A Comment About Comments

I have a question for y’all. This has been an ongoing debate here in the House of Fiddle for that last 2 and a half years that I’ve been blogging.

When a reader leaves a comment on a blog, perhaps asking a question, is it okay for the writer of the post to answer the question within the same comment box? That would mean editing the reader’s comment, but only by adding the follow up after the initial question.

Or is it bad form to do that, and the writer of the post should reply via e-mail, or in a separate comment?

I noticed that one of my favorite blogging people, Antique Mommy, will often reply to a comment in the same box. And that just makes sense to me. That way, other readers can read it. And she’s commenting directly to the comment. Instead of several comments down.

Sometimes, I can’t read comments until later in the day, and I would love to respond to that comment directly. Seems like that best way to do it.

Am I making sense?

I wanted to get the opinions of other bloggers and commenters in this area.

Carry on. And have a great weekend!!!

October 25, 2008

29 Responses to A Comment About Comments

  • I believe it is a great idea to answer the question in the same comment. Others may have the same question, and are looking for an answer. If you just e-mail the answer, then you may have to e-mail several people, taking your time.

    Some people have hundreds of comments, and I can’t scroll through all of them to see if the blogger answered the question.

    So, I’m with you and Antique Mommy. 😉

  • Personally, I don’t go back and re-read the comments if I’ve left a question. If AM would leave me a comment on my comment I would never see it. If I have a real question I would email it to the blog author instead of asking it in the comments. But that’s just me. As a blog author I have tried to email the person directly from their comment, but sometimes that information isn’t available which frustrates me!

    I think if there were enough similar questions I might edit my blog post.

  • I too never reread comments. So I am in the same boat as Tara. I agree that it’s good to email the person directly, and putting an answer to a question asked multiple times that a post should be made, or the original post edited.

  • I used to do that, but now I just comment and address them by name in my comment.

  • I think it depends on how many comments your blog gets. If there are only 5 comments, I think it’s easy enough to just add your own comment – I tend to write @ username : kind of like you would on twitter, so they know who it’s directed at. But if it was several comments ago, your method makes sense. And obviously it depends on the comment – if you think your response wouldn’t be relevant to the rest of the board, like if you are just saying, “yeah me, too” then I’d just email the commenter directly… But that’s obvious, right?

  • I never remember to go back to reread the comments where I’ve left a question….

  • Honestly? I prefer being emailed personally or the poster mentioning it in another post. I rarely if ever go back and read a comments box after I have left a comment. Still, I can see your point of other people being able to see the answer to the question.

  • When I ask a question in the comments, I expect the blogger to come to my house (drive thru Krispy Kreme and Starbucks first, naturally), sit next to me on my couch and answer my question while helping fold the laundry thereon.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  • For me- if I leave a question I would perfer an email with the answer. I don’t think you can assume people are going to remember to come back and check to see if you responded to their question in the comments.

  • Frogs.

    Frogs, frogs, frogs.

    Oh. Wait.

    That wasn’t the question now, was it?

    I usually respond via email directly, unless it such a general question that everyone could enjoy the answer for. Then I will respond in the same box.

    But, I respond back to the commenter via email as well, assuming they won’t be back to see my answer …

    Frogs.

  • I dunno what you’re running your site in, but wordpress has a plug-in that will allow you to both email your response directly to the commenter and post it in the comments section. That way, if people want to see your response they can, but you KNOW the original commenter gets your response. And you don’t have to fool with editing.

  • I agree that you should answer the comment in the comment box. I often go back to check for any answers to questions or comments on comments. Many bloggers that I read, will answer comments right in the comment box too.

  • i think either way is fine. i also follow up with a personal email answer to the question though since often people do not come back to the site and read comments. however, if one person asks, likely others are wondering as well so a comment within the comment is appropriate.

    this only works though when you have the commenter’s email address. often (sigh) i do not.

  • yikes and i just noticed my email needed to be updated in your leave a comment information.

    done now.

  • I generally email a response but if I think others will want an answer to the same question I comment @ that person as well.

    I have gone back to comment sections to see if a blogger has responded to questions but apparently I’m in the minority here!

  • If it isn’t a personal question I put it with the comments. Otherwise I email. However sometimes there is no email with blogger so I just post.

  • Generally, I email directly. However, I occasionally have comments asking a question about a particular item on my blog (schedules), and to prevent further such questions I’ll respond via comment as a follow-up.

  • I’m with commenter Dana on this one! And help with the dishes never hurts! 🙂

    Personally, I answer by email, not in my 2 comments., and if I did answer in the comments, it would be in a separate box…that way, there would be 3 comments!!!

  • I’ve seen it done all those ways. I don’t go back to the comments on a post to see if the blogger has addressed my comment….there’s just not time. I do good to visit them all once a day, much less check back the comments. But if I asked a specific question, I might, or if it is an ongoing discussion.

    Sometimes I will answer in the comments and an e-mail, both so that the commenter sees it plus anyone reading the comments doesn’t think I ignored the question.

    If a blogger is going to respond to a comment I made, I’d rather they e-mailed me or commented on my blog

  • Interesting! I didn’t know that was an option. I don’t think it is with Blogger blogs but I’ve never tried. I think as long as you are not changing anything that the commenter had written, then it should be ok.

    Steph

  • Why not? Maybe there are some questions that require an email, but most I think could be answered in the comments. And I like how Antique Mommy has started doing that. It replies directly to that question.

  • I email directly. Only because like some other readers said, I don’t usually go back and read comments.

  • I would just respond in the comments. Can’t go wrong with AM – follow your twin. 😉

  • Yes that TOTALLY sounds like a great idea! I’d never thought of that before, but then again I suppose the more comments you get the more you would most likely NEED to do that, wouldn’t you?!?!? It would just be too confusing to read a reply that was way down a long list of other comments…

  • I respond by name to the person in a separate comment. I never even thought to edit their comment to add my own feedback [smile].

    Of course, I don’t get nearly as many comments as you, and perhaps that’s why my method still works. Maybe someday when I’m popular I’ll need to rethink that.

    Maybe.

    Someday.

    A boy can dream. [smile]

    ~Luke

  • I would say that 99% of those replies to comments are never read by the commenters. Who goes back and reads comments after you have made one? Hardly anyone. I think if you have something pertinent to say, you should email them or address it in another post so everyone can see it.

  • I respond to a lot of my comments because I think conversation and relationship development is a major part of what blogging is about (for me). Blogging is a dual-path, dynamic medium and it is a very personal medium — not static and impersonal like a glossy magazine.

    Back to my point, if what I’ve emailed the commenter is relevant to other readers, I also add what I emailed to the person in their to the end of their comment so other’s can see it and I do that in italics so it’s clear that it’s not part of the original comment.

    Responding in the comment box is not so much about addressing a question for a particular person but about developing a deeper and richer dialogue with the audience, furthering discussion and sometimes about clarifying or resolving misinterpretation or misinformation.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Beautifully said, my cerebral friend.

  • I never go back to read the comments either. And, when someone leave a comment on my blog that I’d like to respond to, I just send them an e-mail.

  • Very interesting question. I NEVER go back to see if someone answered my question. I LOVE it when someone takes the time to answer my question via email OR a comment on my blog. Most of my bloggy friends and I reply to one another by commenting on one another’s blog…. therefore spreading the “commenting” love.
    That’s just my 2 cents!
    Good luck deciding.
    Julie