Friday, August 14, 2015

Blog housekeeping--comments

It's increasingly clear that the comment trail has become unwieldy.

Comments have increased dramatically over the past few weeks and months. If it was due to new people commenting that would be one thing (and a good thing) but it's not. It's that the comments have increasingly gone farther off topic, and gotten MUCH longer.

In fact, one handy commenter toted up the word count recently and it was more than 11K for one blog post.

That's just nuts.

Here are some things I'd like us to think about:

1. The comments are an integral part of this blog. They add value to it.
2. When the comment trail blows up it's hard for readers to see what's of value because there is simply too much there to read.

When people say "oh, there are 90 comments, too many" that's a danger sign. 

For the people who are commenting, here's something to consider:

If you're commenting multiple times a day, are you here commenting rather than working on your writing? What's your priority? What's going to get you closer to your goal?

I'm not going to tell you what you can and cannot write (at least not yet) because often when the comment trail goes hilariously, wildly off topic, it's the most fun.

I'm going to ask that you think about a couple things before you post:

1. Is there at least something on-topic in the comment?
2. Are you asking a question about the blog post itself?
3. Are you responding to a previous comment?

Answering yes to any of those questions keeps you on the right side of vommenting.

4. Is the comment more than 25 lines?
5. Is the comment more about you/your work than it is about the topic at hand?
6. Have you posted multiple times (ie 5+) to one blog post**?

**there are exceptions to this, principally Colin Smith who very helpfully posts links for what other commenters have posted as non-live html.  That does NOT count as over-posting.

Answering yes to these questions indicates you are NOT on the right side of vommenting.

We're all adults here, and capable of controlling ourselves.

I think we can self-regulate.

If we can't, there are two rather Draconian solutions which I prefer not to employ:

1. Comments can be moderated
2. Comments can be edited (ie deleted as I see fit)

Neither of these "solutions" appeal to me, but if we want this blog to remain accessible to new readers, kept manageable for daily readers, and if we want to continue with the Week in Review, we need to temper our verbosity.

Now, back to the task at hand: reading queries.

PS there will be another post today, a writing contest. This post is just housekeeping.


Marc P said...

Received and understood.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

11 K for one blog post is nuts. I'd love to write 11k a day, two weeks and that's nearly a novel. I think it's a courtesy to address the OP's subject. Writer's are asking Janet questions about writing, not about our private lives. I do love some of the coffee spewing comments.

Lately, I've skimmed over most.

What I love most about Janet's blog is the publishing knowledge she shares and the wonderful insight all the commenters have. IMO it's a courtesy to Janet to respect the nature of her blog, she's a freakin world famous agent. Can you imagine how many people read it?

Linda Strader said...

I am so glad to see this; posts were getting out of hand.

Panda in Chief said...

As much as I love reading all the comments, Janet is right. I am spending way too much time here because ya'll are about as much fun as watching panda videos on FB. And watching panda videos is REALLY fun. Connecting with other writers is important to me, as is what I learn from the blog as well as your comments.
I will try to stay on point as well as brief in comments here on in.
Can I just say I am happy to comment in the single digits, owing to my east coast visit. :-))))
Can't wait to see how long this thread gets. (Insert evil laugh here.)

Unknown said...

Good thoughts! Scary horse! :) thank you Janet for keeping us honest! :)

Susan Bonifant said...

Thank you. This is a varied, talented and unfailingly supportive writer-neighborhood. But on days where the conversation veers off quickly, or shrinks to one among only a few readers, it can take awhile to reach the next related comment.

Mostly, I want to stay in the habit of checking in because it's one of my regular stops. So yes, maybe less of a good thing in this case, would be a good thing.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Oh wait, we're all here already. (I started this before seven).Phew, I coulda' slept late. Yeah right!

This is great, Great, GREAT!

I felt like such a slacker (and contender). Couldn't read everything and yet, (hangs head), I have contributed to the landslide lately. I just though we should be writing more.

Hope Reider Julia is okay. And before my fingers take on a mind of their own I'm off to Edit City, a nice place to be with a cup of coffee, a empty house and time.

Play nice kids.

Anonymous said...

I was going to add another post last night on this subject and decided not to add to the already full list We racked up nearly 17,000 words yesterday and stayed mostly on topic.

I used to tell myself I was establishing contacts, building a platform when I spent up to six hours a day entertaining and being entertained by Twitter. When I started adding up the time and realized I had spent nearly an entire workday doing nothing productive, I had to cut it off.

It's fine if we want to allocate our time to blogs, reviews, twitter, facebook, forums, and other social media, but we should at least be honest about what we are doing. Most of the time we are not honing our craft, we're visiting.

Practice doesn't make you perfect. Perfect practice makes you perfect.

JazzFeathers said...

I'm happy you addressed this.
I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I really like it, but I never comment, and I never read the comments, because after a couple times I tried, I realised it was too messy and I just gave up.
Which is a shame, because I think comments are the blood of a blog.

Anonymous said...

I'll add good wishes for Julia. I hope you get better soon.

Two NN's, I'm also sleepless in wherever. I decided I might as well get up and work.

For those of you who commented about word counts as goals, I strive for a decent showing each day, but mostly I write in sprints. I bought an antique 30-minute hourglass. I write and nothing else while the sand is running. Then I'll flip it and keep doing that until I feel content. It's amazing what you can accomplish even if you just do a 30-minute sprint a day.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Janet, thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this blog post. I had pretty much given up reading the comments altogether, not because they aren't good, but because I principally want to see further input regarding the topic at hand, and it's getting harder and harder to find.

The hive mind here is excellent, with much of value to offer, but I stopped being able to see the forest for the trees some time ago, and more or less bailed out of the below-stairs section altogether. And that's not good. I know I'm missing out, but really, I only have limited time for the whole internet anyway because of work - both the writing kind and the earning kind (which are not, generally speaking, the same thing, alas). So if any one aspect of the cyber-world gets too demanding, I need to switch it off.

I certainly have no objection if folks want to share in-jokes, name-check and chat with each other, but that's not what I come here for. I've often appreciated the subject-related observations or questions or links submitted by your blog gang, but these have become increasingly hard to find, to the point where I gave up looking.

A suggestion: What about if people were to label their non-related chat comments "OT" [off-topic] or something, so readers could skip those without worrying about what they might miss? Any on-topic content could be posted as a separate entry. Just a thought.

Thanks again -

Joyce Tremel said...

Thanks, Janet. I'm another one who had mostly given up reading the comments unless it was a manageable number.

Lucie Witt said...

I like Bonnie's suggestion! I love the vibe of the commenting community here but it can be overwhelming. I hope this post leads to a happy middle ground.

E.Maree said...

Just a suggestion, but enabling threaded comments might help things be a bit easier to follow? Perhaps with the volume of comments it would be too unwieldy, though?

Adding my voice to all those wishing Julia well.

Donnaeve said...

This post comes as no surprise. Sometimes you can sort of sense when we're about to have a "housekeeping" moment. :)

I am relieved, if I'm being truthful. I've admitted to skipping comments which have grown exponentially on some days, and then worried I'd missed something. I've also added to the pile on some days.

Thank you Ms. Janet for all you do.

Unknown said...

What amazes, and pleases me to absolute glee, is the lack of poison in the multitude of comments. I've seen some sites' comments go wildly out of control until they become embarrassing to the point of where I never go back to that site.

This one is good. Slightly over-enthusiastic but writers are a passionate bunch.

Common sense always seems to prevail. These short story contests are the best solution. Gives us an avenue to spew, and gives Janet relief to get caught up on her life.

Marc P said...

I apologise for going off on one yesterday and extrapolating from the subject in hand to talking about the whole industry - ad nauseum.

nightsmusic said...

Faithful reader, occasional commenter, mostly because when I do comment, it's in the middle of an ongoing conversation and I feel, gets lost in the shuffle. I subscribe to the comments if I have commented myself, and I've ended up unsubscribing because my inbox gets overwhelmed with conversations unrelated (for the most part) to the post. Though the sense of family I always get here from reading through the comments is wonderful, at times, I've been very intimidated to post because of that family group dynamic. I feel like an interloper. Not trying to be rude, just honest.

Unknown said...

nightsmusic, I've bowed out for that same reason. I still read the blog for its wisdom, but have since foregone with the comments. (Plus, it steals too much morning/writing time.)

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Me too, Nightsmusic

Craig F said...

Thank you.

I had one question posted by my queen. It was before things got out of hand. I valued what other vommenters had to say. It saddened me when things started going wild. All I could think of was how belittling it must be for someone who asked a legitimate question and was ignored in favor of someone else's idea of what was important.

Perhaps one day a week you could ask for an open discussion and let comments go without alienating those who have potential questions.

LynnRodz said...

Janet, I'm so glad you decided to address this! I mentioned just the other day to someone that I no longer read the comments. I come to your site each day and make one comment and then I'm gone unless I've asked a specific question. Then I come back hours later or, at night, and hit Ctrl F to see if someone has answered.

I realized awhile back reading all these comments (that have nothing to do with writing) was wasting a lot of my time when I could be writing or revising.

Bonnie, I think you're missing the point by suggesting comments be made with an OT when their off topic. As Janet herself has said, If you're commenting multiple times a day, are you here commenting rather than working on your writing? What's your priority? What's going to get you closer to your goal?

But, and it's a big but, it's true that the community here is unique. I think we need to find a middle ground, but it's hard when some people are commenting more than 20 times a day (links excluded). Perhaps as Janet said, if you're commenting more than 5 times a day, it's too much. (Just MHO.)

Wendy Qualls said...

I'm one of the regular readers who usually doesn't dip into the comments because I'm not caught up on all the inside jokes, but I just wanted to say I'm hereby adopting "vomment" as my mental portmanteau of "vomit" and "comment." I think it would come in useful a lot on the internet.

Colin Smith said...

Hmmm... Janet--are you suggesting we writers learn to edit ourselves? What a concept! :)

Point taken.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Formidable stare-down, that Maximus.

Thank you for the housekeeping, Janet, and holding us accountable to one another. Some days I've been unable to keep up with the comments. Some days I added to the comment trail. Sometimes I've only commented off-topic rather than on.

I thoroughly enjoy the bits of humor that romp through here. But this is also an educational blog for me as I am introduced to the life of a fiction writer and learn from QOTKU as well as the vommenters here.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Lynn, I think you're missing *my* point. Long posts and multiple entries by the same commenters is not quite the same issue: even messages of greatly-reduced length and frequency can still be off-topic - which is distracting to some of us.

Nobody is suggesting they be banned outright, but self-categorising might be of some use, so that readers can skip the OT ones if they wish. To me that's another (possible) aspect of the "middle ground" you speak of. This blog has a huge variety of fans, and we all experience it in different ways, so no one answer is ever going to be right for everybody.

Lauren B. said...

I've seen blogs with large loyal readerships spin off forums as places for readers to converse with each other. Might be worth considering.

I know that it can feel a bit alienating when the comments thread on a post feels like it's devolved into an inner circle talking amongst themselves.

jenny said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday. I'm a regular reader but I never comment because the volume of the comments can be so overwhelming. There also seems to be a core group of readers that all know each other quite well and that can be intimidating. I don't want to be the person who busts in on a private conversation with an unrelated question or comment (unrelated to their conversation, that is, though relevant to the actual blog post).

Megan V said...

Thank goodness.

The commenting/vommenting has been overwhelming of late, which makes reading the comments more and more difficult. So it's been harder and harder to find the helpful bits. Also, I admit that I've been guilty of going off topic and/or getting caught up in Me-World (which I think is somewhere off the port of Carkoon). So I also have to say thanks for the reminder on self-regulation.

I did have a question for yesterday's post and was wondering if the QOTKU could explain further (or maybe Dena might want to pitch in).

Why wouldn't you be required to send a book back to author,publisher, or publicist if it was given to you on the condition you provide a review? Isn't there a bilateral oral contract there? There is a bargained for exchange of legal detriments after all.

Julie said...

As principle troublemaker, I apologize. Sincerely.

Colin Smith said...

jenny and other lurkers: I hate to hear you feel excluded by those of us who vomment more regularly. Remember Janet's conference advice where she said (and I paraphrase), "Never interrupt me if it seems like I'm engaged in deep conversation with another person since this is probably a meeting. But if I'm talking with a group of people, even if they are agents, feel free to join in. We'll do our best to include you." Well, this comment thread should NEVER be the former, and should ALWAYS be the latter. If I need to talk with Donna, or Julia, or Julie 1-on-1 in private, I'll use email, or Twitter DM. If I post a comment here, even if it's directed at Brian, for example, I think we all understand that anyone can throw their 2 cents in. Just because I think Brian has all the answers (he usually does), doesn't mean you don't, and your contribution may be valuable. Or at least funny. And either way, I for one would like you to have your say.

And to the rest of us (me included), I don't see Janet's article as a cease-and-desist, but as a corrective. You know, the ship's going generally the right direction, but veering a few degrees off course, and Janet's setting the steering straight. Let's be sensitive to lurkers who want to speak, and those who want to be able to read the comment thread in less than 6 hours.

Now back to grilling students. Honestly, Carkoon teenagers and their cooking habits...

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

How about there are no lurkers, or insiders or groups who know each other (via on-line.) No one should feel as if they can't join in. I was always last on the dodge-ball team. I hated that. Lets all just be Reiders.
I don't get half the stuff that's going on and I've been around since Mary was lactating.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: Saying there are no lurkers may be a stretch. I get your sentiment, but there will always be lurkers. I've been a lurker on blogs (I was here for a few years). Some people are more comfortable in the shadows. I think what you're saying is, whether your a lurker or a vommenter, you're as much a part of this blog and as much a part of "The Team" as anyone else. :)

Unknown said...

I too am a lurker that occasionally comments even though I feel like the red headed step child. Jenny isn't a lone stranger on that front. Thank you Janet for doing a rein back!

Colin Smith said...

Sarah Z: Hello! *tucks in shirt* Yeah, the comments can be a bit messy. I hope you feel like you can throw your 2 cents into the conversation if you want. Really, you can. If you're afraid you're not going to be heard, comment directly to someone (e.g., "@2Ns" or "@Donna"). That might help. :)

Colin Smith said...

Wendy: Inside jokes?! Here??! Kale forbid!! Sorry. Janet has tried to help with the Blog Glossary at the top, but thanks for the reminder to keep inside jokes inside. :)

Colin Smith said...

Debra: I'm sure Janet will have her say on the WiR, but I for one thank you (and jenny) for speaking up. Sorry for contributing to your feeling left out. Bear in mind, Bouchercon in October will be the first time I've met ANYONE on this blog in person--including Janet. So whatever camaraderie we've developed has been solely here. Please don't think we've got some secret club going on that you're not a party to. You are welcome to join in! :)

Unknown said...

I'll (briefly) add to Colin's comment.

I know everything. No wait... That's not the point...

Us writers can be introverts. Big time. But let me just say that this community loves dearly and welcomes all of the people (including those too quiet or nervous to speak) on this blog. I, personally, would love to hear from those nervous to speak. Often they have the very best things to say, and I learn equally as much from them as I do from anyone else.

And if you're feeling left out of a joke or abbreviation or anything, reach out! I know personally I'd love any excuse to talk to another human crazy enough to call themselves a writer and do what we do! :)

Come on in! The water's fine! Don't mind the shark. She's harmless. ;)

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

I'm glad it wasn't just me. I was starting to feel incredibly baffled. And I'm still not entirely clear on what Carkoon is (aside from the Star Wars reference) but I was starting to wonder if I was supposed to join or sign up or something before commenting.

Anonymous said...

Nodding along to this post like I'm a Muppet from Mars:

yep yep yep yep
uh huh uh huh
yep yep yep

Martian Muppet clip, for those who never watched Sesame Street

I think hearing from a wide variety of voices that are on topic would help steer us away from the pippick-pondering rut we sometimes fall into, so I hope those of you who have stepped away from the comments will consider re-joining. Because this group, lurkers included, really is capable of engaging in valuable writerly conversation.

Most tactful (well-deserved) smackdown, ever.

Colin Smith said...

Stephen: If it wasn't for the fact that Disney/Lucas owns "Carkoon" I might have changed my current WiP! :) I think Janet included it in the Blog Glossary. Carkoon is the exile planet for wayward blog commenters who make suggestions like "Hey, Janet, I know you're running this awesome blog and you do all this neat and crazy stuff for writers who aren't even your clients, but how about starting up another blog just for contests so the contests are all on one blog, and we can continue commenting during contest wee--" and then the sound of my hind quarters being fried on exiting the stratosphere.

No, you don't want to sign up. Trust me. :) Comment away!

Janet Reid said...

I love the comment trail on these blog posts, I really do. I'm sitting here working from home (Summer Friday! Yay!) and while I ate lunch, I watched about ten minutes of Heat, the movie with DeNiro and Pacino. I study that movie because I think it's exemplary for building tension.

Then I stroll over here, just to keep an eyeball on things, and there's the link to the muppet clip. The Martians Meet The Phone. (and let's all realize that folks younger than 20 may not recognize that's a phone either!)

Muppets AND Michael Mann for lunch.

Honestly you guyz are the best.

Mark Ellis said...

Heretofore, one of my fabulous companies will be monitoring the comments here, and those who do not adhere to Ms. Reid's guidelines will face yoooge consequenses--Donald Trump

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

KDjames and Mark Ellis, hahahaha, yoooge consequences, yep, yep, yep, nope, nope, nope.

Stephsco said...

What a unique problem; usually blogs seem like the comments are dying off. Housekeeping aside, you're doing something right to get this much engagement.

Donnaeve said...

I'll second what Colin said at 1:10 p.m. about lurkers and feelings of exclusion. It's hard to communicate over the internet. It's hard to know when we can't see expressions, gestures, or hear the intonations, etc.

kdjames: I have to say, IMO, the choice of smackdown seems harsh. Why? Smackdown - again IMO - reeks of a public shaming. I don't think this is what was intended.

BUT. The Muppets made me laugh. Yep yep yep. Cow.

Panda in Chief said...

Being one of the long time lurkers, and occassional commenters, I think this is a move in an excellent direction. am I sucking up? YES, huzzah! I need less distraction, not more, so I am glad we are merely reined in and not squashed. I will hereby resolve to ask pertinent questions and put my 2 cents in when warrented.
I really love this blog and all your unruly followers.
Maybe once a month we can have a wild rumpus of comments.

french sojourn said...

I admit I was starting to feel there was too much to invest in daily. Glad to see a shortening of the reins. I am guilty of heading off the reservation on occasion, but welcome a more focused trail.

LynnRodz said...

Bonnie, as I've stated earlier, after I comment I usually don't come back until late in the evening so I don't want you to think I wasn't replying to what you wrote.

Actually, I think we agree more than we disagree. My point was the OT comments have invaded Janet's blog to the point where many people have stopped reading them all together, me included. So when I wrote to you, I was saying no to your suggestion because I felt the OT comments shouldn't be encouraged.

Then I thought (Now, keep in mind all these thoughts were happening while I was typing. LOL!) no that's not good because Janet loves the off topic comments. So I added my last paragraph, "But..we need...a middle ground."

Didn't any of that make sense? Probably not. As you say, "no one answer is ever going to be right for everybody."

Anonymous said...

Donna- words mean different things to different people, I guess. For me, calling it the "most tactful smackdown, ever" pretty much mitigated any implied harshness of that word. Because a smackdown, almost by definition, is not tactful, at all. As a true smackdown, this was sorely lacking, which I think was the point. She wasn't trying to shame anyone (well, maybe a little) and I don't think any of us should take it that way. Which is why I thought it was appropriate (and funny) to call it the "most tactful" one, ever.

But I'm weird and have a strange sense of humour. Even so, I do understand your objection to the word.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

Lynn, what you wrote makes total sense! I think we feel pretty much the same. (I deleted my previous item because it was in reply to Lynn but cross-posted and got out of sequence... I just love the internet sometimes...)

LynnRodz said...

*Did any of that make sense?* Did, did, did. I really need to proof read before hitting publish.

Janet, now I find out you were at home instead of dancing at the office this Friday. It was raining here in Paris, so after several hours of writing I thought of your dance session and decided to get up and dance.

My husband comes in: "What are you doing?"
Me: Janet has a dance party at her office every Friday, so I'm dancing.

(He didn't have to ask, "Who's Janet?" One of the reasons why he's a keeper.)

Anyway, Barry White's Let The Music Play comes on the Bose, so what does my husband do? He moves the dining room table and chairs and we start dancing. We danced for over an hour.

We were ready to quit when Donna Summer's Last Dance came on. We looked at each other and the memory of our disco days came flooding back (we didn't know each other then) but we sure as hell remembered no matter how tired we used to be, when Last Dance came on everyone got up and danced. So, we danced. I guess I'm saying, thank you for the dance.

Allison Newchurch said...

I've mostly lurked and not commented. Of late, I've just read Janet's blog and not bothered reading any of the comments. It became increasingly difficult to find the posts of substance that added to the topic. I found I could pretty much discount the first half dozen posts as being the 'race to be first'.

I shall look forward to reading all your on topic posts from here on in. Whether I actually comment any more remains to be seen. ;)

Donnaeve said...

kdjames: thanks for that. I suppose (again this is me, I'm not speaking for the universe) it seemed a little harsh b/c it was linked to "well deserved."

I said ouch - out loud - made Little Dog look.

Anyway, THIS: "But I'm weird and have a strange sense of humour.

Well damn, me too.

Dena Pawling said...


Charities often send folks return address labels or notepads or other small inexpensive items and then request a donation. Lots of people give a donation because they did receive something of minimal value. But it is NOT required because you did NOT request it, it was not a "bargained for exchange". It was a gift.

If you receive a book in the mail with a request to write a review, it is a gift. You are legally under no obligation to write a review. Or return the book. Or anything else for that matter. The book is yours. Any return action on your part is entirely voluntary.

If course this does not apply if you agreed in advance that you would do X in exchange for the book. But if all you got was a book and a note that says "this book is yours on condition you write a review", it is a gift since you did not agree to those terms in advance.

**not intended as legal advice, especially outside of california**

Megan V said...


Thanks for this! I was under the impression that ARCs handed out in the latter scenario: "agreed in advance that you would do X in exchange for the book." Hence the confusion.(even though I'm also an attorney, I deal more with crimes than with contracts...)

And of course...I'm now taking things off track again. Apologies all.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Funny how we all take things differently. KD I thought your smackdown comment was a hoot. Donna, I get your whole ouch thing too. I'm a Libra, I see both sides, it' s what I do.
And Allison, I promise to not be first anymore. I'll actually read before I comment. I'm close to my limit, so night all.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Thanks, Janet, for the housekeeping. While I do appreciate we all have personal lives and because we come here daily, becoming familiar with everyone - cyber friends if you will, feel the need, the inclination to share, the expert knowledge and help and people's experiences relating to the topic get lost. Good to nip it in the bud before it get's too out of control!

For me, this place is Writer's Home. No one knows what we go through as writers, and none of my 'real' world friends, while supportive, really have any idea. Thank you again, Janet, and thank you all for sharing your experiences.

LynnRodz said...

I just wanted to say before going to bed, I was contemplating deleting my dance comment, but it wasn't completely OT. Janet has mentioned before her Friday Office Dance Parties and she wrote in the comments here she was at home today so...okay, I'll shut up now. Nite all.

Colin Smith said...

Ginger: I don't think Janet's intention is to stop all off-topic conversation. That's not what I get from:

"I'm not going to tell you what you can and cannot write (at least not yet) because often when the comment trail goes hilariously, wildly off topic, it's the most fun."

I think she just wants us to scale it back somewhat. Certainly I take your point about not allowing the day's topic and comments pertaining to it to get lost in Sea of Carkoon. (Yes there is one. Another time, maybe...)

DK said...

So, there have been more than 60 responses to this particular post, with a word count of 5,000+. Ah, the irony.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I love the blog, I'm an OG that goes back almost to the beginning.

I love the questions and the discussion on the question and when the OP comes in and talks about how it applies to their situation.

I had started opening the comments and giving a 30-second scan, and 9 out of 10 times closing it again.


Colin Smith said...

DK: ... and there have probably been more on-topic posts for this article than for any other this year. Furthermore, there have been comments from a number of different people, and the comments have generally been short. If 100 different people have something to share about the topic, is it wrong that there are 100 comments?

I don't think there's a solution to this that fits everyone. Some people are going to look at the comment count and walk away, even if every comment is good and relevant. That's not wrong, it's just a fact. I'm sure the likes of Chuck Wendig, Neil Gaiman, and others see the same thing on their blogs. As long as Janet's okay, it's her blog, so she sets the rules. As I've said before, we who comment regularly need to not swamp the comments with long OT (Off-Topic) posts, and be mindful of lurkers and less frequent commenters. What else can we do without going where Janet says she doesn't want to go?

Ashes said...

I've also noticed the comments section growing longer but had assumed the blog's readership was growing.

I read the blog daily and usually scan the comment section for laughs and extra helpful nuggets. But I have been finding it increasingly difficult to follow as a sort of community has developed.

I wonder how much trouble it would be to switch to a different comment hosting service? I am not a blogger but I'm at least a little familiar with Disqus and I know it allows responders to nest comments. The ability to respond to each other's comments in such a way, as sub-comments of sorts, would really help keep things in order. Just 2¢ from a regular reader and infrequent commenter. :)

Terri Lynn Coop said...


The whole point of Blogger is I can sign into my email and be signed in to comment on all Blogger blogs.

And this is a service provided to us by Her Sharkiness. It's not her responsibility to provide/install apps to keep the kids in line.

If something requires Disquis and its generally junky interface (I don't need another service with all my info that believes I'm a robot,) I just don't comment.

The solution is to stay on-topic and take personal conversations to Facebook or Twitter or email.


CynthiaMc said...

@lynnrodz I'm glad you didn't delete your dance comment. It was lovely and "it was raining here in Paris" gave me a great idea for an opening line and took me back to a rainy Friday the 13th in Paris when a group of us studying in Spain were supposed to meet with our cohorts studying in France and all fly home together only to find they had changed hotels and didn't tell us - and the teachers had all our plane tickets. That was a wild day.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

One thing that has struck me in recent times is the number of names missing from the comments: people whose posts I used to read regularly, and always enjoyed. The fact that I now see them only rarely - or never - is probably not unrelated to this issue.

Two facts seem to have emerged:

- Off-topic posts are now a constant part of this blog community, though they have swollen out of proportion, and need some form of limitation.

- Whether these are long or short, not everyone wants to read them. Some stay away altogether because of this.

Therefore we need some way of organising the comments, if we are to retain everybody's interest and participation. I know I said it before, but I think it bears repeating:

Can we find a non-invasive way of categorising or labelling our posts, so that readers can pass by without having to worry they're missing out on related content? I believe a method of screening is the best answer, to allow for individual preferences without excluding anybody. The easiest way seems to be for folks to just type some agreed acronym before their first sentence, if the message that follows is, or relates to, a diversion.

And if we did adopt this system, could people please make sure to put any on-subject comments in a separate post from their personal-chat ones?

I miss some of the old gang, and am concerned not to lose them permanently. So I hope something can be devised that will lure everyone back, without alienating anyone else. This has been an incredibly rewarding blog entry (by which I mean Janet's original *and* all the feedback). Fingers crossed for a constructive outcome!

Susan Bonifant said...

"The solution is to stay on-topic and take personal conversations to Facebook or Twitter or email." (Terri Lynn Coup)

It just isn't more complicated than that, is it? If we start splitting out the "on subject" comments from the "off topic," it still results in too much scrolling to get to anything meaningful. Stop, scroll, stop, scroll.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

I'm afraid we'll lose a portion of the followers if we try to police them too hard. So yes, I think it *is* more complicated than that. Even though, personally, I'm in favour of what Terri said too.

LynnRodz said...

Thanks, Cynthia, and if that memory is part of your FF story, I look forward to reading it.

Unknown said...

Ginger, I hear ya. My friends and family are supportive, but they don't write and have no idea. I value this site.

I say, leave it alone. Don't mess with a good thing. We've been told. We're smart. Most of us know how to skim. Keep the comments short and mostly on topic, we'll be fine.

Marc P said...

I am a newbie here. Am enjoying the comments and the personalities and enjoy reading the FF more because of that.