Thursday, December 08, 2005

Do popular bloggers read their comments? Does anybody else?

Anybody else wonder what the value is in adding your two cents to a swelling thread of a couple dozen or more comments at a site of a frequent blogger who predictably elicits a gazillion comments per post? Do these people have the time, let alone the interest, to read every one of their comments? I barely have the patience to read opinions from bloggers I know and respect. Do I feel like reading what 70 unknown strangers had to say secondarily? The most I do typically is like a lazy pollster scan for a flavor of the popular response--the mood, the seeming intelligence of the replies. "Does everybody else think this guy's crap?" "Any of these comments worth reading?"

But more importantly: What about my comment? Is anybody going to read me? My instinct is that the two or three people who comment immediately after me almost certainly will, but the eyeballs of everybody else are going land on me, if they do, only at random. There's some probability per unit second that they'll hit me while they're scanning, and the average length of scan depends on the readership and the post in question.

What about the blog owner? Actually, I don't always imagine I'm addressing a comment to the blog owner when I enter deep into a thread. Often I imagine I'm addressing the world wide web,or the people who've commented above me, and/or the hypotheticals who will soon comment below.

Assuming you're not making your reply to a skin-headed hate monger, wouldn't it be nice to have an actual conversation though? With that author who sparked your thoughts? Or at least to know you registered your two cents? What's this world wide web for, after all?

You know, this looks like an excellent opportunity to take note of what a rare opportunity there exists here, gentle readers. Take some time to recreate in the wide open spaces of the Murky Thoughts comments section. Spread your prose out. Espouse a while. If it looks interesting I might just read it.

7 comments:

she falters to rise said...

I would post a comment, but now I'm insecure about whether you will even bother to read it;) Drat, it appears that I posted a comment anway.

§å®å[¦]*&*TreeNaH said...

i read my comments ...i dont really get comments...but i dont leave comment unles i read the post.. its a two way street !

Terrible lie said...

I BELIEVE THAT LEAVING A COMMENT SHOWS INTEREST.. IF YOU DIDNT WANT READERS THEN YOU SHOULD POST YOU THOUGHTS ON MICROSOFT WORD OR SOMETHING...PEOPLE HAVE BLOGS SO OTHERS CAN READ... AND I LOVE GETTING COMMENTS IF I HAVE 70 I WOULD READ THEM ALL AND I WOULD RETURN THE INTERSET BY GOING TO SEE THEIR BLOG ALSO.. EVEN IF IT TOOK ME A WEEK... CAUSE THATS WHAT BLOGS ARE FOR...

Murky Thoughts said...

I actually feel about the same as you guys about comments now.... That is, while all I've ever gotten is a few of them (thanks very much for the comments, by the way!), but like I said in the post I'm trying to imagine what it's like at a popular blog--such as Daily Kos or Volokh Conspiracy. If my blog were to get all at once so many comments I'd need a week to read them, then I'd surely read them. If I got that many every day, though, it would be impossible for me to read them by definition. Impossible for me, in my life. If I were a full-time or super-active blogger, which I'm not and never have been, I dunno, thus leading me to wonder if such people read their comments. I'm trying to be Robyn Leach here and imagine the lives of the blogospherically rich and famous.

she falters to rise said...

I don't think that you have to love or even want to read comments as a Blogger. Some people want a venue for their ideas that is public, but do not necessarily get off on listening to the public. Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind...

There is also the time factor. If you have many readers, you are most likely putting out a lot of well-designed posts. If reading 100 comments means decreasing the quality and/or consistency of posting, then you may not choose the low-payoff reward of comments. It's kind of like gambling, I guess.

t.s. said...

I find the comments sections of the popular blogs incredibly tedious to read. Who bothers? It must be people who've never spent much time on a threaded discussion forum. The interface is so dull.

Wendy said...

The gentlemen of the Volokh Conspiracy and other academic bloggers definitely read their comments -- though by "read," I really mean skim. They rely on comments from readers -- especially their fellow academics -- to help point out the strengths and fallacies in their arguments that need to be developed or addressed before they turn the particular post (or the thought behind it) into a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or other outlet.