In which I try to write another post that is somewhat relevant to the spirit of Blaugust.
I have admittedly fallen completely off the writing prompts for the event. I think we’re supposed to write something nice about developers or something this week, but I don’t have anything for that, so I am writing this instead. This is why I write a blog solo and not as a collaborative effort or, heaven forbid, for a site run by somebody else. I will write about what I damn well please when it damn well pleases me.
So I am going to write about comments. Blog comments.
As noted elsewhere, getting a comment on a blog post… at least a comment that isn’t trying to sell you Cialis or a school public address system… why are there even spam comments for school public address system… does a lot to keep a blogger motivated.
Page views are nice, but they are sterile. A large percentage of the traffic that comes to this blog arrives via Google and is likely made up of people who, if not here by a complete mistake, are unlikely to stick around and become fans of the site. By my own estimate there are maybe 80 to 100 regular readers of the site, not all of whom visit every day. So if I have a day with a thousand page views I am pretty sure at least 90% of that are people who are just passing through, never to be seen again, an estimate sustained by how often “gay elf porn” shows up in the search terms that bring people here.
And 90% is probably optimistic. As like as not that number could close in on 99% some days, and it might as well be 100% if the only feedback I ever see is page views.
But a comment… a comment if affirmation that somebody showed up and read what you wrote and was invested enough to write a response. A good comment can be a motivator, inspiration to carry on blogging, a source of ongoing topics, and a reason to check your notifications. Comments help sustain blogging.
So as a blogger, and one who has some level of feelings for blogging and the local neighborhood of blogs, I ought to be out there leaving comments. I am pretty sure I’ve brought this up before, but most recently Syp mentioned it in a Blaugust post of his own. He is, by his own admission, a hypocrite on that front, but at least he admits it. A Syp comment is a rare item indeed.
I am not as bad as him on that front, but I do feel I could comment more often. Whether or not I comment often depends on my mood, the time, and which device I am using to read a post. I am extremely unlikely to leave a comment from my phone. On the other hand, if I am sitting at my desk at home in the evening and trying to write a blog post for the next day I am very likely to wander off to other blogs and leave comments in an a not too subtle method of avoiding the work at hand.
But, as a blogger, there is a whole different aspect of comments to consider, which is the reply to comments on your own blog.
I am, again, not as good at this as I probably should be. Going back once again to last year’s Syp-scaring statistical nightmare of an anniversary blog post, I write about 13% of the comments on this blog.
Viewed from the “motivating me as a blogger” point of view, that seems like a lot. It is me typing away more than one in ten times, like I don’t spew enough words in my posts to begin with.
On the flip side, as somebody who leaves comments, that seems like it might not be very much at all. I likely do not respond to comments often enough, and I measure that from my own experience and reaction to the affairs on other blogs.
To pick on Syp again, because he is a famous actually-gets-paid-to-write person in our blogging neighborhood, as well as a convenient scapegoat, I often pass up leaving a comment over at Bio Break because I know he almost never replies. What the hell is up with that? He rarely even leaves a comment on his own blog.
And I have to admit if I go to a blog and leave comments on any sort of regular basis and never see any response, then my motivation to keep it up diminishes over time. I mostly comment on Syp’s blog because I recognize most of the people who also comment and it is more to have a conversation with them than to respond to Syp who, so far as I know, rarely even reads the comments.
I compare this to leaving a comment over at Inventory Full where I know that Bhagpuss will respond to nearly every comment left. By his own admission this is directly related to his pre-blogging time when he used to just comment on blogs and explained how much getting a response motivated him to continue leaving comments.
So, while not the worst at responding to comments, I could stand to improve.
Part of my issue there is a general problem with acknowledging praise. If somebody goes negative or disagrees I will dive right in, but if somebody says something nice I am silent.
And that sort of applies to leaving comments as well. It isn’t all that common for me to just say something nice unless I have something to add to what was written. I feel as embarrassed leaving just a compliment as I do when getting one. Generally I will try to find a way to link directly to a post I like as a sideways way of acknowledgement rather than a comment.
Anyway, I have meandered around for a thousand words now to say that we should all leave more comments, myself included. And replies. More replies.
Also, if you’re going to leave a response to a comment and you’re on a blog that doesn’t have threaded comments that sticks replies directly to the comment in question, at least give some hint as to the person to whom you are replying. If you don’t like using “@heyyou” in your comments, at least mention the person in passing. The tidy aspect of me hates the ambiguous reply where you aren’t sure who the reply is aimed.
Finally, to get to this week’s real prompts; game devs, thanks for doing your thing. Sorry some of the community goes nuts every so often or thinks that you have to tailor every single game ever to their needs. But that is ever the flip side of passion. Everybody loves when people are hyped up about their product, but hates it when that goes wrong. If you ride the lightning you’re bound to get shocked now and then. Also, sorry about the crappy pay and that I likely didn’t buy your game. But if you wanted money you could have sold your soul to enterprise software like I did.