Tuesday, 6 May 2008

31 Day Comment Challenge - Self Audit

Ok, so I'm later doing this then I intended as the technology in my house decided to have a disagreement with the internet yesterday. Having spent 6 - 7 hours wrestling with it last night, I finally sorted it out this morning.

Right, so now that's off my chest I'm ready to begin my "self audit".

How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
Once per week on a good week, sometimes not at all. Often I comment in my head, but never quite get round to committing it to writing. So why don't I comment more often? Because I can't think of anything to add to what has been said already, because I worry that what I have to say will seem light weight compared to some of the other comments I have read, because I really admire the blogs author and don't want to write something that makes me sound like a ninny (how teenage of me), or because I get hit by a wave of overwhelming shyness and just can't convince myself to write anything. Reading all that it would seem that I have a fear of being judged by others! Thinking about it, the blogs I comment on the most are those where I have developed some form of relationship with the blogs author (usually via Twitter) which means I feel "safe" so it is less of a risk. Hmmmm interesting. What do others think? Do you tend to stick to "safe" blogs or do you venture out with confidence?

Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?

Not usually. From time to time I will click to be updated via email if I am particularly interested in a discussion and where it is going, otherwise no. Since beginning the challenge I have signed up for cocomment and after ironing out a few things I seem to be able to track my comments via my blog using the cocomment widget in my sidebar.

Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?
Mostly the same blogs, there are some I visit quite regularly. I do try to push myself to comment on blogs that I haven't done before, maybe only a couple per month, but I guess that's a start. That's part of the reason for my involvement in this challenge as I know this is an area that needs work.

Gina Trapini's Guide To Blog Comments"

Click on the link above if you would like to read Gina Trapini's " tips on better blog commenting. How do I measure up?

Stay on Topic
So the basic idea behind this one is to keep your ideas relevant to the blog post you are commenting on. I definitely do this, I don't tend to deviate with random thoughts when leaving a comment.

Contribute new information to the discussion
So do I leave comments if I can't think of anything to add that would enhance the conversation? Well no (as I have already mentioned), but, "conversation" is the key word here. I'm not sure that all blogs I read and their related comments are always a conversation as such. Sometimes they are simply sharing something someone has done, discovered, etc and not necessarily some form of "deeper" conversation. I might be wrong (or more to the point you might disagree) but it's just a thought I had. Point of interest, I must be a glutton for punishment then, or really conscientious as Gina Trapini's post" says:
"The longer a comment thread the more likely someone has already said what you're thinking, and the less likely it is to be read by future visitors anyway."
I ALWAYS read all the comments so that I can get a well rounded picture of all the thoughts and opinions being offered on a topic. Sometimes there are gems hidden in the murky depths. Should someone feel that they shouldn't add their voice to the conversation because there are so many others involved? If this happens what gems might be lost?

Don't comment for the sake of commenting
I certainly don't. Do people really leave "First" as a comment? Well that's a new one on me - why would you?

Know when to comment and when to e-mail

Now this is an interesting one, I definitely agree. Here's a thought though, what if there is no way to email because no link is provided? Then again, would these types of conversation be the ones you would have with those you know a lot better then some of your other commenters? If that was the case they'd probably know how to contact the blog author by email, so no issue then.

Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all.

Something I suffered from as a child, something I try to avoid when leaving comments now as an adult. That said, isn't being a "know it all" subjective? Does what I consider being a "know it all" necessarily reflect what someone else considers being one? Does it in fact depend on ones frame of reference, cultural norms, etc? - Am I being one now? ;)

Make the tone of your message clear
I certainly try to, I've been aware for a long time that misunderstandings are more likely in written conversation. Though, I'm not sure if I always want to leave smilies in my comments - I think this might depend on the tone of the blog/post itself. It would also depend again on that "relationship" with the blog's author that I mentioned earlier.

Own your comment
I do. I don't post anonymously. I always leave my gmail and blog address if the option is available.

Be succinct

Hmmmm? Mostly I keep it brief, BUT, occasionally my responses to topics I feel passionate about have got a little too long. Sometimes I don't think I've written much as it doesn't look that big in the little text box... then you hit submit! Opps, did I really write that much? Can't take it back once it's gone. I might have to work on that one.

Cite your sources with links or inline quoting
I do my best. I don't often write the types of comments where I need to do this though, it's more a blog post thing.

Be courteous
Always. Sometimes I might respectfully disagree, but I'm always polite.

Don't post when you're angry, upset, drunk or emotional
Don't really drink so that's not going to happen. If something I've read angers or upsets me I tend to rant at my long suffering husband about it. If I'm feeling emotional about something else I'm more likely to surf iTunes then surf blogs - so no, I don't post when I'm in a negative head space.

Do not feed or tease the troll

What's a troll? I'm not sure I totally got that one, I sort of do...I think. I take it this isn't the cute kind with the funny faces and sticky up hair then?

And if you are part of The Comment Challenge remember to add the ” comment08 ” tag to your post.


  1. Hi Kristen,
    Just reading through your blog, following the Challenge to get to know bloggers I have never visited and as I read your blog I feel comfortable, remembering my early days of reading blogs and not leaving comments. For me its been slow, but sure. Once I began, I just kept going.
    But even though I might open new blogs, I rarely left comments. I wondered, what did I have to offer that wasn't already left.
    But here I am with a clean slate to say hi. Just added you to my following list on Twitter.
    By the way, I'm Bonnie from New York.
    Nice to meet you here.
    Has this challenge taken you to new places in the world of commenting yet?


  2. I hate it when I have to wrestle with bad Internet connections or computers that won't work.

    Majority of people in the challenge feel similar to you and are more comfortable with commenting on blogs where they have developed some form of relationship. Also for very similar reasons you mention.

    My decision or not to add to a long thread of comments gets back to how the blogger interacts with the commenters. If they are interacting then I will write my comment because each comment tends to expand the conversation and it feels worthwhile.

    "Don't comment for the sake of commenting" - I will leave a comment on a new persons blog to encourage them.

    Trolls are people who write really nasty comments to provoke bad responses They tend to be more of a problem in Forums than on blog posts -- the best option is to totally ignore them because without interaction they run out of steam (a bit like f2f bullies).

  3. Welcome to the Comment Challenge. I enjoyed reading your audit and I think you did a fine job of articulating your view as a blogger. Like you, I am hoping this challenge moves me into new blogs and into new directions.

    How do you use your blog? As a tool for reflection? Writing? Community?

    Just wondering.

    Thanks and take care

  4. Hi Bonnie,
    Thanks for visiting I'm looking forward to getting to know you better via Twitter and the Comment Challange. Has this challenge taken me to knew places with my commenting? Hmmmm, good question. I know th at as far as writing a blog post it certainly has. A spin off of thinking about the comment challenge and the idea of keeping a conversation going has made me start to ask more questions in my posts in order to facilitate a dialogue with any visitors to my blog... sort of like a good hostess. I make my guests feel welcome and comfortable by starting a conversation with them and showing interest in their thoughts and opinions instead of leaving them in a corner feeling anxious and unsure while I worry about the decorations. I haven't had much of a chance to leave many comments of my own yet - I have to play catch up big time. However, I have already decided to visit and comment on a blog that I have been loving and reading for months - I find this particular blog author absolutely inspiring and he's a fantastic writer. Up till now I have been to busy worrying about how I sound to actually pluck up the courage to comment. Now it's on my number 1 todo list.

    Hi Sue
    Thanks for explaining the "troll" thing. That's what I'd thought but I wasn't sure. Hope I don't come across too many (or any) of those. You really have to wonder at the mentality of some people I guess. Like you say, they're just like RL bullies.

    Hi Kevin
    Thanks for the positive feedback about my writing. Actually, I guess that partially answers your question - I blog because I love to write. I have written stories and poems since I was little, I've often kept diaries and journals in one form or another. When I'm not teaching or playing on my "geek toys" as I like to call them, I am also a Scrapbooker and part of the attraction of that hobbie is the fact that you write to record the experience depicted in the photos you scrap - So I guess I'm a writer. I'd love to write a book one day.
    I also blog as a means of reflection. So my blog becomes a place to sift and sort through my thoughts. Sometimes others will add their voices and confirm or clarify my thinking and sometimes I talk to myself. I like when others visit and comment, so I guess that community is part of it too. I feel quite connected to some of my regular followers even though we've never met in person and I guess that is because of that sense of community. I hope all that makes sense.

  5. You make absolute sense. And yes, I do think you are a writer. You write, you reflect, you publish (not necessary for a writer, but it allows us to find you).
    You communicate with words.
    So, you are most definitely a writer.

  6. Hi!
    I want to thank you for your interesting blog, I have enjoyed reading your relevant posts for the past few months.
    My name is Nikki and I am presently writing my Masters thesis on teacher-writers and professional development. I would love to quote some of your material as examples of meaningful teacher reflection in writing. If you are willing, please contact me at:
    If you are interested you can look at my study blog "thesisthoughts"
    Hoping to hear from you,

  7. I didn't realize that there is a sort of etiquette that goes with leaving comments. Thanks for the informative post.