Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
Have you ever been ready to tell a story at a party but then someone tells their story first and it sets the bar so high that you don’t even want to tell yours anymore?
Welcome to my nightmare today as I try to follow-up Rays PC/Mac post from yesterday – thanks Ray :)
That said, given the firestorm of comments Ray’s post generated, I figured another post on the idea of commenting was in order.
Now if you read the title of this post fast and out loud, I realize that it reads: “Moron Comments”. To be clear, that’s not at all the direction I intend to take but I know that some of you astute readers out there might catch on so I’m nipping that in the bud.
As I said in my post on Monday, comments are the life-blood of a blog. Or as my friend Christen likes to say, “Comments are sweet, sweet love.” I’ll add that this post by Christen is well worth the read. I especially appreciate her point that commenting is not only good for you and your blog, but it’s also simply good etiquette to be actively seeking to validate a blogger’s gift of free information, by providing feedback and letting them know that they are filling a need.
But not all comments are helpful. To my mind, there are really five kinds of comments that you can receive on a blog:
- Constructive Praise
- Constructive Criticism
- Destructive Praise
- Destructive Criticism
- SPAM (yes, even in the blog world, we deal with this annoyance)
Constructive Praise – Constructive praise are comments that people leave which tell you that you’re hitting them where they live and providing them with meaningful content. A great example of this is a comment that Chris left on our site on November 13: “I for one am enjoying your blogs. You just never know to whom you may be offering a bit of cheerfulness or even admonishment. Keep up the good work!”
Constructive Criticism – These are arguably even better than constructive praise because they convey two things to you. First, the commenter is freely providing you with the direction you need in order to provide them with the content you want. Or maybe they are helping sharpen you generally into a better blogger, product developer or service provider. The other benefit is that it communicates that the commenter cared enough about your blog to want to see it succeed. Essentially, it tells you that you’ve got someone out there that believes in you and wants to see you win. A great example of this is from one of our earliest posts on this blog entitled: Inconsistency Out Front. It was a post about how companies can end up badly miss-communicating their brand either through neglect or ignorance and Robert wrote in to say that he felt that we weren’t adhering to our own advice since the AdvancedMinistry home page hadn’t been updated to reflect the season, for many months. Although we never intended to make it a seasonal banner, Robert had a point in that we hadn’t considered that people would see the banner and naturally come to expect a seasonal change. So, we changed the banner to have a fall background.
Destructive Praise – This is a tough one because the person is trying to be helpful but either says something that isn’t helpful, or after saying some helpful things, leaves one comment that actually hurts the blog, organization or person. I’ve also seen posts where the comment the person leaves is wonderful, but the site they link to is a disaster.
Destructive Criticism – “Your blog stinks”. Thankfully, we haven’t seen that on our blog yet, but I’m sure at some point we will and providing there isn’t any stronger language used, we’ll leave the post up on the blog. But for the record, this doesn’t help anybody. The commenter doesn’t help us to improve our content to meet his/her need and we just get insulted. It’s a lose-lose situation and as such, provides no value to anyone.
SPAM – That’s it, just SPAM. ‘Nuff said. Except maybe that if you’re the one sending the spam, please stop...maybe...just for me...and the REST OF THE WORLD WHO USE THE INTERNET.
...I’m ok now...
Anyways, Christen is right. If you benefit from what you read on a blog, or blogs, then it follows that commenting is just the right thing to do. And don’t always feel like it has to be agreement, the best results usually come from healthy discourse around disagreement and constructive criticism. Conversely, don’t just sit back and wait for something that you disagree with to comment. We believe you’ve got something valuable to add, we’d love for you to add it!