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.
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?
Inundated with Comment Spam
This past week, Lorelle on WordPress reached the Akismet 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!
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?
Akismet reports 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?
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.