Comment Challenge Week 2

Comment Challenge Week 2

This is my weekly report on an online blogging project I am participating in and I’d love to get your thoughts on these aspects in particular:

  1. Comment Policies for blogs – Are you for or against? And why?
  2. Comment Moderation – Are you for or against? And why?
  3. My belief is posts where you hand the post over to readers by asking questions are probably the hardest posts to write. What are your thoughts? Can you give me examples of bloggers who do this well?

If you are looking for other posts I’ve written this week how about Embedding Jing Screencasts Into Blog Posts or Are You Making Your Life Easier By Using A Personalized Start Page?.

Day 11: Write a Blog Comment Policy

Definitely this task provoked similar response to Kate Foy who said “Today weโ€™re to write a comment policy for our blog. No, I donโ€™t think so โ€ฆ not for me.” But the scientist in me needed fully investigate the pros and cons.

PROs

  1. The articles which Michele Martin recommends we read provide logical reasons why bloggers should have comment policies.
  2. Michele included Create A Comment policy as a task because from experience she knows there are still a lot of people who don’t know how to comment. They need some concrete instructions on where to access comments, how to leave one, etc which you can cover in a comment policy. If you check Michele’s policy you will see it’s extremely friendly and is more about how to leave comments.
  3. Ines Pinto’s idea on involving her students to provide their input in forming a comment policy for student blogs is a very sensible way of educating her students on appropriate online behaviour and minimising the occurrence of inappropriate commenting.

CONs

  1. Couldn’t find any top edublogger who does have a comment policy (used Aseem Badshah Education Blog list) – the closest was Scott McLeod’s “Note that when you leave a comment here, you are agreeing that your comment also falls under the terms of this Creative Commons license.” Also I checked other top bloggers and many of them didn’t have comment policies.

Mutter, mutter my Vulcan-like nature can’t ignore the facts that the Pros way out balance the Cons (I’m sure Ian McLean who’s a Star Trek fan can relate to my dilemma). So thinking I have added creating a Newbie Guide to my To-Do list — which will focus on the friendly instructional approach Michele’s taken.

Day 12: Make Sure Your Blog Technology is “Comment Friendly”

My personal belief has always been itโ€™s better not to moderate comments. I’m glad that readers challenged this belief when I wrote Are Your Comment Settings Making It Harder For Readers To Comment? because they provided very valid reasons why a blogger might moderate comments (check out the comments here).

Day 13: Write a Blog Post Using Comments

Comments often contain “hidden gems” that readers miss unless the blogger elevates them to a post. Writing a blog post from comments is a good way to:

  1. Share these conversations with all your readers and show you value readers input e.g. Beth Kanter is excellent at writing these types of posts (check out this example) as is Michele Martin (check out this example).
  2. Increase your own learning e.g. Comments by Alan Levine and Chris Betcher on my post on Animoto lead to Job for Saturday! Road test of online video creators! and Sunday Job! Road Test Some More Online Video Creators! — where I learnt a lot about online video creators.

These aren’t necessarily the easiest posts to write so definitely worth checking out how people like Beth Kanter and Michele Martin write them.

Day 14: Turn Your Blog Over to Your Readers

Look I’m really interested in your OPINION!

My belief is posts where you hand the post over to readers are probably the hardest posts to write. I’m in awe of Chris Brogan‘s skill with these types of posts (check out Power of Comments, How Does Your Blog Relate to Your Business).

Day 15: Give a Comment Award

As Michele says “We all like some recognition!” but this is definitely one task I can’t complete. I can’t give an award to one or a few of my commenters — it’d be like having to choose between my two kids ๐Ÿ™ . An alternative method of thanking commenters is how Danielle does it.

Day 16: Go Back and Catch Up on Something

Love it when we have Days off to go back and catch up — tonight has been busy doing exactly that!

Day 17: Five in Five

The idea for this came from Tony Tallent’s post called “Five in Five” based on doing 5 comments in 5 minutes.

What can I say? It’s late! I just wanted to finish the tasks and go to bed! I’d read Tony’s post previously so quickly worked on trying to do 5 comments in 5 minutes. I managed 3 comments in 5 minutes ๐Ÿ™ .

Then read all clauses on Michele’s post (reminder to self always read clauses!):

  1. No scrimping on quality.
  2. If you’re going to read 5 posts and leave reasonably thoughtful comments on each, it will probably take you longer than 5 minutes (Tony ended up taking 28 minutes to comment on 8 posts).

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s time for bed and the best news is I’m up to date!!!! 8-).๏ฟฝ ๏ฟฝ You can check out the daily tasks on Michele’s blog here.

And if youโ€™re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

21 thoughts on “Comment Challenge Week 2

  1. “Comment Policies for blogs – Are you for or against? And why?” Sue, like you I noticed that a lot of top bloggers do not have comment policies. However, I’ve also noticed that a lot of the top commenters do have ‘how to comment’ pages. Every blog platform is slightly different regarding where to go to add your comments, so I can see that for new bloggers a how to page would be very helpful. It’s on my to-do list!

    Regarding comment moderation, I’m in a quandry. I want to remove barriers to commenting on my blog, but I also don’t want spam or inappropriate comments polluting my blog and turning off readers. To date I’ve only had two spam comments, so maybe I shouldn’t worry. Do you use akismet to weed out spam, or are you just vigilant?

  2. Thanks for link. I found out about Comment Challenge only a few days ago, but it seems a sensible, disciplined way to get that essential to-an-fro community happening in the blogosphere. See, it got me to your site, so it works!

  3. 1. Comment policies for blogs –
    For and Against
    For – for edu, journalism & opinion blogs (I follow the “two stars and a wish” policy)
    Against – for personal “what I did on the weekend” blogs (e.g. livejournal)

    -> it depends on the purpose for writing, and the audience!

    2. Comment moderation –
    For – for public blogs
    Against – for blogs that are already “moderated” through access permissions (e.g. different levels of posts). Moderating every single comment on my livejournal would take far too long.

    3. If your blog post is written with the purpose of eliciting comments from readers, then it needs to be *short*. The question for readers needs to be the main thing they see, not paragraphs of text. e.g. posting a really interesting/controversial video and then asking a specific question will elicit more comments than writing a big spiel about what you think and then ask for others’ opinions somewhere along the line.

    The teaching communities on lj are good examples of where there’s a lot of commenting and a lot of good questions. Same with the parenting communities, subject/interest-specific ones…

  4. Comment Policies for blogs – Are you for or against? And why?

    I think each blogger should have a set of objective criteria they use to suss this out — making it public risks offending people. I would rather have to explain to the occasional bonehead why his/her comment didn’t see the light of day than risk turning off lots of others. It’s why I don’t put all those capital letters and red font warnings on my eBay listings.

    Comment Moderation – Are you for or against? And why?

    I’m for it and do it because the option is to have reams of p*rn spam and spam site spam to clean up. Sucks, but fact of life.

    My belief is posts where you hand the post over to readers by asking questions are probably the hardest posts to write. What are your thoughts? Can you give me examples of bloggers who do this well?

    I find most attempts at this (both my own and others) can end up feeling contrived. Penny makes a great point- the post needs to be short.

    There are people who both in conversation and text are so definite in their opinions they seem to be daring people to respond so they can slap ’em down rather than inviting a dialogue.

  5. Kerry J, you summed up pretty well why I am reluctant to make a detailed comment policy: “I think each blogger should have a set of objective criteria they use to suss this out โ€” making it public risks offending people. I would rather have to explain to the occasional bonehead why his/her comment didnโ€™t see the light of day than risk turning off lots of others.” At the same time I’d like to be transparent, so I am still struggling with this one.

  6. @Claire Definitely decided a “Newbie Guide to This Blog” is the way to go because it helps new people understand how to comment. So is also on my to-do-list. I’m using the Akismet but spam blogs are my biggest problem and generally grab my posts fairly soon after posting. I’ve just gone through and removed them from this post as there was a really inappropriate one. I think the answer is we each have to be comfortable with our decisions on moderation.

    @Ian ๐Ÿ™‚ Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about Star Trek and at least have one person read it who gets what I mean. I’m really pleased with the progress of the Comment Challenge because participants are learning some really cool stuff.

    @Penny (pcoutas) What is the “Two stars and a wish policy?” Interesting to see how your feelings about comment policies and comment moderation are influenced by the type of blog. Definitely food for thought. Totally agree — people who write posts that hand over to readers uses really small posts where questions are the main focus of the post. Also a bit like twitter the question has to be something they can relate to and want to comment on.

    @Kerry J I thinking of approaching the whole concept of the comment policy based on how both Michele Martin and Christy Tucker have. Theirs are very friendly and inviting. Christy’s is sooo well worded you feel like she is having a nice f2f conversation with you explaining how to comment. The only site I’ve had major problems on with spam is Podomatic – on one podcast I was at 64 comments (which they ended up deleting for me). My blogs seem to do a better job of handling these types of spam issues however I have noticed blogger seems to be having spam problems lately. Glad you feel the similar level of discomfort with posts that hand over to reades by asking questions because unless done well they don’t work.

    @Claire Here’s the link to Christy’s you might like to check it out. I would use hers and Michele’s as a guide. How Michele uses the image is really good in hers.

  7. I really was surprised at how “controversial” the idea of a blog comment policy was. I think it must be something about the word “policy” that turned people off.

    The main reason I think that a blogger should address the issue of commenting through some kind of “policy” or “guidelines” page is to convey to people that 1) you really WANT comments and 2) how to actually do the commenting. I actually think that this is particularly necessary in the edublogosphere because there are a lot of people who are new to commenting who could benefit from some instructions and a sense of how you invite and deal with comments. I see it as part of conveying an overall sense of community and friendliness to people. It’s not there so much for the people who are already into blogging as much as it is to invite new people into the conversations.

  8. I wonder whether as bloggers we have an unspoken regard for freedom of speech … hence the controversy over the use of the word ‘response’ which you note Michele.

  9. @Michele Once I read your comment on Tony Karrer post I totally understood where you were coming from. I wonder if part of the issue is many of us work within large organisations and perhaps automatically associate the word policy with barriers?

    @Kate definitely been a long day ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps freedom of speech but still wonder if too many years working with policies has done this to me?

  10. Hello Sue,

    In following your progress in this 31-day challenge, I’m please to see that you’re still keeping up. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot and have grown significantly in the process of interaction with others.

    That said, and in light of the 5 in 5, I’m wondering how much time you’ve spent in connection with this cause. The last thing I’m saying here is that the 31-day comment challenge isn’t worthwhile – I’m sure that it is – I’ve just become increasing aware of how much time we all spend doing this stuff (and at the expense of what else?). Along these lines, I can empathize well with Ken Rodoff’s thoughts here: http://tinyurl.com/6oz64e .

    I’m also wondering if – in order for me to be a good blogging citizen – I must sacrifice writing my own posts so that I’m able to comment on the posts of others. If I don’t comment on other’s posts because I honestly don’t have the time (but I am able to scrape 5 minutes to write a post of my own), does that lower my status as a “good blogging citizen”?

    On a different topic, THANK YOU again Sue, for all of your help. I think the level of service you offer to educators worldwide is tremendous and unparalleled. Again.

  11. Hi Darren ๐Ÿ™‚

    Counting down the weeks ’til summer holidays? Yes I’ve definitely learned a lot.

    Read Ken’s thoughts and its okay I know people worry about me (being too connected). The unfortunate reality in Australia is there is NOTHING on TV (PS very long winded response = apologies but so annoyed by crappy TV viewing).

    Now I know you must think this is amazing with 6 free to air channels plus Pay TV (Foxtel) that there is nothing worth watching. But that is the reality. Foxtel is just continual reruns of the same shows and episodes (like Ground Hog Day but worse). So most nights I do make an attempt to watch TV but there is absolutely nothing worse wasting time to watch. I’m not that only one that feels this way — my hubby will often read a book or go on YouTube to find videos to watch.

    And I don’t think anyone should be forced to watch Simpsons, Family Guy etc just for the sake of connecting with their children (one more episode of any of them and I may be forced to do something really bad!!!).

    So that is my really long winded way of saying once I used to watch a lot of TV, now it is all mostly crap so I’ve just chosen to spend my time more productively. And when there are shows worth watching I watch them with the family. (We have American Idol nights, Star Trek, Star Gate, Movie nights).

    I assumed the main reason why people don’t comment is the “time issue” however most participants of the Challenge have said their reluctance to comment is because of the “fear factor.”

    My goal of the challenge was to make people appreciate (experience) that much of the learning from blogging comes from the interactions that happen as a result of commenting so they could build this into how they use it with their students.

    I do sacrifice writing my own posts to comment on others but that is my choice. But that doesn’t make us either better or worse “blog citizens” we are just doing what we can when we can ๐Ÿ™‚ . PS the 5 in 5 for me was to see if I could become a more time efficient commenter (doesn’t look possible ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  12. Sue
    I agree there are times when I wonder about the sheer dullness of television programming, but I have to say I disagree that there is nothing worth watching on Australian television right now.

    I think our free to airs like the ABC (two channels) + SBS are brilliant with the sheer scope and quality of programs. And without meaning to provide a freebie for paid tv (they take my money so that’s enough) there are some gems on cable that would never see the light of day on free to air commercials.

    All a matter of taste I reckon. At least I’ve stopped being guilty about watching tv!

  13. Unfortunately, my summer holidays will be largely nonexistent. With trainings for our Engaged Classroom project taking place in June (http://theengagedclassroom.wikispaces.com/) followed by NECC and an intense string of graduate classes in July, only to start up again in August, there’s no rest for the wicked.

    I’m intrigued by the commenting fear factor. I also wonder if it’s not a combination of laziness, or an unwillingness to commit. I think you should poll your readers:

    Do they contribute to a blog?
    Have they ever posted a comment to a blog?
    Have they ever commented on your blog?
    If they haven’t commented, why haven’t they?

    It would also be interesting to see the results of the poll on this blog compared to the same poll on the Edublogger. I suspect your audience is slightly different.

  14. @Kate Sorry I agree. Part of my problem is since I got Foxtel I check all viewing out using their online TV guide which doesn’t show all free to air shows. Trouble is many of the good shows on free to air are on after 8.30 pm by which time I’ve given up. I really enjoy watching TV when there are good shows on.

    @Darren Majority of the participants who did the comment self audit stated that “fear” was their biggest barrier. Fear of saying the wrong thing or they had little of value to add (because they were just starting out). Which amazed me because they all blog and contribute in Twitter — I’d assumed that if they blog then fear would have been overcome. Their blog and twitter gets back to personal, ownership, feeling safe — whereas on other people’s blog they can’t change the words.

    Definitely there is a difference between this blog and the Edublogger; the biggest difference being the shear size of the audience.

    Sad about the fact you don’t get a nice holiday ๐Ÿ™

  15. How do you keep up with all your projects!!
    You amaze me every time. Good luck with reaching your 31 day challenge. I will (have to) read up after going into the low resources field for a couple of days.

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