Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours

You can read many comments on posts, but this is a post on commenting. Please take some time to read my thoughts on this important subject! (Click pic to enlarge)

I guess some bloggers share their ramblings, ideas, dreams, fears, beliefs, doubts, joys and sorrows with the rest of the world just to speak their minds. That's fine. But personally I think that part of the fun of blogging is visiting other people's blogs and leaving some comments there too.
Tell me, do you always read blogs without leaving comments? Could you make one exception for me and tell me why? Or, if you often leave comments - do you do this as a subtle invitation to visit your own blog so that I can return the favor (you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours)? No problem with that - just let me know where it itches.
I love receiving comments on my blog entries and I also like to read the discussions that are often going on in the comments section. Quite often comments are better than the original postings - if you ask me!
I also enjoy leaving comments on other people's blogs, although sometimes it is hard to add something new and meaningful to the discussion. If that is the case, I choose to leave a funny comment, I write something totally off topic, or I just comment that I couldn’t agree more. (As a Christian blogger, you can always say, ‘Amen to that!’).
I appreciate those loyal visitors who come here regularly to encourage and inspire me. I try to visit all the blogs mentioned in my blogroll and some of you know that I frequently leave a comment on your blog. If I don't get any comments on a certain entry, I always wonder whether I am the only one who is interested in that particular subject (hint, hint!) Do you mind if you don’t receive comments? Do you think that real bloggers should also be commenters? Do you often leave anonymous comments - and if so, why?

So, be a friend, leave a comment and tell me what you think about the joy of blogging and commenting. And ‘Amen to that!’ is not enough this time - share your deeper thoughts with me and my millions of blog readers. Well, at least there are a few highly appreciated loyal visitors and commenters here. Stay with me! ;-)


Art said...

I love commenting and receiving the comments too. Even if it's just a comment that says, "Hi, hope all is well". I know a lot of people read without commenting but I usually try to. According to my stat counter, less that 10% of those who read my blog, leave a comment.

Rodney Olsen said...

I often catch up with people I know who tell me that they read my blog yet they've never left a comment.

I suppose some people feel more comfortable than others in leaving comments. I'll usually leave a comment if I feel I can add something to the conversation or if something really grabs me and I want to thank the writer for posting.

I think you've hit on one of the 'secret formulas' for attracting comments with this post. You've asked questions. In my own posts I try to ask two or three questions to try to spark some kind of thoughts for the reader. Some times it works, other times it doesn't, but it certainly has increased my comments level.

Of course lack of commenting doesn't always mean lack of readers. I read every post you write (through Bloglines) but don't comment on every one.

Carol L. Douglas said...

Sometimes I think I’m always commenting on everything you write to the point where I must be driving you nuts.

I think part of it has to do with energy levels. For example, your “Jesus Wept” post on “Reflect the Light” was brilliant and helpful to me, but for personal reasons I can’t muster the necessary intelligence to do it justice. Usually (but not always) when I respond to something you’ve written on that blog, I spend quite a bit of time verifying what I think I know. Often I learn a lot more in the process.

I don’t usually comment on video because I don’t like it—don’t watch TV or movies. I will listen to audio clips if I’m in the mood but mostly what I like is reading and writing.

You and John are the only people who’ve commented on my blog, which is kind of funny since neither of you are painters. I know my students have looked at it and I had hoped they’d use the comments to ask me questions or critique my work. Instead, they just talk to me about it in person. I don’t expect my blog to be of much interest to non-artists but since it’s just starting I have no idea where it might go.

(BTW, this blog is teaching me something very difficult, and it has to do with letting go of my ego. I haven’t painted anything great since I started, but I want to be merciless about showing people the process even when my work is poor. It’s very hard to be that exposed.)

There is a meshed quality to a good string of comments that is unique to blogging. I think your friends are extremely polite (except me, of course). We’re also essentially strangers, and as Christians we try to be nice. All this is great for civility but not necessarily conducive to a lively exchange of ideas. No one is going to go out on a limb to say something which might inadvertently offend someone.

I’m not talking about gratuitous insults here, but the kind of risky idea that’s sometimes absolute piffle and sometimes brilliant. I would LIKE it if someone said, “Carol, that’s silly.” If I never make mistakes, I’m not pushing my brain hard enough.

Luis F. Batista said...

Good thoughts! I like very much to receive comments but I am not as good to leave mine. There's some days I want just to see what's new, at this moment I usually do a superficial read unless there is something that brings me attention. There is other days i like to read all post and I leave comments, but most the time I am lazy to do it. I started to receive more comments lately, as I got used to not receive as many comments as I would like, I didn't make many efforts to leave my mark, lately I started to read more blogs trhough a RSS and I believe I could better my blogness, but I believe you are giving me a third step to be a better blogger. Discussions have two ways and comments gives us the follow up.
By the way, thank you for your very kind comments.

Vicki said...

Hey, Paul! Like Rodney, I read your posts through Bloglines, and sometimes I just forget to click on through and leave a comment. Sometimes, I'm completely stumped for something "wise" or "witty" to say. Sometimes I just forget. But I always try to leave a comment to let the blogger know I've been there, because I appreciate the same courtesy.

I like the conversational comments (even though they do sometimes get off track). A certain few of us are sort of going overboard on the comments, but we're having fun, and it helps us to develop a sort of friendship at the same time.

Regarding the anonymous commenters: maybe other bloggers don't mind them, but I sort of take offense at them. If someone has something significant to say, or an opinion to state, he or she should at least stand behind their statement and sign their name!

Art said...

Someone's going overboard with comments???

I agree about the annonymous comments though. Those don't even get posted on my blog.

Paul said...

@ Art - you are a good example of a commenting blogger! I like to read your blog entries and I love your great sense of humour. I always appreciate your visits here and I only wish I could be a better host and offer you a cappuccino each time you drop by. But there still is this little bit of water between our continents... You are a great guy!
@ Rodney - I respect you for your blogging and for your radio work. Good to HEAR from you as well! I would like to do more with audio and podcasting myself. It is so good to find people like you on the internet! Your blog entries are always to the point and there is a lot of variation both in presentation and content. Keep up the good work, MATE! ;-)
@ Carol - You can't drive me nuts with your frequent comments. Please do keep them coming! I am already a bit crazy, so don't worry about it.
Thanks for visiting me so frequently on this blog and on my devotional (Reflections) blog. Please keep on painting and blogging, you will certainly find more people like me and John who are already enjoying what you have to say and show.
I agree that the comments on this blog are polite, respectful and - probably - a little bit too kind. I never have to delete comments and I don't use comment monitoring. The word verification option is a bit annoying, but it does prevent comment span.
There are too many senseless discussions and hurtful comments on the internet, and I am never intentionally looking for controversies, so I think the polite tone of voice is a breath of fresh air. But if you have a different opinion, well – that’s silly, Carol!
However, I really like what you said about "letting go of my ego". There certainly is a lot of ego-tripping and vanity publishing going on in the blogosphere and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. On the other hand, some bloggers are very open and honest about themselves, which is a good thing (most of the time).
I used to have a stats counter, but I removed it. I don't want to get obsessed with visitor numbers - my blogging motto is "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." (Ecclesiastes 11:1) One of my motivations for blogging is sharing my faith with the world.
@ Vicki and Art (2nd comment) - I don't get many anonymous comments, but I don't have a problem with them. I do wonder why somebody likes to stay 'unknown', but I do respect it. I just look at the content of what people have to say. Recent example (comment on my Peter Gabriel post),
Anonymous said...
I too went to that show in Amsterdam. It was the first time I saw him in concert. I had waited forever, and it was worth it. The whole experience was fantastic.

Nothing wrong with such an anonymous comment, but of course it would have been nice to know who left this comment.
@ Luis - You are my first blog friend in South America, so that alone makes you unique! After challenging you with the “Five things I dig about Jesus” meme I tried to read the postings of your Brazilian and American friends too. For the people who are writing in Portuguese, I used Google Translate. That is really a cool tool! Btw, did you all notice my ‘translation links’ in the right upper corner of my blog? Let me know if the Portuguese translation is as hilarious as the other ones.
I hope that my blog visitors will also become your blog visitors, because we all like some Brazilian flavour! It’s interesting to hear different voices from different continents. I would like to have more blog friends in Asia, South America, Africa and some European countries. Antarctica would be nice too, but I wonder how many penguins are blogging.
@ Vicki - you have a Ministry of Commenting. That's what I think. You are an encourager and a friendly voice in the blogosphere.
"A certain few of us are sort of going overboard on the comments..." Let me guess. I think you and Carolanne are having some sort of a competition here and I wouldn't be surprised if Art had something to do with it too. Am I right? ;-)

doodlebugmom said...

I found my way over here from Art's blog. I usually leave comments on the blogs I read regularly. Sometimes I comment on a new one or sometimes I lurk a bit, to get the "feel" of a blog. Sometimes I feel like a stalker, lol.

I love comments, hate word verification, but need it to keep out the spam. Come visit my corner of blogland anytime. (be warned its not real exciting)

Mike said...

I always try to leave a comment on any blogg I read. I think it is important to acknowledge someones thoughts and ideas. More than that blogging is not about me. It is not about my post, rather it should be about connecting with others.
Commenting is a way of encouraging and we all need some of that.
Sometimes I wish I had more to comment. There are those dry days when all I can leave is "good post". But I always try and say something.

Vicki said...

Paul, the reference to the [excessive] commenting has to do with one of Carolanne's posts and one of Art's. We got Carolanne's comments up to 40 (so far) and one of Art's up to 36 (so far). They were beginning to work on one of mine, and then Stacie's, but Carolanne has taken a brief, much needed respite.

Thanks for seeing my commenting as a sort of ministry. I certainly comment better than I blog!

I'll keep coming back as long as I'm able (and for as long as my computer cooperates), my friend.

Carolanne said...

Ditto to what Art says esp since I'm apparently his blog stalker.

I like leaving comments although sometimes I don't. If I don't, it's because I don't have anything more to say and even "hi" doesn't seem much or sometimes I am reading as I rush out the door and forget to come back.

I like people leaving comments and think I've said that in an earlier post and I especially love the comments my faithful readers leave me. And recently, as you know, I said I wasn't going to blog and possibly not post comments but some of you have become good friends so I refuse to desert you. :)

Which is why I'm here, leaving a comment now. I appreciate your encouragement, your humour and the comments you leave at my blog.

Thank you!

Carolanne said...

I didn't read through all the comments until now. (apart from Art's 1st comment.)

Paul, we weren't having a competition as such, more like just having fun building up the amount of comments we each received on a certain post. I think it started when Vicki did more comments than I did at one of Art's post and that wasn't good as I somehow was appointed Art's stalker. Then Art wanted us to make a record on his comments so we banded together to build up and encourage him.

Art wanted to reciprocate the favour and he and Vicki worked on mine before we then headed over to Vicki's site. It was just a lot of fun while I was on a school break.

As Vicki mentioned in her last post, I am having a blogging break but of course, I can not leave you all in the lurch because sometimes you are all who keep me sane.

I suppose we did go 'overboard' on comments but it was good and definitely a positive friendship thing. I like having fun with my friends!

Vicki said...

Correction: Carolanne pointed out (to me) that I erred on the number of comments on Art's is at 36, but another is at 44!

Carolanne said...

Thank you for correcting that Vicki. Now I'll be able to sleep tonight. :)

Have a great day Paul! Vicki and I are decidely becoming more commenter like than we once were and your post was discussed when we had neglected to post on another friend's post. :)

Carol L. Douglas said...

This morning I was telling my husband about something "that I read on Paul's blog," and he was startled for a second and laughed.

"I thought you meant St. Paul's blog," he said.

It's such an interesting idea. If the blogosphere had existed in Paul's day, I'm sure he would have used it to exhort the faithful.

John said...

Thanks Paul, but a little higher and to the right please. I just can't seem to reach that spot when I scratch ;-)!

I am still real new at this blogsport and am learning the unique etiquette of who and how to talk to folks. I am such a people person that this impersonal format makes it tough for me...That said, I am grateful for it because it has introduced me to several truly interesting and engaging people, among whom you, Paul, are first.

Blessings! (Feel free to leave a comment at my blog any time!)


Paul said...

@ Doodlebugmom – hey, nice to meet you! I hope you will come back here more often and I already had a look at your blog. No reason to be so modest about your postings, I like your style. And I like your eclectic trivia post. I can remember city city bang bang (we had a record with this song and I can still recall the tune) – I also know Vanessa Williams, but only from her songs. Honestly! And the moon landing, well I only know that they said, "Tranquility Base here...., the Eagle has landed" and I remember that there were some uninterestingly vague black and white images on the TV, but I was a little boy. Must have been an exciting time! Thanks for commenting here – you are the first NEW commenter on this entry, so: “Hartelijk welkom hier en kom nog eens terug.” Yes, that’s Dutch!

@ Mike – connecting and encouraging – yes, I totally agree, that’s what blogging is all about – at least, for me it is! As far as I know, you are the only British American blogger in my blogroll (Dean is a British blogger in South Africa!), so I guess you prefer having tea instead of cappuccino. It’s strange, but I come across many American bloggers, but not as many British bloggers. Do you think that blogging is less popular in GB or is it just me thinking so?
I really liked your input for my virtual island hopping tour. I didn’t do much with the stories of the Saints from Lindisfarne yet, but I’m sure that I will go there one day and find out more about them. It’s nice to get to ‘know’ you, Mike – your comments are very welcome here.

@ Carolanne – ha, ha, I already thought so. I like to witness the friendly quarrels between you and Art and of course I tend to agree with people who stick to BLOGGER like you and Rodney. And if all stalkers were as friendly, open and genuinely interested in other people as you are, the phenomenon ‘stalking’ would be viewed as something very positive, I’m sure.
I appreciate you coming here, especially during your own blog fasting period. And by the way, you are also helping me to break a commenting record. Not that I think that numbers are very important, but still… ;-) I do hope that you will find some encouragement here and on my Reflections blog too. Blessings to you from a rainy Holland.

@ Carol – yes, I often thought that too! I’m sure St Paul would have been using the Roman Internet if only it were available back in those days. And personally I am convinced that he would be using Blogger too. He was a man of many, many words. Yesterday I was reading the text of a children’s Bible and this is how they summarized Paul’s letters, “Remember, hold on to the message. Keep believing in Jesus! Love one another like family. Forgive one another. Be careful! Don’t let people trick you. Run away from sin. Endure hardship. And look for Jesus’ return.”
Well, my name is Paul and I am a saint too, but what on earth can I add to this synopsis?

@ John – Yeah I know the problem, those tiny animals move around a lot and always try to hop on to places where you just can’t reach them. Clever little creeps. Glad I’m not the only one who’s hosting them.
So, and if you are still my friend after reading this funny insult, you are a TRUE friend indeed (with a healthy sense of humour!) And of course I will come to your blog to scratch your back anytime, anywhere.

Carolanne said...

I must confess Paul that I did have in the back of my mind, I would like to break a blog comments record here for you.

It's not raining here at the moment and I even see a tinge of blue but I'm not sure how long it's going to last for.

We blogspotters have to stick together! Thanks for your encouragement, yet again. :)

Oh and I did a post at coutsidethebox but it was mostly photos so it doesn't count. I even thought of doing another random thoughts post. I'm still having a rest from blogging - I know the parameters I've set though. :)

Mike said...

Wow. I love the comments.
Paul I enjoyed our trip to Lindisfarne. How about going to Easter Island next?

I would agree with your observation about British bloggers. I have wondered why we are so few as well. Probably spending too much time in the pub. In the U.S the beer is so bad it is better to blog :)

Carol L. Douglas said...

I am NOT trying to help any of you break any records here, but on the subject of blogging, my student Gwendolyn has started her own blog, here:

She would be a great person to be stranded with on a desert island.

I'm off to NYC for a few days to annoy the natives so don't take the silence personally.

Vicki said...

Hey, again, Paul! I really enjoy reading through the comments - they're great! I love the humor, as well as the encouragement. Also, I was just imagining a blog by St. Paul...that would have been awesome! I wonder how many comments he would have with each post...I'm sure there would be some pretty intense debates.

Carolanne said...

You know, I've been giving more thought to all this blog commenting and stuff. I always go back to reading comments after leaving one,just in case the "author" of the post has replied. I like the interaction between commenters and the blogger. It's interesting and fun and can often reassure you that your comment was read.
Not that I expect the blogger to reply but it's nice when he/she does. :)

truth said...

This is my first time reading your blog. I found you by reading the comments in Carolanne's posts. Another good reason to comment-you can find some interesting bloggers.

I've always felt that it was just good blogging etiquette, that you if you are reading someone's thoughts/ideas, and such, that the polite thing to do is to let them know-at least on occasion.

I know there are people who read my blog who have never commented and probably never will. Most of them are not fellow-bloggers. The part that amazes me is when I read a blog regularly, and that person reads my regularly. I have commented most times I read, but she has never commented (nor have I ever seen her comment on anyone else's blog.) But she LOVES comments her self. That I do not understand. Like you said about that scratching and itching.

So I will probably go muse around a bit and see more of your blog. (I've found I don't like being judged on just my most recent post or posts. So I often go back several months on the blogs of others just to get a bigger picture of who they are.)

little david said...

OK, I am late to the table, but, as you know, I have been sick. Yes, I like when people comment on my blogsite. But some bloggers will post whether they get comments or not (like Mindy). I usually feel like I need something useful or entertaining to say before I post a blog. The same applies to comments. Just know that I do enjoy reading your posts, even when I fail to write back.

John said...

I am seriously laughing now! I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to this and check for a response. I got more than I bargained for! Thanks! I will be visiting my vet later this week to have the problem seen about.

Be blessed.

Vicki said...

Paul, did you ever dream that your post about commenting would gather so many comments?

Paul said...

@ Vicki - No - but this is # 27 and I am still counting!
But of course I also have to write replies to all these comments. :-)

Carolanne said...

If you're still counting, it is important we're still commenting.

What was your "record" amount before this one? I hope we've surpassed it and even doubled it. :)

Now I'd better finish getting ready for work. Don't want to be late!

Milton Stanley said...

I usually leave comments because I really liked the blog post, or because I want to encourage someone who is suffering in some way. In the first case, I often link to the original essay on my blog.

When I start doing that, I begin to think about whether or not I'll get a reciprocal hit or link. I've been trying to move away from back-scratching mode for a long time, but somehow the nature of the process lends itself to self-serving thinking, if not action.

Carolanne said...

Well, I'm going to post here for the mere reason of adding to your comments to make it #30. Comments are not the be all and end all but I know how much encouragement one can receive and how sometimes it can make you keep going knowing that someone else is reading and interested in what you have to say.
Yes, we write for ourselves, to process thoughts or whatever, but on the whole, we like to know that there is someone out there in that big, wide world listening to us.
By commenting, I have also got to know others better and have made some good friendships so I'm thankful for comments but more particularly for the people who have become a part of my life, thanks to blogging!

4xGraceRUSaved said...

Leaving a comment can be an amazingly giving experience, "offering up a piece of yourself to all who will partake" (corny-ness intended); it may also be quite self-serving, "attention everyon, I am absolutely brilliant, and I want to make sure that you are aware of it."
Regardless, I love it when someone leaves a comment for me, and I often return to my comments at others' blogs to see if comments are made to my comments.
The only thing I detest about leaving comments is hitting the "Publish Your Comment" button and then seeing that I've misspelled multiple words and thus have totally destroyed my creation of words that provided the world sufficient evidence of my superior intellect. (again, corny humor intended)

Conny Vos said...

Meer dan dertig reacties, daar durf ik niet eens van te dromen. Maar dit is de eerste in het Nederlands! Ik weet dat veel mensen mijn blog lezen, maar ze reageren via e-mail of persoonlijk. Schijnbaar is het toch een drempel om je aan te melden. Iemand schold al dat hij zoveel spam kreeg en daarom weigerde zich aan te melden. Ik heb nergens last van (Filternet). Toch laat ik ook niet overal reacties achter. Meestal heb ik het gevoel dat ik niet zoveel zinnigs te zeggen heb. Maar nu ik er zo over na denk en weet hoe leuk het is dat jij af en toe een reactie achterlaat, zal ik in het vervolg proberen toch te reageren.
Ik hoop dat jullie een goede vakantie hebben gehad in het Sauerland.

Pastor David said...

I try to leave comments as often as possible when I find something interesting on a blog. Occassionally it is as simple "Hey, I enjoyed that." I do so because I myself like the dialogue that comes from comments on my blog. Of course, there are posts that I don't feel need a reply, or I don't feel up to replying to at times. But that is the case with anyone.

My blog recently has had a surge in the number of comments, and it has resulted in some great conversations. I think that those wind up being my favorite posts - the ones that spark good conversation.