a comment on commenting

when i first started my blog it was purely so people i had left behind when we moved to canberra could see what i was up to. it was early days of knit-blogging then and i had no idea what i was doing. i was thrilled when i got one or two comments, and eventually i discovered a whole world of knit-blogging and the friends that came with it.

as time passed, the blog became more of a personal and creative outlet, and the decision to move to wordpress was so i could add more of myself through the extra pages, and start to leave a more permanent record (which of course i may come to regret!). i did worry that i might lose some readers, because i have come to love getting comments, and i was worried that the initial moderation thing on wordpress would put some people off.

but i have been more than pleasantly surprised. one of the interesting things about wordpress is the stats it gives you about your blog, numbers i have never been worried about before. but now i know that the other day, when i posted about the blue malabrigo, i had 74 views. how wild is that! and i got very many exceptionally thoughtful, kind and considerate comments.

this made me think two things, one: it’s time to say thank you, and two: what makes for good commenting? so in the spirit of the thank you, i bring you my first ever blog contest! apparently its all the rage but ive never done it before. so here i am, offering one lucky reader a skein of beautiful knitabulous hand-dyed 50/50 silk merino in a colour i am calling ‘roomy blue’, because it matches the colour of my blog theme!

this is one of my all time favourite yarns, with a beautiful smooth finish and luscious sheen, and the skeins have a generous 120g which is more than enough to make the large version of aestlight, for example!

but theres a catch. yes you have to leave a comment, but i want to know your thoughts on commenting. i know there are unspoken comment etiquettes, like try and say something nice, and if you want to get them you have to give them. i think i have a few expectations in my head, that my good friends will always comment, for example, and i always comment on a number of blogs i read regularly. with wordpress i am now able to reply to comments, which opens up the discussion even more. but it can be hard to comment, there is the expectation to think of something new, original, witty or wise to say. as a blogger, i try and write posts that leave room for people to comment, to discuss, to share ideas. sometimes i think i dont do that as well as i might. how many times can you say ‘oh nice stripey socks’ for example. or ‘cute dog’, even!

i know we write ultimately for ourselves, but when we know we have an audience, do we have a responsibility? and as a commenter, are the expectations too high? i was so thrilled with the comments that people left on the last post, they really helped me change my thinking, and lift my mood. thats a rare gift to recieve in this allegedly disconnected digital age. but it surprised me even more to know there are many more who might be reading but not commenting. well here’s your chance! have your say! let me know you’re out there and what makes you comment. or not.

im heading off to spend the weekend with bells and look at some pretty pictures. i will leave the contest open until monday night (australian eastern daylight saving time) and will draw the winner before i post again.

have a great weekend everyone, and thanks for reading, even if you dont comment!


About DrK

researcher, knitter, dog lover View all posts by DrK

32 responses to “a comment on commenting

  • Wen

    I have to admit I’m generally one of your silent readers. You are right though getting comments on your blog is good. Feedback lets us know that people are reading and interested in the topics we choose to write about.

    It’s not always easy to comment especially when you just want to say something that has already been said by someone else.

    I wonder what % of readers actually do comment…

  • Jeanie Babbage

    I often comment only when I feel strongly about a post. I have been reading blogs for a short time and those I do read usually come from Twitter profiles or because a blogger I enjoy has linked to them.

    There are some very talented knitters who blog (or is that talented bloggers who Knit) and I feel my world expanding as I keep up with these fun souls

  • Donna

    Argh, the commenting thing. I’m a bit of a hypocrite – I love to get comments, but I’m pretty crappy at leaving them. Usually it’s a time thing, I just read too many blogs. And part of it is reading through Bloglines, I often read a post there and don’t click through to the site to leave a comment. I am pretty good about responding to all my comments, but even that’s fallen a little short in the past couple of weeks. I think we’ve just established that I’m a total slacker 😉
    We’re thinking we might go see the pretty pictures over Easter!

  • bellsknits

    First up, great photos of Roomy Blue – love the name!

    Secondly, commenting is a great thing. Feedback, interaction, responses good and bad – I love it all. And like all good things in life, giving is as good as getting. I despair of bloggers sometimes who complain about low comment numbers only to make it quite clear they rarely if ever comment on anyone else’s. It’s a give and take thing. If you don’t comment, don’t complain, basically.

    And one of the great things about being your friend is that without your blog, we probably would have lost touch after you left Canberra, but I was able to keep track of you in your new life and now here we are! Great friends!

  • jennifer

    1: big thumbs up for your new blog and the commenting protocols (I have now grasped the complexities of “reply to comment”!)
    2: “cute dog” just has to be said sometimes.
    3: I usually feel embarrassed about what I write as a comment after the fact, but figure it isn’t going to affect the history of the world whatever I do.
    4: do your blog stats actually show how many times someone rereads the same post? (no. I’m not stalking. I’m just interested.)
    5: on account of an over-enthusiasm in the yarn acquisition policies of this knittery, I think it best if you don’t include me in the draw, as scrumptious as the blue stuff is.
    6: I’m sure you’ll love the pictures. I’m going next week.

  • Ailsa

    I met you through your blog – suprised to see another knit blogger in the Wollongong region, and I invited you to come have coffee with me at the Tourist Park where I was working, do you remember?

    Personally, I prefer to look at view numbers rather than comment numbers, but I do still love getting them.

    I used to wonder what kind of post would result in the most comments (for me). Raw and emotional? Usually drove people away. Positive and Upbeat? Sure fire way for me to get comment silence. I find it’s the knitting that gets the comments, and I’m often guilty of knitting purely for the blog, which is kind of weird.

    But of course if you’ve got a cute dog, it helps.

    Roomy blue – what a PERFECT name! Don’t put me in the draw of course..

  • missfee

    I love the blue of the yarn

    I tend more to comment on blog of people I know in real life – as I feel like it is a personal thing to do and I like that it is a conversation with that person – and I imagine that conversation in real life.
    I never ever leave bad comments and really try to be positive and upbeat as I don’t think we need anymore discouragement from anywhere.

    Love the new blog and love that I know you in real life too!!!

  • shellauw

    Ah… commenting. More often than not, I am a silent member of the peanut gallery – but I do try and say something (even if it is inane) on the blogs I read often, just to let the person that there is somebody reading, and who is actually interested in what the writer has to say…

    Now that I’m even more apart from those who I’ve met IRL, or at least, had the common factor of living in the same country, I enjoy those blogs all the more, but, being fearful of the inane comment, I lurk. It’s a tricky thing, almost as if you’re hanging out with the cool kids, and want to say something but can’t – if that makes any sense.

    But I too love comments, WP has given me the happiness of blog views to go on instead of just comment numbers, but I do think that having people give feedback is a reward for good writing.

    When you have a blog, you are writing for an audience. If you wanted to so something personal, write on paper and keep it by your bed. This medium is for information, entertainment and communication. And Thank You for such lovely posts, I look forward to each and every one of them. May there be many more for me to give inane comments on your lovely stash, your adorable dogs, and your beautiful knitting. 😉


  • CelestialSiryn

    I’m addicted to reading knitting blogs, but rarely comment.

    I usually only comment when I feel I have something useful to say about an issue or a project that someone is working on.

    However it is great to see all the wonderful things that you work on, and I look forward to continuing to read this blog in the future.

  • Rose Red

    I rarely, if ever, check my blog stats, because I don’t have a counter thingy installed, and I waste enough time on the internets as it is (which is not to say I’m not interested in how many people read, I just don’t do anything about it!).

    As for comments, I love to get them, and I believe the best way to get them (apart from writing interesting posts or showing off great knitting!) is to give them. I have some blogs that I comment on regularly, some sporadically, and many not at all. Mostly the “big name” bloggers are ones I don’t comment on at all or only rarely. And I try to respond directly to the post beyond the inane, but it’s not always possible, and sometimes “OMG that knitting is just fantastic!” is really all there is to say!

  • gemma

    Hey Dr K. First for comments you should have something that adds to the issue discussed. Second read back what you have said in your comments, more than once. sometimes what I write is not the true meaning of what I mean, if you see what I am getting at. Mostly I just read and smile for your successes, and worry a little when you worry.

    Best wishes always and carrying knitting in the queue to see the pretty paintings, and then it will not matter how long the queue is.

  • Leonie

    I probably only comment on about 1/10th of what I read if that. It depends on the content and also on the connection I have with the blog or person. The higher the connection the higher the chance of me leaving a comment. If there’s a blog I don’t often comment on, it will be the knitting or a food description/recipe that will prod me into commenting. That or some beautiful photography. Of course this all depends on just how much “free time” I have and whether the kids distract me before I remember to comment and then I come back and have forgotten where I was up to. I now have a pattern of opening the blog in a new window if I intend to comment on it so I don’t forget. Oh how I wish for the memory I believe I used to have!!!

  • Cindy

    I am new to your blog, but enjoy it. I, too am an infrequent blogger and try to not repeat others. Thank you for offering a contest and please keep blogging.

  • Lois

    Coming out of lurking here! 🙂

    I’m with missfee….I never leave a bad comment. I only comment on a blog after I have been reading it for some time…or know the person in real life.

    I sometimes worry about leaving comments when I haven’t done so on a particular blog before. It’s sort of like coming into someones house by opening the front door yourself. It’s silly isn’t it!!??

  • Cookie

    Hi! Bells sent me. Very pretty yarn.

    I think the commenting thing is all give and take. We give bits of ourselves in our posts and (hopefully) get comments back and the interaction that those comments occasionally led to. Then we read other people’s blogs and comment for even more interaction.

    I think the “nice stripey socks” and “cute dog” type comments are the easiest way for new people to say hello without having to seem deep or insightful or something. A nice simple way to let you know they are reading a long without looking like a stalker or something.

  • Darleen G

    I don’t usually leave comments unless I feel strongly about what has been posted. But I realize that those who blog want to know how they are being received. I should comment more often, even if it is just to say hello and that I enjoy reading the blog.

  • Tam

    I try to find something to comment about just because I love getting them myself, but I didn’t know you could find out how many people viewed a post… that’s cool! I’m going to see if blogger does it somewhere.

    Bells sent me, too, and since I have time (I’m up early with a baby who won’t sleep) I’m going to flick through yours, then through some of the other commenters blogs. lol…

  • anna

    hello, i’m another ‘bells sent me’ reader! and also a blogger who started out in a similar way to you. (i wanted to keep distant family and friends in touch with my family and goings on.)
    i agree with many of the commenters so far… i usually read a blog silently for a while before saying hi, but then it’s hard to know when the right time is! i don’t like to lurk, but the longer i leave it, the more worthwhile i feel the comment must be – silly i know!
    i find that i comment when i feel a particular connection with what someone has posted, or when they specifically ask for people’s opinions on a topic. i agree though, about comments being positive.
    however, as i read on someone’s blog, there’s nothing like a giveaway for bringing your lurkers out into the open!
    this has been very thought provoking! thank you, and i will be back to read your blog again 🙂

  • Kylie

    Hope that you are having a great weekend (visiting via Bells blog)

    I love comments and also try to leave comments (sometime time doesnt allow me too with two children and needing to run off or turn off the computer in a hurry)

    I also attempt to find a few new blogs every week (there are so many out there) and sometime I will never find my way backthere – but it is a bit of fun)

    As you already said, if you want comments than one must also comment in the blogging world.

  • 2paw

    I like to comment, I am nothing if not loquacious. I still miss being surrounded by children and other teachers all day so I look to people I know internetally for a different kind of contact. Plus I get to live vicariously through others. The Roomy View matches your blog so well, but I am sure someone else needs and deserves it more than I do. Plus, well, it’s not green!!!

  • Asia

    I’m known to pass up a chance to comment if I don’t feel I have anything to really contribute. I’d rather not just voice a hallow statement of agreement or echo sentiments others have stated previously, if possible. I don’t feel those kinds of comments help the blogger understand where their readers are really coming from.

    As for blogger responsibility, I think the only responsibility is to be true to yourself when you write. I’ve seen some blogs out there where the blogger seems to be trying to fit into a special niche they think is what people want, and their posts look plasticy and artificial. The best thing a blogger can do is be natural and express themselves the best they can. I love getting to know people through their records of experiences, thoughts and feelings (of course, pictures help too).

  • Lynne

    Like you, I always hope my friends will leave a comment and there are blogs on which I regularly comment.

    I am always a little disappointed when my post attracts few comments – is that an indication of few readers?

    It’s a funny thing but there are some posts that I think will attract a lot of comment yet don’t (and vice-versa). I can never work it out!

  • Jan

    It took just one skein of that 50/50 to put it in with my favourite yarns, That’s a lovely colour too.

    I’m with Rose Red. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for many years and always used to check my stats. Now I rarely bother. I can’t even pinpoint when I stopped checking.

    I’ve made friends through commenting and met quite a few bloggers, both knitters and others.

    I enjoy comments on my blog and enjoy commenting.

    I do think that comments need to be re-read both in the writing and in receiving. No voice tone, no body language can lead to taking something the wrong way, just as email can be misconstrued.

    I’ve had great support from comments at difficult times of my life and I try to return that when needed.

  • diane

    okay another lurker flushed out by a skein of Knitabulous yarn . I also found your blog via Bells and have been reading for a while . I enjoy reading but never have anything to say . I rarely comment on any blog so my only comment now to you and all the blogs I read is Thank You , I thoroughly enjoy your thoughts, knits and pictures.

  • Catherine

    I read often but comment rarely. I’m another you can chalk up to Miss Bells’ influence – for better or worse!

    Sometimes it’s difficult to comment (on blogs in general, not yours) for fear of being thought flippant, trite, or, indeed, flashing your knowledge around like a right smart alec.

    Thanks for allowing us space on your blog so graciously.

  • Jackie

    I am another one who has found my way to reading your blog via Bells.
    I have hardly ever left a comment on any blog – but greatly enjoy reading the knitting blogs. I am grateful that there are people like you and Bells that have renewed my interest in knitting and indirectly have given me the enthusiasm to try new things like knitting socks and top down raglans. The number of comments is not indicative of the number of people you touch with your blogging. Thank you for sharing.

  • Adele

    Hi there. Commenting on a blog about knitting is a scary concept for me (not being at all interesting in knitting – except for recieving knitted goods from my lovely sister). However, I love that your blog is not just about knitting. Your blog post explaining your blog title recently moved me to comment. You know how moved I was.

    I love people sharing a small part of themselves. It’s such a priviledge to be allowed to be a part of something so personal.

    Thanks for your blog.

  • donna lee

    I like to read people’s blogs because it gives me a look into their lives. And how cool is that? As far as comments go, I love them. I try to leave at least a Hi! when I stop by but sometimes the brain is not up to conversation.

    I also like the way a comment can spark a new idea and a whole convesation.

  • Sarah

    Oh I’m sorry I hadn’t read your last post – but I’m glad that everyone helped to cheer you up

    Commenting and blogging should be about you – what you want to write – what you want to say – I love it when people comment but I know that it takes time and we all read many more blogs than we have time to comment on – still I like to make sure I leave as many comments as possible as it’s this more interactive element of blogging that makes it most special to me – and I never mind how many times people want to just say ‘nice socks’ 🙂

  • LynS

    I hope I’m not too late to comment – just back from Brisbane and a not-so-well dotee. I like the variety of things you deal with in your blog – the knitting, of course; your thoughts about your work and your writing and how they integrate with the rest of your life; books you’re reading; what excites you and what dampens your enthusiasms.

    But I don’t know anything about dogs.

    Commenting is interesting and a bit unfathomable. A bit unpredictable. As Fee says, I particularly like to comment on the blogs of people I know – it does feel like a conversation. I comment on the blogs of people I don’t know if they’ve made something I’m really struck by (if it’s knitting) of if they’ve put a point of view I’m really engaged by (if it’s not knitting) and this has led to some great blog friendships. There’s no point in leaving negative comments – why bother? – though I might leave questioning comments if I’ve really been challenged by a point of view and want to take the thinking further.

    Thanks for posing such an interesting commenting challenge.

  • Tracee Dawn

    I’ve been blogging for a bit now as well, and I get thrilled with the comments! I sometimes wonder if anyone really reads( or wants to read) about my ramblings, I do try to make it interesting. Sometimes I suceed, sometimes, maybe not, but if its what’s going on in my head, heart or life at the time, I’ll put it down there. I love to read others, tio see that what is important to me is to others as well, and sometimes they can express it in ways I never thought of, but is just right at that moment. Having someone reply to my comment is wonderful, a bit of real conversation with someone who inspires me!
    ps~ I would loooove to win the yarn, blue is my favorite color!

  • drkknits

    oh my god! 31 comments! its so great to see so many comments from lurkers and new people via bells, and all so thoughtful. thanks everyone!

    the contest is now closed and i will draw the prize winner tonight my time and let you know.

    thanks again!


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