There were lots of interesting comments on yesterday's post about comments. But as Andrew noted, you probably didn't notice.
"I think a reason your comments haven't risen along with your page views is because the comments section is, lets face it, rather hidden. People are used to seeing big huge comments boxes on screen these days and if they're not there will, likely, just assume there's no comments at all and skip on their merry way. As it is, comments are hidden and not very visible to those who don't know they're there." (Andrew Bowden)
And there was me thinking that the word "comments" appearing at the bottom of a post might be obvious enough. But actually, maybe not. The link's a bit small, because I'm still using a 2002-style template. And the comments never appear under the post, as with most modern blogging platforms, merely in a disjoint pop-up box if you choose to click. I've gone out of my way to keep a bespoke old-school comments platform, because I value simplicity, whereas embedded comments might well encourage more upfront readership.
"Whoever did your Haloscan replacement should get it out more widely - it's far nicer than the alternatives and, amazingly, works." (disgruntled) "Such a shame the comments box doesn't work like it used to. It's archived too - hmmmm!!!" (B)
"I've more or less given up on trying to comment on most Blogger blogs as it usually takes about five minutes of frustration for what seemed initially like a nice witty throwaway response to get through. I know a few bloggers who've moved platforms just for that reason." (disgruntled)
I do hate having to sign up, or log in, before I can leave a comment. I know it helps to avoid spam, but I don't get much of that here. I know it helps to "join up the conversation" across all social media, but I'm not out to be connected. Requiring registration is just a barrier to communication, and I'm sure stifles as much as it protects.
"The websites that seem to have lots of comments - Comment is Free and the MailOnline - seem to have... well... a mixed quality of commenters. What we know about DG commenters is that they are wise, reflective and write when they have something to say." (Wes) "Give me quality over quantity any day. There are some blogs which regularly get over a hundred comments on every post, at which point the comments stop being worth reading. Very rarely do they add anything of value, and more usually they are either full of trolls and nonsense or empty of anything much at all." (swirlythingy)
I have to agree that most of the comments I get are well worth a read. I don't get many trolls, political stick-in-the-muds, topic-deviators or kitten-blatherers, which is nice. And if that means getting fewer comments rather than more, bring it on.
"You need a FB-type 'like' button - comments are not an indication of how good or enjoyable an article is." (Tintinhaddock) "I'm seeing fewer comments too, partly because people can now just 'like' a post (thanks Wordpress, I really needed you to be more like Facebook) and partly because people comment via twitter as well." (disgruntled) "I like your comments box too. But a 'like' button would be excellent, to express our appreciation. Maybe the nature of your blog also tends to attract 'quieter' readers?" (misspiggy)
I'm so ahead of the curve that I suggested an "I enjoyed reading this" button way back in 2005. Facebook caught up a while back, and now Wordpress are following suit. But I went to "Like" a Wordpress post yesterday and it required me to log in and create an account before I could express my passive admiration for the author's work. So I didn't bother, sorry Ian, because this simple solution had been over-engineered. Don'tlike.
"I for one am glad you don't have a "Like" button! Comments would all but disappear as it is so much easier to click a button than to actually have to think of something to say." (CornishCockney)
I think you're right. A 'Like' button would only reduce the number of comments even further, in much the same way that Twitter is fast becoming a stream of people praising what others have created. Simplify feedback, and feedback merely dumbs down.
"You have, of course, now spoilt the statistical reliability and validity of the comments count, as the 'sympathy' and 'guilt' comments flood in. Ahem." (Blue Witch) "The measurement and recording of comments clearly proves the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. (Alistair)
Agreed. A post about comments always attract more comments than usual, thereby destabilising any attempt to analyse how many comments I'm getting. But although I got twice as many comments as usual yesterday, had this been 2011 then the total wouldn't have been especially out of the ordinary. It's all heading downhill, I tell you.
"I will post comments in the future to encourage you to keep going." (Stuart)
No, really, don't do that. Just carry on commenting when there's something interesting to say. Works for me, works for all of us.