Tuesday, February 26, 2013

No Comment

One of the things I think about from time to time is the amount of comments I get on my posts. Generally speaking it is fairly low and up to half of them are my replies to commentators.

So I thought that perhaps some of my readers may also be languishing in a lower than desired comment count and I'd investigate strategies and open up a dialog for how to encourage comments.

I'll pause here for an irony break. I had to leave for the flag football tournament so I just jotted down the opening paragraphs of this post. At some point I received this comment on my Flag Ripple Video Tutorial:

"worst result ever.... Don't waste your time: if you are trying to use gimp for giving a flag a waving effect, look up another video..." - tonio892

So, while I will agree that there is a better way to do it, worst ever? That seems a little harsh. Although my feelings were hurt initially I will take it as an opportunity to open up a dialog and try to improve upon my posts, video or otherwise. Alright, back to the main topic.

It would appear that part of getting more comments is just the numbers game, more followers, more views leads to more comments. My go to reference for blogs that get a lot of comments are (in alphabetical order):
Don't Throw a One, Frontline Gamer and The Angry Lurker. I'm sure there are more of you who get a lot of comments, but those are the first three that come to mind. If I didn't mention you and you think you get a lot of comments please let me know. (shameless attempt to elicit a comment #1).

So the big question is, dear readers, what if anything do you do to get people to comment? I am truly curious. Now I could just leave it there, but if you know me and my obsessive nature you'll know I can't.

So a little google fu with the term (how to get more blog comments) returned this.

The first article here was okay. The concept that 90% of your readers are lurkers is not new but it substantiates the idea that doing whatever it takes to get more followers is one of the secrets. I also question whether 9% of my readers are editors, in the wargaming world I think it is less likely. The point is well taken that you need to offer good content and have the posts be open ended. One possibly unintended tip was that if you misspell werds (possibly intentionally) or use incorrect homophones, you will engender comments of outrage at your stupidity. Not exactly what I'm looking for but who knows? I may become desperate.

The Lifehacker article was more along the lines of what I was looking for. I think it gives you a good list of alternatives and points out that some may not give you the type of response you want. I try to do many of them already, i.e. posts that support the work of others. Perhaps I should try #22 and curse more often. I grew up in New York City, and as such am a fairly profane individual. However, since leaving New York I have actively tried to suppress my use of swear words as every day adjectives. I mostly curse like a sailor in the privacy of my own home and with my San Soo buddy.

And finally from Wordpress here. Again they seem obvious when you read them, but still good to see it in print so to speak. I especially like #12, "Make a post out of the best comments from your readers". I might try that as well. I have been the source of posts that way and I think I have written a few based on peoples comments to this blog, I'll go check.

I'll end here so as not to go over the "short and sweet" rule for garnering comments. Thanks for reading and please do share your thoughts, I'm very interested to read what you have to say.


  1. if you look back on my and Fran early posts, perhaps for the first 6 months we got around 5-6 comments for each post, we like yourself wanted more readers and followers, so we came up with a plan, which was follow as many wargame and some other blogs of interest as we could and try your best to comment on them every post. Now this is very time consuming, we were lucky because we did (& still do) most of our blogging at work. This gets your name and avatar known, the more you comment, the more others will come over and join and comment on your blog, simple as that!
    One other good thing to get yourself noticed is the Google +1 button, click it and they will come...................

    1. Thanks Ray, I do try to comment when I feel like I have something to say. Otherwise it feels like just a pile on. I don't have a job, unless you count being a stay at home dad a job (which many do). I could spend all of my time blogging but I think my wife would object if I didn't feed her or the kids or let the place get even more slovenly than it already is. But I think making the most of my time on the blogosphere is a good idea. I use reader to stay caught up on blogs but it is a bit of a chore. I'll try hitting the +1 button some, I tend to ignore it.

  2. What Ray said..

    I was just about to say that Ray and Fran leave nice and positive comments on practically every blog I see. They are normally amongst the first to follow a blog as well. The fact they publish regular and genuinely funny posts helps.

    I wouldn't take too much notice of people who comment on YouTube. A fair amount are either trolls or idiots (often both).


    1. Hi Matt, thanks. I am firmly in the camp of "If you can't say something nice, shut the fuck up!" (see tip #22) so I try to only be positive or leave what I feel is constructive criticism. I don't really feel too bad about the youtube comment, I just have a visceral defensive reaction. That's why I wait a day or two to reply, if at all, to negative comments.

      I'm not saying I would strap on a diaper and drive to their house with duct tape and a ball peen hammer, but I try to let the initial outrage pass.

      Thanks for following the Youtube channel by the way, I'll try to get some more stuff up that might be useful.

      And I agree that there is a certain magic in the Ray and Fran dynamic but I have no Laurel to my Hardy, Mutt to my Jeff or Ray to my Fran.

  3. ... interesting question...
    (I've read ALL your post: not easy for me)
    I think that the ways proposed by Ray and Sean are good, but nevertheless, sometimes:
    -I've nothing to say!
    -I've no time enough
    -I'm too lazy!

    Also, when I have a comment, I ALWAYS give an answer.
    And it's frustrating if I've no feedback... (both when I comment and when I reply)
    I always "subscribe by email" when I post a comment.

    I'm always happy to have some faithful followers
    As I try to post quite long comments, I can't post in all the blogs.

    And honesty, sometimes I prefer to keep silent if I have nothing to say!

    (one other thing too: I was on a bad version of your blog(!!!!) and couldn't comment!
    Now it works !)

    1. Hi Sam, I appreciate your comments and thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I assume that French is your first language and I appreciate the difficulty in conversing in a language that is not your own. ( I studied Chinese in college and don't even try to read blogs in it.)

      Commenting on and replying to comments is a lot of work, I don't always do it myself but I think it can be rewarding. I think you are right, I will make an effort to reply to every comment I get.

      Interesting about trouble commenting, I had trouble replying to Matt's comment earlier today.

  4. To be honest it took me a while to figure out how to comment when you switched your formats. For whatever reason when I go to your pages from my blogger feed I couldn't leave a comment. After refreshing the page and messing around for a while with this post it finally showed the comments. Not sure if others are having this problem.

    1. Hi Dan, thanks. That's troubling that you were also having problems commenting. I do intend to have a poll at some point asking the readers how they feel about the format.

      One more question I have for you is, have you played with the other options in the menu at the top? In looking at other people using the dynamic templates I found some that I didn't like as a reader. Magazine comes to mind right now but I don't have a solid opinion on it.

    2. @Dan : same problem with the blog!
      I've change the address in my blog-roll and now it works, who know why?

      @Sean: with all what I've read here, it seems that there's one question which is important: Quantity vs Quality !
      It's not very interesting at all to have 50 "good work!" or something like that!
      Like I've said before, many times, I didn't have replies to my comment and honesty, I prefer comment on blogs where the bloggers answer and even start a discussion...

    3. @Sean I've played with the options and I guess I am just stuck in my ways as I like the standard blog format, although you do miss out on seeing so much of you content like you can in flipcard. I updated your contact in my blog roll and it seems to take me to the correct blog page that allows me to comment. Sometimes blogger is just weird like that.

  5. Sean,

    I don't think I can help you out much, except that this comment will increase your comment count!

    As a comparison, so you will not feel bad, my blog has around 50 followers with around 70ish posts in total and gets around 90 hits a day. For those 70 posts, I have 180ish comments; my responses to other commenters would be nearly half of that number. So about 1 1/2 non-me comments per post. But each of those posts is either a battle report or a review and so I would think the comment count may actually be higher than if I blogged on my gaming activities.

    I do like comments, but trying to find the time to comment on other blogs is hard too, although I do try. So I can understand the low comment counts on blogs.

    I guess it all depends on what you want to get out of blogging and if an increased comment count is in your aim (which it sounds like it is). I guess just follow the advice from the links you provided.

    1. Hi Shaun,

      Sorry to reply out of order, somehow when I scrolled down I totally missed your comment.

      I think in your case your posts are very informational and not really controversial, which honestly is not a bad thing. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that reviews probably are on the low end of the comment garnering spectrum. Please disabuse me of this notion if I am wrong.

      While I would like more comments generally, for me it's just about having a discussion. Comments make me think about the why's and wherefore's of what I do and consultation of the hive mind that is the internet is why I started blogging.

      Thanks for the comment and I hope your back is improving.

    2. I have no idea if reviews are at the low end or not. I think it depends on the review! I have seen reviews get lots of comments, but usually by people that disagree with the reviewer. My reviews are generally, I think, objective so would garner less comments.

      I see where you are going with a comments generating discussion. I have not really thought of it like that before!

      My back is great - surgery a success and I am at home for 2 more weeks before going back to work. I can walk, sit, lie down etc. Quite mobile. Almost normal except I am not supposed to lift more than 2kgs as it will aggravate the healing of the back.

  6. Food for thought!

    I've also been surprised at the low number of some posts in my blog and others. Personally I always try to respond to comments on my own blog. As for other people's blogs, sometimes I find that what I intended to say has already been said by an earlier comment. In those case, I'll often avoid duplication and not comment myself.

    Another thing that I've noticed is that I sometimes get more responses to an announcement on TMP or a relevant Yahoo group than I do on the blog itself. I wonder if the necessary login or other prerequisites for creating a comment on Blogger or Wordpress is putting off the casual visitor?

    Finally, direct appeals *don't* seem to work, at least for me. Adding "What do you think?" to a blog post does not increase the comment count!

  7. Hi Colgar,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. The whole "what I was going to say has already been said" is what I meant by pile on. While it is nice to have multiple people say "nice work" or "good job" if it's already been a dozen comments in that vein it doesn't seem to add to the discussion, so I refrain from commenting.

    Interesting about the TMP yahoo group thing. I'm actually the opposite. I try to only post on the blog. I personally get frustrated by reading what are essentially text messages on the yahoo groups. It clutters my already cluttered inbox.

    One of the tips was to add "What do you think?" or some such instead of "Leave a Comment". While I agree that it may not make too much difference what you put there, every little bit helps I suppose. So far writing a post about not getting comments has garnered the most comments in ages.

    1. > Interesting about the TMP yahoo group thing. I'm actually the opposite. I try to only post on the blog.

      Sure, I will also respond on someone's blog rather than on another forum where the blog has been advertised. But by definition both you and I have blogger accounts and are therefore permitted to comment directly on a blog.

      I can remember a time (just last year, indeed!) when I *didn't* have such an account. I tried on several occasions to post a comment on Vampifan's blog, but was always defeated by the system. Not because of captchas or anything like that, but rather because I didn't have the necessary Blogger/Google+/whatever credentials.

    2. That is something else to consider. I removed the captcha long ago to make things easier for people to leave comments. I suppose I should be more sympathetic to those who don't drink the google cool aid, I just am reluctant to allow anonymous commenting. That Anonymous guy is an asshole!

  8. I always check on your blog, though don't always leave comments. It often depends on which device I am browsing with as my mobile often limits me on which blogs I can leave comments on.

  9. Hi Scotty,

    That's true. Since I started using my Kindle and phone with Google Reader to stay caught up on blogs it has gotten a lot harder to keep up with comments. For some reason I cannot comment from the Android mobile platform, thanks for another incompatibility issue google. So many times I'll read a blog post and make a mental note to comment later. Of course ooh shiny hits and I forget.

    Coincidentally I have been getting a fair amount of traffic from your blog of late, so thanks again for following the blog.

  10. I do like comments, as they help you overcome the sense that you are not just shouting into the ether with no one listening, but if you want discussion, you picked the wrong medium. Blogs are largely one-way communication mediums. Most people do not go back and see if their comment was commented on. (For example, I probably won't look to see if you acknowledged this.)

    When someone wanted to start a serious dialogue with me, they contacted me in email Because a lot of good ideas were being exchanged, I considered creating a Yahoo group to house the discussion. In the end, I decided to create a forum on Nabble, and hang it off of my blog. You can read about it here:

    To see what the forum is like, you can go here:

    If you really want dialogue, and not simply comments, start a forum and hang it off of your blog.

    By the way, I commented on the video but I will do it again here. Good effort but remember that the flag will not ripple where it is fastened to the staff.

    1. Hi Dale,

      Thanks. I actually am a little chagrined because I have been meaning to comment on your last post regarding SBH mechanisms. In particular I thought that the idea of bringing forth ideas from a email correspondence to the blog was a good one.

      I think you are right about the blog not being the best medium for discussion, I constantly forget to check back on blogs where I asked a question. Sam pointed out that one could click the "subscribe by email" link and perhaps that would keep you informed. I'll probably try that myself.

      I did read about your forum and looked at it some. I like the idea a lot and the conversation is very interesting. I just haven't gotten into Saga (yet).

      Thanks for commenting on the video. I haven't received notification yet but I'll check it out. You are right about the ripples not being on the attachment point, honestly I'm not sure what I did. It was my first attempt at a tutorial video and I think that not only do I do the ripple procedure differently, I would do the video differently as well.

  11. Interesting post Sean, and good comments ;-)




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