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.
- Too Many Or Ugly Ads: If the ads outweigh the content, my perception is that they are in it for the money not the passion nor community. I’m gone, leaving no comment behind.
- More Business than Personal: I’m finding myself avoiding purely business-oriented blogs, wanting the personal touch. If it screams old fashioned corporate, I’m not interested. I want the new personal and social corporate touch.
- No Human: If the blog post byline reads “admin” and there is no human, real sounding name in the blog title or anywhere visible above the fold, I’m gone. If it is hidden in the post meta data at the end of the blog, maybe I’ll hang around, but it makes me doubt. I want to talk to a human, not a machine or anonymous.
- No Original Content: If the content even has a hint of plagiarism, with little or no sign of original connect, I’m gone. If I find a blog post copied by someone else, even if it is within Fair Use, if there isn’t original commentary to accompany it, giving me something to respond to, I’ll comment at the source not the copy.
- Spam-filled Comments: If there are spam comments in the comment queue, I’m gone. Clearly this blogger doesn’t care about their blog to keep it cleaned up.
- Lots of Signed Comments: Like comment spam, if I see a lot of comments signed, especially signed with a lot of links, I think this is a blogger who either doesn’t care, doesn’t pay attention to details, or is into link spamming, thus allows abuse of their blog comments. Either way, they’ve lost my interest and respect.
- Closed Comments on Old Posts: If I find that the blogger closes comments on old posts, leaving me no way to comment except through their contact form or new posts, I won’t be back nor comment in general. If I don’t know, and comments are open, I’ll comment, but if I do know, they lose my respect.
- Ugly and Old Fashioned Designs: I can spot an “old website” or blog design in a second. Can’t you? One that screams pre-1999 table-based design or the Kubrick Default WordPress Theme. If they don’t care enough to update their blog design or Theme, then I’m suspicious. I won’t comment unless it is clear from the content they really don’t know what they are doing.
- Different Fonts in Different Posts: We’ve all seen it. Post one has good looking, readable fonts. Post two has tiny, hard-to-read fonts. This is usually a sign of 1) a scrapper blog or 2) someone who copies and pastes – plagiarises – other people’s content. Sorry, that’s another clue that I’m not interested in participating on a blog without original content.
- CAPTCHAs, Quizes, and Human-versus-machine Tests: Won’t do it. I’m so tired of jumping through hoops to leave a comment on sites using antiqued (or modern versions) of CAPTCHAs, Quizes, and other comment torture tests, I have to have a serious incentive to comment on blogs with those. Let nothing get in the way of your post and my comment.
- Blogspot/Blogger Blogs: I apologize openly to all Blogspot/Blogger bloggers, including my friends who use their services. I HATE the old fashioned way comments are handled. While many are now using the new commenting system, if I have to jump through hoops to leave a comment, such as clicking a link that takes me to a page without the blog post on it, I won’t comment any more unless I’m desperate. I hate it that much.
- Selling WordPress Stuff: I don’t mind bloggers who promote themselves legitimately as WordPress experts or offer WordPress Themes or Plugins for pay. I will not, however, participate on a blog that violates the WordPress trademark on the domain name or sells itself as the paid solution to all your WordPress needs. You know who you are.
Some of these reasons not to comment are biased and prejudice, but they cross my mind as I look at a blog and contemplate commenting. I don’t care about the mythology of nofllow and dofollow as an incentive to comment. I don’t comment for SEO link juice. I comment for purpose. I comment for conversation.
While I may sigh and whine about poorly designed comment boxes, I will still comment if the motivation is there, even if I’m given only two lines within the comment box textarea. I lose motivation the harder I have to work to comment, though.
There are a lot of reasons not to comment on a blog, and these are some of mine. What are yours? What stops you from leaving a comment on a blog?
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.