I’d like to take a few minutes just to talk about leaving comments on ProBlogger as the past week or so I’ve had a number of interactions with readers that have left me wondering if we’re all on the same page.
I’m beginning to see that there is a real spectrum of ways in which blog readers view and use the comments sections of blogs.
These range from ignoring them completely through to abusing them completely by automatically posting thousands of self serving and irrelevant comments with links to often pretty crude sites.
Along the spectrum between ignoring comments and spam are many many different approaches to comments by readers. Each blogger has their own standards of what is and isn’t acceptable on their blog – some allow virtually any comment – others have language standards, others don’t allow signature links etc.
I’m totally fine with the variety of approaches to comments – however I want to communicate to readers of this blog where I stand:
1. I love comments on this blog - they are as important as anything I write myself. They add to the knowledge and community that we have here. If you want to comment then you’re more than welcome – whether you feel you are a beginner or an expert – feel free to have you say.
2. I delete spam – I have spam filters in place which automatically catch the majority of automated spam comments. I don’t put up with it and if any slip through the filters I delete it immediately.
3. Relevant links in comments are actively encouraged - if you’re leaving a comment on my blogs and want to point to a link on your own or someone else’s site that is relevant to the topic then please feel free to do so. This adds to the conversation and improves the blog.
4. Irrelevant links are not encouraged – if you leave a comment with a link in it that has no relevance to the post you’re commenting on it could be be deleted. This is a trend that I see happening increasingly on this blog. If you really want to annoy me then the way to do it is to do this on multiple posts. If you engage in this practice I would encourage you to think about the impact that such an approach has upon your reputation. Build your blog’s profile through genuine interactions and participation in the community here by all means – but spammy linking in comments could do more damage to your reputation than it is worth.
5. I allow signatures in comments - we had a debate over this a few months ago. My gut reaction to signatures in comments is that I don’t really see the need for them and see them as verging on the spammy end of comments. However after seeing the debate that came out of expressing this opinion I decided not to delete comments with signatures as long as the comments were relevant and added something to the conversation. ie if you write a comment that says ‘nice’ or ‘good post’ or ‘great blog’ or ‘try viagra’ and then leave a signature on your comment then it could well be deleted.
I don’t want to be a grump and come down on readers of this blog – but I also don’t want to be taken for a ride and have my blog (which I put hours of work into each day) used in ways that don’t add value to it or the community around it. There is a fine line in moderating comments – and I want to be transparent as to my stance. I wish I didn’t have to have a comments policy – but unfortunately it’s come to this.
My advice to those commenting on blogs (not just mine) is that in a sense you’re visiting someone else’s home when you leave a comment. Comments have the ability to build up our tear down your reputation. They are a permanent record of who you are and what you stand for – so take care – be gracious – make sure they add value (not only to the blog you’re visiting but also to your own online profile).