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January 17, 2006


Phil Gerbyshak

I am a commenter. I love to leave comments on other's blogs, if the need arises. I love the personal e-mail back, responding to my comment, much more than another comment for me to have to go back to an article I've already read, and respond there. That's what I love. And pizza. I love pizza.

Koan Bremner

Hey, Jory, the fact that I choose to engage actively (or "scrupulously"!) with those who comment on my blog is *my* choice - it's right for me, it suits my purposes, and nobody else (including you) should feel guilty about taking a different approach, in my opinion.

When I look at my server logs, and see how many people read my posts, I never fail to wonder "why"? It's humbling - I value their time spent reading my posts so much - and when they actively invest a few seconds (or minutes) to comment, then how much greater is that value! I want them to *know* that I value their time and effort - that I value their contribution (even if I don't necessarily agree with it!) - and that I value their willingness to share their comment with the multitude of readers who don't comment.

Because blog platforms in general (including mine, Radio UserLand) don't tend to provide an easy way to be notified of replies to comments, I email a copy of my public reply to the original commenter - saving them the hassle (identified by Phil) of continually checking back to see if I've responded. I've had occasion to reconsider the wisdom of this strategy, recently - but, for now, I'm continuing with it. (Yes I'm aware that platforms like WordPress, Typepad / Movable Type and Blogware provide facilities for subscribing to feeds of comments, or request email notifications of responses to comments - such facilities are still the exception.)

I've never made any secret that one of my aims with my blog is to prove to other trans people that you can live openly and unashamedly, *and* engage constructively with people who are not trans, away from the safe walled gardens of closed social networks. For me, vibrant and active comments are a crucial part of that. So, I invest time and effort in nurturing those comment relationships. I want non-commenters to see that a) they're safe to comment, b) their comments won't be echoes in an empty room, and c) may help others (commenters and non-commenters alike) in a way that one-to-one email conversations just never could.

Great post, Jory! ;-)

Joy Des Jardins

Hey, Mom here. You like me...you really, really like me. Remember back in the early days of my blog? Last August. I was replying back (on my blog) to the readers who were kind enough to leave a comment....AND sending them all an e-mail as well...usually. You gave me what I thought was good advice. "Mom, you don't need to comment on your blog all the time; you can just e-mail your replies if you want."

You were right. As much as I wanted each commenter to know how much I appreciated and enjoyed their comments; I found that I could sufficiently tell them (actually more sufficiently) in a personal e-mail. I have had many warm and wonderful communications with so many bloggers and others this way; and have made some close and endearing new friends as well.

I don't think there is any right or wrong way to do this. As far as I'm concerned, any way you can show your sincerity and appreciation for their time and consideration...is right.

As far as YOU and ME...I can't help commenting on almost everything you write...because I love it. Considering you're stuck with me, it's nice to know you actually enjoy (okay, tolerate) my comments.


I'd like to be able to stop myself responding to every comment actually because it looks a bit strange when my Recent Comments list is always headed by 'Genevieve'. I've always appreciated your email responses, Jory, I think it's a great way to go.


As someone who has benefitted from the personal emails, I love the idea. I tend to do both, comment and email, depending upon what I think the situation warrents.

I've made some great friends through blogging and can't wait until I'm able to attend a BlogHer conference to see some of the "celebs" in person.

Felix Gerena

Hi, Jory. There must be some kind of "commenting anxiety" in every bloggers mind. I have also gone through thoughts like those. But I soon realized people like me most when I treat them as I treat the rest of my friends. I´d like to think it is naturality. It does not mean answering everyone but it means being in touch and enjoying the relationship.

I think you do it very well. I feel comfortable when I get an e-mail from you and perhaps that´s the best I can say from any blogger.


Jory, I'm having trouble getting past the old fart you use to work for. Thanks for bringing back memories and making me smiel today.

But more importantly, about the comments. You've also opened up the can of worms in my own world with this entry. I can't figure out the answer! Probably because there is more than one answer and that drives me insane. There should be a rule and there isn't. But then again, if there was a rule, would it be one I would want to follow? Argh! Complications, always complications!

I respond to most comments on my personal blog. I do not email folks who post on my personal blog. From a professional standpoint - I've not yet found the formula that works for me. I'm still thinking... and thinking...

I can tell you, whatever I do, it won't be as formal as the old fart would like!

Love Coach Rinatta

Jory, thanks for telling me what I need to do, as I was just struggling with this issue, being a "baby" bloger. I tend to ignore comments and only reply when there is a direct question. But then it's not really a conversation, as you said - good point. Question is - how do you deal with all that extra email you have to respond to? I know. I will create an automated reply - "thanks for your comment. I read it, appreciated it and am thinking about it." I was kidding on that, but really would that be so out of the question?

Dick Richards

Self-flagellation and watching TV! Zounds, woman, don't let blogging drive you to THAT desperate state. I almost didn't comment because I didn't want to contribute to any destructive behavior on your part. On the other hand, if I didn't comment, you might feel unloved and unworthy of even my meager thoughts. What a muddle! What to do? What to do? I certainly do not wish any harm on the fabulous Jory!

Should I preview before posting or just go ahead and send this mess into the blogosphere? I wonder what's on the tube right now (feel free to ignore this comment).


The email thing first. I'm usually more formal with people I don't really know but just deal with through work, and then I reply with a one word answer to close colleagues which is fine by them.

Like you I have trouble with the Thanks emails sometimes. I appreciate the 'Thanks for your stirling effort to get this job done' type email but if it's just a run of the mill thanks then it's a waste of my inbox space.

I wrote an email to a friend a little while ago, just launching straight into my question and she paid me out for not saying hallo at the beginning of it. A bit like the old fart thing, although I wouldn't call my friend an old fart. I go the other way now with my salutations to her both on the phone and via email.

As for comments. I don't expect a reply to comments I make but it's sure nice to get one just via email. Your mum is fantastic for doing this and consequently I feel we've struck up a virtual friendship because of it. I've appreciated other replies I've had also (including from you) although I don't expect them. This, to me, is part of what I like blogging to be. I must say though that I don't get heaps of comments so the offline email thing isn't too arduous.

Account Deleted

Different things work for different people. I always send an email thank-you to anyone who comments - even if they flame me :-) Pretty brief, usually one or two lines. When I think the reply to the commenter would advance the conversation/be interesting to my other readers, I also post the comment on the blog. And I tell the original commenter that the message is also going on the blog, so they can respond there if they want.


OK Susan made a good point, I do always send email (if I can track down an email address) if I get a flame or a comment that sounds even a wee bit disgruntled. (Happens rarely because I'm always right or maybe because I am not doing much blogging about controversial topics. Let's see what happens when I blog for choice this weekend, though. :-) )


Hoooooraaaayyyy comments!!


I've never gotten into the habit of offline responses to comments, but I'll respond within the same comments thread if a comment seems to call for it. I've often wondered if that makes some of my readers feel left out, but it's really all I have time to do.


Another beautifully thought out post, Jory.

I love receiving comments and try to respond to them (although there are times I'm just so swamped it doesn't happen). I do have Typepad set to email them to me, so the easiest thing is to reply back -- but sometimes I'll cut and paste the reply into a new comment, especially if I think it will further the conversation.

Chris Owen

For a few paras, i wondered where we were going here Jory and then I GOT it.
Having read all these comments, boy have you tapped into the collective blogconscious.
My personal preference is the email follow-up. i love the way i get to make new friends from writing back to comments left on my blog. it's just another netwroking extra bonus to blogging!!


Anyone whose blog I've been reading for any period of time knows I'm a prolific commenter...on others' blogs. I have RARELY (twice?) left a comment on my own blog...and then only for clarification. I'm not good about emailing, so comments are my emails most of the time. And I only reply (via email) to someone's comment for the reasons you outlined above in nos. 2 and 3. I get annoyed at work when I send an email that's clearly an FYI and the recipient sends one back saying "Thanks." No need! Stop filling up my IN box! :)


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