How to tell the internet to shut up

Comments are what makes the social internet go round – but they also are a classic example of the signal v noise aspect of effective communication. Annoyingly long comment threads obscure much goodness. You can, though I don’t recommend it, block comments from almost every site you visit around the world wide web, by installing this code snippet in your browser.

It comes with a warning:

Warning:

The stylesheet blindly hides blocks with IDs like “comments”, which could have unexpected side effects. (I’m told it hides the “discussion” section of Bugzilla installations, for example.) Disable shutup.css if you think you might be missing important page content.

Unlike the guy who wrote this plug-in – I like and value your comments, and would appreciate more of them…

Top five rules for blogging: #2 don’t blog for comments

Here are all five tips, and here’s my post on the first one.

Comments are great. All bloggers love comments. They make us feel special. Almost as special as a link. Depending on your blog love language (which Simone posted about back in January).

Comments indicate reader engagement. Comments – even negative ones – show that someone cares enough about your ideas to respond.

But if you hang your blogging hat on the number of comments you get – and make a decision to continue, or not to continue, on that basis – then you’re bound for disappointment. People don’t like to comment. I read about 300 blogs, I comment on a handful. I should comment on more – knowing as I do that people like getting comments.

Comments are not a measure of quality. They’re not a measure of how much your post is appreciated. They’re not really a measure of anything except how good you are at annoying people or how cleverly you hook your readers.

Because I like awesome scientific analysis I’ll repost this graph I made a while back.

And further analysis – I mentioned how bad my blog was when I first started the other day (prompting some people to head back to the archives). It was really bad. Terrible. And yet I scored more comments per post in those days by a long shot.

If you’re going to blog for any measurable outcome regular visitors and subscribers. Or blog for google keywords so that you can attract random visitors who might subscribe.

Blogging for comments is a thankless exercise.

Pip tip

I’m not sure how big the problem of improperly discarded olive pips is. It could no doubt lead to some sort of olive oil fueled apocalypse… but I like the underlying principle expressed by this image

Perhaps in my quest to get lurkers out of the shadows I should post a comment on every post?

Unbroken breaks

Just in case you have previously considered commenting but were turned off by the lack of appropriate spacing in the comments to indicate paragraph changes… or for those of you who have been complaining about the long standing issue…

I fixed it. If you are here because you googled “WordPress Comments paragraph spacing” or something related to WordPress Comment formatting…

The offender was this little piece of code in the CSS:

.comment-text p {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
}

Just so you know. You should remove that if you’re having the same issue.

Dear Lurker

Ben is very wise. He says I shouldn’t try to scare you out of hiding. But I’ve always been a little hot headed and impetuous. So I’m going to temporarily ignore his wise advice and try to attract further lurkers out of the shadows.

Over in the comments thread on that post – one Mr Rodeo Clown – informed me that he lurks occasionally but isn’t a regular because he is intimidated by the frequency of posts.

I read a fair few of your posts, but I’m hesitant to add such a prolific poster to my RSS, as I already have more to read than I really have time for.

I tend to use st-eutychus as a buffet to feed on once I’ve exhausted my reader.

I guess that makes me the Sizzler of the blog world – which is fitting, because this is one of my most popular posts of all time.

What say you, humble lurker, would you read more if I wrote less?

Best Spam Comment ever…

Comment spam is wildly entertaining.

Here’s something from Geralgora…

“what a poor grammar :)”

I love how he/she insults me and includes a smiley face as though that validates his/her statement.

It’s the equivalent of adding “no offense” before saying something you know is offensive to somebody.

ClosedID

Ok, I have heard your feedback (or lack thereof) and turned off the OpenID plugin. I assume that’s what’s stopping all of you commenting. Go crazy. Go nuts. Go crazygonuts. Comment away. To your heart’s content. All barriers to you sharing your feedback (except my scathing critical wit) have been removed.

Commentary

One day, just to make someone feel special, I’m going to stay up late at night and have a multi-comment discussion on somebody else’s blog just so they feel special – until they click the link and read that they’re all from me.

I think I’ll pick someone who compulsively responds to every comment they receive.

Seriously though – I have decided I should comment on other people’s blogs more, perhaps then more people will comment here. I know you’re out there lurkers. Just lurking. In the corners, or a feed reader. You know who you are.

All quiet on the blog front

I’m busy today. Doing my job. So not much time for posting – plus I have no real idea what to post.

I have been discussing things in a few comment threads that maybe you should check out.

Like this one on drugs, and this one on Mark Driscoll’s desire to take over the world.

Good Mark

Mark’s comment here is worth reading. It is pretty long. He hasn’t commented for a while. Welcome back to commenting Mark. 

Actually, I’ve enjoyed a few of these environment discussions – thanks all of you for commenting. 

I will post my next thoughts tomorrow.

No comment

Dear Readers,

I don’t like to beg. Really. It is so unbecoming. Desperate even.

I’m getting more visitors than ever before to this blog. And less comments. 

Why don’t you comment? Don’t you love me? Am I boring you?

It’s really not that hard to comment. Is it? You don’t even have to have anything useful to say. Is it because I used to insult commenters I disagreed with? I’m a changed man. Promise. Try me. 

I do get a lot of comments from people trying to sell Xanax and viagra. But that’s no good for the self esteem.

It makes me sad. 

Is there a topic that would evoke more comments? Something that would generate a “buzz” or some controversy maybe?

That’s enough grovelling for now. And pandering. Don’t make me use my sad eyes.

Spam, spam, spam, bacon, and spam please


My blog is drowning in a sea of spam comments – 140 of them in the last day or so, most promoting wonder drugs and most posted on the garage sailing liveblog post.