Book Blogger Confessions May 7

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Karen at For What It’s Worth and Tiger at All Consuming Media that asks a different question of book bloggers twice a month. I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the ‘back side’ of book blogging and what it really involves. Today’s question asks:

The holy grail of blogging success! What type of posts do you leave comments on? How do you try to encourage more comments on your blog? Do you respond to people who leave comments on your posts? How do you handle negative/spam comments? Do you use captcha?

I’m going to come right out and admit that I find it hard to leave comments. All the time, I’ll find myself reading something that I like and then I’ll click over to the next post in my reader or email without commenting. Often, I’ll hit the back button and remind myself to say something. Usually, all I can think at first is “Great post!” or “I liked your review.” But I know those are considered useless, so I won’t bother. And if I’m not feeling very witty, and I just can’t think of something, I’ll just skip it.

I try to remember to ask questions in my posts, like “What do you think about this?”, or “Have you read this book and what did you think?” which seems to get people to respond with a comment. I’m just happy when someone comments on my reviews, even if it’s just to say “Great post!” I know that sometimes that’s all they’re really thinking, so I really do appreciate that comment.

I ALWAYS read the comments and I’d say I comment on every 4 out of 5 comments. If I have a bunch of “Great review!” comments in a row, I’ll usually say thanks on every other one or so. It just feels silly to keep replying “thanks!” over and over. But if someone makes a comment that says something other than that, I will comment back.

I haven’t actually received a negative comment yet, but as long as it is a valid comment (and not just name-calling or being abusive), I’ll let it stay. I have a tendency to go off without thinking, so when I do get a negative comment, I’ll make sure to take some time and thoughtfully form a response instead of yelling back “NUH UH! YOU’RE A POOPY HEAD!”

I DO NOT use Captcha and I think it is the devil’s idea of a fun time, watching people squint and guess at what those stupid letters and numbers could be, having to do it over and over again. I use Akismet and it does a great job of catching the spam, but a few were still getting through (though Akismet would hold those in the Spam folder for me to approve or delete). Since I’ve added the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin I haven’t gotten 1 spam comment yet. I think it might be the best thing since sliced bread. All it does is present a checkbox that a live person can click but a bot won’t see; if the box isn’t checked the comment won’t go through.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my take on comments? I’d like to know what you think about the “great post!” comments as well. Are they pointless or okay?

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I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. I just love that people are taking the time out of their day to write something, anything, about my post! Sometimes you really don’t have anything to say but want to let them know you read and liked it. And that’s okay in my opinion. :) I know some people talk about ”MEANINGFUL” comments but as long as it’s not ”nice CHECK MY BLOG OUT” then I think it’s meaningful.

    I try to comment on other peoples’ posts but I rarely have anything profound to say. I usually try to include the blogger’s name when telling them I liked the review, just so they can see I have actually looked at their blog.

    I really hate that darn CAPTCHA and turned it off from day one. But then last month, for about a week I was getting basically NO comments and couldn’t figure out why. Then someone told me my CAPTCHA was on. Blogger had reset it without me knowing. I got rid of it and the comments piled up again.

    Great post! ;)

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      You’re right, just the fact that someone is taking the time to reply to my post is pretty cool. And sometimes a reply isn’t necessary, but it is nice to know they read the post at all. And a “Great post!” is a nice way to let me know they did.

  2. I don’t mind the simple “great post” comments. Like Nicola says, I’m just grateful that someone took the time to visit my blog and comment. I think sometimes it’s obvious that people are just fishing for return visits (for example, when someone posts “great post…here’s a link to my blog!”) but even that doesn’t really bother me. Being relatively new to blogging myself I understand how hard it can be to drive traffic to posts that you spend a lot of time on, and while there are definitely better ways of going about it, commenting only to get a return comment isn’t the worst thing ever (even though I personally wouldn’t do it).

    I hate Captcha, though. It’s just awful. I’d rather someone took a few minutes out of their day to delete spam comments than inconvenience their readers. My options are pretty limited currently because I’m on WordPress but not yet self-hosted so I just have comment approval turned on for lack of a better option. Once I switch to self-hosting I want to do what you have, where you just click the non-spammer box.

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      You know, those “Come to my blog” posts bother me, but you make a good point. As a newby blogger, I did what I could to get noticed, not thinking about what I was doing. Maybe nobody has taken the time to tell those bloggers that it’s kind of bad form to make those comments. I’ll make a point of being more forgiving of those in the future.

  3. I view each comment on my site as a willingness or desire to interact, and therefore I respond to the vast majority of my comments (for the record, I rarely get “great review” type comments where that’s the only thing that was said). I feel that many people see comments as a reward for writing good content, but I’ve found that many people read (and love) without ever commenting, and so it is more that you’ve piqued someone’s interest in actually contributing to some kind of discussion whether it be a review or some other kind of post.

    I actually have a discussion post of sorts brewing in my brain about building community and comments play a big role in that, not just in how you treat comments on your blog, but how much you comment on others’ blogs. I’ve found that the more I comment elsewhere, the more people travel to my site as well.

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      I think you’re right: though lots of people may read and love a blog, it tends to be the out of the ordinary things that get comments. It’s so easy to fall into the “I’m not getting comments, so nobody loves me” trap, but some people don’t think to leave comments. It’s just not in their nature.

  4. I’m on the same page as everyone else — I’m just happy that someone has read the post and liked it enough to say so. That is meaningful enough for me. I have a tendency to be a “lurker” in that I don’t comment on a lot of posts I really like — so I appreciate the effort taken even for a “nice post” comment. I also think that Amanda is right about the community building thing — those “nice post” comments on days that are NOT book haul, IMM, Sunday Post, whatever, show that you are actually paying attention to what other bloggers are doing; and they in turn start paying more attention to what you are doing.

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      I’m like you, I am more of a lurker. It’s so easy to think “great post!” but it takes more to actually tell the poster that. For me, I think it’s also about changing my habits. Before I was a blogger, I never thought about leaving comments, but now as a blogger, I know they’re important, so I need to change that habit so it’s automatic for me to comment.

  5. I try to comment as much as I can on the blogs I like, because I know it’s frustrating to spend all that time on writing a post and then not have much of a response. But commenting can be so time-consuming, especially if you follow a lot of blogs, so it’s not always practical. A lot of times I go through my Google Reader and star the posts that particularly caught my attention, and come back and comment on them when I’m more in the mood.

    • thebusybibliophile says:

      That’s a good idea, to make note to go back to the blogs when I am in more of a commenting mood. Thanks for the idea!

  6. LOL I love your style. Your phrase, “devil’s idea of a fun time, watching people squint and guess at what those stupid letters and numbers could be” gave me a good laugh because I see myself doing that. My eyes are too old to sort out captchas and get them right.

    Then you cracked me up again with “If you’re NOT a spammer, check the box. If you are a spammer, go away.” – that’s a great way to express that.

    The good thing about using GASP is that if you get comments that just say “great post” at least you know a spambot didn’t leave them – a real human did. Many bloggers judge others by their own actions, so if they only leave long, complex comments they think everyone else will, too. That simply isn’t true. Many don’t have that much to say most of the time!

    I just added you to my CommentLuv list and invite you and all your readers to promote your blogs in the post I’ve linked from my name and read about the huge blogging contest we’re hosting. You can get details on that in the post I’ve put in CommentLuv.

    Every blogger is welcome and there are many free gifts, twenty cash prizes and non-cash prizes that offer really strong odds of winning so I do hope you’ll come and participate.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] in the coming week. Let the rewinding begin!This week on The Busy Bibliophile:I talked about the kind of posts that I leave comments on. I received some great comments from this post (ironic, right?) and liked learning others’ [...]