Blogging Etiquette (II)


Today I want to turn to the topic of comments.Before I get into all of my wonderful advice (I hope you’re chuckling), I would like to emphasize the girlishness of my advice. I am a woman, in case you haven’t figured that out. My pointers for leaving comments are heavily influenced by the amount of time I spend reading blogs and comments written by other women. I also enjoy reading blogs and comments written by men, however, they are VERY different from those written by women. It is my summation that many male bloggers write inflammatory posts in order to promote equally inflammatory comments. While they are fun to read sometimes, I rarely enter the fray.Generally, men can take a negative comment much better than women.Men usually do not take disagreements personally. Women, generally speaking, cannot handle a disagreement without taking it personally.Sometimes this can make commenting difficult.

I have learned about leaving comments the hard way: making one mistake after another.I’ll cover the hard stuff first.

Let’s say you disagree with another blogger’s post.What do you write in his/her comments?One of the first things you must consider is the kind of relationship you have with the blogger. If you have developed a good rapport with the blogger, then you may feel comfortable expressing disagreement. It is still a good idea to begin by emphasizing those points at which you find agreement before explaining why you disagree.As with anything, as Christian bloggers we ought to let Christ rule our comments. That does not mean syrupy sweet, but it does mean writing with humility and love.If you cannot write your comment in such a way that exhibits those qualities, do not post it. I have found that it is a good idea to write your comment, read over it more than once, and check the Spirit in you to determine if it is a comment you can leave without any shame.

If you have not built a relationship with the blogger, however, there are a few other items to consider. First, you need to evaluate the issue.Is it, as John MacArthur says, a hill to die on?How far are you willing to go in a disagreement with another blogger? How much time to you have to waste on a time-consuming back-and-forth with another blogger? I’m not advocating ignoring the post and saying nothing at all. Leave a comment, but make it short and to the point.You must realize that there will not be a winner declared at the end of the day. It has been my experience that most bloggers are settled in their beliefs and it is not likely that you will be the one to change his or her mind. It’s best to leave your comment and move on. It is never good to argue on the internet. As I said above, if you can agree with any of the post, make mention of what you agree with before explaining your points of disagreement. Be gracious and kind, let Christ rule the comment, and if your comment does not conform to Him, do not post it.

If you decide to go ahead with your comment, keep in mind how long it gets. If you find that your comment becomes long, then leave a short blurb, and let the blogger know that your response to the post is on your own blog. It’s generally considered rude to hijack another blogger’s comments section with paragraph after paragraph of your own comment. Been there, done that. It’s rude.

Another option is email. A private disagreement is the best kind. Perhaps you misunderstood the post. Perhaps the blogger did not state his or her position clearly. Either way, emailing will keep all involved parties free from embarrassment and having to make public apologies.

Finally, when it comes to disagreements, it is a good idea to read all of the previous comments. If another blogger has already written exactly what you would have written, it does no good to leave your repetitive comment. At best, you’re just taking up space. At worst, you will look dumb. You could “Ditto” what another person wrote if you feel that it is worth it to show your agreement, but it is best to contribute something unique.

Moving on to the good stuff.

Bloggers LOVE comments!Show your love for your favorite bloggers by leaving a comment on every single post. I am exaggerating, but it is true that we bloggers love comments. If you enjoy a blog, then let the blogger know. You’ll make his/her day. Also, I think we sometimes forget about the conversational aspect of blogging that makes it enjoyable and unique. Leave comments that are interesting and that add to the conversation.

Where do you answer a question someone asks in your comments section? A question posed in your comments is best answered in your comments, or in a separate post. Other bloggers may have the same question. If you answer via email, then you deprive other readers of knowing the answer. It does not make sense to go to the questioner’s blog to leave the answer in their comments on an unrelated post. It strips the answer of context and creates confusion for all of the other bloggers reading those comments.

However, if the answer involves something you don’t want the blogging world to know, use email to respond. It may be helpful to give the short answer in your comments, but you certainly do not have to. Remember, it is your blog. I know that a couple of times I have had to use email to answer a question, but I don’t always use the comments to say, “I’ll email you.” Unless, of course, if I do not have that blogger’s email address, then I have to use my comments section to leave a message asking her to email me first.

Finally, I’m likely to delete comments like this: “If you like [name of famous person], then visit my blog and order a t-shirt.” Do not use someone else’s blog to promote your own site or business, especially if your commercial is unrelated to the post. If someone is asking for advice or for help finding something, then your commercial may be helpful, but only if it is relevant and needed. I have found that comments like those only serve to interrupt any semblance of conversational flow in the comments.

The previous post has over 20 comments so far. This is proving to be an interesting topic. I can’t possibly have thought of everything, so I hope you feel comfortable leaving a comment about your own blogging rules.

Tomorrow’s post will include topics such as linking or keeping a blog roll, developing relationships with other bloggers, and maintaining your blog’s unique identity.

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18 thoughts on “Blogging Etiquette (II)

  1. I am really enjoying this series! While on the topic, you have been a very encouraging commenter on my blog – thank you. I’m learning to leave more comments; you are so right – bloggers love comments. Feedback is essential.

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  2. Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I’m relatively new to blogging and, like many others, have had to learn most lessons in Blogland the hard way. Wish you’d written this last year! (grin)

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  3. Keeping up with a responding to comments is the hardest part of blogging for me.I know that I do not go back and read if people have responded to my comments very often–only if the issue was very important and I happen to remember. So, I either don’t respond (cuz I just don’t have the time) or try to respond by email. If the matter affects others–like a question is being asked, I try to make it back onto the blog and respond both by email and on the blog too.Responding to comments left on my blog is my greatest blogging weakness.

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  4. “I know that I do not go back and read if people have responded to my comments very often–only if the issue was very important and I happen to remember.”I mean . . . I don’t go back to other people’s blogs to see if they responded to what I wrote.

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  5. I forget to do that, too, sometimes. Some blogs have a feature that allows you to subscribe to their comments so you don’t miss anything. That can be fun, but one can get inundated with emails that simply say, “Great post,” over and over again.Amanda, I think you do a great job of responding to comments. I know I’ve asked questions about Taiwan and you always email me with an answer when you have the time.

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  6. More good stuff! I am looking forward to the next installment as I am terrible at sidebar maintenance (when do I link? not link? un link?) Also, about maintaining my blog’s identity, as I often wonder where I fit in this blog world?!And yes, love, love, love comments!

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  7. I am enjoying reading the last two posts. Some of these things have made me think. One my biggest blog rules is to not post about something that is a personal struggle without first talking to a real person about it. The danger could be for me to have the internet be my main source of “biblical fellowship” and conversation without being vulnerable and open in real life relationships. Not that your not real Leslie LOL! I want to make sure what I am posting and sharing here is a apart of my daily life and relationships too. About comments….I am guilty of reading and running. I jump on and off the net all day…I might do better to plan a time so I can slow down and respond.

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  8. First of all, let me say that I’m enjoying this series.Personally, I like the give and take of disagreeing comments, and in the past I’ve had some discussions in the comments of my blog that went on for over 50 comments or so. And I do think people learn from them, at least when they don’t get nasty. People used to have those discussions more in the comments of blogs (even “girl” blogs), and I think of those as the good old day.

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  9. Mrs. M–sharing an issue with someone who knows you in the flesh before you post about it is a great principle. It’s very easy to forsake real fellowship.Rebecca–I’m so glad you left a comment here. You’ve been blogging a lot longer than I have and I’d love to know what your “rules” are. You’re right, most comments can maintain civility up to that high of a number, but once they get up to 80 or 100, anything good that could be said has already been said, and after that the comments starting getting nasty. Then again, some blogs’ comments are nasty from #1. It really depends on the blog and the topic.

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  10. All very good advice. I have to say that I rarely disagree with most posts. I guess it’s the nature of the blogs I read, most are meant to be journals and are not big on “topical discussions”. Sometimes when I disagree or just don’t like the post I just won’t answer. Sometimes it’s a great post and I think, “I’d like to think about that more, THEN answer”. And then I forget about it. Sigh. Momma brain.

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  11. Thanks for writing about this. I sometimes wonder if I am doing this correctly. One rule I have, dealing with internet security, is not to post anyone’s name or picture without their express permission. My aunts got really angry when I wrote about my grandmother once. Ooops!When linking to someone else’s blog, I never use their real name (especially last), unless they do it on their own blog. Happy blogging!

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  12. singforhim–that is an excellent point. You should never mention a blogger’s name unless she uses her actual name on her blog. I did that one time…I knew her real name and I forgot to use her pseudonym when I linked to her from my blog. She emailed me to remind me to change it, though.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your tips on blogging etiquette. I am very new to blogging so I have found your tips to be very helpful~Staci

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  14. These are all very helpful. I think one of my weaknesses is that I don’t always take the time to respond to people who comment on my blog unless I feel a pressing need to clarify something. Also, I go in spurts- when I don’t have as much time to devote to blogging, I’m not real good at commenting at blogs I like to read, then I’ll go on a commenting frenzy later and leave them all over the place.By the way, I tagged you – but then I went back and realized you’d already been tagged on the same meme, so no pressure or anything!

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  15. leslie, I am going to take your etiquette rule and ask if I can borrow something from the Spotlight portion of your blog. It is the RA Torrey link from the Pulpit magazine article on believing the Bible.I have had a skeptic visiting my blog lately.

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  16. More good information. I’m learning a lot, especially that I’m a negligent blogger. Thank you for your help!

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  17. I’m enjoying this series! I think the only thing I would add is when you post a comment – especially negative – don’t just post as “anonymous”. It drives bloggers up the wall, and your comments tend to be taken less seriously. If you don’t want to use your real identity, a pseudonym works just as well. (“Girl in Kansas”)I totally agree about not responding to comments on that person’s blog. It drives me nuts when I read comments and half of them don’t make sense. Or when someone asks a question you also have, and you have to go to their blog to see the answer.

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