To Comment or Not To Comment, That is the Question

To Comment or Not To Comment, That is the Question May 19, 2011

After yet another round of classy comments from SFGate commenters on my last post, I had another conversations with someone about the usefulness of comments on a blog. For places like SFGate I could probably post, “Puppies are cute!” and I would get some nasty comment about what an idiot I am. I have posted on this before, but I actually think that the comments bother other people more than they bother me. I figure, I am putting my opinions out there, so I am fair game. I can choose how to interact and none have felt personally threatening . . . I figure most are simply folks with opinions who think they are much wittier than they really are ;-)*

Asked about why I keep at it, I actually have a question for you who are reading this. “Why and when do YOU comment on a blog?” I know that many people do not want to open themselves up to the bullying tactics that some use in comment streams, others comment on a regular basis hoping to engage with one another and still others I fear just like hearing the sound of their own keyboards 😉

But seriously . . .

  • Why do you or don’t you comment on blogs?
  • When you do comment what are your general hopes and expectations?
  • Any other thoughts on comments?

That’s it . . . I offer no grand statements about my religious beliefs, cultural perspectives of how painful it was today to see the Oakland A’s blown out by the WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL. I just want to know . . . why do you comment?

And yep, I kept my comments open on SFGate ’cause they LOVE me there 😉

*Yes, I too am in the “Opinionated and Not as Witty as I Think I am” club.


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  • Scott Gay

    Only 1 weel behind answering this question. I commented on Bruce’s article on HUffPost, April 7, 2011, on “Why Churches Should Stop Making a Big Deal Out of Easter Sunday Worship”. I’m commenting here because I’ve noticed that Bruce has taken his blogging to Patheos, which I’ve followed since “Jesus Creed” moved to it several years ago.

    I comment only about religion, and especially how it is changing. My interests are the Protestant principle and “Era” of Tillich, the leveling of Kierkkegaard, the process of Whitehaed, and the hidden causes of diversity of Girard.

  • Thanks Rob.  I think that this is a pretty common posture for most readers. And a helpful one, I might add. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rob

    Bruce, I’ve never commented on your blog before (I’m fairly new to it…) and rarely comment on others.  I believe the only times I’ve commented on blogs or in response to articles in the 2.0 format are when I feel that other “commenters” have been abusive to the blogger or author.  There is something so hypocritical, so downright unChristian when one blasts another with whom one disagrees (over faith reasons or not), instead of simply and respectfully stating your disagreement.  This is what draws me to comment. 

  • because I like writing 

  • Karen E in Oakland

    I never comment on SF Gate or bother reading them.  IMHO comments are worthwhile when the group is relatively small.   There are standards of civility, ease in developing a thread, absence of the cloak of anonymity which breeds all manner of craziness.  There is often benefit to expanding on an idea, challenging something, etc. etc. but it’s too much work on something like SFGate which is open to any old yahoo.  It’s frankly not worth the effort the sift through the comments to find something that furthers the conversation.

  •  I don’t know if you have this leeway, but replacing the commenting system with Facebook comments cuts the trolling to almost zero. People find it easier to be crazy when they can be “Jerkbag123” instead of “Josh Richard.” Did I just out myself? Crap.

  • Mary_haddow

    Sometimes I comment because when I just want to show encouragement, or because I see/read something that gives me a concern for someone’s well being. On the other hand, sometimes I don’t comment because I’m inclined to thought out structured comment, and that takes time, and then the moment has passed.  But at least it has made me think. So basically, it’s depends on content/pastoral/time available.
      

  • Chuck Traylor

    I’ll have to think about why I comment on blogs. One thing, though, the Twins really aren’t the worst team; they’ve had a lot of injuries and are, now, starting to get healthier and round into their usual form. And that is without Mauer. 

  • @365b2d5521d8791aaa4a6e278c153e89:disqus Yes, and i fear that sometimes, I can cross that line. Thanks for commenting!

  • @414f06d691ac829300b072eb9ae8e188:disqus  you are too funny, but you do bring up a good point. People get in trouble for blogging, but I am not sure that I have ever heard of someone getting hot water for a comment. Hmmmm . . .

  • Done 😉 

  • Agreed, it is rewarding when a post can instigate some reaction worthy of a comment. 

  • Mary Raine

    Like A Will, I comment when I feel like I can contribute something to the conversation. I avoid commenting when I am angry. I am strongly affected when a comment is mean spirited, crass or sarcastic. I feel that if we are truly filled with the Spirit of Christ, our language ought to exhibit his love and truth.

  • Patrick Laney

     I comment because I fear blogging will get me fired. I find comments and message boards allow me to understand how words are interpreted and how people will react to them which ultimately has helped my preaching. Some things I have learned: Sarcasm does not work in print, Most people read what they want to as much as the hear what they want to, I really–really–really should never blog.

  • I comment when I feel like I have something to contribute, either positive or to push back. If I don’t comment it may be that I need to chew on it some more, I had nothing to say and probably won’t, or it disinterested me.

    I usually comment with hope of interaction. So you better respond to this Bruce. 🙂

  • Mostly I just comment if I think I have something to add.  I have blogged on and off over the years and never recruited much of a following, but always appreciated those who took time to write, yet I really only got something out of those who seemed to want to add (either positively or negatively) to the overarching (as in not just what I personally wrote) conversation on a topic.  Commenting is nothing more than a chance to hear and be heard.