On Blogging and Comments
So, Anea poses us the question over at BA: would we become better bloggers if our blogs didn’t have comments? Is the possibility of getting comments pushing us towards publishing only posts we think will bring us more comments?
Fair question. My answer is that, yes, bloggers want comments. Comments are a more powerful form of acknowledgment than views alone. Without comments, blogging becomes a much more one-sided experience. Sure, you can put up posts as replies to other people’s posts, but it’s not the same thing (for example, not every anecdote deserves a post). Wanting comments makes us post things that will bring us more comments.
Wanting comments makes us explore subjects we wouldn’t ordinarily talk about, and to approach our usual subjects in a light that would be interesting to our readers. Otherwise, blogs simply turn into a fancy form of diary, full of personal stories that can be interesting, yes, but that are likely to be of little use to most people (as opposed to, say, a guide). More importantly, such stories bring very little potential for discussion.
And discussion is all this is about. Some of the best arguments I ever saw on the Internet were presented as “mere” comments in people’s posts. They were literary jewels, found where you don’t usually expect them. Some of my posts also came from things I saw in people’s comments over the blogs I read (note to self: add blogroll to the site). A lot of comments out there are so good they deserve to be turned into posts of their own, and that’s one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place.
Besides turning my own comments into posts of their own, I want to open up another lane for comments to appear. Every post is one of those lanes, and every single comment also has the possibility of bringing more things to the table as people read them and reply to them. I like reading the comments in every blog post I come about to see what valid counterpoints or supplements people have made to the original idea, and I will be very happy the day I find a good, solid discussion in my comments section, whether the commenters agree with me or not.
So, yes. We (a group of bloggers that includes me) look forward to comments. If there is no possibility we could get comments, then there is no communication to be achieved, and no point in writing. And it’s a positive thing. Again, it makes us strive for more quality in our writing, and to find more interesting subjects to write about. And to foster thoughtful, interesting dialogue between people. Something that is sadly lacking on the Internet as a whole.
In the end, everybody wins: we get better at what we do, and the readers get a more enjoyable experience reading our blogs. And everybody gets the satisfaction of contributing.