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One of My Blogging Blindspots

People talk about blogs being conversation spaces in a large part because of their comment features. And I love the fact that people can comment on blogs. I get ridiculously excited when people comment on the posts I put up here (seriously, every single time it’s like I’ve never gotten a comment before). And I like the option to respond to other people’s thoughts (though I do this far too rarely). But I almost never think to check other people’s blogs to see if there’s a conversation unfolding in their comment threads. Except for a handful of times over the last three years, someone else has had to say something like “did you see that comment on so-and-so’s blog?” before I’ll remember to go check on these things. Personally, I think the fact that I read blogs through my RSS reader hinders my comment reading. I rarely click through to the posts themselves. But clearly other people are able to do it, and I know they’re using RSS readers, too.

I won’t say this is my biggest weakness as a blogger, but it’s right up there. So I’ve been watching with interest as other blogger-librarians undertake the 2008 Comment Challenge. And while I watch them work through this challenge, I’ll try to think about my own commenting and comment-watching practices. How important is it that I watch comments? Am I OK with my default mode of catching up with comments when somebody else reminds me to go look? If not, is there a way that I can remember to check comments on other people’s blogs that fits into my online lifestyle?

Those of you that have this thing figured out. How do you do it?

p.s. Goodness! I just realized I missed my blogaversary… over a month ago! This blog is now entering its third year.

13 thoughts on “One of My Blogging Blindspots

  1. Hi Iris! I don’t do this myself, but some people seem to subscribe to people’s blog comments as well as their posts. I’m not sure all blog software makes that facility available, but I’m pretty sure that WordPress generates a separate feed for comments.

    If anyone else reading this does subscribe to blog comments, do you do it on all the blogs you read or just the ones you’re most interested in? Is it a combined posts/comments feed or do you have to subscribe to posts and then comments?

  2. I’m finding that the coComment extension for Firefox makes following conversations in which I’ve commented pretty simple and painless.

    I don’t subscribe to comment feeds. There are only so many conversations I’m interested in and have the time to follow outside of the ones I’ve started. I used to subscribe to KGS’ comments feed, but it just republished the post over and over again with the new comments added. I found it irritating to see the same post twenty times, when I had no stake in the conversation.

  3. I do subscribe to comment feeds under the following circumstances:
    -It’s one of my own projects and therefore I want to read everything every student writes;
    -The original post is an invitation to discuss a topic that really interests me;
    -I have made a comment that I think invites feedback.

    I don’t necessarily follow each conversation to its conclusion. I drop the feeds when I’m no longer interested.

    My RSS feeds aren’t static. I add and drop feeds all the time. It lets me manage the volume but still engage with different people.

    The Comment Challenge has introduced me to new people whose feeds have now found their way into my aggregator!

  4. I offer a comment feed on my blog (that has very few subscribers) and I pick up feeds for blogs where such feeds seem particularly useful. These feeds are great most of the time, but excruciating when there is a month-old Thread Which Will Not Die.

    WordPress creates a comment feed by default at wp-commentsrss2.php. With that info, I finally picked up the comment feed for Information Wants To Be Free.

    I am finding all comments kinda suspect right now, assuming that everyone is just commenting to get extra credit on the Challenge or something. I comment because I care. :P

  5. Oooh! Let’s start a flame war! Isn’t that #23 on the list of things for the comment challenge? ;-)

    But seriously, thanks for the feedback on comment feeds, all. I may try out subscribing to a comment feed or two and see how I like it.

  6. I subscribe to comment feeds for my favorite blogs, too. (But I’ve never seen the comment feed for Meredith’s blog, so that’s one I haven’t subscribed to.) It’s a good way of keeping up with blog conversations (and comment spam).

  7. Meredith is right: I skipped ahead to “assume a superior attitude to other commenters” and “attempt to get other commenters to flame out.” I had already completed “treat another blog’s comments as if it were your own personal blog” and “beat a dead horse.”

    Josh, Meredith doesn’t provide a link to her comment feed, but you can add wp-commentsrss2.php to the end of a WordPress URL to get the feed for that blog (unless the author has somehow disabled that feed).

  8. Wow! Comments!!! It’s like Christmas here.

    I guess I hadn’t really subscribed to comment feeds because my first experience with them was KGS’ which, as you pointed out Greg, was more than ideally informative… But maybe I’ll have to give that route a chance again.

    I also used to use coComment, but (again, this is over a year ago), it seemed to slow my browser down on every single page that had a biggish text box. But maybe I’ll have to try that again, too. Can’t hurt to try!

    And thanks, Steve, for the magical WordPress comment feed location. I’ve now subbed to Meredith’s comments! Yay!!

    And now, in the spirit of sharing, I’ve uncovered the secret and hiding blogger blog comment feed. If you add “/feeds/comments/default/” to the end of the blog URL, you get the full comment feed unless the person has disabled it. I’ve also added a comment subscription option to my front page.

  9. Thanks all for the feedback! I just added the comment feed for my blog to the sidebar. Now I’ll have to subscribe to some other folks’ comment feeds!

  10. Well, I’ve been busily subscribing to comment feeds and setting myself up with coComment. Now we’ll see how it works for me. Thanks, all, for your help!

  11. I’ve been reading about the experiences that some libloggers have had with the comment challenge thing, and it has caused me to comment more myself, even though I won’t be doing the challenge. (Thought about it, but it’s one more thing to feel guilty about falling behind on, so I’ll pass.)

    I subscribe to comment feeds selectively, and only if I know that the particular blog has valuable and relevant comments on a regular basis. Of course, I don’t always know that, so the comment feeds I subscribe to are few at this point.

  12. Anna, I think you’re right about subscribing to comment feeds selectively. They could get out of hand really easily. But yes, I’m enjoying at least knowing when comment threads begin. Even if I don’t read them carefully, it helps me gauge where the conversation is and where I should go to catch up later.

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