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What Makes You a Lurker and Not a Commenter?

There is a phenomena that continues to evade me, and that is why do some blogs seem to get tons of comments while others do not. It’s a problem that has plagued us bloggers since the beginning of time, and so I thought if we could share our thoughts here then maybe we can all benefit from our collective wisdom.

For example, this site has gone through cycles where comments have been very high or at the worst of times non-existent, even if my traffic stats tell me otherwise. This has always perplexed me and I was hoping that my fellow Blokesters can help me figure it out.

Recently comments for this site have been down and I’m sure part of the reason is because of my health problems and irregular posting.After all, if a blog appears to be dead where’s the impetus to hang out? That makes sense to me and it’s really amazing how quickly a site can lose it’s momentum.

But I’ve also noticed some long-time readers admitting they continue to lurk here and are not leaving comments. Whilst others it seems would rather email me than leave a comment, even if it is directly related to something that I’ve already written.

Which leaves me to wonder if there is a kind of phobia that some of us might have about leaving comments on a blog. If that is the case then does it mean there is a confidence factor that we are are looking for before we will take a chance and comment?

Or in other words are some us afraid of looking foolish or being shot down in public? If that is true then is it something that I may have done on this blog for example, and if so what can I do as a blogger to help alleviate that concern?

Perhaps for some, they want to make certain that they understand the mindset of the community before committing to a comment.

For example, in my past life when I was a newbie I recall leaving a comment on a news group. Well all I can say is I sincerely regretted it because the leader of the pack severely thrashed me, leaving me with a fear of commenting for a very long time.

But if that is a reason for not commenting then how does one get the ball rolling on a blog that already has little or no comments? If everyone is waiting to figure out the culture of a community (if there is no community) then the blog is in for a very long wait indeed.

I’ve also noticed what’s known as the sheep syndrome where comments seem to follow each other. Or in other words, people just love to hang out in a crowd.

So if they notice a lot of comments they might feel more inclined to add something, as opposed to a post with little or no comments. Safety in numbers and all that.

Here’s another thought for you. Because I write satire (admittedly my sense of humour is weird) and I like to play the devils advocate, I wonder if my readers are sometimes uncertain what my point really is.

So does that mean I should be writing more plainly like I am now and leave the funny stuff to the real comedians?

Or is it controversy like the one I had recently with Darren Rowse that got everyone’s knickers in a knot?

Anyhow, I’m just thinking out loud and I hope that you will help me out and tell us what makes you a lurker or a commenter, whether it be on this blog or another, so we can all benefit and use this as a learning experience to beef up our communities.

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Written August 25th, 2007 by | 178 Comments | Filed under: Favourite Blog Tips, Miscellaneous Blog Tips, Writing Blog Content , ,

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There are 178 Comments so far to “What Makes You a Lurker and Not a Commenter?”

  1. Hi BB,, long time no see and sorry I haven’t been around for a while!

    Interesting question your putting up here and of course there isn’t only one right answerer to it. Some of my ideas would be:

    1: The subject: its easier to comment if you feel familiar with the subject and have something to say about it.

    2: For me, I am more likely to comment others if they comment on mine.

    3: Some are more outspoken - like me :-)

    4: Its more easy to be a follower as you said.

    So now I’ve made it easier to others to follow!

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  2. Hey Renny. Yes it has been a long time — too long in fact :).

    Coincidentally I was reading your blog today which inspired me to write this post because I noticed that your community is thriving with tons of comments.

    So obviously you are doing something right. Well done and welcome back again (and making it easier for others to follow ;-).

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  3. For me (a new blogger), I’m afraid to comment sometimes until I’ve gotten a feel for the culture of a particular blog. Based on some comments in some places, it feels almost like they have an “in” crowd, and I’m not part of it. It’s exactly like social situations. I’m never the first person to speak up, and only ever contribute to the conversation if I’m certain I won’t come off a total idiot.

    For what it’s worth, I feel comfortable here right away, which is a testament to you, BB.

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  4. Thanks Kathy.

    So for you it’s the fear factor of leaving a comment. I suspect that goes also for many of us.

    I appreciate the vote of confidence and I just hope that everyone else shares your view.

    Cheers, and thanks muchly for the comment.

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  5. couple of thoughts from my own experience.

    - I get more comments when I ask questions
    - I get more comments when I’m wrong
    - I get more comments when I don’t fully explore a topic (where I leave room for readers to fill in the gaps - whether by intention or not)
    - I get more comments when there are already comments left (like your sheep point)
    - I get more comments when I leave more comments on my own blog
    - I get more comments on posts that connect with problems that readers have
    - I get more comments when I post regularly, but not too much that it overwhelms readers (quite the balancing act)
    - I get more comments on week days, on non public holiday days and when it’s not summer in the US.

    Not saying you don’t do any of this - just some reflections off the top of my head.

    PS: the best way to get comments on a post is to write a post about comments. My all time record for a post is one on how to get comments on a blog.

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  6. I’m a checker not a lurker. I check on your blog and most times I don’t comment. I didn’t understand commenting was so important. If I waited for comments on my blog, it would have dried up long ago. I figure they are just visiting.
    One thing I don’t like about commenting is that you have to go back to that post to see if there is a response to your comment/question. Too bad there isn’t a auto feed to send to your mailbox it your comment needed an answer. It takes a lot of time if you comment on every blog you read to go back and check all the comments.
    I love your blog. teri

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  7. Besides, I forget to go back and check if you commented on my comment.
    Great way to spur comments by blogging about comments.

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  8. You are not alone.
    Just check your stats.
    People are basically lazy,
    that’s why I think they don’t comment unless I push a button that evokes a reaction to my blog.

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  9. Heh, Darren I guess it’s safe to say that you get more comments - period :)

    I love the comment “I get more comments when I don’t fully explore a topic”

    That reminds of back in my courtroom days when after one of my finer performances, someone in the audience asked why didn’t I mention the obvious in my summation. My answer was I allowed the judge to come to that conclusion. I just helped manipulate him to get there ;-)

    You are absolutely right that sometimes we can write our posts so thoroughly that we leave no room for the cheering section to participate.

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  10. Hey Tica. I’m not sure if I understand you correctly, but just in case you don’t know I though I would mention there is a great service called Co.mments that will keep track of your comments on other blogs.

    Or you can just subscribe to a post feed like I have at the bottom of this post.

    Also, (again I may have understood) there is a notification option in your settings / email dashboard to notify you of any comments that are made to your blog. But then again you probably know that so just ignore my ramblings. :)

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  11. That’s a great point Tica. Pushing the right buttons — something that successful blogs like Darren’s are good at.

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  12. Time, or lack thereof.

    Working a full time job, and working on several blogs leaves very little time for things like commenting.

    I have a hard enough time just keeping up with reading.

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  13. Nope, I didn’t have co.mments but I do now. I’m sure you have blogged about it but much of the “gadgets” you introduce, I skip. Too complicated. Jimminie Crickets, I have a notebook already for all the different locales of all the different internet stuff. It practically takes more than a PhD to figure all this tech stuff out. Isn’t there a blogger for dummies? “K.I.S.S.”
    Thanks for this link and in the future, all questions I have will be posted in the comment section, not emailed to “Ask the Bloke”.
    You da best, as always. Teri

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  14. O.K. Join my bloglog community already! I got it working.
    Yeepie! Not sure if the co.mments is working or not. I haven’t gotten any feedback.
    Good Day, Teri

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  15. Hey Tica. I wasn’t speaking specifically about you. But when you leave a comment everyone can benefit from the answer and sometimes someone else might also have an answer. I don’t know everything you know (but I’m working on it:).

    Do whatever you feel most comfortable with.

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  16. I will most definitely join your MyBlogLog community. And now that you’ve joined, upload your pic and click on the question mark beside your name here and claim your blog so that your avatar will show.

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  17. I comment mostly when I feel compelled to by the subject or just because. I don’t have a formula for leaving comments, but I don’t leave comments when:

    -I’m checking blogs in the morning before work. The typing will wake Boyfriend (computer in bedroom for lack of anywhere else to put it)

    -I’m at work because I don’t want to get in trouble.

    -I’m in a hurry for any other reason.

    As for my own blog, I do get a bit disappointed when I don’t get any comments, but I don’t concern myself too much with them. Lots of times my mom will email instead because she thinks you comment by the envelope, which is why I changed my comment saying.

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  18. Sorry Bloke, I don’t see a question mark and who’s Avatar?
    This blogging stuff is getting more and more complicated. Does YouTube inserts on a blog slow it down? Recently, my blog takes forever to come up. I’m an instant results kinda gal.

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  19. Tica, I answered some of your questions @ http://www.Blog Bloke.com/2007/08/do-you-like-my-video-widget.html

    An avatar is the pic you choose for yourself at MyBlogLog. You will see the question mark beside your name in the comments section at the bottom of the post page.

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  20. Hi Kirsten. I know it can be discouraging when you get no comments. Here’s a tip. Like Darren mentioned, write a post like this one about commenting.

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  21. I see my pic everytime I pay you a visit. I’m the one on a horse. You don’t see it? Huumm…

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  22. Tica, I think you are confusing the comment page with the post page.

    The comment page is where you leave your comment. It is Blogger’s page, and yes you will see your profile pic there.

    But what I’m talking about is the post page. That is the page where my blog’s post resides.

    So after you publish your comment you will see it at the bottom of my post page.

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  23. I comment if I feel Compelled to Comment. Where doth the compelling come frometh? Not sure; Inside me, the topic of the post at hand, how the writer of the post expresses the thoughts and whether or not a question is asked, what I had for breakfast, which cup of coffee am I on, is my boss in the office… You know, compelling reasons lead me to be Compelled to Comment.

    (Nice job by the way, on this particular post.)

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  24. I’m glad you felt compelled to comment bun bun. :)

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  25. Commenting is affected by so many things including available time, the tone of the post, whether there are any unanswered questions, whether the comment will add to the discussion and loads of other aspects.

    Personally, if I disagree with a bloggers perspective, I tend not to post an inflammatory comment. I wouldn’t turn up at someone elses house and tell them that their point of view sucks so why should I on a blog?

    That having been said, if I feel passionate about the subject and feel obligated to defend my own perspective then I may well be drawn into conversation but only if I know the blogger in question or am at least familiar with their work.

    Anyway, nice work, BB. 26 comments and counting. Maybe we all still love you after all ;)

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  26. “They love me! They really, really love me!” ;-)

    A very good synopsis there Mike and thanks for the comment.

    The more that we can learn about the psychology of commenting the better we will all be at writing our posts.

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  27. I find that someone else has already said what I wanted to say or what I was thinking.

    This post is really good - so I added it to my blog!

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  28. See… great minds do think alike :) Thanks for dropping by Brooke.

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  29. I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting!

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  30. Bloke,
    I once had someone tell me they wanted to comment on my blog, but were afraid to write anything because “all the comments people leave are so witty, and I’m not witty.” I felt bad for her and tried to convince her to comment anyway. Since I have a humor blog, I suppose some might think their comments must be laugh-out-loud funny, which is certainly not the case. In fact, I’m not over-the-top funny in my own responses to comments. I value every comment someone takes time to leave and never make anyone feel uncomfortable just being themselves, funny or not. As long as they’re not crude or rude, any and every comment is welcome.

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  31. Ditto :) Well said Kathy.

    Here at Blog Bloke there’s a small number of hardcore commenters and a huge number of readers who are lurkers. I’ve never been able to figure out why they are afraid to speak up or how to encourage them come out of the closet (so to speak).

    No matter what the comment, I value each one of them and I just wish more readers would speak up. Even if it’s just a word of encouragement or to say hello.

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  32. Well you can’t really read this post and not comment. I’m not surprised someone up there said that their blog got the most comments on a post about comments… it’s sort of like reading a sign that says… Say something already! Which is sort of funny.

    Anyway. Post midnight ramblings aside…

    I tend to comment when I feel I have something that should be said. Then again, I’m very new to all this so perhaps veteran members of the community might be a bit more ‘meh’ about it all.

    I tend to NOT comment, as someone said above, I don’t want to start an argument and commenting just to say I disagree with someone without being willing to discuss it further (I often am, by the way, willing to discuss it further) is rather pointless.

    Probably the biggest reason I’d not comment would be if I were simply repeating other comments that have already amply stated whatever it was that I wanted to say.

    Also, I believe I’m more likely to respond to a question, assuming it’s an interesting one.

    The Raconteur’s last blog post..Re: The Raconteur Bible - What About the JWs?

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  33. For a relatively new reader you are already well on to becoming one of the more prolific commenters here. Well done Raconteur!

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  34. Thank you so much. I am new at this and you have been a world of help. All the best to you.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 5:09 am said...

    You are most welcome Olympia.

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  35. I think the issue sometimes has to do with the mood of the visitors. There are days I go on a comment spree. Since my comments are usually long, sometimes, they are best described as mini-post, I only comment when I am in the mood to do so.
    I really feel guilty when I drop comments such as “nice post” “interesting post”.
    I love adding value to the conversation. So 2 things can prevent me from commenting.
    1. I am not in the mood to “talk” with my fingers (I do 50wpm on the keyboard) ;-) OR
    2. I have no clue what the article is saying. So, I keep quite instead of exposing my ignorance. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps quite! ;-)

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  121. @BLOGBloke, Yeah, I found it. Google Webmaster -> Site Configuration -> Settings -> Preferred Domain.

    T… http://bit.ly/bbzsUk

  122. How to Make Professional Podcast Videos for Your Blog (Vlog) http://bit.ly/c4Xz6k

  123. Make Money Blogging with Google Adsense http://bit.ly/dgzVTr

  124. @Jennifer, from what I've seen Matt Cutts of Google has done a little backtracking and sidestepping on the issue an… http://bit.ly/ciskW3

  125. RT @BLOGBlokeTips 8 Twitter Tips to Promote Your Blog http://bit.ly/cT7wyV

  126. RT @Twit_Expert @Punflaykids 8 Twitter Tips to Promote Your Blog http://bit.ly/cT7wyV:

  127. RT @Twit_Expert @Punflaykids 8 Twitter Tips to Promote Your Blog http://bit.ly/cT7wyV:: RT @Twit_Expert @Punflayki… http://bit.ly/aXs09N

  128. Keeping Social Media Real with Blog Bloke http://bit.ly/bJtpS6

  129. @jimmymycrushie, if you want a professional blog then Wordpress is the way to go. A personal blog is just fine on B… http://bit.ly/1fDYre

  130. @G.Taylor, just don't forget to give credit to the guy who started it all http://bit.ly/1BH6lz

  131. @Sanya - jimmymycrushie.blogspot.com, this also might help http://www.blogbloke.com/custom-domain-blogger-dns-seo-g... http://bit.ly/5Z3vbE

  132. Online Internet Security - How To Avoid Disaster and Recover if the Worst Should Happen http://bit.ly/c3oMoJ RT @BLOGBlokeTips

  133. Read BLOGBloke to find out why 99% of what THEY tell you is a complete waste of time. http://www.blogbloke.com/ Keep it real.

  134. RT @BLOGBlokeTips URLs With or Without WWW Subdomain - Which is Best? http://www.blogbloke.com/url-with-or-without-www/

  135. Reading: "Create a Gmail button for your Blog"( http://twitthis.com/n89kok )

  136. The Complete Guide of Becoming a Logo Designer http://bit.ly/cF6NZ1 I made my own .. what do you think? http://www.blogbloke.com/

  137. Ok, I'm color blind. I'm experimenting with the blog design so please bear with me http://www.blogbloke.com/

  138. Hi Blokesters! I changed the blog design a bit, so please tell me what you think http://www.blogbloke.com/

  139. I think I may have the only bannerless blog design out there .. http://www.blogbloke.com/

  140. RT @BLOGBlokeTips What is NOFOLLOW and Why Your Blog Should Get Rid of It http://bit.ly/bCdNr0

  141. RT @barry_wells: RT @BLOGBlokeTips What is NOFOLLOW and Why Your Blog Should Get Rid of It http://bit.ly/bCdNr0

  142. Merry Christmas Blokesters! http://bit.ly/gUl4jD

  143. Merry Christmas Blokesters! http://bit.ly/f8HLR5

  144. RT @BLOGBlokeTips 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog http://bit.ly/9ZMRRT

  145. RT @tracymatthewman: RT @BLOGBlokeTips 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog http://bit.ly/9ZMRRT

  146. RT @tracymatthewman: RT @BLOGBlokeTips 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog http://bit.ly/9ZMRRT

  147. @UKLegalEagle See: http://bit.ly/aFyYWx | http://bit.ly/2Lg92 | http://bit.ly/35DtAY … might help!

  148. @johnbrissenden Have found this http://www.blogbloke.com/moving-wordpress-blogger/ Explains but I don't know what he's on about!

  149. Currently Browsing: http://is.gd/1neArY

  150. I'm really happy with the design changes I made to the blog. How about you? http://www.blogbloke.com/

  151. 8 #twitter tips to promote your #blog http://bit.ly/YpqhV #socialmedia #seo #blogging

  152. I think I am finally finding my voice! http://bit.ly/h4mMQh /MKD

  153. Shocking, the # of copycats bouncing off my post http://bit.ly/6rFYFE without linking or even a hat tip.

  154. Gave the blog a new facelift. Let me know what you think http://www.blogbloke.com/

  155. Can anybody confirm my blog is down? http://www.blogbloke.com/ Thanks

  156. SO TRUE:15 Secret Tips for Building A Better Blog http://bit.ly/bhiGqN

  157. RT @BLOGBlokeTips: SO TRUE:15 Secret Tips for Building A Better Blog http://bit.ly/bhiGqN

  158. Does anybody else notice my blog is down? http://www.blogbloke.com/

  159. @rogerajohnson Roger, will you do me a favor and check my blog it it's working for you? I won't load at my end http://www.blogbloke.com/

  160. @rhyswynne Rhys! Ahhhh are you any good at redirecting blogger to wordpress?!?!? http://ow.ly/4lETl #stuck #bigtime

  161. @BLOGBlokeTips Keep it real with the true blogging original Blog Bloke http://www.blogbloke.com/

  162. How to win friends and influence people through social media http://bit.ly/gDmHUd

  163. 10 Reasons Why Twitter Is So Popular above: http://www.blogbloke.com/twitter-popular/

  164. Hence, people are lazy and stupid??? http://www.blogbloke.com/twitter-popular/

  165. The Suffering Blogger: 10 Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way http://bit.ly/cGMMD2

  166. @HDNinjaCP This should help http://www.blogbloke.com/moving-wordpress-blogger/ also If you move to blogger I can make you a amazing (cont)

  167. 10 Reasons Why Twitter Is So Popular http://bit.ly/j6sU1S

  168. @ksheriffdeen A link is at the bottom of my profile http://www.blogbloke.com/

  169. The TRUTH About Social Networks http://t.co/W1nioqw

  170. @blogneta @vaspersthegrate I said the same thing many moons ago http://www.blogbloke.com/twitter-grow-up/

  171. "Making Your Blog Search Engine Friendly - http://t.co/QanVLRj

  172. "Making Your Blog Search Engine Friendly - http://t.co/QanVLRj

  173. Migrating-Redirecting Blogger to Wordpress: The Complete Guide! http://bit.ly/nw7j7B

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