How Effective Are Comments for Discussion, Really?

How Effective Are Comments For Discussions, Really

The first time I ever visited a blog was when I clicked on a link in GoodReads, because I thought (and still do) that the reviewer was a fantastically hilarious person. Fabulously amazing. Fabulously amazingly fantastically hilarious.

While I don’t really remember the post I read, I knew it was one of those discussion posts that questioned some things and I remember thinking: oh, the comments will be great for this one.

I love reading comments, especially when people discuss things. Why? Don’t ask me. I hardly know why I do what I do. I’m pretty sure my mom has a better idea of how I work than I do.

But anyway, I’ve always thought comments to be rich with discussions, people going back and forth, back and forth as they debated the post and the stars above while they were at it.

So imagine my surprise when I got to them.

Sure, there were a lot. That blog was huuuuuuge. It’s like twenty of my blogs mashed together + a whole lot more snark. I like snark. I strive to add more snark to my everyday life.

But they were comments, with only one reply, and after that, nothing.

Isn’t the main point of posting discussion points… discussing? Arguing, debating, just having conversations about the post?  Isn’t it?

But when you have only a single reply – which is from the author of the post, because politeness and stuff – it doesn’t leave much room for discussing. There usually isn’t a discussion. And I’ve spotted this on so. many. blogs. The huge ones, the small ones, the in-between ones, all of them.

The lack of discussion is so disheartening.

I post discussions because I love reading your thoughts. I LOVE to hear what you have to say because people think about things so differently and I LOVE hearing other people’s POVs and thoughts! But it’s really hard to strike up a riveting conversation in comments, and I feel like I’ve got a grasp on (at least part of) the problem).

Short answer: we’re lazy as fuck.

Long answer?

Right now, to comment on a blog, I’d have to go to the bottom on a post, type the answer, swear as the blog EATS my comment and retype it, then post it again. THEN I have to wait for an email of your reply – or, if there’s no email, obsessively reload the page until you reply – and comment again. Rinse and repeat.


At this point in life, interaction is so. easy.

It’s a simple tweet, sent within three seconds and an answer received in five.

It’s a quick DM, which is bound to get answered any minute now.

It’s something easier, faster, nicer… than commenting.

Come now. How many of you interact through comments? Like, ACTUAL DISCUSSIONS. Not one-off snippets of chit-chat. Actual conversations. I can say that I think I’ve had only… one? One proper discussion that solicited more than a single reply from each of us.

My Twitter count rivals that almost a hundredfold.

I AM NO SOCIAL BUTTERFLY. If I was, I’d be the one who’d stay in their cocoon for an extra six months because SOCIALIZING DOES NOT FIT ME.

At all.

But Twitter makes everything so so so so so easy, simple, and quick. Isn’t that what we’re looking for in this day and age? The fastest, quickest, most efficient way of doing stuff?

And I’ve seen a staggering amount of people who admit that most of their friends have been met through Twitter WHICH IS DEFINITELY OKAY! I think all my friends have been met through Twitter, and I have no regrets there. But they rarely comment on my blog, and I theirs. Yet when they retweet my post or shoot me a quick @ on Twitter about it, that’s when I know they’ve read it, and we can have a discussion there.

The point of this post, I’ll be honest, is a bit mish-mashed. It’s part expressing shock at the lack of comment discussions, and part expressing my thoughts that at this point, comments might simply be a thing of the past.
The comments I get, I treasure. Truly. This blog isn’t huge and I’m thankful for every single comment I get.

But I’m just trying to pose the question: will, in time, comments become obsolete? Will social media like Twitter completely take over this aspect of blogging interaction?

Go on, spread the word!
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She likes to think the reviews provided help you pick out the good books from the bad, because it would be a crime to read some of those books, and being the good citizen she is, will try her best to help you steer clear of those books. While she knows that there are many blogs like this out there, as I’m sure you also know, she’d like to point out that her blog is different- you will never find someone quite like her. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you to decide.


21 thoughts on “How Effective Are Comments for Discussion, Really?

  1. Woooow what an amazing post, one that made me think about the topic! So I thought, why not start this: I’m going to start the discussion (because I don’t want Tweets to take over blogging interactions). So hi, I’m Maha, and this is an amazing blog, don’t you think?

      1. Ummm I may be liking that one ?. The person who blogs on that blog is just a little struggling with writing discussions (though there’s one coming soon) ??

  2. Twitter is DEFINITELY easier to interact on than blog comments. (or pretty much anything else) Then again, I get that, but I would also love more comment interaction like you said. I think the most difficult part about that though is that there are SO MANY different comment platforms that there isn’t just one place to get notifications for replies. It makes things… difficult.
    Tamara @ Tamaraniac recently posted…Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den // ARC ReviewMy Profile

    1. IT IS! And I’d definitely love more commenting action – I love love LOVE the comments I get, but I just wish we got more of a conversation going, yeah? It lets me know my READERS really well, who I am always grateful towards for reading my posts!

  3. I’ve noticed this too Claudia – not just with discussion posts, but with reviews as well. I definitely agree that making a simple tweet is easier than commenting, and for that reason I think comments have become a lot more weighted than they used to be. Very interesting and well-written post, and thanks for sharing! ♥
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Their Fractured LightMy Profile

    I’m horrible at commenting. I get to lazy when I’m on a device and promise myself I’ll do it later, but I never do. OR when I’m visiting bigger blogs; they have an endless scroll-bar of comments and I simply feel like my opinion would get lost and/or doesn’t matter, so I ultimately decide to not comment.

    I’m one to talk though. As a blogger, I’m personally working on engaging more conversation when I reply to comments. Not just addressing their comment and then “thank you for stopping by” I try to ask some questions and not make the commenter afraid to start up a conversation.
    Like Zoe mentioned before me, reviews are hard conversation openers because not everyone will love the same genre or concept, not everyone will have read the book or even WANT to read the book. It feels kind of one-sided when I review.
    I got kind of rambly! Sorry! You did a great job opening up the coversation for this post, Claudia! Can’t wait for your next post. 🙂 <3
    Izel @ A Bookish Flower recently posted…Book Review – The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali BenjaminMy Profile

  5. Honestly, I hate when people don’t reply to comments. I’m the kind of blogger who leaves a comment, and I try as hard as I can to check to see if the blogger replied. I’m kind of guilty of not checking, especially with WP blogs because those email notifications go to an email address that I rarely use. I do go back to the posts a few days later, though.

    I’m also the kind of blogger who replies to all comments. If someone takes time out of their day to say something to me, you can bet that I’m going to say something back. There are a few bloggers who I interact with daily on my blog. We go back and forth in the comments, and I love it! It makes me sad when it dies after one comment.

    Now I do make exceptions if I can tell that someone just commented without really saying anything meaningful. I’ve noticed this a lot on giveaway posts, so I’ve tried to incorporate some sort of a question for people to answer, but they rarely do.

    There are also some things that I question when it comes to commenting. I know there are people who claim to love getting comments, but they never reply to comments and they never leave comments. There are also blogs that I’ve visited and commented on countless times, and I know from the lack of knowledge about my blog that they’ve never even bothered to visit. I know that I want to see all the blogs! I want to check out every single blogger who visits my blog. I know it’s an impossible task, but it’s one I try hard to complete.
    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover recently posted…Life Lessons from Gayle Forman + GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    1. Haha, then you’d probably hate me. >.< I am HORRID at commenting, and it weighs on my conscience every day. I aspire to be more like you! Honestly, I appreciate it SO MUCH when someone comments, because a) they don't have to do it and b) it inspired something in them strong enough for them to feel the need to share it. And it brings me so much joy. Giveaway posts are definitely subject for those cheap, generic one-liners. Although I don't think you can avoid it, right? Again, I feel guilty of this too and I need to focus more on SHOWING my appreciation instead of just saying it, right? I'm trying to get back on track with my comments - right now, I'm doing an intense commenting spree that includes replying back to my comments and going to the blogs to comment back.

  6. I appreciate this post. There really is so much to it.

    I’ll be honest, if I don’t receive an e-mail or a wordpress alert reminding me that I commented on a particular discussion post, I’m probably not going remember to head back to the blog on a later date to check and see if the blogger had in fact responded to me. But, if I do receive that e-mail that tells me I have a response, I’ll definitely head over to check it out. But you know what? That comment thread or discussion usually ends there. A lot of times I cannot think of a way to respond to the blogger because…I can kind of tell they are responding to my comment purely out of some blogging etiquette obligation.

    1. YES! I mean, it’s more of an obligation rather than anything else. It’s the polite thing to do. And normally, they don’t extend beyond the usual conversation of the commenter agreeing/disagreeing and the blogger replying to that with a thank you/I understand. There’s no new information or inquiry to really build up on stuff, you know?

  7. This is a great question. I know that recently I commented on a Big Blog, and somehow signed up to see responses, and then had to weed through literally dozens of emails letting me know that the Big Blogger had very sweetly replied to just about everyone who had said something. Which, frankly, quickly went from not interesting to super annoying. The time lag really does throw off being able to properly discuss something. But I’m not Twitter savvy enough to chat with people there.

    I’m also not a fan of small talk in any forum, so if comments are along the lines of “Great post!” or “Oh, I love that book too!” I don’t feel a need to respond. And as Izel said above, if there are a huge number of comments, I don’t feel like saying what four other people have already said is very constructive. You wouldn’t do that in a “live” discussion, right?

  8. This is a great question. I know that recently I commented on a Big Blog, and somehow signed up to see responses, and then had to weed through literally dozens of emails letting me know that the Big Blogger had very sweetly replied to just about everyone who had said something. Which, frankly, quickly went from not interesting to super annoying. The time lag really does throw off being able to properly discuss something. But I’m not Twitter savvy enough to chat with people there.

    I’m also not a fan of small talk in any forum, so if comments are along the lines of “Great post!” or “Oh, I love that book too!” I don’t feel a need to respond. And as Izel said above, if there are a huge number of comments, I don’t feel like saying what four other people have already said is very constructive. You wouldn’t do that in a “live” discussion, right?

    1. Right?! With small talk comments, I’m not sure how to respond to that. I mean, a “thank you” is always recommended, but that just sounds kind of plain. And sort of an expected, polite way to answer.

  9. It does seem to be pretty standard to see no more replies than that one from the blog author to a comment and then no further response, which does put into question the idea of a discussion. Once in a while though I do and up in a commenting thread which links up a chain of four or five comments and that’s always nice when it happens. I suppose besides laziness, this also happens because the blogger has already said all they mean to and the commenter merely states agree meant or disagreement without a new hook to turn the comment into a full-on discussion.

    What I always thought curious is how rare it is for commenters to reply to one another. This makes me pretty hesitant to respond to the comment of someone else or to build up on their argument. And the times that I do overcome myself to do it, I already know chances are I won’t receive a response from the other commenter.

    At least, yes, there’s Twitter to keep conversations going. However, I still think comments are relevant because we’re given more space to express our views. Twitter allows us to give quick responses but makes it difficult to expand them.
    Joséphine @ Word Revel recently posted…Project 52 – Into the NightMy Profile

  10. I do agree that most of the time a discussion doesn’t go much further than a comment and a reply, but there are times when I’ve had a bit more back and forth than that. I’m okay with this. I do think that often “discussions” aren’t truly discussions – it’s one person giving their thoughts on something and then other people giving their thoughts on that same topic. I LOVE reading all of the different opinions that are given, so I think comments are definitely worthwhile (for instance, I just went and read all of the comments and replies here). You can definitely say more meaningful things than you can in a 180 character tweet. BUT I also agree that there’s better back-and-forth interaction on Twitter. So, I think there’s a place for both types of things! 🙂
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore – 1/24/16My Profile

  11. I’ve noticed the same thing and I find it incredibly frustrating. I started blogging because I wanted to discuss, damn it!

    On wordpress, I find it easier, personally, because I get notifications of every comment on the site and in the app, and so would the other wordpress user. When I comment on blogs with disqus, I get an email automatically. When a blog has a commentluv, and that person comments on my blog, it reminds me to go back to their blog and check the reply to my comment.

    For every other blog, I’m afraid I’m terribly likely to forget that I’ve commented in the first place, because I am forgetful and busy and I read a lot of blog posts. Twitter does make discussion more immediate, I think, but I find I have far few book/blog discussions than I tend to have writing discussions; maybe I’m following the wrong people, or saying the wrong things, or reading the wrong books, but it is a pattern I’ve noticed and I don’t know how to address it.
    Blaise recently posted…How I Plotted #TheProjectMy Profile

  12. I really hope not! I’m trying to use social media more, especially Twitter, but it’s not what I focus on the most. I like getting comments on the actual blog. You can say MUCH more in a comment than in a 140 character tweet. I don’t mind if people only write something once and that’s it, even on a discussion post. We’re busy! That includes too busy for social media sometimes too, at least for me. I like Twitter to get to know new people or bloggers better and to talk about whatever, but I like the comments to really talk about that particular post.

    I think one reason people don’t really have discussions in comments though is because they don’t necessarily know you wrote back. Twitter lets you know, and some blogs have something where you’ll get an email saying they replied. I always look at these and if I have something to say back or the blogger asked a question, then I’ll reply. Other people reply and it shows up as an email to JUST me, because my email is attached to my account, and that works too. If someone asks me a question on the blog, I try and email them but it doesn’t always show up on their account, so instead, I’ll visit their blog and comment on a blog and then add at the bottom the answer to their question so I know they saw it, because I blog via and I don’t have a Reply button, so unless someone comes back and checks the comments again, they won’t see my answer. And I don’t expect them to keep checking back with tons of other blogs to visit! Hope that all makes sense. haha

    But yeah, I love comments and I hope they stay. They are also a good indicator of who is reading for publishers or other people who want to send you something to review/giveaway. Visitor numbers are number 1, sure, but to the casual person coming across your blog, they can only REALLY see the comments.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Shooting Thoughts: Bridge the Gap With MeMy Profile

  13. Just found your blog through the Feed Your Fiction Addiction Discussion link up 🙂 And great topic-I don’t do twitter/other social media, so blogging comments are pretty much the only way I interact with other bookish people. I’ve responded to other people’s comments on other blogs, and then feel a bit weird-like am I supposed to do that, or is the blog owner the only one who’s supposed to respond? I think there may be some confusion on commenting etiquette?

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