Commenters! Show of hands, please!

Hands up, you guys. Or hands down. C'mon, now!

Hello, all you commenters.  This post is for you!

All the rest of you can read, too, if you choose.

But it’s the commenters I want to consult today.

How many of you return to the blog to read the comments about your comments?

Show of hands now, please!

I like to pretend that everyone who reads this blog is sitting in my living room.  We’re sitting there looking out at the trees–OK, maybe we’re out on the deck if the weather feels warm–and we’re engaged in conversation.  We’re getting to know each other better.  We’re becoming friends. 

So whenever you comment–whenever you say anything–I just babble back as if we’re in the middle of a conversation.  As if you’re right here.  As if you’re asking for some more tea or coffee or wine or water as we chat.  As if we both see that hummingbird hovering by the feeder.  As if we’re cycling through subjects, like neighbors come visiting.

Typical exchange...Hey, Dawn, did you come back to read my comment? lol...

 Here’s why the show of hands is needed.

How many come back to read the second half of our exchange?

I ask this because–sometimes–I’m terrible at getting back to other blogs to read the author’s response.  If you’re on WordPress it’s easy. You click the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” and the follow-up replies appear as if by magic.  If the number of replies gets too many in my email in-box (and if the author has already responded) I simply “unsubscribe”.  Tis a cinch!

However, this RSS feed from other blogs–like Blogger–still has me stumped.  It’s like a foreign language.  Sometimes I will subscribe to a non-WordPress blog via RSS.  The tab to retrieve the commentary replies sits patiently beside “Favorites” on the computer in a tab called “Feeds”.  But I can never remember to check.  Never, ever.  It’s sad.  It feels like our conversation somehow became one-sided.  It feels like the Internet is a remote soul-less place without engagement.  Alas.

Sometimes I remember and go trotting off to the blog to See.  Sometimes.

Some blog authors never respond to their commenters.  They probably started that policy on Day 1.  Instead they go a’traveling to their commenter’s blog and the exchange continues there.    Some bloggers email replies to comments. 

I do cherish the living room atmosphere of replying to comments, but what do you think?  Am I talking to air?  Talking to myself?  (Nothing new there, perhaps, but if 75% of the readers say they never come back to read the comments to the comments–sob, sob–maybe it’s time to toss out the living room format and try something new.)

Be honest, commenters.  I will love you anyway, even if you admit to being a hit-and-run commenter (like myself at times).

What do you guys think?

Yours truly,


P.S.  Anyone want a cookie?  Something else to drink?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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83 Responses to Commenters! Show of hands, please!

  1. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – I never dreamed you responded unless I was reading your blog late and happened to see you response to a couple comments. Now I will check back for sure!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan…wow! You’ve provided an entirely new perspective! Maybe people have no idea that some of us bloggers are carrying on living room conversations! Oh thank you for checking back. Big smile from all the way in the U.P.!!

  2. Since I am a fellow blogger, I can see if you have responded by checking the My Comments link in my Dashboard. It doesn’t show them all but I tend to catch more than I miss. Also, you usually take the time to respond so I check. 🙂

  3. Martha Bergin says:

    Hi Kathy, as you know, I don’t comment often. I don’t expect feedback, really. I have checked back once in awhile, but honestly, usually, I don’t. Maybe I should!

    • Kathy says:

      Martha, I know that most people don’t expect feedback. For some reason, I can NOT not provide feedback. I’m always writing mini-blogs as comments, lol. Are you checking back to get this response? LOL! I think you are awesome!

  4. Hi ho, my dear. I can only raise my hand part-way. I do come back, but sometimes not in the same day. I love your responses. I do comment back to my readers and am never sure if they see those. I think your blog is your living room and we readers wander in and out, catching bits of conversation and loosing others as we tour other rooms in this villa of ideas call the www.
    I am going to backtrack now. Love, S

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi! Yours is one of the blogs I try to scurry back to visit to see what you might have responded. But not always. But a lot of the time! Love how you put it…touring the other rooms in this villa of ideas we call the www. Love it! Hi ho, my dear…until we comment again.

  5. Marianne says:

    I too like the “notify me” WP option. I like the two-way dialogue. I don’t know how to use RSS at all because I’ve never really taken the time to figure it out. Cute dog! Is he/she yours?

  6. Kathy says:

    Ummm, Scott…can’t believe I just did this! Watched the trailer to “Slap Shot”. Ummm, Scott, are you sure we can’t watch a chick flick? No? OK, maybe Barry will watch it with you and I will… pop…popcorn!!

  7. Elisa's Spot says:

    I too, use the My Comments button on my dashboard to follow conversation. Unless I am in neeeeeeeeeeeeed or something is hilarious, I try only to post one comment, thinking you too busy and trying myself not to be a demanding child. DID YOU SEEEEEEEEEEE ME DID YOU DID YOU?!?!

    (i would never do such a thing now would i?)
    (ok fine i would)

    • Kathy says:

      I am finding this the most fascinating discussion. Me too busy? Not needing to be a demanding child? But I LOVE conversation! And I SEEEEEE you. A little bit. It’s hard to see the whole person when we can only get a tiny glimpse. But it’s fun imagining.

      • Elisa's Spot says:

        Good because….
        I was all bent over just looking like I was attending to my shoe, but
        I was coloring faces upon the deck. I was also thinking of asking if you had any pineapples, I am thinking about those quite a bit today. I would buy one at the store but, they are so prickly maybe if I took a hammer to one?

        • Cindy Lou says:

          Ahh, Elisa…no need to take a hammer to the poor thing! They’re really easy to cut up and one of my favorite things fresh. Cut off the top and bottom, cut it into quarters length-wise, slice of the harder/’pointy’ edge, cut the rind off (like you would a cantaloupe) and voila! Yummo!

  8. Susan D. says:

    Not only do I come back to read your comments to my comments, I read your comments to everyone else’s comments, too! It’s my way of “getting to know” all the other folks in the living room a little better. Heck, it’s like getting a bunch of bonus mini-blogs. Love it!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan D, I know! You’ve told me so before! I am in awe and amazement and absolute astoundment at your dedication to comments. I am thinking you should get an award or somethin’. You rock!

  9. quietpaths says:

    Oh dear, I am afraid I’m totally negligent in reading your replies. I just forget!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Christine–will you ever read this reply??–tis OK. I know what you mean. Forgetfulness happens uponst us. But just think–how many times you’ve been sitting in this living room–remember when we shared that piece of home baked bread? You don’t??

      lol…neither do I…but I’m sure we did!

  10. Marianne says:

    I love cookies too! Have you got a recipe for healthy ones since I’m changing my ways soon? Seriously though, you have more courage than I do by walking with two dogs. I think I would have gone back home until they went away. It seems the older I get, the more fear I have in some respects.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Marianne! Cookies, you ask? Oh yes, oh yes, I have recipes for healthy cookies. They are so healthy that one guest once said wryly, “I guess these would make good breakfast cookies…” I could type the whole recipe out but then I would never be able to entertain the other guests gathered around the kitchen table right now. Remind me sometime, OK?

  11. Hi Kathy,

    I do come back but usually a little behind so I can not only read your response to my comment but the flow of conversation that has evolved with other commenters. To do this it means I only actively read about five blogs a day with the odd other one thrown in to mix things up. I too reply to each comment and that is part of the joy of blogging for me. So my hand is up. I rarely use the subscribe options because I hate the mess it makes in my email inbox. I use my blogroll mostly to slip back in and see what is happening in various living rooms:)

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill, you have made a good point. I think the traveling back & forth between blogs limits the number of blogs that we can visit daily. After all, we only want to spend a certain amount of time on the computer. What I am realizing–duh, a slow learner–is that MY joy of responding to each and every comment is what is mostly important. Any joy that a commenter gets is an added bonus! Love when blogging helps us to realize things more deeply.

  12. Jen says:

    I read the blog everyday but rarely comment…although I do love what you have to say 🙂
    This may sound weird but I check to see what my Momma says and then check back the next day to see what you said to her! I get a kick out of what she says!!

    • Kathy says:

      Jen, I atually saw your comment come in last night but was too sleepy to resond. Do you remember how tired I get so early? Can’t take visitors too late in the living room, you know. lol! The things you share remind me of Kiah. I’m so glad you guys were friends and I got to know you too!

    • Jen I love it when my daughter or daughter-in-law comment on my blog. I wonder if they are also following my tracks over to other blogs?… hum – never thought of that.

  13. P.j. grath says:

    Do I return to the same post to read your replies to my comments? Occasionally but not often. That doesn’t mean the replies aren’t important, though, because new readers and commenters have seen that you’ve read and answered comments left by others. If I had a question or there was some burning issue, I come back to check, but usually I’m off to my own new post and new posts by you and others. Part of my habit pattern is dictated by the fact that I’m working fulltime in my bookstore nine months of the year, and the other three months I’m in a no-contact zone except when I venture out to libraries a couple of times a week.

    The WordPress/Blogger “issues” (as Gerry calls them) can be a headache, but there are advantages to each system, and I guess we persevere with whatever launched us, eh?

    Sorry we didn’t get as far as the Keewanaw on our recent U.P. trip. We were too short on time and energy to do more than veg in Grand Marais. Thought of you, though? Did you feel the vibes?!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, it would have been lovely to see you in the UP. Vegging in Grand Marais sounds like a good trip. Yours is one of the blogs that I like to stop by and see what you’ve said when I commented. But, like you, I don’t get back as often as I would like. My patterns of blog-reading and commenting are dictated by all these odd part-time jobs. Challenging, yes!

  14. jeffstroud says:

    I almost always come back to read the replies, when it gets to be to many, I zone them out just like you!
    It is fun to see what others have to say, I have even met other blogger that way!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I like the feeling of community that develops. I actually grieve when blog commenters quit reading or move away. Crazy, huh? I have a tendency to feel so much in love with folks and am sometimes sad when they–sniff, sniff–move on to other loves. But am learning that’s OK too!

  15. Carol says:

    Welllll. . . sometimes I remember I commented and come back, but I think most often I forget. I guess because I don’t usually expect a response, but I know you usually do. My bad. I’m WordPress, but on my own site, so my choice is to subscribe to comments. I did that once, but there were so many I got frustrated. Does time ever become an issue for y’all? I don’t work, but it seems to be with me, and Hub has commented recently that I always have my nose in the computer. Mornings I’m on the desktop, or if I’m scrapbooking I’m on the desktop. Otherwise, it’s the netbook, which I also use for reading ebooks, but whatever, it seems my nose is in the computer most of the time.

    So mental note to me – I will come back and see what follows this comment. Just maybe not until tomorrow. Because I do love the friendship aspect. And I do reply to some comments made to my posts – just depends on whether they seem to be calling for a response. This requires more thought.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, my kids think my commenting obsession is–well–an obsession. Ha! I tell ’em it’s a gift. They roll their eyes.

      Sometimes time becomes an issue for me, and I do like to prioritize. I don’t read every other blog every day because I would soon run screaming throughout the woods. lol! Good thing you decided not to come back and read the replies until today. Because I often wait until my energy is wanting to write again–and then I write all the responses to comments in one fell swoop. Kind of like writing another blog. 🙂 Isn’t it fun to be inspired to think about things more deeply? Love this blogging aspect!

  16. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Hi Kathy, yes….I almost always come back to read the comments. I LOVE the comments, peoples thoughts and reactions and your responses to us. They’re a really lovely moment in my day. I do feel as if I’m in your living room, sharing a moment with you and your return-comments feel like a conversation. And I appreciate what everyone else has to say. So many gems of wisdom and insight and AHA! moments. When we’re away I’ll check in when time allows but usually don’t comment until I’m back home.
    So yes, my hand is way up and waving in the air 🙂

    I also use the Notify-me-of-follow-up-comments button and it usually works just fine.

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, this morning we’re at the kitchen table. See the empty hummingbird feeder? See the tomato vines all drying up? See the lawn that Barry mowed yesterday? Hear the woodstove start humming? It’s kind of hot in here, isn’t it? I know that you’re one who meanders back to check. How wonderful that it’s a lovely moment in your day. My heart runneth over at your words…

  17. Dawn says:

    Hi Sweetie – I don’t always have the time to check back. Honestly this FT work is killing my blog time!

    I do have a question – are you feeding your blog into the system differently? Your entire entry used to come up in Google Reader – photos and all. Now all I ever see is a sentence.

    • Kathy says:

      Darn that FT work, Dawn! I’ll bet it is… I don’t know if I could blog this intensely with a full time job. Then again, maybe it would be “unwind” time. Hmmm…not familiar with Google Reader much….quite a while ago I changed the subscriptions so that people only get the title and the beginning sentences. That’s so they come over here into the living room for a cuppa tea! (A bunch of us discovered this at the same time.)

  18. K Odell says:

    I come back if my comment has a question or something that might lead to further conversation- which is almost never. If it’s a statement, I figure you read it, and move on.
    I don’t know how some bloggers do it, but I like when their answers to my comments go to my email. It’s easier that way

    • Kathy says:

      K, good morning! You actually sound like my daughter. She would probably say the same thing. I can’t even not respond on Facebook! Have to carry on a running conversation all the time. I’m not sure how that email response works. My friend Emma, who sometimes comments, does that. Maybe she’ll stop by and let us know?

  19. Dawn says:

    LOL! You crack me up! I usually remembered to go see what you said…and I was always a bit disappointed if you hadn’t responded at all, because I, like you, think of it as a conversation. But that was in my old life when I had time for such things. Now that I’m working, well you can see I haven’t been back till right now, and here it is almost 9 p.m.! But I would have gone back to that post…really!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh good, Dawn! You think of it as a conversation, too. I’ve always had a problem with timing. Not getting back immediately with the conversation. Not wanting to respond too late in the evening because the head gets all foggy and one is likely to say crazy things. Of course one is likely to say crazy things when one is refreshed as well. (By the way, did you try that yoga move when driving to work? no, no, no~~I am just kidding!)

  20. OM says:

    Wow, I didn’t think I would make it through 37 comments, but I did. I generally have not checked back regularly, Kathy, but I am aware you do reply, and I love the image of the conversation at your place!!! I wasn’t really aware of that little option about followup comments, so I will use that.

    I don’t even take the time to read all your daily blogs, just when the spirit moves me.

    When I do read the comments from others, I sure enjoy that part of the conversation!

    Nice to hear people’s perspectives on these meta-matters! And to learn some little techniques!

    Much love to you,

    • Kathy says:

      I like that, OM~~when the spirit moves.

      Long, peaceful sigh just thinking about responding when the spirit moves…

      So the spirit guided you through 37 comments? Oh my goodness, that is wonderful.

      I like the image of a conversation here in the woods with the green leaves and garden and the fading flowers. It feels real to me. I think Gaia fostered this sense of community and conversation. Maybe a lot of other bloggers don’t come from a community blogging background.

      Blessings to you!

  21. OM says:

    Hmmm. the little check box looked grayed out, so I will check it now and then post this and see if it “takes.”
    Hugs, OM

  22. barb says:

    Wellllll…I come to read your next post and before I do, I check to see if you have commented on my comment from the previous post. Does this count? If so, can I also have a cookie? BTW, did your nose twitch this morning when I was doing my Sun Salutation? I hope it did!

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, this counts. You may have two cookies. They are in the freezer now, however. Do you like frozen cookies? I did feel an incredible desire to sneeze yesterday morning~~a ha! It was you! Congratulations and let’s do some more salutations, OK?

  23. Karma says:

    I think I’ve told you before, but I definitely go back to check to see if a comment has been responded to – and I sometimes get a little pouty if they haven’t, LOL. I use the comments thingy in the WordPress dashboard to remember where I’ve been and to see who had something to say back to me.

    I’ll take a cookie! 😉

    • Kathy says:

      OK, it feels like I’m running a long-distance marathon with the comments today! Only four more to go until…until…have no idea what to do next except turn off the computer for a little while! Karma, I knew you were a Checker. You often come back & say things. Remember when I missed responding to you that once? You sure did get pouty! I will never forget you again. 🙂 lol…

  24. Well,
    I usually respond to others blog’s and try my best to respond to oher who visit my blog…Yes, I love to treat it as if we just stopped for a snack and are visiting, growing, and learning from each other however formost appreciating what the gifts that we have to share….


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, we all have so much to learn from one another! I love it! I love your thoughtfulness on your blog, too. We all have different gifts to share…each one of us has something to give to the others…

  25. Robin says:

    As a WP blogger, I do the same thing you do — subscribe to the comments. I also subscribe to blogs I like so I’ll know when there is a new post (and then spend my mornings sorting through lots of emails because I like a lot of blogs). I also do the same as you in terms of unsubscribing to the comments if it becomes too much. Or I just delete when I see it involves more comments to a post I’ve decided I can’t keep up with.

    I usually respond to comments on my blog unless I’m traveling or can’t find the time or the post was too emotional (like last year, when my mother was dying), but even when I travel I sometimes fit in responses.

    I’ve never figured out the RSS thing so with folks who use Blogger (where I used to blog) I go back and visit if I know they are the type to respond to comments. When I first started blogging I didn’t realize people were responding to comments. Blogging became much more fun when I realized it and joined the comments conversations. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, sounds like we’re on the same track. I don’t respond to comments when the post has hit the front page of wordpress because I get overwhelmed and start staring glassy-eyed at the computer. Of course that doesn’t happen too often, so don’t have to worry about that too much! I also sometimes just respond once to all the commenters. Especially if the post is highlighting someone else or about something that really doesn’t seem to need commentary. It would be hard to be blogging about a mother dying…gosh, I’ve got tears, just thinking about it.

      I’ll bet a lot of people don’t realize some people are responding to comments. I think it’s half the fun!

      • Cindy Lou says:

        Actually, Kathy gets glassy-eyed and a bit crazed looking…..her and Barry came into the restaurant one night (after the “How to Write a Blog That Gets a Million Hits”, I think?!?) and you should’ve seen her! I can’t remember for sure, but don’t think I’d read the blog that day and couldn’t figure out why she was so nutty. I should have given her two or three glasses of wine that night just to calm her down! 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Ha ha, Cindy~~you’ve seen the crazies! When the comments overload and the blog writer goes bonkers. LOL! (However, two or three glasses of wine would probably knock me out. I can’t drink more than one or two without getting way zonked.)

        • Robin says:

          I completely understand that glassy-eyed look. I think Kathy and I made the front page of WordPress on the same day (which is how I ended up here the first time) and I remember well how I felt after watching the blog stats and comments add up.

  26. holessence says:

    Kathy – Because I always click on the “Notify me of follow-up comments” button, I receive an automatic email notification each time someone leaves you a comment, and/or you respond back to them.

    I enjoy reeading the follow-up comments. Sometimes, although not often, I jump back into the conversation.

    I do this same thing with everyone else’s blogs too.

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I almost always check that box, too. And like to jump back into the conversation. I have so often admired your timeliness in responding to comments. I have to wait until the mood strikes before responding. Have you had to start limiting the number of blogs you read? I used to want to read everyone’s blog everyday. In reality there’s not enough time or energy to do that. Hope you have a good day, changing lady!

  27. holessence says:

    Kathy – Yes, indeed. I have two lists: the “must” read blogs and the “would like to read blogs.” The “musts” get read, regardless (even if it’s a day late). The “would like to’s” get read if/when there’s time. Have yourself a fantastic Thursday!

  28. Cindy Lou says:

    Oh, oh….pick me! See my hand waving wildly? Yes, I read all the comments and then am notified when there are more – and I read those, too! I faithfully read only 4 blogs a day so it’s not too bad. And if I go away for a few days, I always go back and get caught up – can’t imagine missing out on something wondermous!

    And I do imagine myself in your lovely, cozy living room with all of my friends from here as the conversation weaves its way in and out and around… ’bout some spicy, pumpkin-y cookies in honor of fall?

    • Kathy says:

      You are picked! I saw your hand waving wildly, Cindy Lou. You are one of the Faithful Ones. lol… I think you can do it because you’ve limited your blog reading to four. Spicy pumpkin cookies sound wonderful. Nancy Besonen is supposedly bringing a small Pumpkin to work soon, so maybe we’ll actually get some pumpkin cookies. I hope so!

  29. bearyweather says:

    Yes, I always go back to see if there are follow-up comments. In my book, the purpose of blogging is to start a conversation. I try to respond to all of my comments and appreciate very much when a writer responds to mine. Thank you for all your responses, it makes me feel welcome and heard.

    • Kathy says:

      I like how you think, bearyweather: THe purpose of blogging is to start a conversation! I never articulated it like that. Will think about that some more today. thank you!

  30. barb says:

    Here I am – reading your reply to my comment before I comment again…Salutations to you!

  31. Val Erde says:

    Wow! You’ve got lots and lots of comments to this one! I shall read some of them in due course – there are so many that they boggle my mind!

    I always read responses to my comments, here in your blog (which I admit I’ve not visited for a while, sorry), and in other people’s blogs too, regardless of the bloghost. I use a feed reader and what I’ve done is make myself a folder in it called ‘comments’ and whenever I comment on someone’s post, I click on the little RSS square, add the comment feed to my ‘comments’ folder, and then when the comments update, it’s there waiting for me to read. Despite also being on WordPress, I don’t use the dashboard for reading replies as they often seen out of date order to me.

    Like you, I enjoy conversations in blogs, too. I despair of blogs where the author never responds to commenters, and I tend to give them a wide berth unless they are posting stuff that absolutely nobody else is and I’m rivetted by it! In my own blog, I much prefer people to reply to a comment where it was originally posted, otherwise the ‘conversation’ element doesn’t really happen for me.

    And um… is that a choccy biccy you’re offering? Cos if it is, I’d like one, thanks!

    • Kathy says:

      Can you believe all these comments, Val? Amazing! I have missed seeing you…about time to visit your blog again, as well.

      Your comment feed reader sounds like a great idea! It has been interesting reading what people choose to do to track (or not track) the comments.

      When I post a comment on someone’s blog and they don’t respond I don’t usually go back. Unless that person keeps a relationship going by coming here and commenting, or emails, or somehow connects.

      What is a choccy biccy, by the way???

      • Val Erde says:

        Hah! As I left my comment, I thought, “will she know what a choccy biccy is?” It’s just a chocolate cookie. Here in the UK ‘biscuit’ is what we call cookies, and ‘biccy’ is just what southern English say. Kind of a baby word, really. ‘would you like a biccy?’ ‘Would you like a choccy biccy?’ Oh yes, please!!

        I couldn’t work out earlier on whether you couldn’t suss out how to use a feed reader or what. If you don’t there’s a brilliant and simple video that explains it: RSS in Plain English

        • Kathy says:

          thank you SO much, Val, for that brilliant and simple video!!! I really think I am going to try it. You have been SUCH a help.

          And, yes, please pass a choccy biccy. Let’s have one together with tea!

  32. Val Erde says:

    You’re welcome.

  33. quietpaths says:

    Now see, here I am to read your reply and it’s actually there even tho’ I said I might not see it. You are most faithful. And yes, eating fresh home made bread has definitely been something that has happened. Or should happen, or might happen….

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