Discussion, Debate and Blogging Etiquette

One of the most amazing things about joining the blogging world is the opportunity to learn from other people. I don’t always read something I agree with, and I’m sure that many people don’t always agree with me. But, by reading other people’s ideas and perspectives on life, I clarify my own stance and often even understand issues from a different perspective.

I love the exchange of ideas.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t make many comments. I was afraid that commenting on other people’s posts was somehow intruding and that nobody really cared what I had to say. But, eventually I came to realize that a post without comments might as well be a post into a private journal. If that is the case, and if you are not going to interact with fellow bloggers, then why blog in the first place?

There is a danger, however, in commenting and responding to comments. It lies in the fact that we are communicating only through technology. Without face to face contact (and sometimes even with it) meanings can be misunderstood and interpreted incorrectly. Perhaps someone makes a sarcastic comment in good fun, but if you are only friends via this virtual tool, sometimes that sarcasm can be misunderstood.

Yet, as I get to know my fellow bloggers, I feel like I’ve established a relationship based on trust and a mutual respect for each other. We may not agree on everything, and life would be boring if we did, but we respect each other’s right to their beliefs and their right to write about those beliefs.  If I completely disagree with a person, I either do not respond, or try to respond with a question to promote discussion.

While I doubt my stance on things like religion, politics, women’s rights, war, education, etc. will ever do a complete 180, I am always open to a new way of looking at things. I don’t believe that any issues is completely black or white, but that every issue and situation needs to be judged from a variety of perspectives.

In other words, there is no ONE truth, but multi-faceted truths that lie somewhere between two sides.

I now find myself unintentionally embroiled in a debate of two truths. I’m not going to go into specifics, although most of my readers will know what I am talking about. Basically, the problem comes down to two people who don’t agree and one person who won’t let go. It also boils down to the issue of blogging etiquette.

What is blogging etiquette?

This complicated world of blogging introduces so many challenges in communication, that once in a while it is good to stop and think about how we interact with others. Here are some of the questions that have popped into my head at one time or another, followed by my (uninformed) opinion on the answer. Feel free to add more ideas below:

  • When is it good to respond to a post? I think commenting on posts is valuable at all times, but only if you have actually read the post and have something to say. I admit to sometimes skimming people’s posts when I am in a hurry, so for those ones I either hit the like button, comment briefly, or don’t comment at all.
  • What kind of comments are acceptable on posts? Comments that respond to the actual post are acceptable. Perhaps you don’t have much to say about the content, but want the writer to know that you’ve read, understand, or support what he/she is saying. Then it might be okay to write a very short supportive comment. Otherwise, I think comments should be substantial (ie contributing to the conversation) without being long. If you find yourself writing a long comment on a topic, perhaps you should write a post about it instead.
  • When should comments be blocked or deleted from posts? This one can be tricky, because if you want honest discussion it is important to include all sides, even the things you disagree with. However, if the comment attacks the writer or the readers of the blog in a disrespectful way, it doesn’t need to be kept. If the comment has absolutely nothing to do with the post, why keep it?
  • When is it okay to not respond to a comment? I try my best to respond to comments on my posts, but sometimes it is impossible. As most of my readers know, I have been dealing with a lot in the past month, including moving, no internet and other craziness. So, while I wanted to respond to comments, I had to prioritize, which meant I let a lot of responses slide. I made sure to explain that in posts. I tried to respond to any new readers, because I believe you can only build a relationship through commenting and visiting each other’s blogs. Ultimately, though, I don’t think you have to reply if the comment is something simple like “That’s great!” or “Thanks.”  You should, however, respond when someone has taken the time to submit a well thought out part of the discussion.
  • When is it best to simply remain on the sidelines and observe the conversation? You know the mantra “If you have nothing nice to say . . . “? Well, that might be a good guideline. If you have an opposing perspective that you can phrase respectfully, go ahead and join that conversation. But if your response is going to be simply to rant and rage, without any openness to discussion, perhaps you should keep your opinion to yourself.
  •  When should you make contact with someone outside of the blog, either through e-mail or through actual in person meetings? I have had contact with several bloggers outside of the blog, through Facebook, one phone call, e-mail, and once in person. Sometimes I’ve initiated the contact, sometimes the other person did. When I’ve initiated contact, it was because I felt like I had something to share with that person that was best shared privately, rather than in the public forum that is a blog. I try not to be too aggressive about contacting bloggers in other ways, but I always feel honored when someone reaches out to me.
  • Should you include links to your blog or other sources when commenting? It’s possible to find many debates and discussions on this topic, as including links can seem like simply trying to promote your own blog. I have, however, included links when I have a post that furthers the discussion or adds a different perspective. I also, occasionally, will add a link to some web page that provides information to the writer. However, I have it set up that all comments with links must be approved. Why? Because I don’t want to be linking to sites that make me uncomfortable. I often allow those posts, but if the links seem to lead to disrespectful stuff, bye-bye comment. Comments with excessive links often get sent straight to spam, which means they sometimes disappear quickly.
  •  When is it acceptable to use all caps? This relates to the challenges of communicating electronically rather than face-to-face. Capital letters have come to stand for YELLING! Nobody likes be yelled at. In addition, capital letters are harder to read. So, I suggest using them sparingly, to emphasize or show excitement. I don’t like reading posts that have lots of caps, and I would guess many readers agree.

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, and it is only my opinion. I’d love to hear more of your suggestions or ideas (even if they disagree with mine) in the comments below.

Update About Related Posts: This post has sparked a lot of interesting discussion, both below in the comments and in other people’s posts. Please go check out the following for more interesting perspectives:

If you’ve come across any I have missed that should be added to the list, let me know.


88 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:16:21

    If ever a post deserved to be FRESHLY PRESSED….this is it! This information really needs to get out to everyone in the blogging community. Do you hear me WORDPRESS?????? FRESHLY PRESS this post!!!

    Maybe if I type it a few more times…..the little red light at WORDPRESS HQ will go off!

    FRESHLY PRESS!!! FRESHLY PRESS!!!!

    Great post Lisa! And you have nailed everything right on the head on all counts! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Unabridged Girl
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:20:51

    I hate when people skim my blog and comment. It’s thoroughly obvious, usually because give me “advice” or something that I -already- mentioned within the post. And then what do you do? Call them out on it?

    I used to believe that I had to comment all of the time. Now? I only comment when I actually have something to say. I have lost some readers because of this, as they probably think I don’t read their blog or something. But that is life.

    The blogging world can be frustrating. That is why I went on a hiatus not too long ago, and I really…-really-…hesitated coming back. It is amazing how much drama can happen on the blogosphere. Especially mean-spirited drama.

    Anyway. That is probably a long comment. I hope that your issue works out.

    K.

    Reply

  3. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:28:00

    That was not a long comment. A long comment would require me scrolling down to finish reading it. Scrolling down a lot.

    You were missed on your hiatus, but I completely understand. I’m glad you are back though.

    Reply

  4. Taochild
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:34:56

    Once again sister mine our minds ar on the same wavelength! I was about to sit down and right something inspired by the same incident. Though you ay already have expressed much of what I wanted to say much better than I could have said it. You got my vote for everyone reading this one. I might even repost for my devoted five readers (maybe two who don’t already read your blog — but that is two more)!

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:10:01

      🙂

      Reply

      • Tori Nelson
        Oct 03, 2011 @ 10:06:56

        On that note, I might just be y’all’s long lost bratty little sister 🙂 I’m glad you’re talking about this openly and honestly. I’ve had thoughts about why people comment the way they do (particularly the ones that seem only to be self-promoting rather than contributing anything to the conversation), and I’m just enough of a wuss to have never talked about it! I’m with Mark. I hope this post gets Freshly Pressed!

        Reply

        • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
          Oct 03, 2011 @ 10:23:57

          I have found a lot of long-lost sibling through this blog, and you are definitely one of them. Sometimes I don’t comment on your posts simply because other people have already said what I needed to say, in better language.

          Reply

  5. bornstoryteller
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:43:36

    Hi…I wrote about this a few times, about commenting and such.

    I agree with someone having an opposing view, but be respectful in voicing it. No attacks on me or someone else, and don’t push YOUR POV as THE ULTIMATE one (see what I did there with emphasis?). I’ve had a few cases of people commenting by being know-it-alls and hollier-than-thous. I have no time or energy for that.

    thanks for this. I’d link to the Rule of Three Blogfest, but you’d holler at me 😉

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:09:47

      No I wouldn’t, as long as the link is appropriate. Feel free to add it. 😉 Lovely emphasis, by the way!

      Reply

  6. jfb57
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:48:08

    A very comprehensive list Lisa. I do think there is an etiquette & wish more folks understood it. I’m struggling with commenting on my comments at the moment because things are so manic but I do try to get there at least once a week. I’ve only ever blocked obvious spam but I would block swearing even if it was part of a genuine comment. I don’t like swearing on my blog & I think most people know that.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 12:07:27

      Oh, %$#*! Julia, I was just going to swear at you. 😉 Oh well, another time I guess.

      Reply

  7. skilledchaos
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 11:59:34

    Very Nice Post .

    Reply

  8. Trackback: Standing up | The odd ramblings of a mind that does not quite fit
  9. critters and crayons
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 14:20:57

    Well, that was brilliant. I’m not only leaving a comment. I am now going to backtrack through your posts to find the violator. hahaha!

    Reply

  10. k8edid
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 15:08:09

    Lisa, this is a very thoughtful and helpful post. I love reading comments on my post, and try to answer them. I love reading comments on other bloggers’ posts as well, sometimes they are even more enlightening and entertaining than the actual posts. I love intelligent discussion or sincere support.

    I have only ever once gotten ticked off and wrote an angry reply. While I believe everyone has the right to post whatever they would like on their own blog pages, I resented that commenter’s remarks on my site. I could have unapproved the comment, but I wanted the commenter to know that his comments were not only not appreciated, but not welcomed.

    I hope that the situation you referenced is being worked out. I also hope that you will continue to “settle in” to your new environment. After 1 year (this week) I am starting to feel at home and a little more at peace.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 16:25:17

      I think its great that you responded to the commenter. It only becomes problematic if the commenter is unable to really understand the response, and clings to his/her right to vocalize anything at any time. Did that commenter ever come back?

      I think the situation is working itself out, because I refuse to engage anymore. 😉

      I’m glad you are feeling more at peace. Where are you located, anyway?

      Reply

      • k8edid
        Oct 02, 2011 @ 17:01:06

        No, he never did reply.

        Last year we moved from Michigan to Florida. My husband wanted to, very much, and, well, I want to be where he is. It has been quite an adjustment. When you write about re-inventing yourself, I can see a lot of myself in those words. Instead of re-inventing myself, however, I prefer to think of it as re-“presenting” myself (to the new world) because I had finally gotten myself to the place (as a person) I wanted to be. i don’t want to be re-invented….I guess I just want everyone here to know and love me as my co-workers, friends and family did back home. I am about to accept a full time position (I’ve had 4 part-time jobs in the last year) and that may help me get settled in and afford more opportunities for developing friendships. I sure hope so.

        Reply

        • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
          Oct 02, 2011 @ 17:08:24

          I like that image of re-“presenting” yourself. In some ways, I am trying to do that as well, but I’ve been struggling with becoming the person I want to be for several years now. I’m closer to her, but I’m not there yet.

          I hope the job is everything you want and does help with the friendship issue. It really is a challenge making friends without a job, isn’t it? I’m surprised at how difficult it is.

          Reply

          • k8edid
            Oct 02, 2011 @ 17:20:19

            I am very surprised at how hard it is to establish friendships without a job. I wonder if it isn’t because people are so busy with their already established social networks (real and virtual), working and struggling to survive, and the fact that I have moved to an area that is used to people coming and going (snowbirds). The 4 part time jobs were pretty temporary in nature, as well, so maybe people were thinking I was just passing through (and, indeed, I was).

            The “debate” seems a little maniacal, so glad you have removed yourself from it.

            Reply

    • Mrs. H.
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:40:23

      This is utterly off-topic, but I have to say that I love your username. It is so stinking cute! 🙂

      Reply

      • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
        Oct 02, 2011 @ 19:00:03

        I agree with you. And veering off topic for compliments is A-OK in my book. 😉

        Reply

  11. CMSmith
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 15:29:23

    You’re right about how easy it is to misunderstand or be misunderstood here in blogsphere without privy to nonverbal cues. Sometimes I’ve tried to be sarcastic or funny, and with people who know you well, it’s fine. But a lot of people who don’t know you well misinterpret.

    It’s just a new way to communicate. And we have to be consciously aware of the possibilities for misinterpretation.

    Thanks for posting this thoughtful topic.

    Reply

  12. nrhatch
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 17:43:01

    As you (and CMSmith) know, I avoid controversy on SLTW at all costs by always agreeing with anything that anyone else says . . . even if they want to complain that I painted a zebra when they thought it should have been a giraffe.

    I am a doormat in front of an open door allowing all manner of ill-mannered beings to enter, walk all over me, and deposit their baggage wherever they want . . . while chastising ME for tripping over it. 😉

    Not.

    Great post.
    Wonderful response on your About page.

    Everyone has the right to say what they want to say when they want to say it . . . but they don’t have the right to say it on SLTW unless I agree that it adds to the discussion rather than detracting from it.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 17:59:27

      I’ve been meaning to tell you that you have to stop letting people walk all over you, and start speaking up for what you believe in. Seriously. 😉

      Reply

  13. Trackback: The Debating Game « Spirit Lights The Way
  14. nrhatch
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:37:59

    nrhatch reblogged this on Spirit Lights The Way and commented: As many of you know, I avoid controversy on SLTW at all costs by always agreeing with anything that anyone else says . . . even if they want to complain that I painted a zebra when they thought it should have been a giraffe.

    I am a doormat in front of an open door allowing all manner of ill-mannered beings to enter, walk all over me, and deposit their baggage wherever they want . . . while chastising ME for tripping over it.

    Not.

    Everyone has the right to say what they want to say when they want to say it . . . but they don’t have the right to say it on SLTW unless I agree that it adds to the discussion rather than detracting from it.

    This post by Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) definitely adds something to the discussion. Enjoy!

    Reply

  15. TheIdiotSpeaketh
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:49:21

    I see that WordPress has still not wised up and FP this post…… I think my theory that someone at WP just sets a keyboard down in front of a wild monkey from the zoo…and the monkey just starts pressing keys until any random blog comes up….and they end up FP’ing that post…. Posts like this one really ought to be featured. 🙂

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:59:30

      Thanks Mark. I very rarely see them change Freshly Pressed over the weekend anyway, so maybe the monkeys are taking a much needed break.

      Reply

  16. Mrs. H.
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:50:38

    You have piqued my curiosity! But before I go nosing around in other people’s business, I wanted to leave a brief little note to say two things: 1. I’m here and reading! Count me present! 😉 and 2. you are so right on, it’s not even funny. I have one former friend who hasn’t quite gotten the point that she’s absolutely a former friend (lots of old bad blood from over five years ago). So, she periodically comments, and her comments always come off as derisive or sarcastic or just plain mean. I have my settings so that first-time commenters have to be approved, but after that they’re all good. Well, when she posted her first comment, I let it sit in my pending folder for a good week and a half before deciding what to do with it. It wasn’t until another friend of mine left a very similar comment that I realized something. Because of our bad blood, I was reading derision, sarcasm, and meanness on this former friend’s comment–I had absolutely no problem with the current friend’s comment. I ended up approving my former friend’s comment, which means she has permission to leave pre-approved comments on my blog from now on. Sometimes they make my blood boil because I wish she would just disappear, but I can’t in all fairness justify deleting or blocking her comments when her words are as normal as the next person’s.

    I think you’re right–there are times that we writers have choices to make. And we certainly do have the freedom to censor our commenters’ words all we’d like (in fact, we can even go in and individually edit someone’s comment, to really mess with them, if we wanted). But you’re right. Where does that leave us in the interest of sparking an honest, open conversation? Just because someone leaves a different opinion or is someone I genuinely dislike is no reason to wholesale remove that comment from the post. I think it takes a level of very real integrity to encourage an honest conversation in the comment section and to actually uphold that conversation should it take a surprising direction. But there are limits–and as soon as those limits (whatever they are, be they cursing or threats or ad hominem attacks) have been breached, then the blogger is well within his or her rights to put a stop to it all.

    Great topic! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it and for getting us all thinking about it too. (Btw, sorry I’ve been so lazy on commenting and responding to comments on my own blog…this last chapter is k.i.l.l.i.n.g. me [and not softly either!] but it should all be over very soon…like within 48 hours soon. Hooray! :))

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 02, 2011 @ 18:58:51

      Woo Hoo! To finishing soon. I am so happy for you! I remember struggling with the last chapter as well, but not as much as I struggled with my theory chapter. Hated that. I completely understand your lack of commenting, but it is nice to know you are reading.

      Luckily, I haven’t had to make this decision too often. I don’t think many of the people who don’t like me bother to read me, and that’s fine by me.

      Let me know when you have officially finished your last chapter. We’ll have a long distance, virtual, celebration.

      Reply

      • Mrs. H.
        Oct 03, 2011 @ 09:07:35

        Heck yes we will! Haha, you might know that I’ve finished when you hear a long distance “halle-freaking-lujiah!” echo from the treetops. 😉 But, just in case my voice doesn’t carry quite as well as I think it will, I’ll definitely make an obnoxious announcement. 😉 Thanks for your support! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who’s struggled with the last chapter. 🙂

        Reply

        • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
          Oct 03, 2011 @ 10:00:39

          Students always complain the introductions and endings are difficult. Why should last chapter’s be any different?

          Reply

  17. Trackback: Blogging Etiquette (via Woman Wielding Words) « Spirit Lights The Way
  18. mzem
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 19:55:34

    Well said Lisa. I agree with what you have written. I began in the late 90s reading blogs and such. I was a lurker for the longest time. But then, I felt if I took the time to read the blog and had something to say I should say it. Now I feel it only fair to comment if only, ” I found you through so and so.”

    I still am leery about putting out some of my thoughts on life. I have no wish to offend anyone. I know I did once and one of my subscribers unsubscribed and took me off her link list. Oh well.

    I have seen a flaming war and it is not pretty. At least twice the writers stopped writing all together. Which was a loss for those of us who enjoyed their writing.

    So, I hope folks will read what you have written, print it out, and put it up by their computers.

    Nuff said

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:34:09

      I am sometimes cautious when I don’t know how my comment will be taken. I know of at least one blogger who I loved who disappeared after a bout of negative interactions with someone else. That makes me very sad. Thanks for commenting.

      Lisa

      Reply

  19. Sparks In Shadow
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 20:19:34

    Receiving a “like” button hit on a post, without the person saying anything, often feels antiseptic and weird for me, though I understand the desire to be nice when one has the gist of a post but wasn’t able to read it all. (I just found out that a very nice blogging friend of mine has over 200 subscriptions, so I can see how the inclination to skim can save one’s sanity, though it really hurts when one has posted fiction or something personally difficult.)

    I wonder how I’d do if I was popular or Freshly Pressed, because at this time I can’t imagine having invited someone to my internet home, and then ignoring them. Even if they have skimmed and are commenting with a point I’ve already made or with a point that doesn’t branch out from what I posted, I try my best to answer what they’ve said because, like most of us, I invite visitors by looking for them, and I’ve adjusted my “leave a comment” phrase to let them know I value their input.

    I hate leaving a comment that’s ignored. It says to me (whether the writer means it to or not) that they expect me to read them because they are so great at what they do, that I feel compelled. Without editors, most of us just aren’t that good. I only know maybe five bloggers who are so consistently excellent, that I would read them without expecting any give and take. But if they ignored their comments I think they would have fewer readers, and lose some of the scintillating conversation, sometimes off topic, that permeates their comments sections.

    Comments from others help educate me on ways people think and process information, which is always helpful to a writer who wants to be read and understood, though I do understand how some people who’ve decided they are experts on their subject would feel otherwise.

    Ideas about comment etiquette seem to vary slightly according to personal preferences. I think we can tell by the popularity of Miss Manners advice column, as well as all the others, that most of us choose our own spin on societal “rules” no matter how others experience our choices. Thanks, Lisa, for starting a conversation about this.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:32:38

      Sparks,

      I completely understand and your response is food for thought. When I read fiction on the blog, I am sometimes hesitant to respond because I go into English teacher mode so often that I don’t want to offend. Plus, when reading fiction, it often takes me time to really express what I am thinking. So sometimes I resort to the Like button, not to say I haven’t read it, but to say that I am reading. There is a fine line between comments that help a writer improve and comments that shut a writer down. Honestly, I feel more comfortable giving feedback on fiction to a writer who asks me privately to read and comment back. Thanks for making me think some more about how to interact with other writers.

      Lisa

      Reply

  20. Judith
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 21:37:14

    Being quite new to this blogging world I have often sat on the sidelines and watched the interaction by others. I must say that I have only once received a comment that was less than pleasant. In fact, so arrogant was it that it immediately was permanently deleted.

    I do read many posts each day and occasionally have clicked the like button because I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said in another comment. I hadn’t though that this might be misconstrued as my not being ‘bothered’ to read the blog. If I have offended in this way then I apologise.

    I respond to every comment – in fact I do this before anything else when I sit down with my coffee in the morning. I feel it is courteous to do so and to acknowledge that those people who follow and read my blog are important to me.

    Thanks for this post. As Mark says it should be FRESHLY PRESSED!

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:29:11

      I use the Like button in a similar fashion. I didn’t know it could be misconstrued either, so I may have to think about that some more. I try to respond to every comment. I really do, but some days are harder than others.

      I am starting to think that FRESHLY PRESSED is the dangling carrot that keeps people writing, but can never be caught. 😉

      Reply

  21. Rose
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 22:47:48

    This is a great post and one that I suspect I’ll refer to again. You’re right that so much of this interaction boils down to respect. Since I’m very new to receiving comments from people I don’t already know, my thoughts are more about being a commenter. I struggle with the commenting in a number of ways. First, good intentions are important, but they’re never enough. It’s easy for things to come off poorly even when they’re meant to be supportive. As a result, I find commenting and responding to comments very enriching but also a source of social anxiety – I hate being misinterpreted. Also, many posts, like this one, have so much I could respond to that I’m overwhelmed by all I want to say (I’m that person who responds to a catch-up email by literally addressing everything said in the email) and end up saying very little. Finally, I love it when people respond to my comments, but by no means do I expect it. Some things just don’t illicit much of a response, as you say. I love your philosophy around welcoming new commenters and think you’ve hit the issue of comment response bang on.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:26:58

      I think good intentions are important, but so is good writing. By this I mean that we can give constructive criticism as long as we take the time to word things in a respectful manner. I sometimes struggle with commenting as well, and if I can’t comment clearly I may not comment. It is such a complicated matter. Thank you for your well thought out comment. Plus, I love the use of “bang on”. 😉

      Reply

  22. Trackback: Misunderstandings | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life
  23. enermazing
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 00:28:22

    Excellent, comprehensive post! Thank you, Lisa 🙂
    The Like button is a great feature in all those cases mentioned by you and in the comments. Re: links in comments – On my blog, too, comments with links are subject to moderation. On other blogs I don’t place active links in my comments, but if on rare occasions I think the information provided on a certain site might be helpful I write the source without the http:// at the beginning (for this post for instance that would be lkramer14.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/discussion-debate-and-blogging-etiquette/). This is not in order to avoid moderation, but it takes a little more conscious effort and determination to check it out versus just clicking on a link. Alternative: To suggest keyords and phrases anyone can look up themselves via the search engines.
    Maria

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:22:24

      Nice suggestion. Maybe I’ll start doing that. I use the like button when I simply don’t have the words to reply. I know that some people don’t like that, but sometimes it is the best thing I can offer. 😉

      Reply

  24. 2e0mca
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 02:21:04

    The point is well made, comments through blogs and other electronic media are made without the visual clues to the ‘speakers’ intent that the face so eloquently provides and misunderstandings can easily occur. An excellent post.

    Found vis Nancy’s http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/blogging-etiquette-via-woman-wielding-words/ reblog.

    Reply

  25. pattisj
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 02:37:48

    Visiting from Judith’s blog. Thanks for sharing blogging etiquette, it’s always good to have our minds refreshed from time to time.

    Reply

  26. Tilly Bud
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 03:47:36

    Nancy brought me. 🙂

    Excellent points, most of which I agree with.

    I treat my readers in comments as I would in life: politely. I think that is reflected in all comments by all commentors: people who are rude, abrasive, kind, sweet, whatever, in life will write the same way.

    Mine is deliberately not a controversial blog; I want it to be a time-out space. I want to have fun writing it and people to have fun reading it. As a result, I don’t have much trouble in the comments, thankfully.

    I hope your spot of bother gets sorted.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:20:17

      Hi Tilly Bud,

      I don’t try to be controversial on my blog, although occasionally I have something burning to get out and be said which might cause controversy. The funny thing is that this post does not come from controversy on my blog, as much as from me trying to help out a fellow blogger by pleading for sanity. It didn’t work in that sense, and I’ve had to black list someone for the very first time ever.

      Reply

  27. johnell74
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 05:06:46

    Lisa. A very good guide to blogging. Thanks you.
    (I am kateshrewsday’s Dad, in case you think “Who is this fella”?
    My blog is all poetry. it expresses my view of the world, but I try to share of myself.
    That is my only rule!
    Thanks again
    John

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 07:18:12

      Welcome John. I will have to check your blog out. I admit that poetry posts are often the ones I don’t comment much about, simply because I don’t know what to say. I know when I like a poem or when it speaks to me, but I sometimes struggle with expressing those thoughts. I also struggle if the poem doesn’t make sense to me. I write poetry myself, occasionally, and that is always the scariest thing for me to put on the blog. It is so personal that I become fearful.

      Lisa

      Reply

  28. thehonestone
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 08:52:29

    Hi Lisa, I agree with you on the etiquette. Although my blog is only about a year old now, I must say I welcome any comments at all, at least then I know people are reading it.

    I guess when more people start commenting and interacting then I will apply more moderation on the commenting.

    But good post.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 08:59:17

      I know what you mean, since I still get very few comments on posts (usually). This is the first time, other than a post when people wished me happy birthday, that I have sparked this much discussion. It is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

      Reply

  29. lifeintheboomerlane
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 09:41:16

    Good advice all around, and I agree with Mark that this should be Freshly Pressed. A bonus has been the advice from some of the commenters.

    Reply

  30. Val
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 11:01:27

    I agree with you on your points about commenting on blogs and I’ve said pretty much the same in my own blog at various times. I went further with this and created a comment policy stating most of them and from time to time I rewrite it.

    I just had a look at the comment in your About Me page and I’m afraid if it had appeared in my comments admin area it would just have been put in trash as it’s too long, it’s out of context and much else.

    I think it’s good to respond to a post when one has something to say that adds to the post, and when one can treat the post author with respect. I also think that the most acceptable type of comments are those that are speaking in the commenter’s own unique voice and are adding something new to the post, rather than being just a throwaway line copied from someone else. However, I think that with so many blogs by so many different people, keeping things fresh can be difficult for commenter and responder alike. I do agree with you that if a comment is too long it’d be better as a post (in the person’s own blog if they have one. And if they don’t have one and have a lot to say – maybe it’s time they created one!)

    I delete very few comments in my blog, but I moderate them all, so if there is a particularly objectionable comment nobody gets to see it except me. The ones that are most likely to be deleted are those in which the commenter is treating my blog as soap-box for his/her own views, in which they are saying something off-hand or offensive about someone else or being racist, and if the comment is so long that I have to scroll to read other people’s.

    Personally I try to respond to all comments, except for the ‘end reply’ of a thread if I feel that the last response was enough and doesn’t need any more input from me. I try when I can to respond to comments in a personal manner – talking to the commenter as if they were with me in person, but sometimes I don’t have the energy and then I try at least to say ‘thank you for your comment’. Some people get so involved in their comments that I spend a long time thinking about what to reply and it might seem I’m never going to respond – but I do eventually. About the only comments I don’t respond to are ones that I simply don’t know what to say in a reply!

    Sometimes I include a link if I think it might be useful or entertaining to the post’s author and if it’s in context to the post, but otherwise I don’t. And I’m careful not to include links or youtube videos, etc, if the post is ‘delicate’ – for instance if the person has just lost someone or is depressed or is writing about something particularly sad.

    As for ones not to comment on at all… I avoid commenting on anything that is completely out of my area of experience.

    Well.. the comment box scroll bar hasn’t appeared, so hopefully my comment isn’t too long! If it is, feel free to edit it! 🙂

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 11:34:55

      While some may consider this a long response, it is so spot on and filled with important suggestions that I will leave it just as it is. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      Lisa

      Reply

  31. thelifeofjamie
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 11:49:19

    nicely put! I agree with Mark- you should be FP for this one!

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 12:04:22

      Thanks Jamie. I’m not holding my breath for FP. If I did, I would turn blue and die.

      Reply

  32. LittleMissVix
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 12:10:09

    Wow you’ve certainly generated a debate! Great post Lisa. I love your etiquette list. I do feel the need to reply to comments and I probably shouldn’t but I’m always excited someone has responded to what I’ve written 🙂

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 12:25:19

      I feel the need to reply to comments and I try to, but sometimes I need sanity more. 😉 Not that anyone is insane who replies to every comment, but when I am feeling overwhelmed I need to take a break.

      Reply

  33. Trackback: The Highs and Lows of Blogging « Woman Wielding Words
  34. Piglet in Portugal
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:39:00

    This is an excellent post – courtesy and respect on the net cost nothing. Re approving comments I wrote a “fun” post about the turkish loos in France. One poster “Emma” was particulary sarcastic. I was upset, but I approved her comment and responded politely.

    Q. I am intrigued as to why some bloggers do not have a blog roll but then comment on some of the wordpress posts that no one loves them 😦

    To me blogging is about interacting with other bloggers, forming a community,
    sharing ideas, asking for suggestions and generally reaching out.

    Reply

  35. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:46:15

    I think that some people simply haven’t figured out how to create a blogroll. I am also horrible at maintaining my blogroll. If you note, you aren’t there, because I simply forgot to put you there, despite you being one of my favorite blogs. I find it easier to discover blogs by linking to them in the body of the post. I will, however, now correct my negligence and add you to the blogroll.

    Reply

    • ElizOF
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 04:04:43

      Excellent post Lisa and you covered some of the complicated issues around commenting… I’ve been working on a post on similar topic, actually a follow-up to one I wrote on commenting last year, and I was intrigued to read your take…
      As per blogrolls, some bloggers don’t have one as a matter of choice. I noticed that on blogs that have minimal sidebar add-ons, some bloggers prefer to keep them off.
      I recently yanked mine, I created a blogroll page instead of the usual sidebar, because I decided it was time to update it. I haven’t decided if I will put it back, but the bloggers I follow know I do because I visit them and comment on their blogs regularly…. Some have me on their blogroll and some don’t; it’s all good. Also, having a blogroll is a matter of preference not a requirement… 🙂
      I enjoyed your post. Kudos!

      Reply

      • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
        Oct 04, 2011 @ 07:34:43

        Thank you so much for your comments. I have been debating the blogroll myself lately, and thinking about removing it. Why? Because, I link to the posts I like and I comment back and forth, while the blogroll kind of just sits there making my page look crowded. I don’t think it serves the purpose because when it becomes a long list, as then it is just names and blogs. I’ll be by to ready your take on the issue. I’m enjoying this conversation and everyone’s responses, either in comments or in posts. Everyone, that is, but the person who caused me to write this, who has proven himself more of a pain in the butt with every word he writes, and has now made it to the black list in all his incarnations.

        Reply

  36. thepetalpusher
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:52:53

    Just as you and many others have said: I am so glad to have people reading my blog that any comments are welcome! Once, however, I gave someone a helpful link on camera equipment bags and received a nasty reply about leaving Spam!! Sometimes I back off, take a while to digest what’s been written, and comment at a later time. If I have nothing significant/important to add, I just press like to let the writer know I was there!

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 17:59:35

      I am completely excited today because I have never had so many comments at one time. I do love comments, and I especially love when people respect each other’s comments. I also got one horrible comment today (well actually several, but the spam blocker got them and I left them there) that I unspammed in my About page because I will not tolerate being attacked without defending myself to some extent. Luckily, I feel like our community genuinely cares about each other, and wants to help. I wold accept a link from you as the gift you intended.

      Reply

  37. jannatwrites
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 23:39:19

    Nice post. If everyone read and followed these etiquette suggestions, blogging would be a lot easier 🙂 I’ve been fortunate, in that most commenters on my blog have kept things clean and polite and I have gotten some thoughtful comments. I don’t mind the long-ish ones as long as they don’t ramble off-topic.

    The stickiest one for me has to do with editing or deleting comments. I have refrained from doing either one because I want to keep the interaction pure. However, if someone does cross my line, I will address it because my blog won’t become a wasteland.

    P.S. in case you’re curious, I found your blog through Nancy’s post at SLTW.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 07:37:58

      I don’t really edit comments either, unless there is a blatant typo that I’m sure the author of the comment didn’t intend. I also don’t mind long-ish ones that respond to the topic and add to the conversation. It is the ones that ramble on with their own agendas that bother me. Welcome to my blog. Thanks for finding me.

      Reply

  38. She's a Maineiac
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 09:08:35

    Thank you for writing about this topic, Lisa. Between you and the other commenters, I’ve learned a lot.

    I consider my blog my personal space, almost like my home and expect others to treat it with respect and consideration. I’ve had negative comments before (people that I swear are just trying to stir things up for their own twisted amusement) I just delete them and move on. I’m not saying it doesn’t get under my skin a bit though.

    I do respond to every single comment, but that’s just me. Like most people, I am extremely busy. I love to read a lot of blog each morning, and sometimes a post will resonate with me, but either I don’t have time to comment or a comment wouldn’t add to the discussion, so I click the ‘like’ button. I never knew this could be considered a “bad thing” for some people.

    In any case, I love your blog and enjoy your writing.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 09:14:23

      I think most people understand that the like button means you’ve read but don’t have a response at the moment. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. There are definitely people out there who like to push buttons. I’ve been lucky enough, so far, to not have many of those comment on my blog. This particular situation, however, has moved beyond small comments into Cyber Bullying on a grand scale, with the culprit attacking numerous bloggers for not being willing to engage and support his philosophy and his attack on people we have grown to care about through our blogs. I feel sorry for this gentleman, who has so much hatred inside that he cannot look beyond his own warped prospective to interact with this wonderful community in a healthy way.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I needed them this morning.

      Reply

  39. Angel_DWMW (@Angel_DWMW)
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 15:44:19

    Lisa, thank you very much. I am new to the blog world, and still trying to learn. I have to admit, I am guilty of using all caps for emphasis because I forget that bold and underline are options. I’m use to other programs that don’t have that feature.

    I agree with you about comments. As I am still new at this, I absolutely Love getting comments so that I have a little feedback. Alas, I’m not getting very many. *sigh*

    But I very much enjoyed this post of yours, and will be dropping back in to see what else you post.

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 16:00:47

      I think it is okay to use all caps sparingly. I do it myself when I am trying to express excitement. But, when a full post is all caps it is both offensive and hard to read. Be patient, it takes a while to build up readers. Just make sure you comment back and you sill find that more people will make comments.

      Reply

  40. Trackback: What I learned at camp: Samoan Sharing Circle « Waste not, want more
  41. Trackback: Confessions of a Female Idiot: Part Two (Guest Post) « THE IDIOT SPEAKETH
  42. chlost
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 17:51:54

    This is a very good review of the issues and ideas of blogging as well as commenting. I have had one commenter (I think it is the same one that K8edid had), and I was uncomfortable with the comment as well as the blog which was linked to it. I used the “unapprove” button. That’s what it’s for, right?

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 18:15:46

      You are so right. But I think many of us are so desperate to feel like somebody, anybody, is actually reading our blogs that we accept mindlessly. I remember early on accepting what was clearly a spam comment. I finally wised up and deleted, but that post always gets the most spam to this day.

      Reply

  43. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 18:05:01

    Wow, what a great post, Lisa! I agree with the sentiment expressed by others that this should be FP. Clearly, you all were busy over the weekend while I was hosting a dinner party and then recovering early this week! Amazing dialog here, my friend!
    Kathy

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 18:20:15

      Thanks Kathy. I’m glad you were having fun, because trust me when I say this battle wasn’t all that fun. I am pretty proud of this post, however.

      Reply

  44. Nora L Pratt
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 19:58:21

    Thank you, thank you! Still being very new to the blogging community, there is much to be learned. Of course that is the way of the ‘technology, social media, texting’ world we live in isn’t it? I seem to always learn something from you and this gave me much. Thank you again!
    NP

    Reply

    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 20:10:42

      I’m glad this was helpful to you Nora. I think we are all learning as we go in this crazy world we live and write in.

      Lisa

      Reply

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