How to Leave A Good Comment (Part Two)
Definitely keep talking about who, what, and where, but now we also need to tackle when, why and how.
People usually expect to see comments on a post within a few days of the post date. Some people close comments on a post after a certain amount of time to deter spam. But I leave my comments open indefinitely because I don’t think there’s an expiration date to a response. I may not need support or accolades long after an event, but a post that is salon-like in nature never needs to have the conversation closed unless nothing new can be added. If something new can be added, open that comment box and start talking.
Also, in this day and age of feed readers, people often allow posts to build up during busy periods or vacations. They shouldn’t feel shy about catching up on old posts and commenting.
And that’s obviously an excuse because I allow posts to build up and then go back and leave comments when I have time to formulate good ones. But I don’t think we should be shy about the fact that we have other things happening in our lives too and while we want to read blog posts, sometimes they get held over until we can concentrate and fully appreciate them.
The only time I don’t think this is helpful is when the comment is only meant to fan the flames in an argument taking place in the comment section. Or if it’s beating a dead horse. If the point has been made, there’s no point in leaving a late comment to make it again. Especially because late comments are usually seen only by the author and not by the general community unless it is a particularly sticky post.
People leave comments for a plethora of reasons:
- You want to connect with the person and give them support or accolades.
- You want to give your thoughts and respond to something in their post.
- You want to build a relationship and have them come leave comments on your posts too.
I think if you’re coming from one of those three reasons, open the comment box. I think if you’re coming to pick a fight, get free advertising for your product, make someone feel like crap, or drive traffic to another place, you might want to step away from the computer. Because the fact is that comments can be deleted in one click and IP addresses can be blocked with a simple cut-and-paste, causing all that hard-crafted hatred to disappear into the ether of the blogosphere, wherever deleted comments go.
That was just my public service announcement for spammers and haters.
Leaving a great comment is an art, but anyone can leave a good comment. And sometimes, in this day and age of fast-moving information, good is a solid place to be. Here are my best tips:
Respond directly to the words on the screen
Especially when being critical, make sure you are looking at what the person is saying and then responding directly to their words. Pull quotes from their post to make your point. Too many times, comments argue points that aren’t there or that the commenter assumes the writer really means. But if the comment clearly shows the blog writer that you haven’t read their words, it negates your own argument.
Keep on topic
Before you hit “post comment” ask yourself this question: are you writing to talk about yourself or to talk about the person? It’s okay–even desirable–to tell a story that lets the other person know they’re not alone. And to that, you sometimes need to talk about yourself. But that is different than opening up someone else’s comment box solely to tell them about you, you, and you. Make sure you bring even stories about yourself back to the point of addressing the original speaker and their thoughts and feelings. If not, it’s like you just put a blog post about yourself on their blog. Save it for your own.
Keep it simple
If it’s getting too complicated for a small comment box, consider writing a full blog post and then leaving a short comment linking to that post. Make sure that you still address the original speaker.
Short is still good
Too many times, a person states that they didn’t comment because they couldn’t find the right words. While not everyone agrees, my feeling is that a simple “I’m abiding with you” or “I’m thinking of you” or “Congratulations!” can go a long way in making the writer feel less alone.
Do you think there should be a timetable for commenting? Is it ever too late to leave a comment on a post if you don’t close your comment box after a given amount of time? Why do you comment? Do you have another reason than the three I list? What do you think about short comments that simply express sorrow or happiness for you? What is some other advice you would offer on how to leave a good comment?