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April 16, 2009

What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment? Some Criteria

In my article, “What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment,” I talked about some of the issues around debating where and when to leave a blog comment on a blog that hosts information or opinions you don’t support, or is filled with blog clutter, a clue that something isn’t right. About how your comment may be seen to support the blog, and impact your reputation by association.

As I wrote that post, I looked back over all the WTF Blog Clutter articles in the series and realized that many of these issues are ones that impact my willingness to comment on a blog. Sure, they impact my ability to even read the blog, let alone return and tell others, but they also impact my willingness to endorse a blog with a comment.

I started thinking about all the blatant, subjective, and even unconscious reasons that prevent me from leaving a comment on a blog. Here are some of my self-discoveries, most of them associated with various aspects of blog clutter. I’m sure you have more you can add, but these are big clues that this is a blog that doesn’t deserve my participation. read more

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April 15, 2009

Clive Thompson Thinks The White House Is Ready For Trolls

Whitehouse.gov isn’t the open discussion website that (at least som) Barack Obama supporters from the election would have liked. I can understand why, politics is tricky business and if anyone could post a comment, it could (and would) get nasty really quick.

Enter Wired’s Clive Thompson and his post on how to tame trolls. It’s not news really, rather technologies and ways big sites manage it today, from stripping trolling commentaries of the vowels, to manual comment moderation. read more

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What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment?

A few minutes ago I followed a trackback to a lovely blog post about one of my blog posts. It was quite complementary and made some good points. I was in the middle of composing a reply when I glanced over to the sidebar and saw the listing of the most recent blog posts featuring what were clearly pay-per-post or sponsored post titles. Ick!

That was my first response. Ick. Yuk. Oooey gooey, as one of my nephews would say.

We’ve talked about a lot of different design detail clutter and distractions in the ongoing series, “WTF Blog Design Clutter“, but we haven’t addressed the issue of perception when it comes to inspiring blog comments and conversation.

It’s true that a lot of people comment on blogs for link bait and Google juice. While that may be true, what is unsaid about the importance of a blog comment is probably the most important consideration when it comes to commenting on blogs: Association by commenting.

A blog comment says you want to participate in the conversation. It says you are interested in the topic. It says you are supportive of the blogger. It says you are who you say you are. It says that the link in your comment form takes the reader to your blog, which should speak well of you and match the quality of the blog you are commenting on. It says you want to be a valuable contributor to the blogosphere and the world of communication. Right?

No? Well, maybe it should. read more

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April 8, 2009

5 Tips On How To Handle Criticism In The Comments

Copyblogger has published a list of five things to consider when getting hit by those snarky critics that just want to pick your carefully penned blog post to pieces. We’ve all been there, haven’t we, gotten hit by criticism. Sometimes it is warranted, and sometimes not. It really doesn’t matter, what does is how you handle it. read more

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March 17, 2009

We Keep Screwing Up to Give You Something to Write About

Driving home last night, I was listening to On the Media radio show on NPR. They were reading their Letters section with corrections to some of their past stories.

After they’d reported on the most recent corrections, they summarized that section of the show by saying:

We’ll do our part to keep screwing up to give you something to write about.

I’m sure they heard my laughter all the way to their studios.

Honestly, I can’t say when I’ve heard a better description of blogging.

Think about it. read more

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December 12, 2008

Personal Blogging and the Difference Between On and Offline

The death of a blogger in the Swedish blogosphere is getting a lot of attention right now. It figures of course, a lot of people enjoyed the blog, and there was a personal touch to it as well. Condolences and prayers are piling up, it is beautiful in a way.

It’s also a reminder that the blogosphere can be a really personal place. That works both ways, because on the one hand you might get well-wishes when you’re ill or in trouble, whereas you can also be totally slammed in the comments for being an asshole, basically. The (faulty) feeling that we’re anonymous online makes it easier to be nasty, but also to give praise, although that by all means are a lot less common, unfortunately. It’s much more fun to bitch and whine. read more

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November 24, 2008

Movable Type Monday: TypePad Connect, vpod.tv, Layout Switching, and More

Filed as Features with 1 comment

Happy Monday, folks! The biggest Movable Type-related news this week was the release of TypePad Connect, a service from Six Apart that combines a Disqus-style comment system with MyBlogLog-like profiles. TypePad profiles extend the existing TypeKey service and allow you to connect it with your other social networking sites, turning it into a lifestream of sorts. TypePad comments supports OpenID login and has TypePad anti-spam built in. TypePad Connect will integrate with any MT blog, and it works with other blogging systems as well. More features are on the way, including the ability to import comments into your existing comment system.

I’ll admit, I’ve never personally seen a need for a hosted commenting system like this, but Disqus has become quite popular, and now 6A is entering the market. Have you had any experience with one of these systems? Let us know in the comments.

Plugins

vpod.tv — Six Apart Europe announced the release of a plugin that integrates vpod.tv into your MT blog. With this plugin you can upload video to your site and have it published on vpod.tv. The press release makes it sound like it should be available now, but I haven’t found it available for download anywhere. read more

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October 13, 2008

Comments, Copyright and Confusion

For many blogs the bulk of their content comes not from their posts, but from their comments. It is not uncommon for a blog to have only a few hundred words of text per post, perhaps even less, and many thousands of words in comments.

For bloggers, this is a very good deal. Not only do comments promote a sense of community, add value to the site and encourage repeat visitors, it also adds a great deal of search engine-friendly content that helps to grow the blog.

But the power of comments has caused many bloggers to be worried about what rights they have over them. What happens if a spammer begins to scrape the comment feed? What if a commenter changes his or her mind and asks for the post removed? What happens if I move to another site or service?

Unfortunately, these are not simple questions but they are important ones for bloggers to be aware of, especially since disputes over comments are happening more and more frequently. read more

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October 12, 2008

The Price of Closing Comments on Old Posts

I’ve never been a fan of closed comments, though they are a choice for many bloggers. However, I’ve never liked the idea of closing comments on old posts with the hopes of preventing or restricting comment spam. Here are a few reasons why.

The Myth of Comment Spam Prevention

There are a lot of myths around comment spam. One is that the more popular your blog is, the more comment spam. This is false. The more incoming links to your blog, the more comment spam. Comment spam bots follow those precious links, nofollow and dofollow, to your blog and spam it.

You could say that the more incoming links you have, the more popular your blog is, but that is not always true either. Trust me, it just takes one link to open the door to a voracious comment spam bot, as I’ve proven repeatedly on brand new blogs. These sites have no comment spam for months until that first trackback or incoming link.

The “old posts” myth about comment spam is that comment spammers hit older posts more than current posts. This is also not true. Comment spammers will hit EVERY post they can. Comment spam bots and human spammers don’t check the date of the post before they hit, thinking, “Hmmm, this one is at least six weeks old, ripe for spamming.” read more

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September 8, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: The Death of the CAPTCHA

Many say, “It’s about time.” Others are saying, “We told you.” Either way, it’s as official as it gets. Bye-bye WTF blog cluttering CAPTCHAs. According to the Guardian in “How Captcha was foiled: Are you a man or a mouse?”, the CAPTCHA has been proven to not work.

While most of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Clutter has been focused on the blog sidebar and design elements, a big clutter element is the continued use of the CAPTCHA with comments with the misguided belief that it would stop comment spammers. NOT.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, created to ensure that humans can read the letters and numbers in a way that computers can’t, so automated scripts and bots can’t leave a comment on your blog. Pass the test and you’ve earned the right to comment. Except that the CAPTCHA techniques have been broken and bypassed easily by computers for years. read more

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