Why I comment
I comment because of various reasons and you probably share them, but at times I don’t comment even though these reasons are present. But first the reasons. They are broadly four:
- I feel strongly about something
- I learnt something from reading the post and want to convey my appreciation
- I like the way the writer has taken a mundane subject and made it interesting and/or funny
- I feel like sharing my own experience
But this doesn’t mean that I always comment if one of the above reasons is present. I may not comment because I don’t feel comfortable commenting. I may not feel comfortable commenting for many reasons and an important one is if the writer does not have a clear persona that comes through. Sure, a face helps but that’s not critical. Some sort of a name, even if it’s a nickname helps. It’s not so much the name or even the face as much as getting a sense of who the person is. And no I don’t mean temperament because it’s rare that a blogger reveals all aspects of his/her personality or temperament on the blog. When I say getting the sense of who the blogger is I mean in terms of thought process. Approximate age, gender, and occupation and education helps fix this in my mind.
But why does it influence my commenting? Let me give some examples. If a person writes a post advocating violence, I would prefer to know if he/she is part of any organized gang or violent group. This isn’t as bizarre as it sounds…because I’m sure even Naxalites blog! O.K, this is an extreme example because a Naxalite cannot possibly say he is a Naxalite as he will go to jail. However if this person is writing under his/her own name, there are less chances of subterfuge.
If a person writes about loneliness and that person is 14, it surely has a different connotation than if the person is single and 40 and what I comment will depend greatly on that.
Now take a person is addicted to drugs who writes a post advocating free use…ohh oh. Another case of a drug addict never revealing it as he/she could go to jail. But that’s exactly what I mean. If I don’t know the person’s identity and that person is advocating free use of drugs and not mentioning anything about whether he uses drugs, then I might not feel comfortable commenting.
Overall, blogging under one’s real persona helps commentators get a handle on commenting. One doesn’t want to be completely off the mark!
At times even if I am comfortable with the amount I know about the author I may not comment and this is usually because of two reasons, and again I am sure many people share these reasons:
- I don’t read the blog regularly
- I read the blog but haven’t read that particular post/posts of the author
- I have read the post but have nothing to say
I don’t read the blog regularly!! Why ever not? Well, I can read only so many blogs and no more.
I read the blog but haven’t read the post or posts!! Why ever not? Well, it could be because of lack of time on that particular day/days or because the title or subject doesn’t interest me. Or perhaps the post is not written by that person at all…for example a person may publish a poem by a well known poet on his/her blog (with acknowledgement ofcourse). I don’t feel like commenting on such posts. I can’t even get myself to even read or skim over them.
At times I may not read the post/posts because the subject matter does not hold my attention. And no, this doesn’t reflect on the author. The post may be written very well indeed. Why, some of my best written posts have attracted few comments so I know that unless the subject is interesting to the reader or unless he wants to get into the kind of depth I have done, he/she won’t read it. An article on rare manuscripts for instance could perhaps only attract a comment from someone in the field. He/she would have something to say. I have several commentators who comment according to subject. Some only comment on my movie posts, some only on my culture posts and so on. I don’t expect them to deviate from their pattern…if they do I am happy though!
You mean, I won’t bother to read the post even for a blogger friend?
No. I cannot force myself to read something, just like I cannot force myself to eat something! And one thing I hate doing is skimming over a post and writing something after reading the first two lines and the last two lines.
If I have written silly comments at times it’s because I so badly want to say something to the author but actually have nothing to say! But I say it anyway, because I want the author to know that I’ve read that post and liked it. This last I don’t mind doing, but only if I have read the post. I may not have understood it fully, but if I commented, it means I read it.
Which brings me to the second reason why I don’t comment (at times) – I have nothing to say! I think I should practice this more often but if I read the post I am tempted to comment. Being a talkative person in real life, I like to say something, even if it’s nonsense! But yeah, I am trying to resist saying something for the sake of it. But like I said, at times I simply want my blogger friend to know that I’m around! Net friendship is a two-way process after all.
But what about this whole thing of “return” comments? It makes me uncomfortable even though it is a reality of blog life. If I like a post a lot or immediately relate to it or I want to share something, I will comment irrespective of whether the blogger comments on my blog or not. But at the same time let me say that if a blogger is taking the time to read my blog everyday and also comments on almost every post of mine, I will tend to visit that person’s blog…it’s something called socialisation. It takes effort to spend those few minutes of your time to read someone’s blog, think of something to say and then say it and if someone is making that effort I appreciate it highly.
The fact that someone comments regularly on my blog does influence me, but it does not control me.
However if I remain clueless about the person’s real persona and that person has a blog, I will avoid commenting anyway, whether that person comes to my blog or not. I have the utmost respect for that person, just that I don’t feel comfortable commenting.
About comments on my own blog, like most people, I prefer polite commentators. While I delete most comments with personal insinuations, at times I have kept rude comments and have answered them in kind. Yes, being rude to a regular commentator can also mean that the commentator may cease to be a commentator but that’s okay with me. I don’t like bullshit.
On the other hand I have had commentators who have been very sporting when I give a rude answer to their own rude comment and they have not left me. They know who they are and I thank them! Blogging is after all like a game and repartee is not to be taken so seriously! If the commentator has chosen his words unwisely he/she has to be prepared for an answer. I am not talking of actual disagreement here, because disagreement can be worded well…I am talking of rudeness.
I don’t like commentators who stop commenting on my blog because I have failed to comment on their several posts. I never behave in this petty manner and expect others to respect my time and my reading preferences.
I also don’t like it when commentators write comments under false pretences. For example, if I write a post criticizing Narendra Modi then I want to be sure that the person defending Modi is not a party member or someone from their PR cell. If I write a post condemning hoarding proliferation, I would like to know if the commentator is a hoarding contractor. If I write a post on the dowry law being misused, I would like to know if the person writing a I-hate-women comment has been a victim of the dowry law. On the posts mentioned above I have had commentators with a hidden agenda. Its perfectly natural to have an agenda, but if someone has a hidden agenda, I feel very uncomfortable. Most of these people are not regular commentators but come to my blog from google search. They leave just one comment and never return.
In conclusion I want to say that it’s wonderful to get comments, and its also wonderful to comment. We all enjoy it but at the same time I think at times we all get too serious!
Note: This post was inspired after reading Reema’s blogging observations
(Photo taken of me by my husband at Chennai airport about 4 months ago and yeah, I was blogging!)
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