A Comment On Comments.

This is a screenshot of just a fraction of the spam I’ve gotten in my comment feed lately. Fortunately there’s some wheat in all the chaff.

Like most bloggers I really appreciate comments. The late great Richard Sher, host of the radio show Says You! ended some episodes by saying “this show is best when we get your comments, when we get your contributions, and most of all when you show up.” In a blog, aside from tracking statistics, comments are a way for me to know you’ve shown up. And I say most bloggers enjoy comments even though I’ve never collected any formal data on that; most blogs just seem to allow comments and it seems like their owners appreciate the feedback. There have been a few I’ve run across that didn’t allow comments and there was even one where the guy who it belonged to had a statement over the comments section that said something like, “If you want to leave a long comment consider getting your own blog.” And I was seriously tempted to leave a really long comment telling him that was a great idea and he’d inspired me to do just that and I’d like to hear any suggestions he had, because it seemed like something he’d really appreciate, but that’s another story.

Anyway I like to reply to comments as well. Not everybody does and that’s okay. I know some bloggers don’t and that’s okay; I know some, like the infamous Bloggess, get so many comments they couldn’t possibly reply to them. It seems like even bloggers who don’t reply to comments still appreciate them, and that’s what matters.

All this got me thinking about what an interesting thing comments are, too. Never before in history has there been such spontaneous feedback between readers and writers, except possibly on a tablet of the epic of Gilgamesh where someone chiseled, “Utnapishtim rocks!”

I also know there have been technical difficulties at my particular blog and that some people who’ve tried to leave comments haven’t been able to. Earlier this week I was doing some housecleaning, or rather blogcleaning. I can’t give you a specific reason why but, while I’ve been able to keep up a pretty regular blogging schedule, I’ve been in kind of a weird head space and I realized it had been almost two months since I’d replied to any comments. I also found that some comments I’d read and really enjoyed and even “liked” went to the spam folder. It’s an odd thing that I get a fair amount of obvious spam in the comments that I then have to deal with like clumps of hair in a shower drain but legitimate comments, comments I approve and like, might slip down the drain.

I also haven’t been great about visiting some of my favorite blogs, and even when I have I haven’t always commented so it probably seems like I didn’t show up and I can’t explain that either. It’s like something changed in the past six months or so, but I have no idea what it could possibly be.

All this is just to say thank you for showing up  and I’ll try to show up myself. After all this is a cooperative effort. Also this might be too long; it’s a good thing I’ve got my own blog.

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16 Comments

  1. Jennifer Mugrage

    Trying to leave a comment …

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you! It looks like it worked, although it was initially sent to the spam folder. Why it sent your comment there is a mystery but at least I know where missing comments are going.

      Reply
  2. Rivergirl

    If I read, I leave a comment. I figure if you’ve gone to the trouble of writing of a blog it’s the least I can do. Of course WordPress usually swallows my comments on your site so this is probably a waste of time… but ready assured, if you see I’ve liked your post? I’ve commented as well.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I see it when you click the “Like” button and I know you’re honest so I know you wouldn’t “Like” it if you didn’t, you know, like it, but I appreciate the feedback. It seems to be a weird thing with WordPress–this site uses WP software but isn’t hosted by WP, which is about as technical as I can get–that I can see and even approve comments in the app but the blog sticks them in a spam folder.
      Anyway, thanks!

      Reply
  3. mydangblog

    Your blogs are so good that I’m compelled to comment, and I always love the comments you leave on mine. Sometimes they’re better than my post!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I appreciate that but really blogs are a cooperative medium, and I wouldn’t be inspired to leave funny comments if you didn’t provide such great material to begin with.

      Reply
  4. Ann Koplow

    Your posts are never too long or too short; they are always just right. I identified with much of what you wrote here and I consider myself extremely fortunate that you visit my blog regularly. Thanks for showing up, Chris, exactly the way you do.
    Ann Koplow recently posted…Day 2853: Other people’s storiesMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You’re also the Goldilocks of comments, Ann–always just right, although I don’t want to suggest that you’re anything but welcome here. I’m always glad when you show up.

      Reply
  5. tara caribou

    I have tried leaving comments often and they have never gone through for some reason. Now I am trying again!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you! I’m glad you decided to try and try and try again. Spam is a terrible thing, especially when it drowns out regular comments, but you’ve helped me solve the mystery.

      Reply
  6. Allison

    I leave them, I like having them left. I wish I could figure out how to respond to people who comment on my posts… I should probably play with my settings a little. I don’t always have something useful to say, but I want to encourage the writers I enjoy to keep writing!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Not always having something to say is sometimes an issue for me too. And I wonder if by responding to comments, even legitimate ones, is attracting spam. Spam, I have learned, is a terrible thing, unless you can fry it and serve it with lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top.

      Reply
  7. Arionis

    I could totally cut and paste this whole post into my blog but I think that would be frowned upon. As a matter of fact, there is a word for that isn’t there? Oh yeah, plagiarism! That doesn’t change the fact that you have summarized exactly how I feel lately. You were one of the few who first commented on my blog and that inspired me to continue on. I feel ashamed that I recently haven’t kept up regularly with you and some of my other favorites. This new full-time RV life has kept me really busy (in a good way) and I’m also deep into re-writes on my book after my editor bloodied it up (also in a good way). None of that is an excuse though, my brother from a different mother. I am a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see Google Porn Porn Google’s comment on your Looking Up Uranus post in that screen-shot.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I feel bad about not keeping up with your blog lately, or the comments here for that matter, and I don’t even have a good excuse. Even if it doesn’t leave you much time to write or check up on other blogs your RV life is an amazing thing and I admire you just for having the courage to do it.
      And strangely enough none of my posts about Uranus, and you know I write a lot about Uranus, don’t get much spam. Weird that spammers seem to avoid Uranus.

      Reply
  8. theorangutanlibrarian

    I love comments too- but always feel bad about struggling to keep up with them and not managing to visit my favourite blogs as much as I’d like!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Time can be a very frustrating thing. I’m reminded of something Dylan Thomas said about how if he spent all the time he wanted revising older poems he wouldn’t have time to write new poems. It’s a bit depressing that he said that close to the end of his life. Anyway he didn’t even have a blog.

      Reply

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