Are You Becoming a Little Over-Sensitive Over Comments?

Filed as Features on August 31, 2007 7:35 am

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Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the overwhelming number of comments spams I have to plow through on multiple blogs every day. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the “good” ones from the “bad” ones. So maybe I’m becoming a little over-sensitive about comments.

Are you?

Recently, several comments I made on some blogs received a huge backlash from the blogger. They ranted on defensively in response.

When I looked back at my comments, I could find nothing accusatory or offensive in them. On one, I made mention of something that many bloggers do that irritated me, saying I was glad that the blogger had brought the subject up because it needed discussion. In response, he wrote a comment three times the length of his blog post, taking me to task for my offensive comment. As much as I read and re-read my comment, I couldn’t find anything that resembled an attack. Maybe I deserved it, or maybe not. Maybe I hit a trigger point. Who knows.

Are we all becoming a little over-sensitive about blog comments?

Why?

Inundated with Comment Spam

This past week, reached the one million comment spam mark. Akismet began on WordPress.com blogs in October of 2005. I’ve published at least 1200 posts since then, so if we do some tricks with the math, this is what I’ve been inundated with over the past 23 months on just that one blog:

  • In 23 months, that’s an average of 44,182 per month.
  • In an estimated 671 days, that’s 1,514 comment spams per day.
  • Matching comment spam per an estimated 1,200 posts, that’s an average of 846.82 comment spams per post.

I’m tired just looking at the numbers!

Akismet statistics chart for comment spams caught August 2007

It’s a Link Juice Battlefield

It was bad enough when machines were automatically spamming our blog comments, it’s worse now that human comment spammers have entered the game. Add to this, those who want attention and “link juice” by spreading comments and links to their blogs all over the place…and damn straight I’m paranoid. Aren’t you?

that as of the day I write this, 2,500,648,476 comment spams have been caught since Akismet began keeping score in October of 2005. Today, only 8,447,201 have been caught. And by their estimate, 93% of all comments are spam.

A few days ago, that estimate was 95%.

If approximately 5% of all comments on blogs are legitimate, why are there so many bad comments?

“Money makes the world go ’round – world go ’round…”

That’s right. Over 90% of all comments are greed driven. Not just out of the need for money, but for the need of attention and page rank scores.

When you see a comment that is a little off, aren’t you suspicious? When you see a comment on your blog with a signed name, blog title, position title, and a few links to their blogs, aren’t you even more suspicious?

Even when the comment appears to be “good”, but the name and links in the comment form are suspicious looking, do you catch yourself reaching for the delete or spam button?

We are so paranoid about our blog comments, and yet we want them desperately, often measuring the success of a blog post on the number of comments generated. No wonder we’re becoming hyper-sensitive to blog comments?

Are You Reading More Into Comments Than You Should?

With all this negative energy around our blog’s comments, are you reading more into a comment than you should?

Just like most of our blog posts are words, so are comments. Words without much help to emotionally expressing themselves, other than the use of emoticons or smilies :D to let the reader know when we’re being serious :\ and when we aren’t ;-) . So, it’s easy to misinterpret a comment’s tone without understanding the intent behind the comment.

Here are some things to consider before you bite the head off the next person who leaves a comment on your blog:

  • What is their intent? It’s not always clear, but read between the words to see what they are really saying behind their written words.
  • Who are they? When I comment on a blog, I speak from my experience as a veteran blogger. I don’t expect everyone to recognize my name, but if they aren’t sure of my intent, a quick check on the web or via my blog would give them a pretty good idea of my intent and expertise. If in doubt, check out their “sincerity” on their blog.
  • Take a break: Read the comment, but don’t respond. Not every comment needs a response, but more importantly, you may need time to process what they said rather than responding from a gut reaction. Take your time and think your response through.
  • Give the commenter the benefit of the doubt: While your interpretation and response may be defensive, give the commenter the benefit of the doubt in their words and maybe ask more questions or answer in a non-defensive manner until you have more information.
  • Take your temperature: Check your mood before you respond. Make sure you are calm and collected and ready to write a coherent reply and not a defensive rant.

From the commenter’s point of view, take care in how you write comments, knowing the pressure bloggers are under dealing with comment spam and offensive and troublesome commenters. Write clearly and thoughtfully, choosing the right words to make your point. Make your blog post comment count, adding to the conversation but not starting any needless fires.

Have you found yourself becoming more sensitive and defensive in your comments? Are you looking at them keenly through a magnifying glass more and more every day?

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  1. By Better Blogging with Michael Martine posted on August 31, 2007 at 11:21 am
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    I’ve been blogging since 2000 and have polarized plenty of people with my posts (especially at my video blog). My observation is that when people react strongly and then vomit it out in a comment, you are seeing issues they have with themselves, not with you.

    Blog posts, just like anything, are a mirror in which people see themselves–and they don’t always like what they see. They may feel threatened, and react with a blast of sanctimonious self-righteousness. They’re defending themselves from an attack that only exists in their own minds.

    Some people just don’t write well enough to prevent themselves from being misread (but I doubt that would describe you, Lorelle). And sometimes bloggers are guilty of not reading comments thoroughly enough, just as commenters don’t always read posts thoroughly enough.

    And some people are just insane! Never argue with crazy people.

    Reply

  2. Blog Herald Podcast 2007.3 postedAugust 31, 2007 at 12:08 pm
  3. By pelf posted on August 31, 2007 at 7:27 pm
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    “Check your mood before you respond. Make sure you are calm and collected and ready to write a coherent reply and not a defensive rant.”

    This is indeed very important. I do not receive a lot of comments on my blog but there were times when people just went overboard trying to be funny with me.

    When I blog about how we should help a local charity because bla bla bla.. I would expect my commentator to either say something supportive, or if they don’t have anything nice to say, just keep quiet. I certainly don’t want to read “funny” comments that I don’t think are funny.

    Reply

  4. By Chris Cree posted on August 31, 2007 at 8:04 pm
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    Lorelle, As far as the spam thing goes I don’t let myself work to hard at trying to get into the head of the commenter.

    I can’t see into anyone else’s hart to ever be sure of their motivations. The way I see it, I make a judgment call on whether I think it is a “worthy” comment, one that should be penalized as spam, or one that is just inappropriate and gets deleted.

    I do the best I can and go on. Over-thinking it would make me nuts. And I don’t have time to go crazy right now! ;)

    Reply

  5. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 31, 2007 at 10:09 pm
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    As a technical blogger providing help to others on how to blog, I get a lot of goofy worded questions that sometimes sound like accusations. Or they are written by someone to whom English is not a fluent language.

    I take time over these questions to make sure I’m reading between the lines about what they are really asking.

    However, when stupid people leave stupid comments, and they are obviously time wasters, especially mine, I am fast on the delete/spam trigger.

    But when I’m tired, sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart, so I make sure and take a deep breath and put myself in a better mood before responding or deleting.

    Like you, I don’t have time to over-think the process, but when I’m faced with indecision, I err on the side of caution.

    I was so excited to get comments on my blog when I switched from a static website to blog software, but now, some days I wish I could close them down…but only for a few seconds. :D

    Reply

  6. By kher Cheng Guan posted on September 2, 2007 at 11:48 am
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    I think particularly some of the established bloggers. They felt threatened be’cos they assumed they are “experts”. No one should know better than them. I have seen so many times where these veteran bloggers went rampage with sarcastic remarks and defending helplessly like some sore losers!

    Reply

  7. By BillyWarhol posted on September 2, 2007 at 4:09 pm
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    Wow! Holy Spam Bacn Stats Batman!!

    U gotta be an A-Lister with those kinda #’s Lorelle*

    Personally i love getting comments but get very few – so even the odd Spam one i get makes me feel somebody is bothering to read my Blog*

    ;))

    I don’t whether people are afraid to comment on my blog or what – i guess some of it is NSFW + also i speak up about Politics + Religion so that frightens + scares people!!

    one thing i’m Happy about are those Widgets from MyBlogLog + BlogCatalog so U can at least see some Folks have been kind enuf to pop by + visit*

    I also find there’s a lotta Snobs + Wankers who think they’re hot poop*

    ;))

    Cheers Lorelle!! Billy ;))

    Peace*

    Reply

  8. By Bloggrrl posted on September 2, 2007 at 4:57 pm
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    I’m one of those people who believes that negative attention is better than none–spam aside, of course. So if someone leaves a comment slamming me, I may feel flattered that they took the time. It feels better than being ignored. I work with students who also utilize this mental strategy. :-) At any rate, I have a pretty thick skin. I take everything in a spirit of fun, or I wouldn’t be doing this.

    Reply

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  14. By Discussion posted on January 29, 2008 at 3:10 pm
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    This is indeed very important. I do not receive a lot of comments on my blog but there were times when people just went overboard trying to be funny with me.

    Reply

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  20. By Fred posted on February 27, 2009 at 8:52 am
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    Its nice to ponder on this things before you react on the comments of your blogs.One, their intention…read bet the lines.. how they grasp the ideas..
    Two, their sincerity ..what type of person are they.Third, try to relax and check your mood before you respond. Dont be judgemental…

    Reply

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