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The Blogs That Bug Me

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Late last April, in the throes of a hypomanic high, I wrote my first post, “AA: Threat or Menace?” for my new blog, Shithouse rat. It was cold and lonely out there in cyberspace at first. For various reasons, I had decided to post under a pseudonym, not because I was ashamed of anything I wrote, but for other practical reasons. Plus, I wanted to be able to say what I wanted without the risk of offending those I knew, though I don’t think I’ve posted anything cruel or unfair then or since.

As a result, I told no one I knew about my new venture; no family members, friends, or colleagues. Since then, one person who reads and comments is from my “outside” world, and I sometimes read my boyfriend an entry or two, but that’s it. All other close encounters of the blog kind have been made via Herman, my trusty Apple PowerBook G4.

My very first comment was witty, wise, and wonderful. In other words, it was from me.

To: Elvira
From: Elvira
RE: The sound of one blog blogging.
“Hey, Shithouse Rat. I’m adding comments to my own posts in a pathetic atttempt to make it look like someone is commenting (and thus reading) this blog.
I thought about contacting an AA website or board and welcoming them to comment on this topic. I’m sure many of them would love to since they can be a spirited and verbose bunch. But do I really want a bunch of hate mail? Something to consider…the only bad publicity is no publicity, right?
Well, take care of yourself, you crazy (and breathtakingly beautiful) chick, you.”

Rather than continue to comment to myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Since my post was controversial and involved negative experiences with AA, I proceeded to troll around the internet and try to incite some comments and maybe stir up some trouble. I contacted some anti-AA sites, and a few people visited. One of them, a certain Dr. Bomb, got a little ornery on my ass, but I put him in his place. I’m not afraid of criticism, and have never censored any comments on my blog, except for a few spambots. I welcome lively — even heated — debate, and I’m perfectly ready and willing to defend myself to all comers.

I put up a site meter right away, and was instantly obsessed with it. I confided to one of my very first blogpals, telling him my shameful secret — yes, I did care about visitors, dammit! If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, has it really fallen?

In any case, what all this is leading up to are some issues I’ve touched on in the past on my own blog, but wanted to get into here in earnest.

About six months ago, I was surfing around and discovered a blog that looked interesting. Although the guy seemed to have a healthy number of posts, and had been blogging for about five months, I saw nary a comment.

The blog looked promising — it was kinda one of those Boing Boing type things where you find provocative, noteworthy media clips and post links to them — but I should have known something was weird when I looked at the profile-ette on the home page: Aaron, United States, 5’9″ 150 lbs.

Never before have I seen someone’s height and weight posted on their blog before. It gave me pause.

In any case, I also wanted to see if people read and commented to more than their most recent posts, because it seemed that a lot of people didn’t. I think some folks just didn’t choose the template option of receiving copies of comments to their e-mail box. This in and of itself seemed puzzling to me.

In any event, I decided to leave me a few. First I went to an older post — but not very old.

Here’s the post:

Monday, August 29, 2005
Well Deserved
Chris Farley gets a star on the walk of fame. Link.
posted by Aaron at 8/29/2005 10:36:00 AM

Here’s my comment:

“Helloooo, Aaron? Can you read me?
I just wandered by and was browsing, and decided to be lazy and just post to this for the time being ’cause it was short and I’m a bit smashed.
Also, I don’t know if you read comments from old posts. If you do, and you see this, let me know, maybe. It’s kind of part of a survey. Sort of.
Anyway, here’s my comment:
F*uckin’ A.”

Then I went back to, I think, the second-most-recent post and left another few lines there — trying my best to be amusing and clever, the better to evoke some sort of response — though perhaps I was just being obnoxious and asinine.

Again, no response. Nada.

Now, this brings up one of several nagging issues I have, after blogging for 10 odd months. As far as Aaron and his ilk goes, I am mystified at to why someone who has recieved none or very few comments, as far as I can see, wouldn’t want to respond to one when he finally received it — even if it was to tell the person what an asshole they were for leaving such a stupid comment (as was probably merited in my case). After all, if he didn’t want comments, why not turn the comment option off? (OK, maybe he couldn’t figure it out, but I doubt it). In any case, I’ve found more than once that my more sober and well-thought out comments to blogs with no comments sometimes meet with the same abysmal result – the sound of silence.

I finally told myself that since, in Aaron’s case, he was fashioning himself after BoingBoing — one of the most popular blogs in the universe — he might consider commenting irrelevant. However, if you want to get somewhere between zero readers and a zillion, wouldn’t it behoove you to respond with at least a “thanks for the comment” — sort of to encourage a reader to return?

Uber-sites have a reasonable excuse for non-response – and some sites do respond to comments sometimes. But shit, they’re busy staying at the top of the heap, so one could understand if they lacked the time to give every reader personal feedback. And granted, Boing Boing-ish blogs are not personal websites, so comments may seem less relevant, but not necessarily so.

But this guy?

So without further ado, here is my list of things that personally irritate me about some blogs. Note that this is just my opinion. In fact, some of these things don’t irritate me as much as merely leading me to ponder the curious nature of mankind at large. Plus, I’m just a blogging baby, and I know I have a lot to learn. So cut me a break, ok?

1. Blogs that bite the dust before their time.
They just give up the ghost after a few posts. As with anything else, it pays to be proactive and persistent. And if you get some flamers and trolls, I say have fun with it. Make it work for you (see number 4 below). If you start a blog, you’re opening yourself up to the world at large, and weirdos and wackos may visit and stir up some shit. That, to me, is all part of the fun. Um, famous last words…

2. Blogs that don’t allow comments.
What’s up with that? I always thought the internet was, as they say, one great big worldwide conversation – an exchange of ideas; a dialogue rather than a monologue. When I wrote for publication, most of the time I had no idea of what most readers thought about what I wrote — no sense of reader demographics or any of the of the other neat goodies you can find out just by taking 5 minutes to install a site meter. Stats, together with comments, makes me feel like I’m not just writing to hear myself write.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I am a craven comment whore. I am happy to see that people feel free to rant as much as they like. There is no length limit imposed on my blog for comments. When people apologize for going on and on, I always try to reassure them that this is just what I hope they will do. I really do believe that comments can be as integral to my blog as the posts themselves. Sometimes it’s a way of delving even deeper into an issue than I’d done in the original rant. Plus, it’s a chance for me to blab even more.

3. Blogs that don’t respond to comments at all.
I can’t help but think of these folks as just plain blog snobs who think they are too good to respond to someone who was thoughtful enough to drop by and respond to their post. To me, it seems like a slap in the face and an implication that they think their shit don’t stink. Well, it does – and so do you.

The following “rule” is null and void for any blogger who links me to their blogroll. In that case, all bets are off and I adore you unconditionally.

4. Bloggers who delete comments and/or let everyone know they can and will do so.
I fervently believe in the sanctity of free speech. Why, then, would a blogger choose to censor a post because it takes them to task or offends them? Do you simply want a bunch of yes-men, telling you only what you want to hear? There’s a word for that–B-O-R-I-N-G. No, no, not that positive comments aren’t cool, but the whole idea of blotting out any dissent is really distasteful to me. Yes, of course, it’s your blog and you’ll delete if you want to…you would delete too if it happened to you–blah de blah bullshit.

I don’t get too many nasty comments, but if I do, I usually wind up glorifying them by posting a “SIZZLING HOT comment of the week” tribute to their ass, thus garnering more comments. One particularly obnoxious troll inspired a SIZZLING HOT comment of the year post, which devolved into a massive blogfight where I and the dastardly commenter gleefully flamed each other endlessly back and forth. I can’t remember when I’d ever had more fun with my clothes on.

5. The late comment conundrum.
I’ve been dismayed to discover the unwritten rule that on some blogs, comments to old posts are more likely to be ignored. Again, it makes me wonder if these bloggers don’t have the e-mail option turned on, or if they just don’t want to revisit the past. I like to browse an interesting blog and drop the odd comment to old posts too. And I am more than thrilled when someone comments to an oldie but goodie(?) at my site as well.

6. Lurkers.
This is a bigger beef for others, but it does mystify me, for example, that there are a few people hailing from parts of California and Tuckahoe, NY who spend a lot of time reading but never chime in. It’s kind of creepy, but I’m not complaining. I’ll take what I can get.

7. Spam-ette comments.
These look like spam, sound like spam, and taste like spam–except that they’re from real people (I think) who just post 3 words like “check out my cool blog”–(oh, I guess that’s five words) with a link back to their site. Self serving, lazy, rude, and cheap.

8. Blogs that broadcast music clips when you click on their site.
What can I tell you? This is such a turnoff I often just click right off again. Maybe I’d feel differently if anyone ever played a song I really, really liked — but even then, if I want to hear it, I’ll play it for myself, ‘k?

Anyway, here’s my final take on the matter:

1. I figure if I’m gonna blog, I want some feedback. Otherwise I may as well just talk to myself in a rubber room.
If someone comments, I will try my best to comment back. Lately, more and more, I find myself falling behind, but if I no longer have the time or fortitude to respond to each comment individually, I’ll always thank all and sundry for their feedback at the very least. One of the reasons I’ve been remiss in the comment responding department on my own blog is because of all the juicy commenting activity that goes on at BC as a general rule.

2. If you want repeat visitors, for heaven’s sake, respond to comments!
People like to see comments to their comments, and it can be an extra added incentive for them to visit again. Why turn your nose up at your “audience?” Are you too good to come down from your lofty perch and respond?

If you’re super-popular, and can’t possibly respond to all, then you can do what you damn well please anyway, but the classiest bloggers at least put a general note saying thanks for all the comments, or respond to a few here and there.

3. If you have your comments option on, unless you have more comments than you can handle, leave your “receive your comments via e-mail” option on as well.
I’ve heard people say “I didnt’ know you commented until my friend told me” or “Sorry. I hadn’t checked my blog in awhile.” What’s up with that? When it comes to your own blog, who wants to be the last to know?

4. The best way to generate comments is to visit other blogs and comment to them, and link to them too if you think they’re good. Basic good karma/golden rule/blogger etiquette stuff.

Well, that’s all I can think of right now. I hope people will feel free to comment about my comments about (mostly) comments — if so, I promise I will try my best to comment back.

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About Elvira Black

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    This was fun Elvira –

    I share some of the same peeves as well.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Thanks Mary–good to know I’m not alone on this one!

  • http://desicritics.org Aaman

    Not every one has automatic notification turned on for comments – in many cases it’s the default, did you think of that?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Aaman:

    (And let me just add this is not the same Aaman I referred to in my piece above, of course)–

    Yes, I have thought long and hard over these issues–lol. If some are unaware of the option, perhaps in my own small way I can make a few people cognizant of the fact that they do have the choice to allow comment notification.

    All I can say is–and this is just me–if someone comments to one of my posts, be it old or new, this inquiring mind wants to know–pronto.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    PS: Of course Aaman is not Aaron (the example in my post)–my mistake. Duh.

  • http://sampsak.blogspot.com/ Sampsa

    Nice reading Elvira. As I’m a cheap guy (#7) I’d like you to come and chip in (#6) on my, for some reason comment poor, blog. ;)

    http://sampsak.blogspot.com/

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    Comments turned off is annoying. There’S no point in reading the blog.

    I sometimes delete comments though. When some guy from a forum I write to comes in and leaves a pointless comment. Otherwise I leave them all.

  • http://desicritics.org Aaman

    On another note, JELIEL3 should actually be written JE2L4I :)

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Thanks Sampsa–done and done! I just left a comment on your latest post. Looks like you’ve got some linkage coming in and your stats are pretty good too! You’ve got a great, eclectic mix of politics, culture, vid clips, metablogging, etc. You go! I’ve bookmarked you and will visit again.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    JELIEL (sorry, don’t know how to do the “to the third power” notation):

    I hear you! I’m just not that altruistic–if someone doesn’t allow comments, my “what’s in it for me” antennae go up and I usually don’t deign to visit again.

    I can also see the logic in deleting comments esp from someone who derails the post’s raison d’etre with irrelevant rants or personal vendettas–but so far I’ve left everything in save for the ‘bots–and if they’re amusing enough, I leave them in too.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Aaman:

    Dost thou mocketh me for mixing your name up with Aaron? LOL…

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/blog Mark Sahm

    As far as commenting back on your own posts, I feel it depends on one’s original reasons for blogging. While some people are looking for conversation or debate, others are simply airing their thoughts. Of course, it doesn’t always work the way you want. I often find that the posts I want feedback on don’t get it, while a slew of flames comes for ones I expected to get little.

    Unlike my BC posts where I would comment back to anyone, I usually reserve commenting on my personal blog if someone asks a question or opens a thread for discussion. Basically, this is because (as you said) many that read the post don’t comment.

    Fun post though.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Mark:

    Thanks! Yes, now that I’ve been blogging awhile (but not all that long) I can see the comment conundrum more clearly. I started out vowing to answer every single comment individually, but lately “real” life and the fact that I’m also doing the BC thing has led me to “neglect” some of my Shithouse comments. So the best I can do then is to respond when I can and thank everyone because I treasure comments like gold.

    I also think that some blogs are more self-contained/informational/link-heavy, etc. and thus less likely to generate comments for some posts. But my blog is more of a personal essay-ish thing so comments do seem especially apt for these kinds of blogs. Whatever–I’ll take ‘em if I can get ‘em!

    One other factor I should mention is that I never blog on a daily basis. The longer I let a post sit, the more people meander on over and comment, whereas if I posted daily a lot of them would get lost in the shuffle. I try to give each post some room to “breathe,” if you will.

    But aside from that, since I’m a blatant comment whore, if I have the time and energy I’ll devise a reply to even the most un-comment-worthy or gratuitious comment on my personal blog. I just can’t seem to help myself..

  • http://indemnification.blogspot.com/ -E

    Interesting post. I share a lot of the same opinions as to what annoys be about some blogs out there. Esp the music thing! As far as deleting comments, I usually find myself too lazy to even consider it. Though I have deleted a spam comment about the logging industry.

  • RogerMDillon

    Blogs that bug me: People who make lists

  • http://indemnification.blogspot.com -E

    Aww Roger, you had to know this was going to be a list when you saw the title. You choose to read it ;)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Damn, I was hoping this would be a collection of reviews of particularly stupid blogs.

    Dave

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    -E:
    The logging industry, huh? I like the breast and penile enlargement ads myself, though they’re not to everyone’s–ah–taste.

    Roger:
    I don’t often do listy posts, but I find that they are easy to write, easy to digest/read, and most important, tend to garner comments, both naughty and nice.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Dave:

    Hoo boy, have I got the blog for you! It’s called I Talk too Much, and it’s a definite guilty pleasure. Folks submit their blogs for analysis, and they generally get bitch slapped but good. Hilarious but often cruel–but hey, bloggers submit their sites to the blog so they know what they’re in for.

  • http://www.xanga.com/rohanv Rohan Venkat

    Agree, agree and agree (and so on).

    I prefer not to delete even spam, if any, because at least there’s some comments.

    And occasionally something that I don’t like, but do quite often on my personal blog, is expect the readers to know what I’m talking about, which I basically because, again, I probably know the people who’re going to end up reading my blog.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Rohan:

    Yes, I generally know most of the people–or the sort of people–who will comment to my blog now–my true blue blogpals for the most part. In addition, I belong to a bipolar blog ring, and know many of these folks as well. We kind of understand each other’s mindsets, so it’s a very supportive kind of circle to have access to.

  • http://jackiestvblog.blogspot.com/ Jackie

    I’d comment, but I’m shy.
    ;-)

    Good article! One thing I hate is neverending paragraphs (not your entry) on some blogs. And, if they’re neverending and non-punctuated or not using proper upper and lowercase when dictated…! Argh!

  • http://alienboy.wordpress.com/ Christopher Rose

    I love comments! It’s great to be able to see people’s reactions to stories and it’s even better when the author gets involved too. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me want to go back to a site.

    On the other hand, when I visit sites without comments, I find the experience less engaging — unless what I’m reading is more information than opinion oriented or the writing is so great that to simply comment “cool” or whatever would seem rather trite…

    Totally agree about poor writing and long paras, that’s so rude!

  • http://alienboy.wordpress.com/ Christopher Rose

    There’s always a potential conflict between freedom of speech and moderating comments.

    My personal view is that the reader’s experience is really important. If someone is posting gratuitously rude, simply jarring or wildly off topic remarks, I’m going to delete or edit them, without a whole lot of hesitation and not a shred of guilt. That’s not to say a lot of people read my stuff, but that’s another story.

    There are a million and one places where people can go and spout off anything they want, but I want to try to provide a good read in an atmosphere that’s tolerant and engaged. Like any great show, that takes a little staging…

    For the avoidance of doubt, I ought to point out that the Blogcritics comments ethos is completely different and has broader standards.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Jackie:

    Thanks! Yes, neverending paras are the worst. How much effort would it take to double hit the return key once in awhile in between sentences? It makes it very very hard to read, and it’s one of the simplest things to remedy.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Christopher:

    I definitely see your point about off-point and nasty comments–especially on a site like BC. People are, um, cantankerous enough here sometimes in the comments section without letting the whole thing devolve into an unruly three ring circus. It often seems like the biggest offenders are those who post without a URL, or anonymously on personal blogs. Not that those without a website aren’t entitled to share their opinions, of course, but I often wonder why they don’t get their own blog before they just go around criticizing or polluting everyone else’s.

    You know how awestruck I am with your comment moderation expertise and execution already…as always, my hat goes off to you!

  • http://101strings.blogspot.com/ Barry Stoller

    “2. Blogs that don’t allow comments. What’s up with that?”

    I’ve done a bunch of sites and blogs with counters and guestbooks and comment options, but lately I’ve decided to just post and let it be. Purity of literary motive. I find that comments from one or two individuals can re-shape the original idea – and not always for the best.

    “Comments turned off is annoying. There’S no point in reading the blog.”

    I don’t blog to meet people – I blog because I want to keep my writing chops up between big projects. I send my friends / acquaintances a notice of my newest site / blog and that’s enough for me.

    “8. Blogs that broadcast music clips when you click on their site.”

    I totally agree with that. Usually I’m listening to my own music and when someone cuts in, they’re in trouble with me.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Barry:

    I can certainly see what you mean–it all depends on the blogger, the type of writing they’re doing, and the reason they’re blogging. Interesting view about comments reshaping the original idea–that could certainly be the case, especially for certain types of writing (fiction, etc) which I would probably not subject to generalized critique (if I wrote fiction that is–lol).

    I’ve run across one or two (probably only one) examples of a site with “automatic music” that I didn’t loathe. If I really like the blog, I’ll just turn the volume off, but I honestly think it’s the most off-putting thing in all of cyberland. We’re all grown ups here–and even for those who are not, adults (and teens) can certainly pick their own “music to blog by” quite nicely without help. Hey guys, you’re not enchanting anyone out there with your musical selections, ok?

    Let me hasten to add that this is not the same as a blogger who offers musical clips which you have the choice of loading up or not, esp to augment a relevant post. That’s cool, of course.

  • http://www.xh5n1.blogspot.com/ Mabon Dane

    There is nothing like a bit of criticism to at least make a Blogger feel wanted. A good old fashioned flame war is nice if you have got time for it.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Mabon:

    My sentiments exactly! I think it’s akin to the old public relations mantra, “There’s no such thing as BAD publicity”…lol…

  • http://alienboy.wordpress.com/ Christopher Rose

    Gotta disagree with you a little there Elvira, I can’t stand sites that play music or video (the latest fad) without my permission.

    It’s so presumptious for a start, on my interest level, what else I might be doing and how many other tabs I’ve got open (like my
    Pandora
    for a start), my bandwidth, and it’s own importance.

    I really hate those little avatars that have started appearing on sites, you know the ones of animated people who lecture you and their eyes follow the cursor around the screen. Stars, does that get old fast!

    People are starting to make the same mistakes with richer media experiences as in the early days of the net – just cos it’s possible to do something doesn’t mean it should be done.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Christopher:

    I think we’re pretty much in agreement here. I loathe the automatic music loadups that start when you visit the blog; the flashing banners; all those intrusive bells and whistles. You’re right–some people feel compelled somehow to overuse all the latest tech just because they can, which can make a site seem very amateurish. I say if you’ve got something interesting to offer, you can probably do it with words and possibly some cool pix but the musical accompaniment is just tacky and rude.

    Pandora looks cool–I’ve bookmarked it–thanks!

  • http://alienboy.wordpress.com/ Christopher Rose

    I have it running a lot of the time…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Cool!

  • SonnyD

    Dammit Elvira! Did you have to give a link to that “I Talk Too Much” site? I’ve wasted half a day on it, already, and I know I’ll go back to it again. I can’t help myself. Damn!

  • Scott Butki

    I agree with most of your peeves

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Sonny D:

    Well, I look at it this way–it does have redeeming social value, kind of a public service to bloggers and readers alike–lol…

    Scott:

    I’m really surprised there haven’t been any real dissenters!

  • Dawn

    Sometimes people are just freaking stupid or selfish, or arrogant – or just plain lazy. But I wholeheartedly agree with you about the whole “hey I can delete your comment if you don’t suck up to my ass or if you make a comment that makes me look stupid, self-obsessed or like the asswipe I am.”

    When I had a blog I found (most of the time) the truly disturbing comments about “me” kind of entertaining. The only thing I ever really felt the need to delete were those comments that were directed at my family, which for some reason were left in high numbers.

    Blogging is fun and it’s a great way to hone your writing skills, but if not done in moderation, it can warp the time-space-continuum of your very life away.

    Another insightful post from Elvira!

  • http://sportolysis.blogsome.com Pratyush

    Nice article. I share the views expressed completely which is a bit of a surprise for me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/4521582 the shakester

    ok, so the I talk2much site is insane. If it was well past friggin midnight here, I might have gotten stuck with itlonger. But then, who knows if I will get sucked in tomorrow!

    good post, elvira. Sometimes, I stalk too- if there is nothing constructive to add in a comment, leavng one sometimes feels like I am part of the #7 band:)

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Dawn:

    You go, g/f–thanks!

    I’ve read some people’s explanations of why they don’t respond to comments, but they just don’t ring true to me somehow. I just can’t help feeling that someone who never utters a peep in response to comments is just not being…well…polite or appreciative of the fact that people took the time to read and respond to their post. It’s kind of like when you hold the door open for someone and they don’t say thank you. I think part of being well-mannered is putting yourself into someone else’s shoes and saying: now how would I want to be treated in this instance? If I wrote a comment, would I want to be ignored?

    The irony of all this is that I don’t have the time or inclination, esp. nowadays, to “check” to see who responded to my comments a lot of the time. Most of the people who commment are those I’ve bantered back and forth with on their blogs and mine for some time now, and lately I’ve been guilty of not visiting and commenting much to my blogpals. I’m discovering ironies on top of ironies as I get deeper into the “time-space continuium” of the blogosphere, as you put it so aptly.

    My focus here was really more on bloggers who have virtually no comments and don’t seem to realize that if you finally bag a comment or two and you want more, you should really acknowlege the ones you get, and ideally visit and comment to other blogs too. Unless you really, truly don’t give a shit…and how many people really don’t, deep down? Blogging is by nature a public/social thing, no? If I just want to write some personal stuff that’s not fit (to my mind) for public consumption, I’d just create a Word file or do what I’ve done for decades–write in my private notebook. But I guess that’s just me–some people want to futz around more with the bells and whistles of the new technology, I suppose.

    Since you mentioned comments about your family, you brought to mind another blogging issue that I neglected to mention: folks who post pictures and personal information (where they live, etc) about themselves and their children on their blog. I’ve seen blogpals post photos of their gorgeous teenage daughters and children and such and I honestly think it might be a bit hazardous, you know? Of course that’s a personal choice, but it’s a very weird world filled with wackos online and off with unsavory intentions. And of course some kids are getting into all sorts of trouble with online chat rooms and such.

    I’m a bit more reserved in my blogging than some–I think the combo of not using my real name for various reasons and the parameters of doing storytelling/essays keeps me from revealing my essential, inner core. It’s hard to explain, because I sometimes talk about my bipolar disorder etc, but the stylized nature of an essay does provide a bit more distance than an unvarnished, stream of consciousness, tell all confessional. Maybe that’s why I don’t get flamed all that much–I dunno–though it’s happened. I had a hell of a time on one bipolar Yahoo group–which I then, of course, blogged about. Sometimes, blogging can really be the best revenge!

    In any case, thanks for the great comment–you really got me blabbing away, which I always love to do of course…lol…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Pratyush:

    Thanks! Gee, I’m a little disappointed no one really disagrees with me–but that’s ok…lol…

    Shakester:

    You and Christopher both brought up something that I wanted to touch on here. Some folks feel like leaving a comment like “liked your piece” is too trite or dorky or whatever. I disagree. If you had written something you were proud of, and had a choice between receiving no feedback and even one comment that said “nice post,” wouldn’t you really appreciate the latter? It can mean more to someone than you might imagine.

    As far as being a #7 (lol)–I don’t think posting a brief comment is in that category. Folks can always click on your link if they care to, which is another great reason to leave even a brief comment–if someone comments on my blog, I usually check out who’s commented to me if I can, and often comment back to their blog. I just see it as basic blog karma–you tend to get what you give, no?

    Oh, and that Talk too Much site IS brilliant, isn’t it?

  • chantal stone

    Elvira…i know what you mean about the personal info thing….
    i know this one guy with a web-page—not really a blog, who put all sorts of pictures of his friends and family—which is all fine and dandy—but then he also posted his home phone number, his home address, where he works, and he even went as far as to tell exactly what street his place of employment was, i suppose so that when someone decided to stalk him, they take the right exit off the free-way to get to him.

    makes you wonder what this guy is looking for.

    anyway, i am currently working my own site to display my photography, and since i have 3 children, some of my ‘fine art’ photos include images of my children. knowing that there are countless numbers of freaks out there, i am reluctant to display those photographs. i’m still undecided, but i think i may just use a select few.

    anyway, now I’M rambling….great post, always insightful, as usual.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Chantal:

    Many thanks! That guys’s site does sound a tad bizarre. I can sort of see if he used it as an online resume/portfolio or something, but he’s also including the photos of friends and family on the same site so it’s not strictly business either. Though I have seen similar things done before, and really the only thing that gives me real pause is the fact that it’s such a public forum, to put it mildly. Hell, I’m too paranoid to even buy anything online for fear of identity theft myself…

    I also wonder about people who post nude pictures of themselves…thing is, once they’re out there, they’re pretty much in the blogosphere for good from what I understand. Stuff like that could really come back to haunt you.

    I can sympathize with your dilemma with your photos…it does suck that one always has to be mindful of the wackos out there in cyberland.

  • http://beyondbabylon.blogspot.com David Ben-Ariel

    Here a blog, there a blog, everywhere a blog, blog… I read your list of complaints and I reckon it’s different strokes for different folks: why somebody blogs.

    Some of my blogs permit comments, but all of them have my email address available (for those who are serious) within my profile.

    Blog on!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    David:

    Do you think maybe Old McDonald might still be kicking around? If so, I’ll bet he has a blog too..lol…

    E-mail’s cool as well…some people prefer to respond that way, or all of the above. It’s all good. I’m just a natural born shit stirrer and professional kvetch, in case anyone hasn’t noticed…heh heh…

  • http://www.markbellinghaus.com/ Mark Bellinghaus

    Great article, Elvira!
    What is the perfect blog in your opinion? I saw my own blog in your story, in different ways. It was torture, when I got attacked under the shiled of anonymous names etc. – how fierce some people can be!
    This whole blog thing was so new to me – I needed to bring this story out, somehow; til I found this site through Google, one morning. We just had our one month anniversary and are still kickin! Come and join me and say Hello to my friends on my blog – my enemies, too! lol
    We broke into mainstream the first week into the publication of the Marilyn Monroe Fraud story! And guess what: I still haven’t been sued by the powerful estate – I was hoping so much for it…!
    Blogging is fun, addictive and so much saver than any drug I ever heard of!
    And with those two Eric’s (Olsen & Berlin) who can resist?!
    Greetings to all of you, join this blog site – write your own story – bring it out and have fun! I made tons of new friends through my URL, already! Next week I will be getting married again(just kidding!)
    Keep it up, keep it cool and keep it real&clean~Peace!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Mark:

    Congratulations to you on your incredible and well-deserved success…it looks like you got thrust into the excitement of the blogging world at a dizzying pace! Yes, I think BC is a wonderful site, and the amazing amount of feedback and comments you received and continue to garner demonstrate both the value and quality of your piece and the power of this terrific site to help bring your top-notch story to so many people. Great job, Mark!

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Hey Elvira…

    After reading your post on BC about the things you like…and don’t like…about blogs, I feel honored by the comment you left on mine. Even though I broke a few Of your “rules” (I have a music video loop running for one thing).

    I’ve also read what you think of bloggers who don’t respond to comments left in a timely manner…and umm, “my bad”, regarding the one you left on mine…LOL.

    I’ve since responded, but it was late in coming I admit (oops! broke another rule…LOL)

    But I promise I’m not one of the snobs. I admit to being a bit of a “music snob” (hell I’m a critic right?)…but a “blog snob?” Never!

    Your link is up at The World Wide Glen Elvira!
    Just for the record, it says:

    Elvira Black: Shithouse Rat and Conscience of All BlogCritics

    Well deserved I might add!

    You are one of the people it is a true pleasure to read here I might add. Straight Up.

    Glen Boyd

    (Not sure we are still allowed to include links in comments so if I broke another rule just remove it OK?)…

    [Links are allowed in comments but I’d be a lot happier if everybody made them active. Comments Editor]

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Glen:

    Wow, thanks so much for the comment and the cool link! I’ve got you linked too, baby! As I’ve mentioned, you have a rocking blog, and I’m really thrilled to be associated with such a cool music critic, commentator and fellow Blogcritic, as I spent a lot of time back in the day doing music crit myself, and know it can be a real challenge to do–and do well–as you do.

    Oy vey, I glanced back at what I wrote and I didn’t think I said anything about comments not responded to in a timely manner–if I did, that was an uncalled for and bitchy thing to do. What I did mention for sure was that I think some people don’t have their e-mail notificatoin turned on so if someone leaves a comment on an old post, they may not ever even see it.

    I’m beginning to think I’ve come across here as some sort of blog/comment nazi, which make me feel pretty shitty. Therefore, I must come clean and admit that I’ve broken some of these rules myself, of course. Since I’ve started over at BC especially, I’ve been remiss in responding to comments over at the Shithouse.

    I also remember one early commenter who sent a nice e-mail. I practically begged him to leave a comment on site, and when he did, it didn’t occur to me to leave a response til months later. Don’t ask me why. I’ve also pimped myself out a bit as well, though it sometimes paid off. For instance, I’ve posted links to message boards in the past, though if I do that now I try to be a bit more subtle than I may have been a few times in “the early days.” It’s a fine line sometimes.

    In addition, I often don’t even check anymore to see if people have responded to my comments left on their blog. I realize now it’s not some sort of score keeping exercise, and sometimes trying to find a counter-comment to every comment can be an exercise in futility.

    I can also understand why bloggers might delete some troll-like or otherwise inappropriate comments–that’s an individual matter. And some blogs I love to read never reply to my comments–some of them only respond to negative ones in self-defense.

    I was more naieve when I first wrote and posted this piece at my own site, so what I wrote here was painted with rather a broad brush.

    Anyway, thanks again Glen–I’m honored!

  • http://www.dcblogs.com kob

    good post, but my take:

    — There are no rules.
    — There are some outstanding bloggers who don’t accept comments, probably don’t have a site meter, and don’t interact with other blogs.
    — If you want comments on your blog then read blogs you like regularly and leave comments.
    — It’s polite, IMHO, to respond to a comment. But not everyone does it. Don’t comment with the expectation of a response.
    — Link blogs you read. Linking is extremely important.
    — If you blog locally, be part of a local blog community.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    kob:

    Yes, yes, a million times yes!

    I have more to say about your comment–will be back in awhile.

    PS: Wish your link worked…

  • http://alienboy.wordpress.com/ Christopher Rose

    It does now, Elvira.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Christopher:

    Many thanks!

    kob:

    It took me awhile to absorb some of the insights you posted above for myself, but over several months’ blogging time I think I finally did.

    Some people don’t use a site meter, but I’ve found it invaluable not just to track the number of hits I get but to see who’s visiting so I can go visit them. Likewise with Technorati, where I can easily see out who’s linked me. This way I can in turn check them out and generally link them back without having to say a word to each other directly about it–lol.

    I think there’s a lot of people who have peeves that they realize it might seem craven to admit to, so being the loudmouth that I am, I did so anyway. Sure, you can’t expect a response to every comment, but sometimes one feels snubbed or weird anyway (well, I used to, not so much anymore). It’s also peculiar when bloggers only respond to negative comments–it’s like you only get “rewarded” if you’re nasty. Go figure.

    I agree with the linkage factor being very important. Although I’m not promiscous in my linking, I do link to blogs I enjoy so I can visit them easily, and usually link back to blogs that link to me as well. Links pay off handsomely in a number of ways, and they’re just basic good karma.

    I’ve found blog rings, blog carnivals, and local blogging communities to be very rewarding as well. It makes it that much more likely that I might actually…gasp… meet some fellow bloggers in person at some point down the road, which would be cool.

    You have a terrific looking site– and thanks so much for the comment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/author.php?author=Ruthie Ruthie

    Until I started writing here…I never thought to respond to comments on my personal blog. I just never expected people to come back and look for a response…I’ve left comments and never went back to look. It’s a fun thing to do now…I just wish I had heard about this sooner. Great article!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Thanks Ruthie! A lot of times–especially nowadays–I do leave comments to other blogs and don’t go back and check for responses. But it can pay off to swing by and drop off a comment anyway, since some folks may visit your blog based on your comments to another site. Similarly, since some people DO return to see if you’ve answered their comment on your site, I think this can be helpful as well for more return visits if one can manage it.