To comment or not to comment, that’s the question…

I wondered why people leave or do not leave comments on the blog. When i started it, i was very excited to see that some people actually read it. There were my friends (of course :), but there were also other people who read and commented. However, after a few posts it stopped. Then it raised again and then stopped again. And it stopped actually when i think i raised some very important, and probably controversial, issues. I wonder why?

Veronica has a hypothesis that the reason why people are reluctant to comment is the Israeli focus of the recent posts. She wrote: “I think that the recent posts were too heavy/political, issues that people didn’t feel like getting into a discussion about.” And, she thinks this is particularly true for people who are not actually Israelis. I can see why non-local people would be reluctant to comment on a purely local issue. But it seems to me that internet censorship and state-religion relationships are not a solely Israeli issue. Or I am missing something here? N

Nadya made a point that serious posts usually get less comments. When you post about simple and yet controversial topics, people react. Well, that makes sense, but then again i think that internet governance is somewhat controversial point. Or again, i am living in a different realm?

What do you think?

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8 Responses to “To comment or not to comment, that’s the question…”

  1. Tracy Says:

    I think it depends on why people read your blog. If it is for a purely recreational/entertainment purposes, chances of them commenting would not be very high. Just like some people watch TV even the news as a form of entertainment but don’t give it too much thought. Or perhaps your readers are just wanting to know how you think and what you think about but are not willing to share their thoughts with you. Good old uses and gratifications approach at work I think.

  2. Dima Says:

    That’s a very good point… and similarly people who read the blog for various reasons may have various motivations for leaving comments. I would assume that reading is a more engaging activity and requires more effort (compared to TV for example). So, if a person made that investment of reading, i’d assume they would have more motivation to engage with the subject. No? After all there are plenty of comments on blogs and news articles that are entertaining by default.

  3. Heidi Cool Says:

    I think commenting depends on the subject matter. I find if I’m writing something with which most people will agree, I won’t get many comments. But if I ask more open-ended questions, say something controversial with which some can disagree, or leave room for others to expand upon the topic, then I might get more feedback.

    Here at Case Western Reserve, one of our professors, Mano Singham gets frequent comments on his blog. He writes about everything from politics and philosophy to religion and science and frequently discusses evolution. The fact that his subject matter is sometimes controversial is one factor in his favor. Another is that he blogs every week day and has built up a pretty big following.

    Most importantly though, he’s developed a site where people feel safe to disagree as he is always quite thoughtful about his responses. From what I’ve read so far, you seem to offer the same type of environment, but perhaps the quiet readers need to linger and lurk a bit longer until the feel secure enough to jump in. I suspect as your readership grows and more people get a sense of this blog, then more will start participating.

    Good luck!

  4. Dima Says:

    Thank you Heidi for all the comments!
    These sound like good points and i agree with most of them.
    There is one point however that makes me think. I think I understand the dynamics of blogging and can see why people would react to a controversial topic. At the same time i would like to avoid is posting about controversial topics just for the sake of getting comments. Does it make sense?
    I do think however that building a positive discursive environment takes time. I only hope I’ll keep up with the blogging pace :)

  5. Heidi Cool Says:

    Dima,
    Yes, I agree with you. I wouldn’t actively seek out a controversial topic just to get comments. But when something you are pondering happens to be controversial, it will probably inspire more debate. Then again, it is hard to know what others will think is controversial. Sometimes a seemingly harmless missive strikes a chord with people.

    This is one of the issues I want to mention when I write about linkbaiting later this month. Our blogs and other sites have certain goals. We write to those goals and tailor our content to our readers. If we instead tailor our content to getting links or getting comments, we’ll lose focus and stop providing the content our readers expect. Good luck with the blogging, I find even trying to blog once a week can be difficult sometimes, but if you keep it up it will be worth it.

  6. Dima Says:

    Thank you Heidi!

  7. Elizabeth Rainwater Says:

    I tend to comment when I have something to say, but I honestly never thought about just commenting to let the author know I read the post and what I thought. That’s actually a good question. I agree with Heidi’s first comment. The more interactive or controversial the post, the more likely you are to get a response.

  8. Dima Says:

    Thank you Elizabeth!

    Yes, Heidi’s comment makes perfect sense (both of them). It only makes me thinking that the themes i am interested in, do not interest many people :)

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