Thursday, 3 February 2011

Extra post: Boring question

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Since I am thinking a bit about the blog today, I have one rather dull question for the dear readers.

I try, but do not always succeed, to answer most comments individually. I absolutely love getting the comments and think it a good courtesy to reply, although if I am too tired or busy I sometimes just let them be. One of the things I like most about having a small blog is that I can respond to each reader who takes the time to say something. I see other blogs where people get 90 comments, and obviously then replying is impossible.

My question is: do you go back and read the replies? Or do you just put up your comments and then think no more about it? Do you hope for a reply, and feel sad if there is none? And for those of you who have blogs, what do you do in your own comments section?

I know this is a bit of a boring process thing, but for some reason it has an odd importance in my small addled mind.

The sky has gone black now and there is a mad rushing wind outside, making a great fuss and noise. Luckily the canines are busy slumbering and see no need to go out into such weather.

A quick tree and snowy hill shot, because even a process question must have something visual to go with it:

3rd Feb 21


  1. I come back and read the comments. I like to see what others think of the same topic; whether any have anything to say about what I've said (narcissistic, I know); I enjoy the exchange of views with complete strangers. And, of course, there is the curious pleasure of finding oneself in, albeit virtual, conversation with one of the authors of one of my very favourite books. Wow, she writes such wonderful stuff, and she has time to talk to me? :D

  2. Cassie - brilliant and very helpful answer. (Also very kind; thank you.) One of the things I did think when I first began was that I wanted this to be a space for conversation, so it is interesing you used that word. Of course the paradox is that I do sometimes dream of having THOUSANDS of readers, but then I would lose the ability to engage with comments, and I think that would make me sad. The blog would become slightly more impersonal, and something would be lost.

  3. It varies. If I've asked a question or something specific then obviously it's nice if the blogger responds to it, whether that be by a reply comment (either on my blog or theirs) or a quick email. If it's just a normal comment then I don't always expect the blogger to respond. On blogs where I know that the blogger does respond in their own comment section then I'll check back, either in a quiet moment when catching up on blogs or by going back a post once I've commented on their latest post.

    With my own comments section I don't reply within it, just because I'd feel mean if I replied to some comments and not others and really, how are you meant to reply to a "love your dress!" type comment? I can only type thank you so many times! I respond to specifics by email or return comments on their blog. I suppose I just try and be involved with as many of my readers as possible - I follow and comment on a lot of blogs and I think it helps to create a sort of friendly feeling. I'm not saying that's the only way to do it (am personally rather fond of your way of doing it and get rather thrilled that a Real Life Author is talking to me!) but it's working for me so far.

    Does that make sense? I feel as I've dramatically overused the words comment and blog.

  4. Dear Tania,well I have only commented once before,because I am rarely galvanised into saying anything out loud,but I love the idea of you answering the comments individually and I certainly read through your responses to other people.It seems so much more of a two way thing.(I do read your lovely blog daily,though).Sue

  5. How sweet of you to ask!
    If I make a comment I do go back later and look to see if anyone else has picked up on the points, or if you have replied. And on my own blog I always reply with a comment of my own.

  6. Alex - really interesting, thank you. So agree about the worry of replying to some comments and not others. Fascinating to see other ways of doing it. But agree about the pleasure of some kind of engagement with readers.

    Sue - such a kind comment, thank you. Do love the idea of daily readers; it is one of the things that gives me most satisfaction.

    Lillyanne - so interesting you do the replying thing too, and go back to read comments. Does make me think it is worth it, if logistically possible.

    Thank you all for taking the time. You are all very kind and thoughtful, and much appreciated by me.

  7. I don't expect a reply, but I do go back and check for one. It is always a nice surprise and it makes me feel more engaged with the writer. Of course, I'm so new I don't have any followers yet, so I can't answer how I do it!

  8. It's nice if there is a reply to a comment I leave but I don't mind either way...and I have a few comments on my blogs so it's easy to respond...

  9. I agree with sjd69, I don't really expect a reply but often (not always) check to see if there is one. I was very pleased when a designer I admire a lot responded to a random blog comment I made. As for replying to others comments, I am new to posting and don't seem to get any yet, it would be nice to think I'd reply but in reality I don't think I would all the time.

  10. I always read the comments and pop back and read replies, I never expect a response from you because I know you're busy, but it's soo nice and I am always soo touched if you do respond. Rather like Cassie, I also love having a tiny distant virtual connection with the author of my favourite book. That makes me smile :) Anne.x
    PS-I also rather love that you have a devoted reader/commenter following and I like seeing the same names/litle pictures in the comments section - it sort of makes me feel like I'm amongst friends.

  11. sjd69 - very good to know that you do go back, but then do not get too exercised if there is not a reply. Perfect combination for me.

    Hetty - lovely that you are so relaxed about the thing. Even after almost two years I am still uncertain about blogging etiquette and never want to be thought rude.

    Cerys - this sounds like very good middle ground. Nice if one appears; not the end of the world if not. Most reassuring.

    Anne - such a lovely comment and so agree with you about the photographs. Very nice for me to see the smiling familiar faces who come back often, and with whose lives one starts to become familiar. It is one of the keen pleasures of having quite a small blog.

    Thank you all so much. Consensus seems to be: you do check back, which pleases me very much, but you understand it is not an awful snub if there is no reply. It does in fact always mean that I am tired or preoccupied. So I think I shall continue the policy of trying to respond if time permits, and relying on your kindness if it does not.

    Much gratitude as always to you all for your astonishing support. I know I say this a bit and don't want to sound too gushing, but the way readers have taken this blog to their hearts gives me almost more satisfaction than anything in my professional life. It gives the true meaning to the word 'amateur', which derives from the Latin To Love.

  12. I check to see if there has been a reply. Must be somehow connected to my schooldays and the desperation to see what the teacher said about some assignment. Pathetic, I know. I also leave comments to ensure that the blogger doesn't get disheartened and think that there is no-one 'out there' and cease their writing. But I do understand too when a blogger who has a busy life doesn't reply - it doesn't worry me if I don't receive a reply.

  13. Connie - the disheartened thing is spot on. The comments do give me heart, and thank you so much for them.

  14. Hello Tania - whilst you entitle this 'boring question' it is indeed an important one for us bloggers. The science of commenting is a strange one. With your blog I do go back and see every now and then if you have replied - but you are one of the few bloggers who does 're-comment'. I think it's lovely that you do acknowledge comments and it makes me think I should do it more on my blog. I think your writing inspires meaningful comments so that makes it more of a conversation. Plus as other commenters have alluded to - you are a proper writer with a book and everything so getting a hello from you is rather nice and validating. Lou x

  15. I comment very little generally so I do follow-up - if there is a reply I'm chuffed but I don't expect one. The reason why I don't comment more is that I feel the dam would burst and I'd just want to write everything that's in my head in reaction to your blog post and that's exactly why I ought to stop right now :-) But I do read daily!

  16. I followed for a while before commenting. I suppose it takes time to feel connected to a blog. Anyway, I don't expect a reply but it is rather lovely when you do get one. I comment when something pops into my head that I think you should know, because it is you that put the thought there in the first place. Kapiche?

  17. I do read your comments because you often have such lovely responses to your posts, plus because you do take the time to re-comment it's like an extra treat! But I also understand that you can't reply to each and every one and I certainly don't expect you to - sometimes I just like to let you know how much I enjoy your blog (which are NEVER too long, by the way).

  18. Tania - I absolutely read every word - posts and comments - and my husband will attest to the fact I get ridiculously excited when you are able to reply to me directly. It is entirely embarrassing to admit, but there you have it.

    I also love reading comments from your other readers, and have discovered other lovely blogs subsequently. You have some heavy-hitting followers, which is, occasionally, overwhelming. But I'm so glad that I can insinuate myself into the thread, as it were, something I would probably shy away from otherwise.

    With respect to my own (limited) experience, I have only received three comments, so it was only fitting I should reply directly. I'm so ridiculously grateful they even read it, let only felt compelled to comment.

    It's so thoughtful of you to ask. Thank you.

  19. I do all of the above: comment, read others' comments, come back -- or not, to check.
    I don't expect comments to my comments but am chuffed when it happens (ego, ego).
    (I still haven't figured out how to attach a photo or get my name in blue even though I spend ridiculous amounts of time on the internet.)

    Pat (in Belgium)

  20. I think it does depend on the blog- if it's one I read regularly then I read the comments as part of catching up on the blog.

    Obviously some blogs require more answers than others and as you say it can become impossible- in those cases I would say the other would only need to get back to people who has asked a question or raised in issue.

    I do much prefer blogs where the post has a life after it's written, if you see what I mean.

  21. Lou - so very kind to say 'proper' writer. Quite often I feel most improper. :)

    Sabina - rather love the idea of the dam bursting. So glad you read every day.

    Knackered Mother - really interesting. I so agree about the connection. With some blogs, I do not comment because I actually feel rather shy about it, which is a bit mad, especially because I so enjoy getting comments myself.

    Em - you are so kind. And very reassuring about length, which you may have noticed I do sometimes worry about.

    Michelle - love the thought of the excitement and the husband. And so glad you enjoy the comments of the other readers. It is one of the things that goes on delighting me. In all the time I've been doing this, I've only had one disobliging one, and that was only mildly sarcastic.

    Pat - so glad you are chuffed, and don't think it is ego. Part of the reason I like to reply if I can is that it seems just good manners. And it is very interesting that almost everyone says they do come back after leaving their own comment. It seems reciprocity is important.

    Rose - really interesting about the post having life after it is written. I like the idea of that. What I find interesting is that some posts generate quite a strong response, and others nothing at all, and it's never the ones I expect.

    Thank you thank you all so much for taking the time to answer my question. What a brilliant lot of readers you are, and how lucky I am to have you. Picture me smiling now, on a very gloomy Scottish day. :)

  22. If I post a comment on a blog it's always nice to receive a reply - it feels much friendlier than not getting one and I think the interaction makes a blog seem more vital and alive. Having said that, I'm not offended if I don't get a reply and I don't always remember to check back!

    My blog is very new and very tiny so I always make an effort to answer every comment. I enjoy the feedback and knowing I'm not blogging in a vacuum - plus I want to show appreciation for comments and to encourage readers to comment again in future!

    P.S. Love your writing and your photos

  23. Sorry, I was under the weather yesterday, but to answer your question, I always check back. ALWAYS. I would visit if getting to your tree-lined lane weren't such a production for someone an ocean away. You're a peach, Tania.

  24. GirlAboutGarden - thank you so very much for yr kind words. Agree about the friendliness. And really good luck with your new blog.

    Jean - I've never been called a peach before. I LOVE it. Thank you.

  25. I read your blog every day (it's the only one I read), but don't very often read the comments (or comment myself). I have to say I have read most of the comments today, though! I posted a couple of comments a while ago and checked soon after for a response, but after a few days didn't bother, as it's quite tricky to scroll back through all the posts. Like others, I know you are very busy writing and so cannot always reply. It's nice to get a reply, but I won't be hurt/stop reading the blog, if I don't!

    I always have to restrain myself from scrolling quickly down to see the photos of their ladyships, although I do love the lichen, logs, moss and tree photos as well!

  26. Jean - so flattered that this is the blog you read every day. But of course admiration of the canines is the quickest way to make me absurdly pleased. Thank you.

  27. I do come back and look but not religiously. On my own semi-defunct blog I will respond by email to some comments. I tend to try and comment on each post for blogs where I comment although my reader is so full now it is difficult. New people have to be no comments ever for me for a good while otherwise id do nothing else except read and comment!

  28. Jennifer - so sorry, said Jean when I meant Jennifer. Slightly overwhelmed by so many kind comments. Please forgive.

    Betty M - so know that feeling of the madness of the Google Reader. Have the exact same thing.

  29. I would like to and do at times - not always. Lately there has been too much on my plate!

  30. Dear Tania, I used to always reply on my comments, now I find it easier to mostly visit the commenters blog and respond because I'm not sure people check back. I always feel bad if I don't respond or forget.

    I used to tick the subscribe to comments box but some people get so many I was getting hundreds of emails.

    Thank you for your comment the other day, it's always a delight. I'm going to send you a message separately. Have a great weekend xx

  31. Here's an alternative that I received from a blog I commented on. I received an email from the blog which read as follows: Hi Helen Strydom!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment at ***** Be sure to come back soon. Warm Regards, ****
    To be perfectly honest, I don't object to auto replies from customer services (of a bank or a shop) but I felt the auto-reply from the blog was distinctly impersonal. I'd rather have received no reply.

  32. Mystica - always so lovely to hear from you. Glad you are back.

    Christina - it is a complicated question. But I noticed on your blog the other day you had SEVENTY comments, which is a whole other ball of wax. Keeping up with that many must be very difficult.

    Helen - AUTO-REPLY???? Am shrieking. Always want to know with things like that: who exactly thought it was a good idea.


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