What makes a good comment?

19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion Day

Commenting We’ve all been there. You get to the end of an amazing post and you think “Wow! That was great!” You want to let the blogger know, so you click the space to make a comment and… nothing. If you just say “great post” you feel like you’re not doing it justice. If you go on and on for paragraph after paragraph, then you’re filling up comment space, and is that all really necessary after all? (Okay, maybe that one’s just me.) Either way, you end up typing and deleting response after response, because they aren’t exactly right. No wonder so few people comment! It’s hard! (No offense to those of you who do comment, and have no trouble with it, you know who you are. Clearly you have figured this all out, and I should be taking lessons from you!)

We, as blog authors, all say we want comments. It’s the lifeblood of our work – the comments are what creates the discussion, they’re what let us see that we are not blogging islands (to borrow a really cool phrase from Amanda). But we also say we wantgood comments. I know, now we’re being picky. And you know what? We shouldn’t be. I know I personally am grateful for EVERY SINGLE COMMENT I get, no matter what it says.

Lately, though, I’ve tried to improve my commenting skills, and it’s left me wondering, what I can do to write better comments. I don’t want to write “great review” or “thanks for the post” every time, even if it is true. On the other hand, I feel like if I yammer on for forever everybody is going to be rolling their eyes before they even read to the end, wishing I’d get to the point and stop rambling about things that are irrelevant. So, I thought, why not start with what I like about comments, and then go from there? I made a list.

Things I like in comments:

  • Not spam! No problems for me there, I hope. Last I checked I was human, and didn’t try to leave tons of links to irrelevant stuff. *phew* Passed the first one!
  • The comment makes it clear that they read the post. Length doesn’t matter, as long as it’s clear you read the post.

And that’s it! When I realized that, suddenly I felt so much better about commenting. But I’m still wondering, does everyone else feel the same way? And so, here I am, putting the question to you – What are the components of your favorite comments? What do you find easiest to comment on? Are you afraid of commenting too?

Leave a Reply

19 Responses to “What makes a good comment?”

  1. When I comment, I usually try to pick out one thing that particularly caught my eye or I agree/disagree with and talk about that. It’s specific and lets the person know that I’ve read and thought about their post.

    That said, I also open posts to comment on, read the post, realize I can’t come up with anything decent to say, then exit out. I’ve been trying to get better at this, but… doesn’t always work.

    Commenting, I’ve found, is something that depends on a few factors. Perhaps it’s surprising, but the writer of the post can influence whether commenting is easy or not. You have to MAKE your post easy to comment on.

    So, in a review, for example, “I loved this book!!!!” might get an “I loved this book, too!” response (if it got a response) and “I loved this book because the way the characters interacted with each other really gave me something to work toward. It taught me something I could apply in real life,” might get a, “Don’t you love when books are able to teach you real life lessons? That’s one thing I love about books, too” response. Finding something to say is easier in the second example.

    Posts that have a lot of information are also difficult to comment on (WHAT PART do you comment on? There’s too much to choose from!). My CR posts are good examples of that. Oooooor… posts that barely have any information (Top Off Tuesdays, for example) are difficult to comment on, too.

    • Anne says:

      That opening to comment and then eventually just exiting out because you can’t think of anything? That’s totally me! ALL THE TIME. This is not a good thing, and it’s part of why I wrote the post! I’m tired of feeling like I should be giving more love back to the blogs I’m visiting. I guess my biggest problem is just feeling self-conscious about commenting, and I need to get over that. It’s hard to do though!

  2. Alissa says:

    I recently saw a blogger say they value comments on their reviews much more than comments on their other posts. (Why this is, I don’t know.) My problem with this is that I rarely comment on reviews because usually all I can think to say is “Great review!” or “Thanks for the review!” I mean, I READ reviews. But it’s hard to comment on them when I haven’t also read the book.

    For me, it’s easier to comment on posts like this one because I feel less distanced.

    • Anne says:

      Maybe they value the comments on the reviews more because they get fewer of them? I don’t know. I always find it harder to leave comments on reviews, for the exact same reasons as you. I don’t read reviews much before I read a book though, because I don’t want my opinion colored by other people’s, you know?

  3. Ariel @ Must Love Books says:

    I love all the comments I get, but the ones that make me cringe a little when I see them are the ones that only say “Nice post. Here’s mine” and then they have a link to their post. It feels like they didn’t actually read the post and are just trying to pimp out their own.

    I have a really hard time writting comments on reviews because there doesn’t seem to be much to say. Just “I loved this book too!” or “great review.” And when I see a bunch of other people comment and say the same thing, I always wonder if I should even comment and say it as well.
    The reviews that I find easiest to comment on are rant reviews. The reviews that the reader just can’t hide how much they disliked a book. Then you can reply back with things such as “what? The author really did that?”

    • Anne says:

      YES! This is exactly what I’m talking about! I mean, I love comments, but if the only reason you’re here is to “pimp” your posts? I’m… less than impressed, you know?

      I find it really hard to write comments on reviews too. I definitely try to make up for it by commenting lots on other types of posts, but I feel like I should be trying to improve commenting on reviews too.

  4. Just kidding! 😉

    Comments are SO important! I love commenting on other blogs and even when I’m not sure what to say, i sit and try to write at least a few sentences of something meaningful. I hate it when I spend so much time writing something and get such a crap reply from someone. I usually just respond with a “Thanks!” or something, but it does make me feel like maybe I’m not doing the right things as a blogger.

    Like Amanda said, it’s sometimes hard to come up with anything decent to say. Sometimes I HAVE to not post a reply because I don’t want to be one of those commenters who comments with something vague or insubstantial.

    One thing that I never, never do is comment with a link … I like it when my latest blog post shows up automatically, but that was one thing I hated with memes, when someone would say, “Wow! Great pick! Come check out my answer! ” I really love the bloggers who take the time to write something … anything!

    There are some blog posts where I’ve written a NOVEL as a comment because there’s so much to say. But sometimes there are posts where there just isn’t a lot to say. Meh. I just play it by ear. I do a LOT Of commenting, so I feel like I’m doing my job. :)

    Thanks for writing this!

    • Anne says:

      Ugh! I should have known SOMEBODY would troll me on that =P

      I kind of like the blogs that automatically bring up the links too, but I’m still not sure about putting that in for mine. It’s something I need to spend a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons, and I haven’t had the time to do that yet.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  5. I love leaving comments! It’s one of my favorite things to do, because I feel that, in my own little way, I get to show my favorite bloggers how I love their posts.

    In general, I like leaving comments that really react to what’s been said in their post. Sometimes, I’ll have a lot to say (and I tend to write novel-length comments); other times, I’ll just be picking out one or two things to comment about. I love it when bloggers ask questions and expect answers!

    • Anne says:

      I love leaving comments too, but sometimes I find it really hard! And, as a blogger, I’ve tried to put questions in most of my posts, but they don’t always get answered. It’s definitely something that depends on a lot of factors, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, which is why I posted.

  6. Yael Itamar says:

    I like comments that bring up something relevant to the discussion. What I hate are comments that totally missed the point. I once wrote a rant about the WTF-ery of the mind-control in Dollhouse, and my only comment was from someone who clearly missed the fact that the post was a rant.

    • Anne says:

      I always feel that comments that miss the point at least give me a chance to set the record straight. And even if someone has missed the point, the comments can start a conversation, which is the main thing I’m interested in! But I do understand – it’s frustrating to work really hard on a post and then have it completely misunderstood =/

  7. […] What makes a good comment? — Anne talks about how commenting isn’t always easy. […]

  8. […] Anne (Creativity’s Corner) asks us about good comments and what they are. […]

  9. […] Anne wrote a great post about ‘What Makes a Good Comment?‘ […]

  10. Ugh, this is so me, too! I love commenting, and often have every intention of commenting, but after taking what seems like forever to draft a meaningful comment, it doesn’t seem meaningful at all so I delete it. You’re right, reviews are harder to comment on, but I know for me, I appreciate even one-liner comments on my reviews because it’s always nice to know that someone actually read it (and I understand that if you haven’t read the book, it can be hard to come up with a long comment). As for discussion post type questions, I am very guilty of leaving small novels as comments – just ask Kristilyn @ ReadinginWinter! But I love discussion questions and realizing that someone feels EXACTLY like you do.

    I also really appreciate it when bloggers comment back on comments. Obviously, not all comments need another comment, but it bugs me when I see some bloggers that NEVER comment on any of their comments, ever.

    Ok, small novel done. 😀

    • Anne says:

      YES! I like it when bloggers comment back – but I always forget to go back and see if they’ve commented back on me! lol Sometimes if it’s a big issue I’ll open the page in my browser instead of the RSS app and leave it open for a few days to remind myself, but for the most part, once I’ve clicked out, it’s gone. That’s why I love the plugin that emails people, just when their comment has a response – it gives me a friendly reminder to go back and check on the posts I replied to, and lets me get some actual discussion done instead of just setting my ideas out there.

      • Yes! The email plugin is awesome! It’s hard to keep track otherwise of all the comments you make on other blogs. I think every blog should have that, and I’m not sure why some don’t.

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