N90: No Comment

Since I started this blog in November I have vacillated in my comment policy. I was open for comments and then I felt vulnerable and eliminated comment option. Then I opened it up again and wasn’t surprised to find that there were so few comments. Besides being under the radar, writing only personal vanity posts – I’d accidentally trained anyone who ever visited to NOT leave a comment.

I have no complaints. The people who have left comments have given me great resources to explore, tremendous support and gracious compliments.

You can sense it can’t you? I need to express this question. I wonder why some posts, some disclosures, some concepts / opinions / rants/ observations – whatever – receive no comments?

This intrigues me. Is it that the comments received are the polite, cautious kind? Is it that the several posts with comments simply struck an empathetic chord? My realization today is that what I choose to write, how I express it, who I cite, how I achieve my goal to communicate is not the story. The complete story is how it is received in the world.

Alert! This is not a call for comment. I really think it doesn’t matter if I ever know what effect the words I write have on anyone. I mean that sincerely. The very nature of this kind of web log / blog is based on the hundreds of lurkers and quick peeks. These are the people who will never comment or possibly know why. But the hundreds (or in other blogs, thousands) are seeking. We are all seeking.

We want to be loved, accepted, respected, safe, productive, happy, secure, understood, confident, trusted, amused, conscious, perceptive, healthy, positive and smart. I am personally very sad to know how vulnerable so many of us are that ads, celebrities, pundits and neighbors who can shame or discourage so many of us so easily.

My own make-a-(green) plan blog is highly opinionated, as my life has been. But, I know that I have often intimidated friends and family by my being so damned sure of myself. It is an arrogance, a conceit according to the way I was raised. Some people are steamrolled into silence (and resentment) by someone standing up and speaking out. My poor mom is one. I have trampled her without malice countless times. The worst is she never lets me know it happened. I just don’t get it about editing everything because someone might take offense. Jeebus. It makes me tired.

To be honest, the part that makes me most tired is the mind reading part. By osmosis via said mother the message we were saturated with is that one is supposed to make sure that nothing one says might offend someone, somewhere at sometime. I am not talking about my cursing here. I get that part. I am not talking about racist language because I get that part too. I am supposed to be aware of things that might make a listener (reader) feel bad, think I am bragging, sense a difference, perceive a judgment and a whole boatload of other ‘make nice’ horseshit.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a safe site. I don’t tolerate trolls. Nobody gets to be rude or ugly and be part of a comment thread.

But, I do welcome conversation that questions my perspective or shares a different experience. This is how we learn and this is the bedrock of diversity’s strength. I may not choose to respond to a comment because I don’t have anything much to offer. But, I think of the many who lurk, who read and move on . . . These people might have something to say and it is a puzzle what makes some type a comment and others not.

I have no comment beyond this. It is simply a thought provoking puzzle.

8 comments:

Rebecca said...

Hi :) I found your blog last week and I'm enjoying it, so I subbed.

katecontinued said...

subbed? I am so confused.

OZ said...

Rebecca has "subbed" through atom which you must have checked in your blogger set up.

Keep standing up and making noises Kate.

Melinda said...

Kate,
I was one of those you trained not to leave comments! It mystifies me what posts are commented on and what are not. Often my most widely read posts are the ones with the fewest comments. And even weirder, the ones with the fewest comments are often the ones people link to later in their own posts. Boggles my mind.

But I must say I do like comments a lot! I like the interactive element, the dialogue. I think it makes people stay a little longer, and people (including me!) learn from what others write.... And when the blogger (eg, me) is going through a crappy time, it's sure nice to hear that people care out there!

And one more reason I like comments. Because every once in a while someone will leave a comment for the first time and say, 'I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog.' Cuz it's nice to know that my words are being read, and I'm in some way impacting someone!

Maybe I'm different than you in that regard. But even though I was trained to not leave comments, I do enjoy your blog and visit it often. I like that you're opinionated and intimidating. Truthfully. So there.

katecontinued said...

Oz, what a treat to see your name. I will look at this set-up. I am not keeping pace with these techno connections. Thanks

Melinda, you are a delight. I am so glad that your eyes find me. I am one of the lurkers at your place, slavering over your scrumptious photos and encouraged by your optimistic words. I just know your upcoming move will be one you look back on with real pride. The cost in energy and hope has been dear.

Rosa said...

I've always been a talker-over (how many of your 2-comment posts are me?) and I've been on the internet for 15 years now.

So I'm trying to learn to only add something when I have something positive to add, and it's something I actually know, not something I heard somewhere.

That's one reason I don't read most of the peak-oil blogs, or the really tech-oriented alternative energy/simple live blogs. I'm not interested in the pissing match. I'm interested in us all helping each other, delighting each other, and learning from each other.

Chile said...

I still sometimes forget you have the comments open. You know I enjoy your writing. My only regret is not enough hours in the day to read everything I want to read online!

And I completely agree. Comments are great feedback. However, the fickleness of readers and comments is the true reason that I added the stat counter to my blog. It started when I noticed that Crunchy Chicken had gotten 4 comments on one post that had a poll. The poll had 57 responses. Something clicked in my head that far more people might be reading than commenting.

katecontinued said...

I remember when you wrote about the counter. I figured it cost money and you corrected me. I still worry about obsessing.