2000 Florida Butterfly Ballot

Do you remember the 2000 U. S. presidential election? In Florida, many ballots were punched incorrectly resulting in what was deemed as “hanging chads”. It was quite controversial as a huge number of votes weren’t being counted. Several recounts were performed and the situation ended with many disgruntled people.

As I was reviewing the A.S.K. – Liz Strauss – How Do You Inspire Your Readers To Join Your Community article, a comment written by Theresa Zagnoli said, in part:

I would however find it insulting if a writer responded individually to others, but not to myself.

This reminded me of a problem that occasionally happens in a blog’s comment section. Your comment doesn’t get answered.

Your comment gets left “hanging”.

Today’s Lesson

I see a few scenarios as to why this happens,

1) You’re “late for the party”. Late for the party meaning you’re one of the last ones to comment on a post, and the blog authors misses your comment.

2) Your comment ended up in your spam folder. Even though it gets fished out, the author gets busy and forgets to answer the despammed comment.

3) The author gets so many comments, they accidentally miss yours in the group.

4) You comment on an old post, and again, the author overlooks your reply.

As blog authors, we want our commenters to know their words are important to us. Missing those random comments could result in lost readers.

As much as I try to catch every comment, I know I’ve probably missed a few. For those commenters whose comments I’ve missed answering, I truly apologize.

Today’s Assignment

How do you ensure that you catch every comment?

What do you do when you miss one? Do you answer it, or leave it hanging?

Have you ever left a comment on another blog, not to have it answered?

If so, how did it make you feel?


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  1. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    I’ll be interested to find out how your readers handle this, Barbara.

    If someone takes the time to add to the blog conversation with a thoughtful comment, I can understand why they might be a little disappointed when their voice isn’t included.

    That said, spam filters are a fact of blog life and I guess there has to be some leaway given to the busy blogger.

    I do, however, get somewhat disappointed when I see many comments go unacknowledged consistently on a blog. This would be more to do with a conscious decision by the blogger than any technological mishap.

    If a blog’s readers expect no reply to their comments, then this is ok. On the other hand, it would be odd if a blogger suddenly stopped replying when readers had become used to it.

    Once again, I think it all comes down to what your blog readers expect- and need :-)

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Scott:

    Although we can’t control the spam filters, we can check what’s in them, so if a real comment ends up in it, with Akismet, I can “despam” it.

    Some blog authors do not reply to comments, and if I know that, I don’t expect an answer, but like Theresa said, if the author replies to everyone else, but not you, that can be hurtful.

  3. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Hanging chad – that’s brilliant, Barbara!

    I don’t take it personally if I become a hanging chad if I think it was an honest mistake. In fact, I’m OK with my comments not getting replied, but I will feel less connected with the blog.

    I think if someone finds a hanging chad for their own blog, the statute of limitation should be one full post. If that hanging chad was done beyond your previous post, then it’s too late and you should let the hanging chad stay that way. (I just made that up, but it seems reasonable).

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..10 Tips for Immediate Productivity Results

  4. Joanna YoungNo Gravatar says:

    Great point Barbara. I try and answer every comment even if they’re ‘late’ or on old posts. I used to answer each one individually but tend to do more round-up responses now – even so I try and acknowledge each person’s contribution by name.

    I don’t comment on blogs where I don’t get a reply. In fact I tend to stop reading them too. Only exceptions are Problogger – where the volume is legitimately too much to expect a response – and posts I read when I’m browsing that I feel strongly about or very interested in.

    Joanna

  5. Alex FayleNo Gravatar says:

    I find when comments move into conversation, I don’t respond to each post, but when the commentor says something directly to me, I’ll either respond directly to them, or if it’s similar to what someone else has said, I’ll group several together at once.

    When a post turns into a commenting-conversation, I probably to leave hanging chads, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I’ll try to pay more attention and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

    Alex Fayle’s last blog post..Are you a Pooh-Bear?

  6. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’ve visited a couple of blogs I’d never been to before and that exact thing happened to me. I didn’t go back. They were only short comment threads, so I just assumed that the bloggers didn’t welcome new visitors.

    I try my best not to miss any comments. And if I pull somebody out of the spam folder, I’ll usually explain that they wound up in there, so they don’t think I responded to everyone first and not them.

    I would really hate to miss one person out in a thread. If there’s a heap of comments on one thread – I usually open two browsers to read the comments in one and answer them in another.

    But I must confess, if I have a lot of comments – it’s really easy not to notice if someone has commented on an old post. Sometimes, I’ve come across those ages later and felt really bad. When I see them I reply – but it’s probably too late by then.

  7. Blogger DadNo Gravatar says:

    While my parenting blog is only a week old, I’ve had blogs for my comic strip for years. I’ve attempted to respond to every comment, even if the person says the same thing that four other people prior to them said.

    A very small percentage of readers actually take the time to comment on blogs. So when they do, I believe it is my responsibility to acknowledge them and let them know their participation is appreciated.

    If they responded late to the party, and it took a while for me to notice their post, I will assume they stopped checking the page for a response from me. At that point, I will email them, if I have their address, apologize for missing their comment, and thank them.

    I realize that some of the bigger name bloggers or busier small bloggers may not have the time to respond to every post, so I don’t take it personal if my comment is missed.

  8. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Al,

    Yes, honest mistakes do happen, and like you, I understand that.

    Statute of limitations? That’s a new one. :) On that, I have to disagree (at least for this blog), as I have readers who dig through my archives, find something helpful, and then comment. Often they are new readers and I don’t want them to think I’m ignoring them.

    Hi Alex,

    If commenters are conversing amongst themselves, I don’t think it’s necessary to add a comment, however, like you said, if they direct a question or comment to me, I will acknowledge them.

    Some bloggers do get their feelings hurt if their comment isn’t answered, so it’s best to address them and not assume they’re just “having their say”.

    Hi Catherine,

    I agree, in situations where we leave several comments and don’t get a response, it’s easy to assume the author doesn’t want new visitors.

    The comments that end up in the spam folder are tough ones as they may have been sitting there for a long time. Even the other readers may think we’re ignoring a comment, when in fact, we just despammed it.

    Like you, I use a split screen. It helps to keep everything side by side and assure we don’t miss anyone.

    The comments on older posts are harder to catch, but I agree, we should answer them.

  9. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Your comment is a perfect example. While I was responding to comments, yours went into moderation. By looking at my response, it appears I had missed your comment.

    Acknowledging our commenters by name is important, isn’t it?

    I agree, those of us who visit Problogger know we aren’t going to get an answer. But with the value Darren provides, I’m okay with that.

    Hi Blogger Dad,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Yes, when others take time to leave a comment, it’s only right we answer them. To me, it’s part of the responsibility that comes with having a blog.

    I love your idea about emailing a person whose comment might have gotten overlooked. That adds a personal touch and if they had the wrong impression about you, the email would prove it was an oversight.

  10. I agree that it is important to reply to everyone and make sure they know they’re being heard. Sometimes, though I find it hard to reply to a comment that is more of a general statement that doesn’t really need any reply. Let’s say the reader uses their comment to basically sum up or quote a part of you post and then maybe ads a quote of their own. I don’t mind this at all but find it hard to reply to. I feel awkward saying, “I agree” or “Great summation”. I guess I am just saying that sometimes the commenter isn’t being interactive in their comment and therefore it’s hard to interact with them.

  11. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there Barbara – I just searched my comments and I didn’t reply to a comment left by Theresa – mind you, I didn’t respond to anyone in the thread either.

    Sorry Theresa – it looks like you came by my blog for the first time when I was in Mexico for two weeks. I didn’t get access to the Internet much, so I barely responded to any comments.

    I thought I’d responded to them all when I came home but it looks like I missed a whole thread – Are You Lost In Social Networking? and didn’t reply to anyone.

    Sorry – I feel really bad that I didn’t reply on your first visit.

  12. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I like answers to my comments. Those sites which don’t answer them I am less likely to continue visiting.

    Just a couple of days ago, I was driving home from work, and I had this “oh no!” thought pop up in my head. I’d received a comment earlier in the day (I remember, because it was a new reader) and then I had replied to all the comments from my latest post, but on my ride home – I couldn’t recall replying to this new one. I thought – I need to check this as soon as I get home. Luckily, he had commented on an older post, and I’d only replied to comments on my latest post. So, I went ahead and replied then. And I felt much better knowing that I hadn’t skipped him in my other commenting.

    I don’t know – if I’m thinking about this stuff as much as I am – have I taken this too far? I hope not…

    Lance’s last blog post..What Are We Missing?

  13. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Hmmm, I copy and paste the comments (when I have a lot) from my blog in a word document and as I answer them I delete that person’s comment from the Word document and work my way down the list until they have been answered. then I cut and paste all comments into my blog.

    The comments are emailed to me, so I keep them in a separate folder, not my in box, so that I can review them later.

    Like you said, when people come late to the party, it happens. I’ve done it several times, people are still commenting on posts I wrote months ago, so when the new comments come in, it’s hard to remember the older comments have to be responded to. I just say sorry for the oversight…which it is….not done on purpose.

    Most times its just being forgetful…we shouldn’t get too much of an attitude until it happens on a regular basis, then you might know something is wrong. Every blogger loves comments, nobody is out to get us or ignore us on purpose.

    My comments have been overlooked and in the beginning I did get upset, the blogger had 100′s of comments and it’s hard to answer them all so he answered what he could. I also didn’t agree with his post ;)

    Good questions and thanks.

  14. T EdwardsNo Gravatar says:

    I think responding to comments are kind of like saying “Thank You” and “Please”. In the case of a new blog, there is no excuse for not responding to all (real) comments. If it weren’t for the kind and encouraging words I’ve received from the blogging community, I probably would have stopped blogging already.

    Talk to you soon

  15. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – hmm, maybe we’re defining the hanging chad differently. I was assuming that we accidentally overlooked a comment and we were talking about a comment that might be weeks old or something that we discover.

    For new comments that are on older post, we’re in agreement and they would get an immediate response. I guess I answered the wrong question.

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..10 Tips for Immediate Productivity Results

  16. MizFitNo Gravatar says:

    oooh great post.
    Im not one–for good or for crazymakerbad—to miss comments or ignore them.

    I always feel if you took the time to comment I can read and respond if a response is in order.

    and the commenting on others blogs? I dont look for a response. a tit fer tat.

    never mulled that before!!

  17. Hey Barbara, I used to every single comment left on my blog a few weeks ago but recently stopped. After reading your previous and current article, you have brought me back to my senses :D

    When I comment on other blogs I don’t usually expect an answer, unless I’m specifically asking a question, in that case I would be offended if the blogger doesn’t reply to my comment.

    Rajaie AlKorani’s last blog post..Top Commentators Widget Added

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    I see a lot of bloggers that are very good at answering questions on their blogs or commenting on comments. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I’m trying though…

  19. How do you ensure that you catch every comment?

    I moderate my blog and review Askimet daily for valid comments.

    What do you do when you miss one? Do you answer it, or leave it hanging?

    Hopefully I don’t miss one, but I am human. If I find one that I did not respond to, I do respond. Isn’t part of having a blog is interacting with our readers.

    Have you ever left a comment on another blog, not to have it answered? LOL yes, of course.

    If so, how did it make you feel? Figured the person was writing for their own amusement.

    We need to ensure our blogs are set up in a way for people to easily interact with us. Something I need to change on one of blogs now.

    Glenn in Bonita Springs’s last blog post..Estero Condominium Market Update

  20. Hi Barbara,

    I always try to acknowledge my commenters because I’m grateful they’re they visit and comment! (like you).

    I certainly appreciate when a blogger acknowledges my comments. HOWEVER:

    I don’t need it.

    To me, a comment should do 2 things:

    1. Add something valuable to the conversation.
    2. Or simply say “Thank you, I loved your post. It inspired me.”

    That’s it. I’m less likely to acknowledge a comment if it’s boring, and I don’t need to be acknowledged if my comment to another blogger was simply “Thanks.”

    No need to stroke each other, or comment, for the sake of it.

  21. “Have you ever left a comment on another blog, not to have it answered?

    If so, how did it make you feel?”

    Here is my feelings on this issue, Barbara. And maybe it’s easier for me to understand this because I do blog.

    But, I think that readers of blogs should be understanding if their comment doesn’t get answered. We all want our comments answered – but dare I say we shouldn’t demand it?

    First of all – we are reading content someone worked really hard on, and they’re not charging a dime for it.

    So though it’s definitely prudent for a blog owner to answer every comment, I think that commentors should also have a little mercy on the owner, too.

    Yes, I have left comments before that were unanswered. But, I choose to be understanding and not blow it out of proportion. If the author you enjoy keeps writing good content, be thankful for it. Thankful enough to overlook a comment not being responded to. That’s my philosophy.

    Bamboo Forest’s last blog post..Wikipedia: The Holy Grail

  22. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hanging chad… good one… I am sure I have missed folks but not intentionally. When I leave a comment, I would hope to get an answer but I am not tied to it. I just like the free flow of content wherever it is.

    What makes me crazy is I stumble on a blog, read it and comment only to look at the date and it was a month old! So, I sheepishly just keep on going.

  23. MaritziaNo Gravatar says:

    Honestly, I seldom know if my comments are replied to or not. Because I read almost exclusively from my RSS feed, and I never subscribe to comments, I usually don’t go back to a post to see if there is a reply. If it’s a post I’m very interested in, then I’ll bookmark the post and watch the comments for a couple of days, but for the most part, I tend not to come back after I post what I have to say.

    I know, that makes me a bad community person. But if I’m looking for community, I’ll usually join a forum. I read something like 150 blogs in my reader, so I just don’t have time to keep coming back to see if an author has responded to my comment. Generally my comments are there to be responded to, just to add to the conversation.

    However, on my own blog, I do try to reply to every comment, at least I’m getting there. But I don’t expect that people are waiting with bated breath for me to reply. I usually reply because, well, I know it’s nice to receive comments. It says to the blogger that “wow, someone really reads my posts”. It makes me deliriously happy whenever I get comments, so I like to spread the love around.

  24. Barbara – Love the hanging chad reference (and thanks for the link). My comment yesterday was in specific reference to one or two sites I have been on which directly relate to my field and I find interesting. Volume comment is low; so it isn’t an issue of too many to keep up with. These bloggers have never acknowledged my comment (s), but have to others.

    In a less personal example … 2 comments left on a site. 1 comment responded to and 1 not. Should the one that wasn’t responded to feel insulted, abandoned, ignored or just get over it.

    We all make mistakes and certainly I have my fair share, but the above example seems either like a personal slight or the blogger doesn’t know the rules.

    Theresa Zagnoli’s last blog post..The Great Divide?

  25. JayNo Gravatar says:

    To be perfectly honest, I feel a little hurt if a comment of mine gets missed and becomes a hanging chad. I know it’s unreasonable, and I know the most likely explanation is that the author simply missed it for some reason, so I don’t take it to heart too much, unless it happens often.

    If it does happen often, I’ll usually unsubscribe, because I already have enough blogs in my feed and don’t need to be spending time and effort on one where I’m ignored on a regular basis.

    Having said that, I’m sure I must have missed comments in the past. I try to remember to check my comments list each day to see if I’ve answered everyone, but real life often gets in the way. I do check my spam filter several times a day and fish out comments that have got in there by mistake. Apologies to any one I’ve missed on my blog!

    I also have email notification turned on, but I have so many emails I sometimes don’t have time to check each one individually.

  26. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I answer comments even if the author was late to the party and even comments that are left months after the post was originally posted.

    Sometimes, though, especially on my Wordless Wednesday posts, there are “great post” type comments from other Wordless Wednesday participants. I often don’t respond to this type of comment, simply because I have nothing to say.

    I think it’s safe to assume that “great post” type commenters don’t go back to check the post anyway.

  27. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,
    This is a good insightful idea for me to ponder, you are still my best commenter on my blog and I am so grateful. I have just experienced a search engine comment machine and got thousands of nasty comments which blocked up my time and I did not comment on any of them or moderate them onto the posts (They also came in on the wrong post they were attempting to comment on)
    I think I am still too wordy in my comments.
    I comment on 4 blogs a day – 5 days a week with a few missed days, and am mostly ignored. I am nothing if not persistent.
    I have also gotten a couple of National Newscasters sending me emails but asking me not to post them and their words were very encouraging and exciting to know that they took notice and had read my opinions. Thank you for this good lesson – you keep me motivated.

    Patricia’s last blog post..Purple Is My Best Shade

  28. RitaNo Gravatar says:

    Barb,

    I actually feel humiliated when I miss a comment. When my blog was re-designed, I made sure that there was a column on “recent comments” that rolls up as I start to respond from the bottom in responding. Have I missed an occasional comment? You bet. I take one day a week (usually Tuedays) to go through my past week’s archives. I tick off every comment and every response. If I have missed a comment, I begin with “I apologize…” and move on to answer it.

    I already answered the question about not being responded to – 2 strikes and you’re out.

    Rita

  29. Hi Barbara,
    I hate it if I miss a comment.I always go back to make sure I get them as best as I can. But I check comments a few times a day so if I did comments already during the day then I am afraid it may seem like I have missed someone if a long time goes by before I do comments again. It always seem like someone must have just commented after I left the computer!

    I wish I could sit in front of the computer to answer each comment as it comes in but I don’t have that type of lifestyle.

    I’m curious to know how FAST everyone expects their comment to be responded to.

    Wendi Kelly- Life’s Little Inspirations’s last blog post..Anniversary Stew

  30. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    I think it’s forgivable for people not to expect a reply to a late comment.

    And alot of it depends upon the blog. Some blogs have a high readership but few comments if any. Not all audiences are bloggers themselves but visit in droves.

    And consume but don’t contribute. I have that on my business blog.

    I see sales and enquiries as a result of the business blog and site. And feel absolutely no offence. And I realise that the rare comment I get from a client is not someone who would actually re-visit and check.

    That said, I do reply to comments on it. But I’m probably more guilty of missing the odd one than yourself.

    And you could argue that people who aren’t heard – because they’ve been accidentally missed – may feel as though they should return and try again to be heard.

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Eric,

    You do bring up a good point; some comments aren’t interactive in nature. In those cases, I would answer something like, “thanks for sharing your thoughts”, “great to see you here”, “glad you agree”, “thanks for stopping by”, etc. Just think of how you would answer a person in real life under the same circumstances.

    Hi again Catherine,

    Anytime we’re away from our blogs and the comments stack up, it is easy to miss a few, especially if the comments cover many posts. Now that you’ve explained what happened, I’m sure Theresa understands.

    Hi Lance,

    Are you thinking about your blog and its comments too much? I’d say “not necessarily”. You are thinking about others and their feelings. That’s a good thing and shows what kind of person you are.

    Hi Natural,

    I hear you. Often visitors are finding our old posts, and commenting. (Especially if we get search engine traffic). If we’re not careful, those are easy to miss.

    I still remember the time you found my “related posts” and left comments all over my archives. I had a hard time catching up with where you were going, though it was fun reading your thoughts.

    Hi T Edwards,

    Thank goodness you’re receiving comments as your blog is a must read. I’m happy to hear comments are motivating you to keep going.

    Hi again Al,

    Yup! We were talking about two different things. A really old comment that got left hanging could still be answered, but it’s likely that reader moved on.

    Hi MizFit,

    Re: commenting on other blogs. It doesn’t have to be tit for tat, however, it is nice to have our words acknowledged.

    Hi Rajaie,

    I’m happy to hear you’re back on track. I’ll be looking for your replies to my future comments. :)

    Hi Chris,

    As long as you’re trying, that’s all that matters.

    Hi Glenn,

    It’s good to see you here again.

    I agree. If we set up our blogs for interaction, and say we want to build a community, it than becomes our job to follow through.

    Hi Mark,

    Showing gratefulness is what answering comments is all about. Like you said, you don’t NEED it, but you appreciate it.

    Hi Bamboo,

    Like you, and many others here, I visit blogs where my comments aren’t acknowledged. When I look at the big picture (how the blogger is helping so many with their (free) words), I totally understand why they don’t have time to address comments.

    Should we DEMAND our comments get answered? No. However, like many others, I do appreciate it when my words acknowledged in some fashion.

    Hi Linda,

    Commenting on old posts is acceptable. However, if we land on a blog that’s sitting dormant, and we comment, it’s safe to assume we are not going to get a response.

    Hi Maritzia,

    You bring up a good point. Forums are a lot more about community. Ironically we’re beginning to witness more “forum type” conversation in blog comment sections.

    Hi Theresa,

    You’re welcome.

    If a blogger shows total disregard to your comments, but addresses others, that’s rude.

    Granted, some bloggers don’t know what to do with comments (I didn’t in the beginning), but if they choose to answer them, then be consistent.

    Just like in real life, we wouldn’t ignore a guest in our home, while socializing with others.

    Hi Jay,

    Consistently being a hanging chad can give us the impression the author doesn’t want to deal with comments. Unsubscribing is often the only answer.

    If our goal is to answer every comment, it’s easy to miss one or two on occasion. In that case, I think the commenter realizes it was an oversight.

    Hi Vered,

    The “great post” comments are hard to provide an answer to, short of just saying “thanks”.

    Hi Patricia,

    Thank you. I’m happy to hear my words motivate you. :)

    Dealing with spam comments can be time consuming. I hope you now have a good spam blocker installed.

    Hi Rita,

    Taking one day a week to double check for missed comments is a great idea. When the commenter knows it was an error on our part, (and we willingly admit it) they’re more likely to stick around.

    Hi Wendi,

    That’s a good question. How fast should we answer comments? Personally, I try to answer them before publishing my next post. If my work schedule is such that I can’t get to them quickly, then I do the best I can.

    Hi Ian,

    That’s a good point. If you feel you weren’t heard the first time, maybe try again. Food for thought. :)

    I’m guessing a business blog is completely different than a personal blog. Many of your readers are probably there for consumption purposes only.

  32. How do you ensure that you catch every comment? – All the comments are emailed to me, so I can into my blog, respond to comments, then compare what I wrote to the emails I have. Once I am sure I responded to everyone, I delete the emails.
    What do you do when you miss one? Do you answer it, or leave it hanging? – Even with the above system, some still slip by. I usually catch them as I am scrolling down my comments to get to the bottom. When I realize I have missed someone, I am truly horrified. And yes, I respond right away. And if it obviously after the fact I also apologize.
    Have you ever left a comment on another blog, not to have it answered? Yep.
    If so, how did it make you feel? Depends. If it is just mine that isn’t responded to, which I think is pretty rare, then I feel a bit put out. If the person responds to only some of the comments, then I figure that is their style. If they respond to none of their comments, that is also their style, but I might not stick it out with them.

  33. Ari KoinumaNo Gravatar says:

    I have a great threaded comment plugin, and couple that with the fact that WordPress lets me know every time someone new comes to comment — ensuring that I catch most everyone. It emails the commenter my response, too. It’s called WordPress Thread Comment and you can find it here at: http://blog.2i2j.com/plugins/wordpress-thread-comment

    As for my comments left unanswered on the other blogs — I don’t take it personally. My response is almost exactly the same as Maritzia’s. I comment to contribute to the discussion — not necessarily looking for a response. I am actually surprised by how many people seem to differ on this view, however. It’s good to know.

    @Rita

    Thanks for bringing up the other post — as Maritzia said, I read in RSS reader, make a comment when I can contribute, and seldom go back. So your message wouldn’t have reached me. I responded on the other blog, and did ask you some questions. You can respond it there (this time I’ll go back and check) or you can e-mail me via contact form on the site, IF you wish — if not, that’s fine, too.

    Ari Koinuma’s last blog post..Why You Can’t Do What You Love (Digest)

  34. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: I love it when people leave comments on my blog. I feel like they’ve entered into a conversation with me so the least I can do is answer. I think it’s important that bloggers respond to their readers. If I comment on a small blog and the owner of the blogger doesn’t answer, I’m less inclined to go back. If it’s a large blog with a lot of commentators I understand that it would take a really long time to answer everyone.

    @Cath: I haven’t forgotten about the scalp massage instructions!

  35. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara

    I try to reply to all comments – but I don’t always get to them all. I think we can afford to be a little easy-going about it – I’m not offended if all comments I leave are not answered, so I assume others won’t be.

    Chris at wat da wat doesn’t usually reply to comments – but I just assume he hasn’t got time!

    I’d rather people wrote a comment on my blog than replied to my comment on theirs, if they don’t have time for both.

    Robin’s last blog post..On Overcoming Obstacles

  36. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i won’t do that again. ;) i was at work bored to death i think. i would not have been able to find those posts again, so i couldn’t check back to see if you answered. ;)

    Natural’s last blog post..Doggone, Grandma

  37. Well I don’t miss too many comments because I only get a few here and there. I have this happen to me all the time, though (asking a question and getting no response) – especially on Copyblogger and Problogger.

    I don’t take it personally, but it’s nice to be recognized just once in a while.

    @ Cath – Firefox has a great Add-on called Browser Split which you might like. It’s great for answering comments.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Securing Your WordPress Blog: Post 3 – Obscuring Your Database Tables

  38. I don’t expect a reply to my comment although I do like it. Many bloggers have busy lives and just don’t have time to write great content and reply to everyone. On my blog I try to reply to everyone that comments on my blog, except the comments that aren’t on the present one.

    If the comment is on an old blog and is particularly good or they had a question I’ll answer it, but otherwise I’ll let it be that hanging chad. Sometimes it’s nice for someone else to have the last word.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matters’s last blog post..Slowly Ease Back Into Your Work Before You Really Freak Out

  39. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting you should bring this up, I’m talking about this in tomorrow’s post. Honestly, I don’t follow comments. I leave a comment and move on. I don’t even read all the comments most of the time. I sometimes skim them, but not always. There are a few blogs (like yours) where I will go back and see the response because I know you do, but some blogs, even though I know they may reply, I don’t go back and check. I don’t like following comments because it fills up my e-mail, and I always get a little thrill when I have an e-mail, then when I see it is someone responding to another person’s blog all the air is let out of my balloon. I don’t feel slighted by not getting a response unless the person seems to respond to every other person and not me. If they kind of pick and choose it doesn’t usually bother me. A large group of the blogs I read reply directly to the commentor through e-mail. I realize this is not the preference of most of those who read your blog. I do prefer it, to reply to my commentors in this way, though, or just visit their blog and leave a comment.

  40. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I have to confess that I’ve missed out responding to late commentators to my older posts. It’ll be quite hard to be at home (on my site) while I’m spend a great deal of time out for visits (on other people’s sites).

    Having said that, I therefore do not take offence if my post has been replied to or acknowledged. There could be a ton of reasons why it has happened this way eg. blogger is sick, unintentionally missed out yours, away on vacation, mistaken as spam by their blog setup, etc. If important enough, I may write to the blogger to highlight for attention.

  41. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Urban Panther,

    Your email system sounds like it works good. It gives you checks and balances, which is often needed to ensure we reply to everyone.

    Hi Ari,

    I’ve never heard of that plugin before. I’ll check it out and see if it would work for me, as well.

    Yes, there are differing responses to those hanging chads. This discussions has proved to be interesting.

    Hi Marelisa,

    It seems to be the consensus that larger blogs would have a more difficult time responding to all of the comments they receive. It makes me wonder at what point they realized it was too much.

    Hi Robin,

    Yes, when we get to understand the real life pressures our blogging friends are under, we begin to understand why our comments may go unanswered.

    Hi again Natural,

    I had fun the day you did it. Now, I might miss answering them all. :)

    Hi John,

    Yes, unanswered comments are frustrating. Hopefully you have since found your answers elsewhere.

    Hi Karl,

    I agree, answering questions (as John just mentioned) is very important. Questions left unanswered could result in lost subscribers.

    Hi Debbie,

    The email replies are a nice touch. I recently added the “subscribe to comments RSS feed” (upper right sidebar). I like it as everything stays in my reader and I can pick and choose what I want to read.

    A few months ago I made the mistake of checking the “subscribe to comments on this post” button on Darren’s (Problogger) post when he announced the birth of their baby. I ended up getting dozens of emails from follow up comments.

    Hi Evelyn,

    Yes, time is a big issue for most bloggers. Once we write our posts, visit other blogs, answer emails, etc, on top of our real lives, our blogging time gets very thin. I’m guessing this is one of the reason we see hanging “chads”.

  42. Godbless you Barbara for attempting to answer every question and comment! I try and get them all on my best days, but now for the sake of sanity just have to do my best and not worry about the rest. Some questions I store for future articles, others I shoot a quick email to the asker, and some I just leave hanging, especially if they are favorite friends dropping off their two cents.

    I’ve been off the internet for a month with family business and vacations, and came back to about a hundred questions that I need to do. I am overwhelmed and wondering what to do with ONE HUNDRED CHADS!!

  43. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    @ Mare – thank you very much for sending me them.
    @ John Hoff – thank you – I’ll try that.

  44. HarmonyNo Gravatar says:

    Barb,
    What was it like for you to answer all these comments? Sorry, I know I am the late comer, but I am certainly interested in your experience.

    Harmony’s last blog post..IF YOU HAD A CHOICE WOULD YOU SUCK LEMONS

  45. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back, Dr. Nicole,

    I was wondering what happened to you. Hope you enjoyed your time off.

    How do you answer 100 chads, as Liz says in A.S. K. Liz Strauss – How Do You Inspire Your Readers To Join Your Community “one at a time”. :)

    Hi Harmony,

    Needless to say, it has been time consuming. My biggest problem arises when my first priority (work) interferes, but it does make me happy that everyone is thinking about the hanging chads, comments in our spam folders, and making sure we don’t forget those who are late for the party.

  46. [...] I think this might be the most effective way to ensure you don’t leave comments hanging (a point well made by Barbara Swafford and reminding me of many times I’ve left ‘late’ comments on other blogs and been [...]

  47. I work on responding to all of my comments. I treasure the time people spend to comment on my blog and the insight I receive from some of the comments is priceless. Sometimes I wish the conversation would go on and on and on…..

  48. I understand exactly what you’re talking about. My favorite part about blogging is getting user comments :)

  49. I try to reply to every comment, but I didn’t at first. Since most blogs I read were large and didn’t reply to each comment, I didn’t know that was expected. Oops!

    I do enjoy having a mini-conversation with each commentor, but it’s definitely time-consuming. Lately, I’m finding that I’m getting behind, and I feel somewhat guilty. Instead of beating myself up, though, I’m trying to give myself room to breathe.

    As a conversation, blogging is give-and-take, and that really needs to go both ways. I assume my readers have the grace to think that if I’m not responding, it’s probably because I have a lot going on. If that’s not a good match for them, it’s perfectly fair that they unsubscribe.

    One compromise that worked for me (after a week of vacation with auto-posting but no checking in), was replying with one thoughtful comment that addressed the group as a whole and acknowledged the points that had been brought up. Since I read every comment word-for-word, I wanted to make sure that people who did check back knew that I read their thoughts and appreciated them. I hope that came through, and would consider using that system again if replying to everyone took time away from writing posts that are worth commenting on.

    As for expecting responses, I don’t. I comment to add value for the community, but if I want a one-on-one interaction, I’ll email.

  50. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Stacey,

    **smiles*** “I wish the conversation would go on and on and on..” That’s true, isn’t it? The conversations can add so much value, we want to hear more.

    Hi Sara,

    Yes, when we first start blogging, if we emulate some of the big blogs, we assume we don’t need to answer comments, and I guess we wouldn’t have to, but without it, we wouldn’t have community.

    I think most of our fellow bloggers realize we have a life that comes before blogging. Being away from our blogs does raise the question of how we’ll answer comments that stack up when we’re gone. What you did appears to have worked well, and knowing you were away, your readers didn’t expect you to answer each and every comment.

  51. T Shirt GuyNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, this is a pretty active blog. Anyway, just to comment on Florida. Since that election I have moved to Florida (I have been here 2 years now). These people here aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed so I’m thinking they had alot to do with it. Many people have been to Disney, but if you want a real laugh just drive North, West, East or South for 20 minutes and look around.

  52. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say, Barbara, that if I had as many comments on my site as you have, I’d have no hope of replying to every comment *laughs*. It’s all I can do to keep up with posting and answering the few comments I do get.

    Someone was asking about what you do when you miss a comment. If I found I missed replying to a comment, I actually will e-mail the person concerned to apologize for missing them and thanking them for their comment. Alas, I know everyone isn’t as unconcerned as I am about people replying to their comments.

    BTW, I’m Maritzia. I have several blogs, and the identity I use for commenting varies depending on the blog on which I’m commenting. I got confused and used my alter ego instead of my true identity when I replied earlier.

    And yes, this thread was interesting enough to me that I came back and read it *laughs*. Actually, your’s is one of the few blogs I do that on, Barbara, because the people that comment here tend to be as interesting as you are. I don’t even try to read the comments on ProBlogger, because there’s just too many.

  53. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Right now, I’ve got a bunch of comments from old posts that I haven’t replied to. I’ve been busy and…, well I don’t need to explain, nor do I need an excuse. It’s just the way it is.

    What I do is flag the comment in my email to save it until I get a chance to reply. Even then, I might not reply because things have moved on where it doesn’t seem to be needed. That’s rare. Generally, I try to reply even when it’s late.

    If I write several comments on a blog and never get a reply, it doesn’t bother me much other than a tiny bit of disappointment. I don’t expect a reply to every comment, but some acknowledgement is nice. However, I WILL likely remove that blog from my feed reader.

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..Life expectancy — 5 years.

  54. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jodith,

    Yes, I noticed you do post under two different names. I know you from your avatar, so however you sign in, that’s how I answer. :)

    Sending an email to commenters we missed answering is a great idea. It helps to build community.

    ***smiles***. I’m happy you came back. This is an interesting thread, isn’t it?

    Thank you for your kind words. The community here is awesome, and….you’re a part of it. :)

    Hi Mike,

    I agree, it is nice to have our comments recognized. It shows the blog author is appreciative of the time we took to read and comment.

  55. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi T Shirt Guy,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    Your comment was in moderation so I’m answering out of sequence.

    Yes, this is a pretty active blog. The community is great at sharing their thoughts and helping others. :)

    Hope to see you here again.