I’m not talking about comment spam comments. I talking about a tutorial on the technique of commenting in the comments on blogs and how to get a response and help the blogger blog.
1. Say Something Intelligent
I so look forward to comments on my blogs. Don’t you? Don’t you rush home and, before you even get your coat off, hit the Comments tab on your blog administration panel? Don’t you want to know who has said what about what you said, what they are asking, and if they answered your question or added to the conversation?
One arm out of your coat, you wait for the screen to load, and there it is. One comment. And it says:
I dont no what you think you is saying here, but I dont think you dont think to good on this here subject. I dont think this through.
I wish I made this up. Before you assume it’s comment spam, it’s not. It’s legitimate. Not very intelligent, but legit.
Here is what I think. This person didn’t finish the 8th grade. Or they aren’t even old enough to finish the 8th grade. They don’t think. And when they do, it isn’t very often or deep. They wanted to say something, but they didn’t stop to think about what they were saying, just typed what was in their brain. At the very least, their English isn’t very good. I want to give them credit for intelligence and the attempt, so I read and re-read this several times, thought about it for a day or two, and just didn’t know what to do with it. What can you do?
Think, folks. As this person sort of says, “think it through.” Think before you comment.
If you are having trouble getting your thoughts together, then type it out in your word processor or text editor. Look at it. At least spell check it. Ask yourself, “Is this what I really want to say?” If it is, great. I’ll take it. If it isn’t, fix it.
Don’t spend hours writing up every comment you make, but if you are going to comment, say something intelligent. Say something that makes us think nice thoughts about you, or at least let us assume you 1) know of which you speak, 2) are intelligent, and 3) wish to contribute to the conversation with your intelligence.
2. Ask Something Intelligent
I got this a few days ago:
can u tell me about it because i am making a project releated to it & needed some experiment
plese help me
This scores low on the “say and write something intelligent scale” but I have no idea what this person is asking. Do you?
What more information do they want? I can write about anything for DAYS and still not meet this person’s needs. I’m thrilled that they are making a project on “this,” whatever “this” is, but I don’t know because I have no information. What experiment is this person talking about? Do they think what I wrote is about an experiment? Or do they want me to participate in an experiment? How can I help if I have no information?
Ask intelligent, well-thought out questions. Don’t expect me or anyone else to read your mind unless we are in the business of mind reading. We need to know what you are talking about, what you need, and how we can specifically help you.
I love helping people. I love answering questions. Don’t you? So it frustrates me no end that I have to waste their time and my precious comment space to ask them what they are talking about, and they may never answer. So it sits there, rotting away online, useless words, waiting for a response that may never come.
Along with asking intelligent questions is the issue of asking things I can answer. Don’t ask on this blog if I can help you repair your car. While it is actually likely that I might know the answer, this isn’t a blog about auto repair. I don’t want to answer it, and my readers don’t want to know the answer to your auto repair issues on a post about designing a WordPress Theme. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a rocket scientist. I’m not a political writer. I’m not a expert on stamps, coins, or even people. I do my little thing on this corner of the web and I do it well. Ask me about what I do, not what I don’t do.
I’ve written one post, as a joke, about the Guinness World Book of Records. Blogging was still new and I wanted to get people thinking about what kinds of world records for blogs we should come up with. Silliness. After numerous comments requesting I send them a copy of the book, enter them in the competition for the World Book of Records, ask me if they qualify to be in the book, and brag about their own records, I had to put a note at the top of the page directing people to the Guinness World Book of Records site.
It didn’t stop them. It’s the first line in the post. They don’t see it, I guess. I deleted most of the unrelated comments, just to save space, after responding to them over and over and over again that I was not affiliated with the Guinness World Book of Records and that I have no idea how it works, or how to get listed. Clueless.
If you don’t know what I do, look around. How far do you have to look on this blog before you see the words “WordPress” and “blogging” in several obvious places? Most well-designed blogs and websites leave pretty obvious clues on what they are talking about. Pay attention.
3. Write Something Intelligent
In both of the above examples, you see the use of abbreviations and misspellings. The occasional misspelled word is something easily missed and completely acceptable. We all do that. But writing in poor English, when it is your native language, and using leet speak (1337) or abbreviations for “you” and “for” only showcase your lack of attention, youth, and poor communication skills.
It isn’t funny. It isn’t even cute.
If you want an intelligent response to your comment, write intelligently. Use complete sentences. I’m not talking about informal, silly, among friends, little writing bits in the comments. I’m talking about posting comments on well-written, educational, and informational blogs. Make your comment match the level of writing of the blog itself if you want a little respect.
Along with decent grammar and intelligent writing, have some intelligence when writing on a public blog in a public web place, where the whole world can see it.
- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT. If you want a response via private email, just enter it in the form but not in the comment itself so the world can see it.
- DO NOT PUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER OR ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT.
- DO NOT PUT PERSONAL AND PRIVATE INFORMATION IN YOUR COMMENT. Personally, I will edit it out.
Show a little intelligence and familiarity with the public forum that is a blog. If you want the whole world to know your business, fine. Do it on your own blog. I won’t allow it here.
4. Add to the Conversation
The interactive nature of blogs is one of the most exciting aspects of blogging. I want to know what you have to say. I want your input. I need your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and information. You inspire my writing. You tell me what you want me to blog about. You ask me questions and answer others, and help future visitors learn more about the subject.
Comments are learning tools. You learn from me. I learn from you. Visitors learn from both of us. It’s amazing and exciting.
Make your comments add to the conversation. Don’t just chime in because you want to see your name published on the web. Contribute. Give. Share. Exchange. Keep the story going. Keep the ideas flowing. Help us help each other by continuing the dialog.
5. Your Comment is a Mini Resume
Your comments on this blog, and many others, are published with your name and blog URL on them, if you include them. When people click your name, they visit your blog. Your comments are little representatives of you and your blog.
Make every comment you make to be a mini resume or sales pitch to encourage people to click and visit. Make sure there is something on your blog that makes their visit worthwhile and makes them want to hang around and read more. And since your URL will take people away from my blog, make sure your comment and blog reflects well on me. By leaving your comment on my blog, in a very round-about way, I’m speaking well of you. 😉 Consider it a mini-letter of recommendation.
So if every comment you make links back to you, shouldn’t it speak well of you?
Update: I wrote this in 2006 and it continues to be in the top most popular posts on this site. Many educators are using this post in their training and educational material on blogging, social media, and web publishing, and I’m honored. The phrase “A comment is a mini resume” struck a cord and I’ve seen it all over the web today, first said here, another honor.
No matter how often I look at this post to update it, it still holds up. It’s honestly and silliness clicks. Thank you to everyone’s support, referral links, citations, and mentions of this article. It is sincerely appreciated, and I hope you all comment better because of it. Thanks!
- What is Comment Spam?
- Comments on Comments
- Special Guide to Weblog Comments
- Delaware Supreme Court Extend First Amendment Protection to Online Comments
- Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging
- Imprisonment for Annoying People Online
- Looks Like Your Page Was Heavily Hit By Spam – Yeah, Right, Spammer
- The Day I Looked Forward to Casinos, Drugs, and Penises
- How Not to Blog in a Blogathon Blog
- You Must Be Logged In To Comment
- Your Comment Has Been Moderated – Stay Tuned for Approval
- How to Handle Tough Questions (and Comments) from an Audience
- Calling All Stupid Comment Spammers
- Monitoring Blog Comments