The Art of Commenting [to connect and communicate]

What a title, right? If you’re asking any blogger what they like most in the blog world the answer is likely going to be: the community. Connecting with alike minds. And one of the best ways to do just that is by commenting. No big deal, right? You’d think so but I’ve come across some – dare I say? – commenting faux-pas in the past that inspired me to think out loud about the art of polite commenting. Take this with a tiny spoon grain of salt and let me know your take in the comments.

[And because complients and kind comments are like flowers those make appearances in today’s post, too. Also because I may or may not be obsessed with taking pictures of them.]

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Avoid one-word comments.
Let’s face it: a quick “Delish!”, “awesome” or “gorgeous!” isn’t saying much at all. What would you expect the blogger to reply?  It feels awkward to say “thanks ” for every such comment you get – and depending on the post  [like What I ate Wednesdays] there might be many of these.
The one exception to this rule for me is when many commenters already said all you’d do, too, or if the post was expressing all your feelings towards a topic so well all that’s on your mind can summed up in an ‘Amen!’ I’ve seen others use this occasionally and for the most part was right with them there. Personally,  I still prefer to write at least one sentence because that’s the way I roll but go you if you’re the master of the  [occasional] one-word comment.

Flowers

2. Show some appreciation for the blogger. 

No, that’s not the hurt soul in me speaking – promise. We all like to get some praise or just a little virtual pat on the back  for our work and the time we put into a post. Wouldn’t you like somebody raving about how delicious your bowl of chocolate cookie crumble oatmeal topped with homemade honey vanilla almond butter looks in a What I ate Wednesday post? Or how adorable your new dress is? Or chime in on a more serious issue you addressed and tell you you’re not alone in feeling a certain way? All those are little virtual pats on the back … or flowers.

Flowers

3. Don’t scroll to the end of the post right away to solely replying any questions posed there.

Hurt soul or not: yes, I speak from experience here. At least for myself I can say that while I’m genuinely curious to hear your answers to those I’d much rather have you chime in with any thoughts that came up while reading my post.  Also, in my experience  replying to the questions only every time you visit a certain blog doesn’t help build a relationship with that blogger. It’s like exchanging pre-set questionaires: you’re only getting a very limited glimpse at the other’s personality.  Like no blog could run successfully for years if its author posted survey after survey.  It’s the in-between the lines, the quirks that are revealed in free-form conversations and daily happenings that friendships are built on.

4. Give feedback

Liked something?  Don’t just click the ‘like’ button in your Bloglovin’ feed. Or at least not every time. As I mentioned before I completely understand lacking time to comment on every single post you read. As much as I wish I could and want to it’s not realistic when there’s way too much going on in every day life already. Still, how would we as bloggers know which [parts] of our posts you enjoyed if we didn’t let each other know? It’s a win-win because if you let the author know what you like they will [likely] publish more of your favourite content. You get what you ask for.

Flower

5. Write the kind of comment you want to receive

The easiest advice is really to ask yourself what you’d like others to say about your posts. Despite making commenting look like a science of its own here I think many of these points  are very natural.  Just that it’s so easy to forget our intuitiveness when we want to be friends with everybody and spread the news about our blogs.  There’s nothing wrong with that. Simply take a moment every now and then to walk a few steps in others’ shoes. Comment the way you’d like others to comment on your own blog or [if you’re not a blogger yourself] the way you’d like to converse in real life. Simple, isn’t it?

Happiness-inducing today:  Lunch out with my mum for the first time in forever. We went to our favourite small local café and had a delicious risotto with green asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Plus a good conversation – part of every good meal experience.
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No questions today. Just your thoughts on the topic with the one rule: no one-word-comments, please 😉 .

Care to comment? [an issue on my mind]

By far my favourite kind of posts are those where the discussion in the comments sparks the idea for another post – and that’s just what happened after my recent post. Like I mentioned I wasn’t sure if I should post it assuming everybody else would have a different opinion and not understand mine about not sharing. Then again, disagreement and seeing topics from another perspective is what enlivens conversations and is the beauty of blogging. Respectful, comprehensive commentary, that is. And then there are anonymus comments with the sole intention of letting you know “wrong/mean/stupid!”. It was one of that kind that inspired me to think about an issue that I’d only read about on other blogs but never delved into deeper myself before: comment policies. Just like last time I’m curious and can’t wait to hear your approach.  Let’s [dis]agree and think out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Among the many things I didn’t know when I started blogging was that it’d attract not only kind but snarky or even hurtful comments, too – and that it might be wise to set up a comment policy for yourself. When I started blogging I approved of every comment – spam aside – and tried to answer them, too. Numerous times getting defensive when a commenter made some snarky notes on what I’d written [or in most cases eaten but more on that below]. Honestly, I absolutely dislike not approving a comment. It feels like I didn’t pay attention to a reader and I want everyone who stops by to know I read and – even if I respond with a major delay or not at all [<- sorry! Trying to stop being that forgetful about it!] – every single one makes me happy.

I’m  appreciative of every comment – anonymus or not. In fact, some of the anonymus comments I received early on when I’d just started blogging – and at that recovering – were helpful. Hidden by the cloak of anonymity these people didn’t hesitate to point out when they thought I was cheating myself and still restricting while in denial [I was]. Reading and thinking about their comments that way helped me move on, change and while probably a little hurtful or harsh at first I’m thankful for them in hindsight.

It’d be naive to think you could blog and live in a bubble of ignorance where yours is the only acceptable opinion. Blogging thrives off of exchange with alike andnon-alike minds. If a comment allows for any kind of further conversation I’ll approve it and see where it leads. “You’re mean/ dumb/ ugly/ can’t spell/ …” doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s an irrelevant personal accusation and if you feel the need to say it – again: mail me. Like the above examples of helpful anonymus comments show I don’t think I’m perfect in every – or any – aspect of life. In fact, I feel like for many of us the feedback of an outsider can help us realize truths we didn’t see before. Criticism – of the constructive kind – is welcome.

Rude and accusing comments – in real life just like in the blog world – often come from a place of … I’ll be honest: if your only intention is to bring others down: don’t waste your time. It’s cowardly to attack others from the depths of anonymity in the online community. Try to say only what you’d openly confront people with if you met them on the street. And even if you choose to post anonymically using a pseudonym – which I absolutely understand and respect – you should have the courage to leave a valid e-mail adress only visible to me. If you’re genuinely interested in me responding to you, that is. If not: why comment in anyway?

I’m genuinely interested in the exchange with readers – bloggers and non-bloggers alike – and most definitely not just if you agree with what I’m writing. What I like a lot about blogging is the large spectrum of different people and their views and opinions on all kinds of topics.   Even if I have a certain attitude towards an issue I’m not opposed to changing it if I hear convincing arguments in favour of a different standpoint. In fact,  I’d be disappointed and bored if everybody agreed with me all of the time.  side note: Yes, dad, I enjoy our arguments where two stubborn heads collide.

Let's talk

What all of this means for the comment policy I didn’t realize I’d started practicing somewhere along the way? I will allow negative comments if they have a fundament and allow for further discussion or add to the conversation. Comments that are clearly just meant to hurt or non-sensical ones distract and dillute any serious interaction going on.

On that note I invite you to disagree with me in the comments.  Prove me wrong. Tell me why your comment policy is better or what it entails.  I’m looking forward to the exchange and you might convince me to change my mind here.

Happiness-inducing today: Overhearing a litttle boy [maybe around 3 years old?] at the grocery telling his mum he loved here in the middle of the freezer aisle. Kids’ spontaneity and honestly warms my heart.

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Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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