Friday, February 16, 2007

The Comment Section

I've decided to tell you what I am reading each time I post and I'd like to put this with the image at the end, but don't know how yet. The book is Iran Awakening, by Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. It is the mesmerizing tale of this incredible woman, who went from being a judge, in the time of the Shah, to a human rights lawyer today.

Now to the main feature presentation.

The comment section of a blog adds enormous interest for the reader, as well as for the blogger. I always read all the comments as well as the posts, which wastes a lot of extra time as I wing around my favourite blogs. Some of the commenters are very funny and you tend to see the same people on different blogs, so you get to know them very well, in fact, as well as you know the bloggers. You see the interplay between the visitor and the blogger and a real rapport developing between them over time. Of course, some of the blogs I read have serious posts, with serious comments added by serious readers who have something important to add to the original post. Enough said.

Some bloggers never respond to their commenters, others always respond and some respond selectively. Of course, since I mainly read medblogs and these people are extremely busy that's totally understandable. In fact, I've decided that they are very high achievers who need very little sleep, because they write well, have families and practise their medical specialty, whatever it is. Plus they zing around reading other medblogs and leaving witty (or serious) comments too.

After a few months of lurking, I started to poke my nose out and add a comment or two, here and there. Lo and behold, I turned into a monster. I kept dashing back to the site ( and totally screwing up the statistics) to see if anyone had answered the comment, especially the bloggers themselves. If they didn't and they usually answered everyone, I obsessed about whether I had said something stupid or offended them inadvertently. Now why on earth would I care? I'm anonymous, so it doesn't matter if I do look stupid, besides I'm "of a certain age" plus actually, so why should I care, I'm past all that nonsense. Well, apparently not!

Could things get worse? Fraid so. I started my own little blog but didn't expect to get any readers, so I added a comment to my own first post, since I didn't like looking at the zero comments at the bottom. But surprise, surprise. One of the bloggers I read regularly noticed me on his site via his bloglog and came over to visit and leave a comment and then another came. Well that was it, but after another couple of posts, I turned into the same fiend with my own blog, checking it several times a day to see if anyone had left a comment (and totally screwing up my own statistics). Now this is totally "beyond the pale" stupid, since an email alerts you to a comment on your blog, but I can't seem to help it.

I suppose, like everything else, I'll eventually get over it. I'll settle down to leaving the odd comment and travel on, without doubling back. I'll start to rely on the email system for alerting me about comments on my blog. But I do hate to see those zeros, not only on my blog but on other people's blogs. I don't think I'll ever get over that.


Vijay said...

I didn't want you to see a zero the next time you checked this post's comments section.
You better than anyone else (as a self-confessed lurker, that is) should know that not all visitors to a blog leave a comment.

jmb said...

Hi Vijay,
You just about gave me a heart attack, I only posted this last night and came by to change a word and lo and behold, (1) comment. You made my day!
I am so tempted to say something when I see that zero, especially when I see zero, after zero, on whatever site I'm reading. Perhaps that's what I should do. My mission is to eliminate the zero in the comment world!

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Hi jmb, Just thought I'd leave you a comment. I am sure what you describe here is how all bloggers feel, especially when they start. You are not alone. Have a good weekend. All the best. Michelle

Ian said...

Hi jmb,
I don't normally leave comments, as someone has usually said what I am thinking, and don't want to leave a "me too" type comment.
You definately describe what it is like waiting for comments, even though you know you will get an email letting you know, you still have to check.
I'm really enjoying your posts so far.

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
Thanks for stopping by again. You said you had started a blog but when I click on your name it just says profile not available. Did you make a typo in your URL? That happened to me once but I corrected it and all was well. I'd like to stop by your new blog but need a link.

Hi Michelle,
I am enjoying your blog very much. I have been reading some of your earlier posts with interest. I notice that you acknowledge all your commenters and like me, I'm sure they appreciate it. I have added you to my medblog folder.

Regards to you both
jmb (The Zero Slasher)

Ian said...

Hi jmb,
Didn't even think of that when I left my comments. I was signed into Google and left the default Google/Blogger option, but I don't have a Blogger account.
This comment should have my correct link.

Medblog Addict said...

Congrats on the new blog. It looks great. I wondered if there was a story behind the dog picture. Being a notorious lurker, I rarely leave comments on blogs (this comment is probably no. 10 overall), but I try to respond to the commenters on my blog. Lately, I've been distracted and haven’t really given my blog the time and attention it deserves, so I hope you have never felt overlooked. I always appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

Sarabeth said...

When I was writing about my grief and my father's death, I realized that many people didn't comment because, well, they had nothing to say to help me. Now, when I write something on which I need no comment I use the "Post Options" button to turn off the comments on that post. It helps my own desire for comments.