Y is for whY so shY?

I admit, I’m taking liberties with the Y. But then I’ve also been taking liberties with the AtoZ Challenge by posting multiple letters a day because I’ve been behind for the past week or so. Today (the second last day of the Challenge!) I want to better understand why people do – or don’t – comment on blogs.

Given the number of blogs out there – especially science-specific ones – my blog is doing marginally alright. I average about 10 pageviews a day, with about 40 pageviews per post (30 posts and a total of just under 1200 views). I think this is okay, seeing as I’ve only been blogging since the end of January, but I don’t really have anything to compare it to except some random numbers in my head.

What interests me, though, is the comment to pageview ratio (had to make it a technical term). Most posts generate no comments whatsoever. Even the post with the most pageviews (>100) only generated two comments – and one was from my mom (not that your comments don’t count Mom!).

Bora Zivkovic, science communicator/blogger/tweeter extraordinaire, recently posted on Google+ about commenting on articles. He suggests that people are no longer afraid of being embarrassed and will post random blog comments after merely reading a blog title or just skimming the text, with no sense of context or knowledge of the writer’s previous work. As a blog moderator, sounds like he has a lot of crap to deal with.

For my blog, I’m not too worried if someone has an off-the-cuff comment. Sometimes what jumps out at a reader is more indicative of what’s missing from the blog post, rather than what the reader is getting wrong. If you haven’t clearly set up your argument, or are missing a key piece of information, then even someone just skimming the post can pick that up. Alternatively, a random comment can be about the small part of the article that made an impression on the reader. Either way, comments can provide some perspective on what you’ve posted.

I mainly see a blog as a way to create conversation, to connect ideas and thoughts into the larger community who provide feedback and generate discussion. The lack of comments suggests I’m doing a better job at killing than creating conversation. 😦 Trouble is, I’m not sure how to improve this.

So here’s your chance to comment. What prompts you to comment – or not? How can this blog encourage more comments? How do you engage your blog readers in commenting?

See you tomorrow for Z!

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3 thoughts on “Y is for whY so shY?

  1. Hello from a fellow A to Z Challenger! Excellent post, and for whatever it’s worth, here’s my list.I’m less likely to comment if:1. The site uses the annoying CAPTCHA feature that is more of a hindrance than a help. Spam is an issue, but it happens less often than people think and can be easily dealt with.2. The post is too short to stimulate any real thought provocation.3. The article comes off as fully convinced of its correctness. If it seems as though the author’s mind has been made up about a subject, I probably won’t be interested in engaging her in dialogue.I’m more likely to comment if:1. There are questions at the end of the post, giving me something to run with.2. The post is so controversial, unconventional. I like new ideas. Mind you, I wish I were doing a better job of this on my site, but I’ll get there eventually. Basically, I want to be made to think outside the box.3. I like honest writers. Everyone has an answer to this and a recommendation for that. I was compelled to comment here because you posed a sincere question: How in heck do you get people to leave a comment? To be honest, I’d like to know the same. LOLIn any case, the candid nature of your post now makes me want to go and read more of your site.

  2. I am just your dad, but my reasons for not commenting on a blog include:1. I read very few blogs2. I am often not sure if I can add anything useful, for which reason asking aquestion may be a way to get me to comment.3. I am old-fashioned and unfamiliar witht he blogosphere.

  3. @Joe O – well something worked, I generated 2 comments! Great ideas on why you do and don't comment – I agree with the one about the poster having their mind already made up (likely guilty of that myself sometimes). All great ideas to keep in mind.@Dad – thanks for commenting, on this post and two others. I guess my questions about commenting worked!

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