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Why You Should Never Comment on Blogs. Ever.

This guest post is by David Hartstein of Wired Impact.

I’m sure you’ve heard well-reasoned, logical arguments for why you should be commenting on blogs:

  • “You can be a part of the conversation happening out there.”
  • “You can build your own authority.”
  • “You can drive traffic to your blog.”

But, while there may be a burned, unpopped kernel of truth in these statements, none of them take into account the many reasons you should never comment on a blog.

Well here are some of those reasons for your consideration.

First of all, you shouldn’t even begin to think about commenting unless you have something really profound to say.  If you merely express agreement, it is likely judgment will rain down upon you.  As, to be fair, it should.  There is no room for mere opinions in the comment section of a blog.  It is a blog after all.  No feelings, just facts.

Plus, there’s a good chance you don’t have the authority to be commenting on a post.  I mean, if someone is writing a post, they are certainly held in high esteem by all of the peers in their field.  The Internet won’t let just anyone publish.  And if you’re not an expert, you likely don’t have much to offer.  Sure, maybe you have some ideas, but are they the kind that are best kept to yourself?  Unless you have a graduate degree in the subject at hand, they should probably be filed away in your journal.

Additionally, if no one else has commented yet, you’re essentially lowering your head onto the chopping block.  You could write the first one, but doing so opens you up to being the minority opinion.  It’s very possible that just after you finish singing the praises of a particular post, a series of users will go on an angry tirade ripping the author apart.  You’d look really dumb.  Who cares what you thought?  Those other commenters probably know more than you anyway.

Also, don’t forget that browser spellcheck leaves something to be desired.  Sure, it will catch a word that you’ve butchered, but what about something more minute?  And forget any kind of oversight on your grammar.  Plus, there’s a very good chance that a misspelled word will leave whatever you have to say incomprehensible, leading to angry comments about the spam you are leaving behind.

Once you’ve waded through the murky waters of actually drafting your comment, you’re still faced with giving away your personal information.  If you’re anything like the average web user, you probably haven’t given out much personal info online before, perhaps with the notable exception of some obscure social networking site.

If you do feel the need to comment, you have the requisite authority to do so, and other people already have commented, consider taking the following action:

  1. Draft the comment in a word processor.
  2. Check the comment for spelling and grammar mistakes, both with the built-in tools and manually.
  3. Re-check.
  4. Send it to a family member or a friend for their thoughts (pick someone smart).
  5. Print it out, sleep on it, and revisit it at breakfast the next day.
  6. If you’re still feeling the urge, go ahead and publish it.
  7. Deal with the ensuing fallout.

If, after reading this, you are still wont to publish a comment from time to time, go ahead.  But consider yourself warned.  It’s a dangerous game. 

And, whatever you do, don’t you dare write a comment on this post!

David Hartstein is a partner at Wired Impact, a web design company that builds websites for nonprofits. You can connect with David on Twitter and the Wired Impact Facebook Page.

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Comments

  1. Shah Alom says:

    Being controversial is one of the techniques used by bloggers to drive traffic and I feel that, this post is one of those controversial techniques. With all due respect, I strongly feel that interacting with the commenting tribe and exchanging our diverse views is a good sign of growth. A blogger who writes only for himself/ herself and leaves no place for comments means driving away the readers and how is that kind of blogger going to monetize the blog if there are no readers? The blogging community grows only if there are interactions with the commenters.

    • I definitely agree with all of your points Shah. The interaction with the community is the fun part, and is the whole point of using a blog in the first place. Thanks for taking the time to add your perspective to this conversation.

    • Renee says:

      I believe that is called a journal, which is the thing that most teens believe are private.

    • Agreed. The original poster claims that people who write blog posts have authority. There are countless examples of blog writers who know very little or nothing of their subject and even if they are uniquely qualified to be an authority on said subject they still are certainly not the only person who knows something.

      This post is written to be controversial and definitely not well thought out. Worst article on ProBlogger in a long time.

    • Nick Aster says:

      Well said. I think this post was the best “comment bait” I’ve seen a while :-) Of course you should comment on blogs, and you should do so frequently. The whole point is to provoke a conversation. The only kernel of truth in this is that if you really only want to say “I agree” then a comment may not be particularly useful. But even then people are hardly going to “look down” upon you.

      And… using a “word processor”? Seriously?

  2. James Greg says:

    I’m amazed the author has not responded to any comment here or is this what he wanted? I think David was upset about something or some comment he received earlier on some post when writing this. Plus I like it putting a dare at the bottom to ensure people will do the opposite. Great way to lure people into posting comments and sleeping over to post a comment is totally absurd, after its just a comment. Do you think you need to think 24 hours just to write 3 or 4 lines?

    • Thanks for the comment James. I do apologize for the slow response. I think the difference in time zones and when folks are awake is leading to a slower-than-optimal response rate.

      I do agree with your sentiment though. An author should always respond to post comments as that’s really the whole point of writing an article on a blog instead of in print. Thanks for taking the time to comment and again, sorry for the delayed response.

  3. Totally agree. I never comment on posts, especially not on problogger as I’m not an expert problogger myself.

    • Theo Goossen says:

      Have you read the blog at all? Doh!!! :D

      • Spewer O'Nonsense says:

        I think it’s called sarcasm. I could be wrong since I am no authority on said form of commentary. That being said I would like to add my two cents to this conversation. I think the writer does indeed want some hackles raised why else would he say commenting on a blog is a bad thing since that is essentially the reason for blogging to exist. Still I’m no expert so take my last statement as opinion versus fact. I am more likely wrong in regards to this post since I only read half of it but the title pulled me in and the first two paragraphs chased me away. Thanks for reading my uniformed, and wholly un-expert opinion.

        Spew

  4. Pablo Gomez says:

    I follow this blog regularly but this time, the article makes no sense but somehow, “we are all commenting” on it.

    Seriously dissapointed and nothing useful to gain from it … thanks for wasting my time.

    Pablo

  5. enzo testa says:

    excellent post. Its amazing how just the right words can affect the mind to do the opposite :)
    I have to disagree with you. Commenting builds blogging communities and connects us all as one. Besides, we get your post,lol
    People will always do what they are told not to do ;)

    • Yingjie says:

      After reading the articles, I saw finally there was someone to view comments as negative things. I just wondering whether it is worthwile to comment even if you have a good point of view and good writing skills.

    • Thanks for the comment Enzo. I have to disagree with myself too, on pretty much every point.

  6. Mahesh says:

    Often i’ve observed that someone already posted the thoughts that I wanted to cover in my comment. In such cases i hold my comment and instead FB like that reply(if there is option). For example, there is this first comment which points out reddit comment train-wreck. I wanted to comment with that point but it was already posted. I’m sure that like me there are many other commentators who feel the same. We can also say that lurkers who are active readers of the blog usually don’t post comments.

    • Thanks for the comment Mahesh. You bring up a really interesting point about posting what others have said. I do agree that too much repetition can get a little old, but it’s also really interesting to use comments to gauge where the audience is at. I like your suggestion to Like a comment, but I think it’s also fine to reply in agreement to show your support.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

  7. James Penn says:

    I agree ;)

  8. Kelly says:

    Clever post. I might just add a xx and a :) as well. Oh and not to forget the good ‘ol wink ;).

  9. Iva says:

    This has got to be the oldest trick in the book. Good joke. :)

  10. Foxcrawl says:

    Sorry but that was a poor article for problogger (my opinion). The writter probably broke exactly his own rules.

  11. The funnies part is the last statement – “don’t you dare commenting on this post”. You know that people are fond of doing just the opposite you command them. And you know that. That means you want comments here :D

    Funny, I must admit…

  12. Vincent says:

    Really nice way to say the opposite of what you think, it’s clear it’s not to take seriously, anyone who took it seriously lacks a good dose of humor…
    it’s not controversial it’s gently provocative and I love it: for once, we can have some subtle humor in a blog posts, it’s too rare to not appreciate it.
    the facts that this post has so many comments is a proof that it works to say the opposite of what we want, when there is nothing else left…

    • Thanks for the comment Vincent. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and appreciate you taking the time to comment. I agree, humor can be useful indeed (but can at times be somewhat controversial as well).

      • James Greg says:

        The earlier comments were all controversial, at first people thought David wrote out of frustration and Darren has lost his marbles allowing anything like this to be published here. Now everyone sees the humor in it. I agree, I too didn’t understand it the first time. Great work David.

  13. Chris Roffe says:

    When in doubt: bananas.

  14. Haroun Kola says:

    Thankfully not everyone thinks the same way as you David, and there are people Ho want to read the thoughts and opinions of others, who aren’t university graduates.

    That’s what makes interesting!

    • Definitely agree with you Haroun. It’s great to see people from all different perspectives joining the conversation around any single post. That’s certainly the beauty of a blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

  15. Blanche says:

    I must say I know very little about this topic. I understand the risk of staying informed and being diligent in monitoring any reply. After assessing the risks, I designed and manufactured a reply to this post. The pros far outweight the cons in giving an educated or uneducated opinion.

    The internet is heading for making anyone an expert, posting a comment is a way of giving back to the author some needed feedback. The post is a platform for the author, positive comments along with negative ones open up a discussion. Which is what the internet is about.

  16. Kelly says:

    Am I the only one who read this as sarcasm? Get a sense of humor people, so much aggression and “I know more than the blogger” comments here. A little light hearted reverse psych, and it worked since we all read it and are commenting…very clever.

  17. Dean Holmes says:

    David,

    And you have proof of this concept? Given your position and title as a “Strategist” I am sure you have loads of case studies to prove out your point here. Writing a Blog Post is, on the chain of hierarchy, higher than commenting, so I am sure you wouldn’t mind sharing your expertise here right?

  18. rick says:

    While I “get it”, this post is not the quality I expect from the
    Problogger brand. Maybe less is more when considering publishing frequency.

    • Yingjie says:

      Maybe it is because usually Problogger will give positive side to do things, not negative like this post.

  19. I had to leave a comment, since you said not to. And it had to be meaningless, since you said it shouldn’t be.

    Evidently a few folks missed your point, but I imagine they’ll catch on. ;-) At any rate, I enjoyed this very much. Thanks for the smile!

  20. Steven Rossi says:

    Agreed.

  21. Fantastic article, I agree!

    • That is to say I think this article does a great job of hilighting how silly it is to fear commenting on another blog in a very clear “whats the worst that could happen” manner. Thank you for this enlightening post David.

      • Molly says:

        Hey Anthony,

        I like your point. It is so silly why people do not comment. I know I need to step my commenting up a notch, and this post reminded me to get my daily dose of commenting in! The pros of commenting far outweigh the cons.

    • Thanks very much for your comments Anthony. I’m glad you liked the post and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  22. Mark Richards says:

    I am literally dumbfounded at the amount of commenters on this post that don’t understand what satire is. Seriously look it up, understand what it means, re-read this post, then leave a comment.

    Even though the author was clearly kidding, maybe some people need to “sleep on their comment” before posting. Yikes…

  23. Obnoxious. Cynical. Wrong-headed. A grain of truth blown out of proportion like a Glenn Beck monologue.

  24. Pat says:

    While I realize your article was written, “tongue in cheek,” I do want to emphasize something here for those who may be tempted to take your words at face value.

    There are very few hard and fast rules in the world of blogging, or anywhere else for that matter. While your advice may be relevant for business blogs where blathering on when you have no specific expertise could sink your boat, in the world of author blogs, which is where I live, it would be incredibly limiting and damaging if we failed to comment on each other’s blogs. We would be seen as standoffish, selfish and cold if we withheld support (in the form of heartfelt comments) from our fellow authors.

    Yes, we are scratching each other’s backs, but so what? It works in our world. Frequent, thoughtful, relevant comments on other author’s blogs raise our visibility, help us find new readers and build our brands as reliable, go-to authors. Loyal readers translate into higher book sales.(Of course, this last part only works if you deliver the goods writing-wise. If your work isn’t up to par, this same system will unerringly expose you and weed you out.)

    So, for my world at least, I would have to totally disagree with your post, apocryphal though it may be. As I have no expertise in your world, I cannot comment upon how your stance would be received there.

  25. Did you really write “The Internet won’t let just anyone publish.”? Seriously?! I guess by writing a bunch of rubbish on a blog post certainly proved that statement wrong. And then by telling people never to comment on your many ridiculous statements puts the joke on us. Well done…I guess

  26. Molly says:

    This was great! :)

    Near the end, after your list, you have a few spelling errors. Did you do that on purpose? I’m just not sure here… take a look.

    1. Draft the comment in a word processor.
    2. Check the comment for spelling and grammar mistakes, both with the built-in tools and manually.
    3. Re-check.
    4. Send it to a family member or a friend for their thoughts (pick someone smart).
    5. Print it out, sleep on it, and revisit it at breakfast the next day.
    6. If you’re still feeling the urge, go ahead and publish it.
    7. Deal with the ensuing fallout.

    (the spelling errors are below)
    If, after reading this, you are still wont to publish a comment from time to time, go ahead. But consider yourself warned. It’s a dangerous game.

    Should it not be, “..you still want to publish a comment…”

    Hehe. So, is this a joke post, or seriousness?

    • Lulu says:

      “…you are still wont to publish a comment” is perfectly perfect grammar. “Wont” and “want” are two different words.

    • Danielle says:

      I realize I may be taking the bait here, but is this a serious comment?

      “Wont” is exactly the word they were looking for and is not a spelling mistake!

  27. Renee says:

    Fear! It is a great tool used to drive people away. It is what keeps the average human from typing words on a keyboard that other people could read. This is why I pretend to type, knowing that my words will never reach the known universe outside of my office. So to all of you reading this, I am sorry for the blankness.

    @funcitygal

  28. Marla says:

    thout i wud b frst on choppng block no time to snd to smrtr ppl for opnion srry for spllng but just wntd to say i agreee.

    But seriously, nice parody. This really pissed off some people.

  29. Peggy says:

    Hi David,

    Very clever and entertaining, made even more so because not every one caught on. I appreciated the post and the controversy that now swirls around it.

    Thanks!

  30. OK, so we get it. You want us to comment. But given that blogs are about building trust, not so sure you pass the grade for future engagement given you contradicted your headline within a few paragraphs. In fact, for me, I’m 100% sure I have no interest in future engagement with your posts. Just sayin’. But I’m sure you’ll get over it.

  31. You silly sausage. Now then, never mind stirring up controversies in satire – what shall I cook for tea tonight, hm?

  32. So hilariously written! LOVED it. Tips 4 & 5 especially had me cracking up. Thanks for making me LOL.

  33. Lompo Ulu says:

    controversy is one of the best marketing strategy..it’s happen clearly here..hehe..nice one, David.

  34. pj says:

    LOL!!! You made my day…

  35. Lulu says:

    I am amazed by how many people do not seem to realize that this article is a parody… but I’m sure glad those people commented, as that in and of itself is hilarious!

  36. Pamela D'Luhy says:

    People who can’t recognize sarcasm make laugh as well as make me a little sad. @David- Can you help me resolve these two emotions?

  37. Annie Andre says:

    At first i thought this post was serious and thought “WHAT THE”? Then towards the end, it became pretty clear it’s opposite day. LOL.

    • Kendra says:

      Me too Annie! All while I was reading, I was like “Is he serious?” But that’s why it pays to read to the end……

      Kendra ~

  38. trailsnet says:

    No comment.

    • Brian says:

      @trailsnet: lol!

      @David (the author): I think you might want to run your own article through a word processor! Second to last sentence, you write:

      “… If, after reading this, you are still wont to publish a comment from time to time, go ahead…”

      Read it again, and again and again… Until you see your error. Shame on you!

      I fail to see why you’re putting out an article like this, and on Problogger no less! Commenting is what makes blogs tick. Comments get people involved. They are the very reason why blogs are so different from print magazines; you can actually say something once you read the article!

      No, no… David. Dare I say it but you got this one all wrong buddy! And, to be honest, nobody is going to type out comments in a word processor, show it to friends, mull over it and then post. Are you serious?

  39. Kok Siong says:

    Hi David! I appreciate that you spent your time to write this article. However, in my opinion, blog commenting should be an enjoyable experience to keep connecting with other bloggers. From your post, it seems like too complicated to leave a comment in others’ blog especially for drafting the comment. I don’t think that is necessary.

  40. Ginger says:

    This post was like a recipe for confusion. I’m still commenting just because I am the rebellious type. I’m NOT using a word processore because where I am from, we are Huked Own Foniks! I enjoy folks who stir the pot and keep the kettle boiling. I like debate, argument and opposition.

    Let’s pick a fight. That is always good for traffic. My site or yours? LOL

    Ginger
    HuntsvilleBargains.com

  41. Jordan Trump says:

    Challenge accepted.

  42. Juan Pablo says:

    Please let us know the results of this lil social experiment of yours.

  43. Steve says:

    I do seriously hope this was written as tongue-in-cheek, and I certainly believe that it was, given the sentence, “and the internet won’t let just anyone publish”. I’m not sure the writing was sufficiently transparent to let everyone know it was satire, given some of the reaction – in fact I got here because of a tweet expressing vociferous disagreement.

    Anyway… funny stuff (whether or not that was the intent). I believe I spelled everything correctly, but my “word processor” has been acting up lately.

  44. AUDIOMIND says:

    It’s seems fairly obvious to me that this article was written tongue in cheek. Could be wrong, but it doesn’t appear that way.

  45. AUDIOMIND says:

    It’s=haha

  46. Terry Aley says:

    Using comments as a way to drive traffic to a website doesn’t do much 99% of the time. You might get 5 people who click one time out of curiosity. Once you throw your blog link out there, people will always assume you’re doing it for the publicity. The better approach is to build relationships with owners of other similar blogs in your own niche. And sooner or later, they will actually mention your website from time to time. That will result in a real shift in traffic. Most of the time I comment because I have an opinion and feel the need to comment for that reason. I disagree that you should put energy into commenting as a way to drive traffic to your website. In the long run, hard work of the highest quality on a rapid and regular basis is what pushes your website ahead in a crowded room.

  47. Darryl Burma says:

    Surely there is some method to David’s madness with this particular article. It was a test and we are all just guinea pigs, or something like that. I did have to laugh at the suggestion to get a family member to proofread a comment, yeah like that would happen in a million years!

  48. David, please forgive my temerity in commenting on your post given that you clearly told your readers not to and that I am in no way a problogger or an authority on commenting on blogs. However, I consulted with my Council of Elders on Blogging Commentary, and despite their stern warnings about the grave dangers of posting a comment on the Internet, where apparently anyone can read it, I pigheadly decided to proceed.

    After sitting down to my Royal typewriter and drafting a daring 10,000-word manifesto on the God-given right for anyone–even the unwashed masses–to comment on a blog post, I mailed it (parcel post ) to my circle of trusted copyeditors, who painstakingly checked it for style, spelling, and punctuation. While some of the more timid ones questioned my sanity for writing for public consumption such an audacious discourse filled with non-expert opinion–clearly based on feelings, not facts–they did not dissuade me.

    So with this comment (manifesto to follow) I throw down the gauntlet to those like David who would deny me and my disenfranchised brothers and sisters the freedom to express ourselves on others’ blogs. You inadvertently incited a revolution, David, and there’s no holding us down anymore. Our voices will be heard!

    To my fellow would-be blog commentators, I challenge you: If not us, who? If not now, when? The future is in our hands and at our fingertips. Let us throw caution to the wind and comment!

    If it’s OK with David, that is.

  49. Johnny says:

    The question here is simple. WTF would I care what any idiot says in reply to whatever I choose to write as a comment to any blog post. I write comments frequently on blog articles written by total buffoons, especially at the New York Times about that idiot who occupies the Oval Office. I just laugh if I do happen to read the diatribe of lunacy that is always posted in response.

    And trust me, I let loose with some hard hitting language. The harder the better. Let’s just call it my own personal “scorched Earth policy”.

  50. MyMy says:

    I started blogging only six months ago and needless to say, I am very hungry for knowledge and very much aspire to be better at it like most of you here. So any post having to do with what any blogger should and shouldn’t be doing always catches my attention. I admit to all of you here that I do not always comment on blogs I read, primarily because everything I felt like saying has already been expressed majority of the time, or because of fear that I might say something idiotic. However, as relatively new as I claim to be in the blogging scene, I think I have gained enough confidence and experience to be able to say (with pride and dignity, haha!) that as a new blogger, I always look forward to comments on my blog, whether they come from a newbie like me, or from a highly recognized and respected blogger (that happened to me only once so far); and in the rare occasion (such as this) that I do give my two cents, I have been blessed enough not to have encountered any blogger who bashed me online for posting a seemingly less-than-clever comment. Then again, I keep in mind also that whether it is within your own blogging territory, or you step inside someone else’s by commenting, always respect people and their opinions. Thanks for the opportunity to comment here. :)