Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why Ignore Comments on Your Posts? -- OS Meta Issue

First published, Open Salon, APRIL 5, 2010 9:22PM

Note to Blogspot readers: this is a meta post relative to an Open Salon issue.

I wrote on this subject back in January, 2009 and it drew quite a large number of comments, and has had over 2000 page reads, so it is a subject that others here on Open Salon think about.

I have been trying to read OS posts more lately, at least most of the posts that people notify me they have posted, and I find, once again, a large number of people are neglecting comments, raising for me the same question I raised over 14 months ago.

I would like some feedback. I don't expect agreement. But I would really like to know WHY, if we choose to keep comments open, we would take the time to write and then have people take the time to read and comment, but then the writer chooses to not reply to those comments, or choose to reply to a select few and ignore the others, or never bother to come back to the comments on their posts that come after the day it was posted.

This is not an issue if the post really isn't seeking comments but is just seeking approval, where you can comment "I agree. Good post." or something like that.

But when a commenter spends time actually reading and pondering what seems to be a serious post that deserves comment, and writes a sincere comment then for the poster to never reply, or to reply to some comments and totally ignore others seems both strange and impolite to me. Yes, I have done that and so has everyone. But I have never intentionally done it and if someone calls me on it I immediately apologize. I'm not concerned with a mistake. I am concerned with what seems to be a pattern.

At any one time I may have ten bookmarked posts that I go back to see if the poster replied to my comment or any others. I leave those bookmarks up for 3 days. If the poster doesn't comment in that time I delete the bookmark and move on. In recent weeks, about half of the bookmarked posts have had no reply at all from the poster to any comments by anyone, not even a generic "thank you" reply. Others have chosen to respond to a few comments, ignoring other equally serious and thoughtful comments.

What I just don't understand is that if the subject of the post was important enough to take the time to write it wouldn't you think that you wanted to get some comments on it?; and if you didn't want comments or were going to ignore them then why not just close comments immediately when you post?

I am well aware that comments are left open by professional writers on Salon, HuffPo, Newsweek, etc. and those authors seldom reply. But OS is really not filled with paid authors, and, interestingly, those I know here, and there are a few professional writers who write here as a member of this community, and they DO respond to comments. So it is NOT that the professionals don't reply. The vast majority who have blogs here do. They understand that there is a community aspect to OS that implies courtesy and civility when interacting with their readers.

Let's discuss this again now that some time has passed and many new members are posting. Maybe it doesn't happen to you, or you don't care. Whatever your take on this, your serious and considered comment is welcomed.

My hope is that community, courtesy, and civility on OS can remain the standard, and not become the exception.


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