The Art of Commenting on Blog Posts

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It seems to me that there is a whole art involved in commenting on blog posts.

This has been hitting me more and more over the last while as I’ve been fortunate to have been receiving a good deal of comments from far and wide. It has also made me very conscious of how I comment on other people’s posts.

I would preface everything I say about comments in my experience in blogland by noting that there is a great sense of supportivness and an absence of the kind of nastiness that is so often mentioned in the context of social media.

So, here’s how I’m seeing the ‘art of commenting’ at this stage. Those who have honed the skill seem to have an ability to do some or all of the following:

#1. Make the writer feel good about what he/she has written.

#2. Empathise.

#3. Bring humour to the subject.

#4. Open up whole new avenues of thought from the overall theme or a particular point in a post.

#5. Share additional information about a specific subject or place mentioned in a post.

#6. Show that they have thought about the post

# 7. Leave a stamp of their personality in the comment

# 8. Comment as if commenting was more important than posting their own posts.

I’d love to know what matters most to YOU about comments and commenting and what YOU see as being fundamental to the ‘art of commenting?’

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

53 thoughts on “The Art of Commenting on Blog Posts”

  1. I’ve not really thought it through! But I suppose what matters to me is that personal connection, and that comes easier with blogging than with many other foms of social media, perhaps because we put so much of ourselves’out there’ with our posts that there is little point in hiding behind a persona.

    1. Good Morning Sue. I’m surprised you haven’t really thought it through as you are such a prolific and generous commenter.
      The personal connection in blogging is what makes it stand out for me, too, in terms of social media. In ways, I wondered should it even be categorised as ‘social media’ as opposed to ‘writing.’
      As for hiding behind the a persona, I suspect that that varies very much on they type of blog but I tend to think of blogs as ‘personal ones’ so agree fully with you.

      1. I comment because I want to or feel a need to.. and that really is a personal thing. I don’t comment as much as I’d like simply because there aren’t enough hours in a day!
        Wordpress is certainly a social thing as much as it is about the writing and the sense of community and mutual support seems very real.
        As to the persona thing.. I suppose many have an online voice or writer’s voice, but I think the sheer volume of stuff that is posted allows you to get a real feel for the person behind the words… even when they are not writing about personal subjects.

        1. Sue, definitely not enough hours in the day!
          As for the persona aspect, I agree that one would probably be able to match people with blogs of it came to a ‘fish in the pond’ sort of game.

  2. I love that people are so positive in Blogland, although one of my blogging friends had to deal with a commenter recently who got really scratchy about something quite daft. In a place where everybody is so nice, it does give one a bit of a jolt when the occasional person gets in a strop.
    All in all, there are so many interesting things to discuss, arising out of what people post, and I love it that people are from different countries and cultures. Not having travelled much in my life, it’s great to visit far-flung places, courtesy of the blogosphere, and engage with people, hearing all about their daily lives, making “virtual” friendships along the way.
    Also, I met up with one of my blogging friends for a day and am going to meet another one in a few months. We’ve been exchanging emails ever since she was my guest storyteller back in December, as we have so much to talk about!

    1. Sarah, it seems like there is an unwritten rule in blogland that one must respectful and civil and I suppose it’s not surprising that the odd stropper wanders in from time to time.

      I get the feeling that people only comment if they like a post and have an interest in the topic. Non-comment means (apart from people being busy etc. that the post either doesn’t interest or impress. That seems a better way than having mega arguments over stuff.

      It’s great that you got to meet some of your blogging ‘friends.’ I have, too, and there’s certainly always plenty to talk about!

  3. For myself, commenting is what facilitates developing, and being able to participate in, a sense of community. The blogs I subscribe to are quite varied in nature; with some it is appropriate only to commend the blog author – this must be sincere of course – whilst with others then a degree of contrarianism is welcomed and a lively difference of opinion causes no distress in the least. What has warmed me greatly is that on my own site, and during it’s admittedly short existence, I have had not a single nasty comment amongst over 1,400 of them to date. This was very much against expectations when I first published in April last year, though as you say in your article, happily it appears to be the norm for this medium.

    1. Hariod, good to hear that you’ve had a positive experience as well. I hope it’s soemthing that continues for all of us and that I haven’t put a bad spell on all this. There’s the Irishness coming out on me!

  4. As you know, I am an avid “commenter”. I love the exchange that is created between the writer and the reader. I, too, have been fortunate to not have any trolls visit my site and cannot even fathom what they get from doing such nastiness.

    The blogosphere has indeed created a beautiful community of varied people sharing views and simply acknowledging that what we have written has resonated with them or given them some joy. I, for one, love it.

    I have, however, stopped commenting on site where there is never any acknowledgement. I do understand that some bloggers have a huge following and seem to have no intention of responding to any of their readers. There are others who somehow do manage it so I stick with them…

    1. Dale, you certainly are an avid commenter and always so encouraging.
      I’m inclined to agree with you about the non-responders as there as so many others out there for whom the interaction seems to be important. I suppose everyone blogs for different reasons. (I must say I admire those who turn off comments and liking etc if they don’t wish to get involved in the interaction bit. However, there are one or two blogs in that category which I enjoy greatly and would love to be able to say so!)

      1. I know what you mean! You read a wonderful piece, are ready to tell them, get to the bottom…and what? No comment section? No “like” button? I am dumbfounded each time. And usually don’t return…

          1. Actually, I lied. I will return if I really like them. And even the ones who never respond to comments, if I truly like their stuff, I will continue reading; I just won’t bother with my two cents’ Worth…

    1. Hi Val, good question! I think it’s good to say that you agree with other commenters who have said what you were going to say. That’s like a double whammy for the poster as well as the other commenters.

  5. Comments are a wonderful add on to any post. I love reading comments on a post I’m reading, and for myself I love to receive comments. The difficulty is if I am not online a day and miss commenting back. I feel a real pressure to acknowledge and reply, even though if I comment on someones blog I never mind if they get back to me or not.
    I don’t think about what I write within a comment although sometimes I’ve posted my comment and have forgotten to say how much I enjoyed what I read or how well it was written. I feel quite rude when that happens I must admit.
    So ‘great post’, a most interesting topic. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Tric, thanks for writing.
      I must say I think you’re very gracious about the non-responders. I’m with Dale about getting a bit browned off if it’s all one-way traffic.

      I find I can be remiss about responding promptly but realised that I don’t mind at all if someone comes back to me days or weeks later.

      Thanks for you kind words about the post!!!!

  6. I sometimes find commenting very tricky, as I’m quite reserved in ‘real life’, so I’m not always happy with the comments I leave, but I just try to be sincere and say how the post has affected me or share an experience that relates to the post. I love building the relationships that blogging allows, when you can feel as though you’re talking to a friend even though we don’t really know each other.

    1. Hello Andrea, your comment makes me think of how actors can be more relaxed in their stage roles than in person ~ though ‘relaxed’ may not be quite the correct word.

      Yes, I think blogging allows for the building of very interesting relationships ~ perhaps it’s better that we don’t and probably won’t ‘know’ each other as friends in the sense that is normally used as it could allow for better communication or, at least, less complicated.

      1. What I meant was that I’ve been thinking a lot… what it is that makes others want to post a comment on one’s blog.

        #6 Show that they have thought about the post

        But what matters most to me is that people are being honest in their comments and not leaving comments “just because…”

        And another thing; there are times when I feel guilty when I don’t seem to have enough time to comment on others blogs. πŸ™‚

        1. Malin, yes leaving a comment just for the sake of it is a bit wishy-washy. I still have to find someone who manages to comment on every post they’d like to. It’s impossible unless one restricts oneself to just a few but that means leaving out ones you know are very worthy.

  7. Sometimes, non-commenting can also mean the same thing as in a face-to-face conversation, in that one wants/needs to just “be” with the thoughts. I also find I sometimes do not comment when a story is very emotional in terms of what it evokes and there is a difficulty in commenting about that without sounding trite. I do agree if people were thoughtful enough to leave a comment that in general, it requires a reply or acknowledgement. That of course, would be much more difficult if you had the volume of comments that some do!

    1. Hi Suz, I agree with you about the possibility of sounding trite and it’s close to face to face conversation in that regard.
      I have a thing, too, about no comment can equal ‘don’t like
      ‘ This is a direct result of having known someone who would comment effusively on hair styles and clothes if they met approval and then there would be a deafening silence if not liked.
      I think there’s a fair bit of that in blogland and feel that silence has to be viewed in a very flexible way as there can be so many reasons for it.
      I’m still not sure if it would be better to say ‘this isn’t my cup of tea’ than say nothing.

  8. Hi Jean,
    I love the positive vibes and encouragement that come through the comments I receive and I’m grateful to have a close knit group who do often leave me feedback. I also love to read how my words resonate with others. All that you mentioned in your “art of commenting” points are truly “spot on” and I couldn’t have written this post any better. πŸ™‚
    Regarding nastiness, I’ve only had one experience early on. His comments made no sense to my posts and were rude. The beauty from that was he was blocked πŸ™‚ and there have been no others following in his footsteps. Blogland has been a wonderful ride. β™₯

    1. Hi Lauren, lots to be said for being able to Moderate, though glad to say I haven’t encountered the sort of comment or you describe (yet). Did wonder if this post would draw a few out of the woodwork!

  9. I am not sure I see it as an art Jean but I love to feel it is real, that it has truth and honesty in it. I am happy to give and receive empathy or for someone to see something in my posy that I had not or visa versa. ❀

    1. Hi Willow, interesting that you’re the only person so far to question the ‘art’ aspect. I can see where you’re coming from but I still think it’s either an art or in that general field.
      I suspect you’re being too humble here 😊

  10. “All of the above” – when I’m touched by something I read on others’ blogs, I want to show my appreciation and share my thoughts with the writer. Hmm, now I’m thinking we need to come up with a way for books to have a comments section too.

      1. I remember when amazon.com first started up and I was so thrilled that it included reviews. After I read something that none of my friends had read, I could go online to read reviews (or write them) and feel a little more in touch. I know that now there’s goodreads, but it seems like I don’t have as much time lately to explore its possibilities.

        1. Sandy, when you wrote about books, I had a vision of actual books having pages for comments that people borrowing from libraries would add to. Never even thought of Amazon or Goodreads. That tells you a fair bit about my reading styleπŸ˜‡

  11. Hi,

    Great post, as always. I love how your posts always make me think.

    I would add two more items to your list:

    1. Be authentic.

    2. Be consistent.

    I thought of these as I think back on your nice comments on my blog posts. Your true sense always comes through. Plus, you are one of my most frequent commenters, which I really appreciate.

    Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy, many thanks for your kind words and for the additional suggestions.
      Yes, I think authenticity, whatever about consistency, is fundamentally important. How are you defining ‘consistency’ in this context?

      1. Hi,

        Maybe consistency isn’t quite the right word. My mind is pre-occupied with our week of snow!

        I was trying to say something about commenting on a blog frequently, not just a one time thing.

        Nancy

  12. You have a real way of digging into details, Jean πŸ™‚ Yes, I would agree that commenting is an art… and have long-since admired the ease/proficiency with which you write/comment. Comments are a bit scary, to me. Once they’re there, they’re there for who knows who to see! It makes me chuckle, to think of all the comments you’ve drawn out of me… And if you only knew how quiet I am in real life, you’d chuckle too πŸ™‚ β™₯ ❀

      1. LoL … I’m always ready for fun, but definitely not an extrovert! Your comment reminds me of one year when a friend and I worked at the same lace/potpourri boutique… She would tell people how my clerking job there seemed to transform me into one who is fearlessly friendly/confident/outgoing… Now on the internet you can be anything you likeβ€”so ‘guess that’s my inner-Me showing through πŸ™‚ β™₯ ❀

  13. It seems like rules to go by. I think if you are genuine and someone that likes to comment genuinely this would make your reader feel at ease. Most people today like the like button thus creating nothing of a memory to say look at that social bridge she took the time to comment on my site. Comments some or the haves and some the have nots. Thank you for sharing this post.

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