When I began writing this blog in 2002, I did not provide for comments. I didn’t know much about blogs back then, so I doubt I thought much about it. As the years went by and blogs became more popular, I began to see the utility of allowing comments, and I was impressed by the kind of communities that some blogs attracted.
I remember a conversation I had about comments with Terry Martin, the “Father Jake” of Father Jake Stops the World. Terry’s posts elicited lots of comments, sometimes a hundred or more. I was concerned that I might be overwhelmed with comments were I to allow them. Terry suggested that supporting comments was unnecessary, so I left well enough alone.
In September 2008, Tony Seel criticized me for not supporting comments on my blog in a post on his own blog titled “Why is Lionel Deimel afraid of conversation?” I was not afraid of conversation, of course, and explained my thinking in a comment on Tony’s post. (That did not lead to conversation, as it turned out.)
Finally, more than a year later, I took the plunge and allowed comments on my blog. This required a redesign of the blog, but the change was worth the trouble.
So why am I writing about comments now?
My fears of being overwhelmed by visitors expressing their opinions and arguing with one another were overblown. Most of my posts attract no comments at all, and seldom does one accumulate as many as 10. Rarely do I receive a comment that justifies a long reply or one that requires extensive research. A few of the comments that show up are really ads for something or other. I delete these as soon as I become aware of them.
What is particularly perplexing is the lack of any correlation between length of post and number of comments. In fact, there seems to be no correlation between the number of times a post has been viewed and the number of comments. My post “A Preëmptive Political Post” serves as a good example. It is relatively long; includes many individual, presumably controversial, assertions; and has been viewed more than 700 times over two and a half weeks. It has attracted not a single comment.
So, I have a question for my readers. (I know there are readers.) Why don’t you leave comments more often? Are my posts so brilliant that they leave you stunned and intimidated? Are my posts so dumb that they are beneath notice? Are you too busy to take time to leave a comment? I haven’t a clue, and I suspect that different groups of readers may have different disincentives for writing comments.
Please leave a comment offering your own explanation. Your failure to do so will only deepen the mystery.