I read a lot of blogs. And when I say “a lot”, I mean a LOT. I subscribe to them via Google Reader so I can keep up with them (there are also a few I don’t read consistently so I don’t have them in my Reader). When I finally got my Internet connection back late this afternoon, it had been 4 or 5 days since I’d read any of them. There were well over 500 blog posts during that time. No, I’m not going to read all of them. There are a handful of blogs that I never miss, some I read pretty consistently and others that I read periodically. If several days go by and the number gets huge, I go through and delete all but the handful that I never miss. That’s what I’m doing this evening.
I don’t tend to comment all that much on other blogs although I’m trying to take the time to do so more often since I know how much it means to me when people leave comments on mine. I’ve noticed that some bloggers moderate all comments, checking them before they are posted (and sometimes posting only certain ones). Some moderate comments only on potentially controversial posts. Others have open comments on some posts and close the comment section on others. And some have unmoderated comments on all posts.
I fall into the last category. If you comment on either of my blogs, it is posted immediately. I don’t read them first but I get email notification of each comment so you can be certain I read each and every comment. Comments are enabled on all of my posts, no matter what the topic. I never delete any comments, either. I think I got a spam comment once early on that I deleted but that’s all. If you comment on one of my blogs it WILL be posted immediately and I won’t ever remove one unless it is so terribly offensive that I fear other readers might be very hurt by it. So far, that’s never happened and I really don’t anticipate such a thing. One time, several months ago, things got rather heated in the comments section of one of my blogs and I finally closed the comments. I did that because it involved a close relative and other readers were taking offense on my behalf. I was afraid it was going to lead to hurt feelings and I didn’t want to see that happen. Besides, after 25 comments I think it was apparent that everyone had had their say and no one’s opinion was going to be altered. That was the one and only time I’ve ever closed the comments. I still occasionally get comments from posts I wrote more than two years ago so I don’t even close comments on old posts. If I put it out there, it is open for comment. Period. I also don’t try to encourage only those who agree with me to comment. I’m not just talking to myself here. 😉 As long as people are respectful, I honestly do want to hear other viewpoints. Some of my own views have been altered over time because I listened carefully to people with differing perspectives. I hope that by encouraging open and polite discussions others will have their own views challenged. Not necessarily changed, although that might happen, but hopefully readers will come away with a deeper understanding of why people believe what they do.
In the interest of full disclosure I should also mention that if you are not reading my blogs via Networked Blogs on Facebook, you are not seeing all the comments. It’s very easy to comment directly on Facebook so most of my Facebook subscribers don’t take the extra step involved to comment directly on the blog. In addition, some readers email me privately with their comments, for a variety of reasons. I love hearing from each and every one of my readers, no matter what method is used. Anonymous comments are *okay*, although I prefer to know who I’m “talking” to. If you have a blog of your own, your identity should automatically be included, along with a link to your blog. However, it’s apparently possible to disable that feature. I’m not sure why someone would do that, though. One of the ways to attract readers is to comment on other blogs, thus encouraging others to check out your blog.
One final thought: Because I read so many blogs, as well as lots of news sites and many of the articles my friends link to on Facebook, I am inundated with potential blog post material every day. One thing I have noticed is that on any given day there will be several people discussing the same topics. Sometimes that’s because of a newsworthy event; other times a topic seems to take the blog world by storm. Sometimes it is purely a coincidence. Because of my educational background in English and journalism, I try to be very careful to give credit when I share something prompted by another blogger. Not only is it the ethical thing to do, it is just good manners. Besides, I love it when another blogger references one of my posts, thus driving some traffic my direction and I want to do the same for others. If you ever think I’ve failed to give you credit for something you posted, PLEASE let me know. If I did, indeed, fail to give you deserved credit, I’ll amend the post. But even if it was simply a coincidence, I’d be happy to share a link to your related post.
My blog posts are honest and open reflections. What you see (read?) is what you get. As such, I think it is important for the comments section to reflect that same philosophy and I just thought it was important for me to make that very clear.
Note: In general, I try to keep the potentially controversial stuff, especially of a political nature, on my other blog, The Well-Groomed Hippie, but sometimes there is some spill-over. 😉