who have entered your domain.

    I find your posts informative and entertaining at the same time - a rare combination in writers and I have subscribed so I won't miss anything.

    And yes, I remember too when I received my very first comment, it was like the much-awaited and coveted stamp of approval.

    Keep writing and all the best.
  • Melvin
    Well, its now starting to turn out that I am the villain in this one, LOL. :) Anyway I think I can't say anything more as I have expressed all my thoughts in my post. There are other certain factors aside from feeling its silly that happen to be why I don't reply to all and it includes mood, time (if busy or not) and quality of comment.

    I think we both appreciate comments. It's a big misconception that when a blog starts to become popular the author would stop caring comments and thats totally untrue. As much as I can, I try to read all comments and go to the commenters site.

    Overall I think we just value and appreciate comments differently. Btw, thanks for this reply post (and some links).
  • Roy
    There you go again! Owning a problem!

    I'll let you go this time, cause you made something productive out of it.

    hmmm... you got this 'new something' on your comment box here, I see you've been picking up some 'items'

    I really admire you for replying to every comment you receive. Not every blogger does that, but it's definitely not silly. It's always better to acknowledge your reader, that's the only way you can acknowledge your readers.

    Don't let any high-profiled, 'I-know-better', snobbish, (and some SOB) bloggers influenced you to change your blogging tactics.

    You don't have to change Jan, we love you just the way you are.

    and another quote I'm been holding for a long time -- 'Don't fix it if it's not broken'
  • AndyShack
    Oh I can relate to this post, having only cut my blogging teeth but a few weeks ago.

    Each comment is precious and I follow them back to see who the nice person is.

    Today I got an exeedingly nice one from someone called Jan.

    And so I found my way here.

    Thanks Jan

    Of course if I ever get 100's of comment per post I may have to get an assistant. ;)
  • Holly
    Well look at you - you've got the js-kit part implemented. Where's the LUV? ;)
  • Jan
    @Robert: We are virtual classmates then in Darren's 31DBBB then. How wonderful.

    I can tell you for my part that I went the opposite route. I replied to every comment made on this blog. Perhaps that says something about my social life huh? Or lack thereof?

    Kidding aside, it's ceases to be a comment for me when it gets published on my comment section. I treat it as a conversation between equal. As such, every comment needs a reply, excepting of course the spam and the trash talk.

    Thank you, Robert. I'd be visiting your blog tomorrow. You're my first stopover in my itinerary. ",)
  • Robert BRavery
    I never bothered too much about commenting, nor about replying to the small amounts of comments I did receive.
    Until recently. I did read about the importance of commenting, but never took it to heart.

    I recently joined Darren's "31 days to better blogging", and decided to try it out.

    What do you know. IT was great, I muyst say that I have received a bit more traffic, and more interest in my blogs, as well as more comments.

    Although I can see how difficult it would be for someone that receives hundreds of comments, I do believe that it is a good practice to follow as best you cam
  • Jan
    @Holly: Now, that's a comment that best exemplifies the sheer power of blog commenting.

    Would I have known about it had you not taken the time to visit me here? Most likely not. I'd be still clueless, I dare say.

    But I'd work on it tomorrow. It's nearly 4:00am in this neck of the woods, Holly. ",)

    Thanks a lot. A lot of my blogger friends will be happy to use this widget.
  • Holly Jahangiri
    Why, Jan, didn't you know? That's what my blog is famous for - being the first Blogspot blog to implement Commentluv! I'm the one who goaded Andy into finally making it work, and then into refining it, exterminating the bugs, adding functionality...

    I don't like the term "nag." Such an ugly word. I prefer to think of myself as a programmer's "Muse."

    See here, and here,, and here.
  • Jan
    @diTesco: I'm adept at replying to "closed" comments. It's my specialty. Kidding. I know where you're coming from, my friend.

    Yeah, I've made good friends with readers who love the back and forth of blog comments. Sometimes, it can be fun - seeing who gets to say the last word in. Seriously though, this is fine. I learn a lot from my commenters. And even if they don't check how I replied to their thoughts, it's still okay with me.

    @Holly: You've got it down pat: feeling like "...someone who's just said something at a party that brought the conversation to a screeching halt." Oh boy, isn't that awkward!

    Yeah, close buddies who are also readers quite understand if we don't reply to every comment made. We're chatting them up every single day after all.

    Nice posts, and other one-liners are tricky things. But I give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps I should also curb my enthusiasm by not dishing out a paragraph expressing my appreciation to their three-word comment? ",)

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. Very much appreciated.
  • Holly Jahangiri
    I find your attitude refreshing. I, too, consider my blog an invitation to join the conversation. If people don't comment, I feel like someone who's just said something at a party that brought the conversation to a screeching halt.

    I don't reply to EVERY comment - I don't reply to spam, other than to make fun of it (in the spirit of silliness, mostly); I don't always reply to friends, as we may be having another exchange in email or by phone; I don't reply to every simple expression of agreement or "nice post." But I try to respond to questions or to readers who've shared some personal experience of their own.

    I hope you'll drop by my blog and see for yourself. ;)
  • diTesco
    Hi Jan, To answer your question, I do try at my best to reply to all comments even if it is just a thank you note. In some occasions that I do not reply, it is simply because there is nothing to say. Normally this happens when the comment itself is a "closed" one. You know, those that do not require any further response.

    But overall, whenever possible, I think it is good to reciprocate. It is in a way an invitation for the visitor to come back..
  • Jan
    @celblogger: I hope I can remain energetic when it comes to answering blog comments even with the passing of years.

    Blog comments can be a source of inspiration too for future posts. So it's not as if I'm doing charity work for them. When comments and counter comments become conversations - well that's its own reward, right.

    Of course, I can see where you're coming from. We each have our own way of coping with the demands of blogging.

    And hey, most of those in my blog roll are those first brave souls who left me wonderful comments then. ",)
  • ceblogger
    i used to reply to comments, 1:1, then 1:3. Then return visits to the newcomers. But as years went by, and then the very busy schedule, my reply to comments were sometimes very late, and the return visits, nil.

    as a commenter, we sometimes expect replies. but i had already accepted the fact that bloggers, can either be busy or choosy.

    but i remember full well that first time when i received a comment from a blogger. twas more than 3 years ago, and how excited i was then. she one's one of the first in my blogroll.
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