Comments – Necessary or merely fluff?

Over at TDB, we hold the belief that the review site is a resource not necessarily an interactive community. It’s nice to have those communities, blogs and sites where you can gather, chit chat and comment back and forth. However, over there we wanted more so a repository of reviews for people to reference and use in their book buying instead of a site that requires a lot of time, effort, and comments. Nothing bad with either one and there is room for both.

Part of the reason for this is that is how I set up my initial LJ site. I never counted on getting readers nor did I really target a lot of readership and promotion. I definitely saw an increase in comments on opinion topics and occasionally someone would pop over to comment on reviews – usually a fellow reviewer if I’d been diligent about commenting on their site in a kind of quid pro quo. That’s fine and actually allowed me to post or not post depending on my own time and interest. I continued to post reviews almost every day.

That same philosophy carries over to the WP site and I do enjoy comments. It’s nice that someone cares enough to say something but a trend I find among a lot of blogs are that reviews don’t get a lot of comments. There are the huge meta sites that are more communities and offer so many posts that people tend to comment on absolutely everything. These are very interactive sites with tons of visitors, massive book giveaways and so on.

For those of us along the blog reviewing trend, several may get comments on the daily fun posts or the opinion pieces but even their reviews get few comments. Some reviewers have said on twitter that if they don’t get comments, they feel like they’ve failed. I would have given up by now if I felt that way (no snickering from the peanut gallery).

I have to applaud those that carefully tailor their content to be the easiest, the most attractive and the most thought provoking to garner attention and furthermore comments. That’s a special kind of effort and dedication. For my little corner of the world, I’m happy if people stop by, if you want to comment, go at it. If you’re too busy I get that. I can barely keep up with my google reader list (often has 400+ unread posts) so I understand and appreciate people are too busy.

Thank you to anyone who’s taken the time to comment and if you haven’t, well you don’t get cookies but thank you for viewing anyway.
Oh and if you’re some of those who were searching for “Justin Timberlake accident” – you’re SO in the wrong place.

16 thoughts on “Comments – Necessary or merely fluff?

  1. I’m happy if people stop by, if you want to comment, go at it. If you’re too busy I get that.

    That’s pretty much it for me. I know real life has a way of interfering and sometimes you just have nothing to say. I do try to comment on sites of people I know because I like them to know that someone is reading it. LOL I never check my stats on my own site so I have no clue how many hits I get. I check BE on occassion just to see what our average is and when it goes WAY up, or drops.

    WordPress is handy because it lets you see views which means someone is actually reading it. Although with ours not having a “cut” you can just come to the main page and then read everything, you don’t have to click on the post itself.

    I don’t really worry about that stuff. Comment or not. No one was supposed to find my blog since it was meant to keep track of books for a challenge I was in and you were supposed to link to the organizer. Then people found me and the pressure was on. LOL But I’m the chatty type blog, less the review type and BE is the review type and while we sometimes chat it’s more focused on the work. However Jen did that one post about cross-dressing weeks ago and it’s still one of our most popular posts for hits in a week. People like those kind of think pieces even if they don’t comment after the fact.

    • Yea sometimes I wonder why people get all riled up about comments. Thankfully I’m usually too addicted to whatever my latest obsession is to care about my blog hits/comments.

      I do read many, many other blogs but I don’t tend to comment very much. I find I’d rather just read and move on since to comment you have to come up with something witty or interesting to say. I find that I tend to be somewhat superficial sometimes “great review!” when really what I want to say is “thank you for taking the time and effort.” Not all reviews are “great” but I want to acknowledge the time and effort. So I end up not commenting at all, which is probably worse.

      I find I get TONS of hit on controversial topics and if I had the energy I’d come up with one every week but I’m really in it just to read and have fun. When I’m inspired something will be posted. Otherwise, hit up tumblr.. fabulous waste of time.

  2. I lurk more than I comment. Always have. 🙂 I do find myself responding to posts via Twitter reasonably often, especially if I think the topic is something interesting or I think is important… as we are doing right now re: goodreads. LOL.

    • You get a bunch of traffic and comments. Not only because of the content but your site is very popular (as it should be!). I was referring more to smaller sites, like mine with my 3 readers.

  3. I post reviews on Fridays and those posts get consistently less comments than any of the others. It seems to be a trend – maybe because you’re not actually asking readers for an opinion like you might with other posts.

    It can be hard to think up good comments, and sometimes I just don’t have time. Sometimes I’m reading while my daughter is pulling on my arm and I have no chance of actually typing anything without her adding ut4rlkgkjdfnh’pfgbosdpkdcnvb in the middle of my comment…

    • Exactly. I also think that reviews just aren’t that interesting to the average reader unless they have a reason to read it. If they were curious about the book, it caught their attention, etc. Otherwise even your regular readers may not comment.

      I personally don’t have an issue with that.. I’m a review site that occasionally posts other stuff. But I find the trend interesting.

  4. I don’t get many comments for reviews and I think it’s just that people have nothing to say. To be honest what can you say for a review?

    1. I will buy this book based on your review.
    2. I won’t buy this book based on your review.
    3. I’ve read this book and agree with you.
    4. I’ve read this book and don’t agree with you.
    5. I’m a fan/friend of the author whose book you’ve just reviewed and didn’t like, and I hate you.


    Actually the best comments I get for reviews are those which promote discussion about the book’s good and bad points but that tends to happen more on Good Reads than my blog, which is fine.

    I like the idea that TDBR is mainly a resource for people who are looking for books to buy. Have you considered just closing down the comments section there?

    • We have and actually we were going to do that because the goal for us was never to promote and illicit comments. It’s a resource not a community site. However in the end we figured there was nothing wrong if someone wanted to comment (it’s led to some very interesting conversations and a few authors behaving badly) but we’ve tried to make it clear we don’t expect it at all.

      I agree that GR is a place that seems to spark book discussion, which I love. I really considered just shutting down my blog entirely when I left LJ and only posting on GR. If I could figure out how to do blog posts there, I likely would have.

  5. wren says:

    Hi Kassa! I just wanted you to know that I get your blog on my reader and try to keep up that way, and you’re right – if I can’t think of something clever to say, I might not comment. So. Um. Hi!!!

    • Thank you for keeping up! Don’t worry about commenting. I’m the same way. I keep up with everyone’s blog (all the commenters here and the usual blog crew) but I feel pressure to think of something everyone else hasn’t said and usually I’m fresh out! So I think “great post” and sometimes I post that but gah what a horrible comment lol. Don’t feel pressure to comment but ty for doing so.


  6. I pretty much only put up reviews on my site and it’s pretty small so I don’t get much traffic. I love getting comments – it’s nice to know someone’s paid a little attention!! I’m probably just a likely to comment on a review as anything else, particularly if I’ve read the book or I’m thinking about reading it.

    I used to think little comments like “thx for the rec” were kind of a waste of time but since I’ve had my own blog I’ve appreciated even that, so I try to comment where I can. You know, karma.

    • Yea sometimes I’m the same way. So nice that someone reads it (and not a bot)!

      It’s funny how your perception of what’s meaningful changes when you start to notice your own comments. I do try to stretch myself to comment during times when I’m not crazy busy. When I am that busy, I feel bad I don’t comment but I try to make it up. I wish I had something clever and fun to say each time.

      There has to be a comment generator somewhere.

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