Dr. Adam Avitable knows all.

Why I Comment On Your Blog

[Edited to add intro]

I have over 600 blogs in my feedreader, which means that at any given moment there are at least 20 new posts popping up. If I had the ability, I’d comment on every single post, because I feel like it’s the sense of community that blogging creates when people read and comment (as long as you don’t fucking comment on my post via Twitter. I hate that).

Since I can’t comment on every post that shows up, though, I still make an effort to comment when I can (if I have your blog in my feedreader, that is). And, being the meticulous control freak that I am, I make lists:

Things that will make me comment on your post:

  • Your post made me laugh.
  • You’re one of my closest friends.
  • I noticed that you’re experiencing a birthday, anniversary or other event.
  • I read your blog for the first time ever.
  • I have something I consider worth saying.
  • I’ve been reading for awhile and haven’t commented recently.
  • You wrote something that blew my mind.
  • You’re having a contest AND you’re someone I read regularly.
  • You’re a ninja, or you purport to know a ninja.
  • You’re a celebrity and all I want is for you to come over to my blog out of curiosity. *ahem* Zach Braff and Allison Mack.
  • You’ve said something particularly stupid, hateful, or ignorant.
  • You call the cops to my house because you’re insane.
  • I saw a tweet of yours that made me laugh.
  • You linked to me in a post and I wanted to acknowledge my appreciation for the link.
  • I cleaned out my feedreader and your post happened to show up and I had some free time.

Things that will discourage me from commenting on your post:

  • Wordless Wednesday.
  • You email me and ask me to read your blog.
  • Every comment you leave includes a link to your blog in the actual comment.
  • You send passive-aggressive tweets about your posts.
  • You think I’m elitist because I haven’t commented on your blog but don’t have the balls to talk to me about it.
  • It’s difficult to comment on your blog, thanks to moderation, Typepad, Haloscan, Disqus or captchas.
  • You close your blog every three weeks and reopen it a week later.
  • You seem less interested in the interaction and community of blogging and more interested in promoting something or getting attention.
  • Your post is password protected and I have to email to get the password.
  • Every post is about how you haven’t been blogging.
  • You’re really fucking boring.
  • Every post is rife with spelling and grammatical errors.
  • I read your post on my phone.

Things that will have no effect on my desire to comment or not comment:

  • You comment on my post.
  • You tweet your post fourteen times.
  • I disagree with your opinions.
  • You post ten times a day.
  • You post once a month.
  • You don’t reply to comments.
  • You do reply to comments.
  • Your posts are 2,000 words long.
  • I like you as a person.
  • Your blog is hosted by Blogger.

What makes you want to comment or makes you want to stay away? And do you think I’m way too anal retentive for my own good?

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152 Replies to “Why I Comment On Your Blog”

  1. Miss Grace

    Hang on I’m about to email you to ask you to comment (via disqus) on my Wordless Wednesday post (which is a photographic representation about why I haven’t been blogging).
    Since you’re some kind of bigshot asshole who’s too good to comment on my blog.

    Oh and here’s my blog cuz this post TOTES reminds me of my blog! http://www.missdisgrace.com! SUPER PLEASE STOP BY! KTHXBAI!

  2. Amanda

    Wow you think a lot more about this than I do. Generally if I think of a comment while I’m reading it in my feedreader I’ll click and comment. If I have to think about to leave a comment, I usually don’t, unless it’s a serious and/or important post

  3. Meg

    I’m with you on the “too hard to fucking leave a comment” thing. Makes me want to stab them through the monitor.

    Wordless Wednesdays don’t bother me so much until some dumb fuck decides to add a caption. Wordless is the key, right?

  4. Breigh

    You don’t comment on my blog! Now I need to figure out which one (or oh god, multiple things!) I am on your list haha

    I’m not a huge commenter. Some people are super active on loads of different blogs, comment all the time etc. I just often don’t feel the connection and don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say, or just am too lazy.

    I read many many more blogs than I comment on. Most probably don’t even know I’m there reading at all.

  5. Dave2

    If somebody has something interesting or unique to say, I want to comment… don’t always have the time to comment, but I want to. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree… it doesn’t matter if I like it or don’t like it… it doesn’t matter if it’s funny or serious… as somebody who blogs every day, I know how difficult it can be to come up with something fresh, and so I like to comment on it when I can.

    What keeps me from commenting most is exactly what you said – “You seem less interested in the interaction and community of blogging and more interested in promoting something or getting attention.” – of course, if this is regularly the case, I won’t read the blog to begin with, but yeah.

  6. Overflowing Brain (Katie)

    I comment if: I actually had time to read a blog and still have the energy and brain cells left with which to construct mostly grammatically correct or witty sentences about the blog post.

    OR, I’m really bored and trying to avoid doing work.

    I have high standards, basically.

  7. Kim

    You don’t comment on my blog. Hell, you don’t even read my worthless tripe. ( I stole that from you) I don’t blame you, my blog is depressing and sucktackular. ; )

    But your humor, your mangina and love of all things girly keep me coming back to you, my hairy Internet friend.

    Plus the fact I am so totally excited to see you drunk on wine at BlogHer in a few months. While I video.

    PS and I have linked to you, fucker!!

  8. Karin

    I agree with most of your list. I especially hate when I get to a Blogger blog and it won’t let me leave ANYTHING that isn’t related to Google in the reply fields. I comment when I actually take the time to weed through my overloaded Google Reader. Sometimes.

  9. B.E. Earl

    I totally know some ninjas.

    The one and only reason that I comment on anyone’s blog is because I want to. I’ve never felt compelled to leave a comment. If I get down to the comment form and I have to think of a something to say, then I just move on.

    You know what I really love? And this has happened to me several times. When someone lets me know via comment or email that they are feeling slighted because I haven’t commented on their blog in a while. That always works for me! /sarcasm

  10. Lisa

    I comment if I have something to say. I try not to leave useless comments. I don’t comment on every post a person writes for that very reason. I read most blogs on my iPhone and if it’s too hard, like you said, I will most likely give it a pass.

    Lately I’ve been a real slacker on the commenting, but I’m still kind of in hermit mode. I need to fix that.

    • Avitable

      @Shawna, heh. I don’t care if someone has a Blogger blog. I think if you’re going to blog professionally or do it more than a hobby, you should invest in your own domain and host, but that’s it.

  11. Lauren

    I love Blogger goddammit. WordPress is too hard for my tiny brain. At least I don’t have Disqus. If your blog uses Disqus I won’t comment because it takes too fucking long.

  12. Jen the Trephinist

    I comment when I have something to say, and that’s about it.

    I’m most frequently discouraged from commenting when someone obviously wants validation. If you’re clearly fishing for a compliment, I immediately suffer some fit of contrarianism wherein I would rather be tied to an underwater stake just under the surface, given only a straw to breathe through, and then slowly eaten by a small group of especially languorous piranhas than feed your addiction by complimenting you in any way. That probably makes me an asshole, but what can I say? I don’t like feeling manipulated.

  13. Blondefabulous

    Well, you’ve been by a few times and that’s enough for me. I figure, people will comment if they wanna. I can’t force them to make witty observations about my crappy blogger blog. I didn’t know you had such a process for deciding to comment though. Whew, I was tired just reading it!

  14. SciFi Dad

    Wow… with a Disqus enabled blog on Blogger, it’s a wonder I’m even in your feed reader (I think I am, based on a comment when my kid turned five).

    I agree with the content-related stuff (grammar, length, etc.), as well as the emailing or other passive aggressive stuff, but I’m not so picky about platforms.

  15. avatgardener

    Comment-ors comment on contentious column.


    Alliterative AvaT appreciates Adam Avitable’s attempts.


    Mental masterbation motivates mewling of masses.

  16. Robin

    About all those are the same for me. I like that you see blogging pretty much the same way as me, it’s about community. I hate when people try to make it out as some popularity contest, I know for myself it’s about having a connection with people, even if it’s brief.

  17. pixielation

    I don’t have enough time to post on all the blogs that show up in my reader – often I am so backlogged I’ll read the most recent few rather than all the unread ones for a certain blog.

    I agree with some your list of things that make you comment, although the cops coming round have never been a problem I’ve experienced!

    My reasons are mainly:
    It made me laugh.
    It was about something that’s happened to me too
    It was about something I feel strongly about
    It had gorgeous photos in that I simply had to comment on

    I will also post if I realise that I’ve not really commented on anything lately, but you’re generally a blog that I want to keep, plus I am more likley to comment if you’re someone who blogs less frequently. Or – to turn that on its head, people who just spew forth so much blog fodder get far less comments from me, as I can’t quite cope with reading it all!

    If I find that there is nothing I ever want to comment on, I delete it from my google reader. I just deleted about 12 blogs when culled my unread post count from 1000+ down to zero over the weekend.

    The reasons for not commenting are simple – if it didn’t fulfil any of the criteria above, I don’t have anything to say. If I didn’t even get to the end then I especially don’t care to comment. That could be because it’s self absorbed twaddle, poorly written, mundane daily minutiae that I really don’t give a fig about. It could also be a review or a giveaway or blatant marketing, as they turn me off too most of the time. I don’t read random ramblings that start with how you’ve not blogged for ages.

    I also don’t comment if I’m a bit late to the party, unless the list of reasons to comment are overwhelming. And if there are already hundreds of comments, then I often don’t add mine in, since I don’t really think anyone will read it.

    But there are also blogs that I never comment on despite reading all the time and loving – generally ones where all the comments are something like “Ha Ha, very funny.” But if they had a “like it!” button, then I’d click that!

  18. NYCWD

    You don’t like Disqus? Really???

    I think it’s one of the best commenting systems out there.

    But then again, I only comment anymore if I am shocked, dismayed, or have something substantial to actually say.

    Can you guess which reason is why I’m commenting???

  19. muskrat

    i read a fair amount from my phone while in traffic, so commenting is hard and time consuming. i don’t have a formula of sorts like you do. but then again, there are lots of things you do that i choose not to do.

  20. Refugee from Reason

    Murray Burns (A Thousand Clowns): “Tell you the truth, it’s even a little better for me if he goes. I mean, he’s a middle-aged kid. When I signed up with the network he sat up all night figuring out the fringe benefits and the pension plan. And he started to make lists this year. Lists of everything; subway stops, underwear, what he’s gonna do next week. If somebody doesn’t watch out he’ll start making lists of what he’s gonna do next year and for the next ten years. Hey, suppose they put him with a whole family of list makers. I didn’t spend six years with him so he should turn into a list maker. He’ll learn to know everything before it happens, he’ll learn to plan, he’ll learn how to be one of the nice dead people. Are you listening?”

  21. JD at I Do Things

    I comment because I love the sound of my own voice (yes, I speak the comment out loud as I type it), but I also have 3 tiers of commenting . . . tiers: (1) I freaking love your blog and you write interesting/provocative/funny posts, (2) You are a blogger friend and I like supporting you by reading and commenting, and (3)I don’t really know you, but I liked a particular post and wanted to chime in, even tho I may never see you again.

  22. OHmommy

    Ever since I got a “smartphone” I’ve found myself reading more on-the-go (when waiting in the school pick-car line) and commenting less. Then I always star the posts I want to comment on but life gets in the way.

    It’s very hard for me to comment. I’m no different from anyone else. Everyone is busy. But the phone is what killed it for me.

  23. Grant

    I am more likely to comment if the person comments on my blog, also for reasons of community. It doesn’t feel like a community if all the communication is one way. If you’re an idiot, I usually either drop the blog from my reader or just read in silence. I don’t have any desire to deal with bigots or twats, but it’s sometimes interesting to see how others think. Bunny is definitely a plus.

  24. Mandi Bone

    I always have low self esteem when it comes to my writing. I think that everyone is going to laugh at me for what my comments say. I try to comment on people’s writing I really like. Or if I know someone is having a hard time I try to leave a comment of support.

  25. Jay

    I keep trying to tell people who use things like Disqus or Bloggers embed comment box that the harder they make it for people to comment, the fewer comments they’ll get. Very few of them will listen to me.

    Also, I have one person who thinks that announcing a new blog post on both Twitter and Facebook isn’t enough. She now emails everyone when she has a new post up. I haven’t commented on her blog in a week. Hope she gets the message.

  26. Sheila

    I comment because I’m a horrible friend who, while she has time at work to read and comment on blogs, I don’t really have time outside of work for phone time or anything like that. Unless it’s like super important…then you should just call me and tell me to stop being so selfish.

    When I go through a “no comment” phase it’s not because I’m not reading, I’m just not so into making my voice heard….until the emails from people begging me to comment on their blog start rolling in. Then I’m all over that.

  27. Stacey

    Hard to please , much ?

    Seriously though, I love receiving comments but I’m a lousy commenter lately. Mostly I comment when something moves me to do so whether it’s because it’s funny, the person is a friend, or I just think I have something to add.

    • Avitable

      @Stacey, I think that a lot of blog traffic comes from commenting when you find something interesting. Some of those people may find their way to your blog. Some won’t, but that’s okay too.

  28. Sybil Law

    You’re definitely way too anal retentive for your own good.
    That said, my reasons are generally the same as yours, except a lot of times I simply don’t have the internet time to devote to reading or commenting.

  29. Zanthera

    I don’t have many blogs in my reader but I still end up only commenting when I feel moved to do so. I hate making common crappy comments. I have to say more than just “I like,” “Ha ha funny!.” etc.

    I do have to admit I get floored when you comment on mine once in a blue moon. Quantity don’t bother me but quality is awesome.

  30. Elizabeth Kaylene

    I can’t stand when people think that, just because they read your blog, you are automatically going to start reading and commenting on their blog.

    And holy shit, six-hundred blogs in your feed reader? I have thirty-one! Not to mention that a third of the blogs in my reader I added on a whim and aren’t interested in anymore. I’m always weeding out my feed reader because I’m always impulsively adding new blogs or getting tired of old ones. (Cough, people who do nothing but promote things, cough!)

      • Elizabeth Kaylene

        @Avitable, I just scroll through it and ask myself, “Have I read this blog in the last couple of weeks? Why?” If it’s because I’m just not interested, it goes. I also weed people out if they don’t update for months at a time. If we’re meant to stay in contact, we’ll stay in contact in other ways. I just hate having a billion subscriptions that I don’t read. It’s like having magazines piling up at your house… Maybe I’m OCD.

  31. Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    So JD at I Do Things sent me over here (and that would sound so grammatically wrong if we didn’t know what that meant) and I gotta say, you make some salient points. Valid points? Poignant points? Whatever. Anyway, I don’t think you’re too anal retentive, but then it’s all relative, because I totally ride that bus myself.

    And my Google Reader taunts me and makes me feel bad, like a Vanity Fair magazine, with it’s “you have 1000+” indicator. I can’t keep up with it to save my life.

    But enough about me, do you like Chunky Monkey ice cream?

  32. Tracy Lynn

    I comment when I read a blog I like for the first time, or if I have something to say. Otherwise, nope. I do occasionally respond to comments on my blog, but by email, and again only if I have something to say.
    Or, in your case, when I am seriously appalled.

  33. thepsychobabble

    Wordless Wednesday-Hey, if you’re being wordless, than I can be, too…right?
    I don’t usually do WW, because I can’t shut my mouth that long.

    And the reading posts on my phone one, that stops me from commenting a lot of the time. Not because I don’t want to, but because it’s too difficult, or sometimes the site won’t even let me comment from my phone.

  34. J from Ireland

    I don’t always comment on all the blogs I read, only the ones that make me laugh, think, cry and have lovely pics. Although, I do feel a loyality to the bloggers who reply to comments now and again. I comment here the most because you always make me laugh and you remind me of my brother, a total perv with a heart of gold and a funny fucker too, just like you!!

  35. Stacey

    Ideally I comment because I think I have something intelligent to add, but let’s be honest about how often THAT happens.

    Mostly I think I comment to let a blogger know, “Hey, I read your posts and want you to know that I care about what you have to say.”

  36. Stone Fox

    600 blogs? fuck. i think i’ve got 45 and i can’t keep up.

    i’ll comment when i have something to say. although sometimes i feel the same way as Stacey above with the whole, “i liked what you wrote,” but i can never think of a good way to put that as a comment without sounding generic.

  37. Katie

    People actually comment on your blog via TWITTER? That’s so friggin’ lame.

    Your best reason? “You’re really fucking boring”. I literally snorted my coffee everywhere and hot coffee coming out your nose really hurts.

  38. Jen

    Over 600? Cripes. I read maybe 100 tops and I have a hard time keeping up with that many. I don’t comment nearly as often as I should. It’s a combination of not having anything particularly interesting to say and suffering from a rather severe case of blog neurosis. I worry that when I comment people are going to think I’m only doing it so that they’ll visit my blog and that’s not the case but I don’t want people to THINK that so I just don’t say anything at all. It makes perfect sense.

  39. mountainmomma18

    I like this list- I tend to not comment if I don’t have anything to say or add to the conversation- otherwise it feels forced- like I am commenting just to comment- also if the person thinks glen beck is a genius cause some things can not be fixed.

  40. Sandi

    I am horrible about leaving comments. I usually read posts from my reader and either the blogs are blocked by the firewall or I get distracted and run out of time to click through and leave a comment. I never expect people to leave comments on my blog just because I left a comment on theirs. I’m fairly sure that my blog would be of zero interest to you but I love reading yours! (seriously this is not a passive way of trying to ask you to comment. I blog about my kids, BORING!)

    What makes me not comment? When I have nothing of value to add. I don’t think leaving a “lol, me too” adds anything to the discussion.

    What makes me comment? When something that was written really speaks to me. When you’ve made me laugh. I don’t know, isn’t that the magic thing that every writer is trying to capture?

  41. martymankins

    That pretty much defines and breaks it all down without question.

    On one of your “why I don’t” reasons, I do try to keep down the number of “why I haven’t blogged in a while” posts to about 3 per year. Even I tire of those, but like to explain when It’s been more than 2 weeks since I posted.

  42. Issa

    I have to agree on a lot of those. The tweeting the same post four days later is just plain dumb.

    I’d like to add, I comment when I want, how I want and without regard to how cool or uncool you are or think you may be. If I have something to say, I will say it. When I have time at least. I don’t care if a person is Dooce or someone with one blog post who no one knows.

    Oh and there are very few people who I’ll not delete from my reader if they go to titles only. It annoys me. I have maybe two left who do that. I love them enough to overlook it.

  43. kateanon

    I think it’s awesome the way people comment on your blog. Which leads me to believe you comment too and foster the blogging community you’re a part of. I have slipped in and out of certain blogging circles and miss the comments, but I try to remember that I blog for me, and even if no one reads or comments, I am OK.

    I admire that you comment. I’ve been bad – I blame it on Google Reader and not having to go to each and every site. Laziness.

    • Avitable

      @kateanon, I do try to comment as well. I think that it’s good to contribute to the community as much as possible. Did you know that there are extensions you can install with Firefox that will let you see the full site in Google Reader and comment and everything?

  44. mapsgirl

    I’m pretty sure I fall into to one or more of those categories on your list. Oh, well. I’ll continue to read and comment on your blog because you make me laugh and I look forward to your posts.

  45. Loukia

    I HATE when people comment on blog posts on Twitter, too! The point of my tweeting about my new post is so you can GO TO MY NEW POST, read it, and COMMENT there. Sigh. They’ll never understand!

    Great post, well said, on every level.

  46. Faiqa

    /for douches

    No, actually I agree with everything up there… I’d add one thing to the list describing why I would comment on a blog: “I comment on Adam’s blog regularly because he has a fragile ego and will either cry himself to sleep at night or get back at me in some weird passive aggressive way that I won’t even notice but will feel like some sort of ‘win’ to him.”

    Heh. I’m awesome. Admit it.

  47. Darla

    I won’t read someone’s blog if I NEVER EVER feel compelled to comment. Or if I feel like I am going to get bitch-slapped by a gang of immature people if I make a respectful comment that doesn’t go along with mainstream thinking. I also won’t read someone’s blog if it only shows partial feeds in my reader (which sounds like it has nothing to do with commenting – but if someone can’t get me to even READ their stuff I’m certainly not going to comment).

  48. Megan

    I lurk a lot. I don’t intend to lurk, but my reader has been stuck at 1000+ posts forever and I keep adding stuff to it because I’m either stupid or ridiculously optimistic.

    I do comment when something really strikes me though – like this conversation. I think the ability to comment and the potential exchange between the writer and the reader is one of the things that makes blogging so cool. It’s also maddening, though. I toss up a picture of my new shoes and I get a bunch of comments. I write something thoughtful and no comments. I should probably just blog about shoes.

    I will also comment on the blogs of people who comment on mine a lot. I feel like that’s part of the deal – being part of the community. We all love comments, so I try to reciprocate whenever I can.

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