Commenting on comments

Commenting on comments

I love it when people leave comments on my posts!

I have some of the liveliest discussions that way, and I’m pleased to have such inventive, articulate, and erudite readers.

I do wish it was easier to comment from the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles)…no simple way from those devices. I do always provide a link to this blog at the end of each post, but I’ll admit, it’s not easy from RSKs.

On the Kindle Fire, when you are using the Pulse app, you can either tap the Web choice at the top of the screen (you can view posts as either “Web” or “Text”), or scroll to the bottom and tap, “Go to original article”.

If you get to this on the website at

http://ilmk.wordpress.com/

then you’ll see a “Leave a comment” choice after the post.

Yes, I like getting those…usually.

There’s one weird thing, and I’m not quite sure how to handle it, so I thought I’d ask your opinion.

That’s when people use the comments for advertising purposes.

This seems to fall into three categories.

One is just the blatant, “Buy my stuff” variety…usually something that has no connection to what you and I discuss in this blog. Those are easy, I just trash those.

The second one is “backlinking”. The idea there is that you link to someone else’s blog by leaving a comment, and then a link your website is apparent to other people. If this is something like another Kindle blog, I’m not that concerned…I figure you might find that interesting. I’d obviously prefer that they are actually commenting on the post…never a problem with that.

The problem is when it appears to be done by software, and it’s clear that it isn’t really about the post. I think I’ve been linked to things like lawnmower websites and ones that appear to be…um…relationship based (perhaps adult sites)…sometimes in other languages.

Should I approve those? More links add to your visibility in Google searches, I believe, and I could just leave it up to you if you want to go there or not: you are smart enough. It just seems like it ups the noise to signal ratio.

I’ve had ones recently promoting

  • free samples
  • get a lot of facebook fans
  • hummel figurines
and so on. I didn’t approve any of those. I suppose the funniest one was a link to a place that had an “automatic backlinking tool”. Um, since I didn’t approve that one, I’m not convinced they have a worthwhile product. ;)

The ones I don’t like are the ones that appear to lie and indicate that they’ve read the post, when they haven’t.

Here’s an example of a comment that was left:

“Useful info. Fortunate me I found your website accidentally, and I am stunned why this twist of fate didn’t took place earlier! I bookmarked it.”

It links to a purely commercial site.

Notice that weird “didn’t took place” construction? That seems to be common. It’s like a telltale sign from a science fiction work, where the aliens are impersonating us or people are possessed. You know, the way the pinkies of the aliens in The Invaders didn’t bend properly, enabling David Vincent to recognize them. :) If I were them, I’d just write, “Great post!” I wouldn’t think twice about approving that.

I don’t like those because they are dishonest, plain and simple. I place a high premium on honesty. I won’t lie to you, although I might try to persuade you through a clever choice of words. :) Sure, games and jokes are different, but I’m big on telling the truth. If an employee lies to a an employer about work matters, I would typically dismiss them (and I have done that)…that’s not something they can fix through a remedy plan.

That brings me to a third type I’ve gotten recently.

An author posted a comment…that’s wonderful, I love that! I like to hear from authors, and I think you do, too.

The comment was the first chapter of a book…okay, that’s kind of nice. Yes, people can generally get the start of a book as a free sample from Amazon, but still, nice to do.

However…

After that, it just turned into an ad. There was a blurb from somebody praising the book, then “… is a bargain from Amazon at 99c”.

That stopped me from posting it.

I haven’t sold advertising on this blog…advertisers have a right to make money, but I don’t want you to think that I’m influenced by the ad revenue. I can’t say I’ve never considered it…I could make more money in a month by selling a “featured title of the day” mention, even for as little as $10. That’s just not my style. I know that WordPress sometimes shows you ads when you search for a single post, but I can’t control that.

So, I was torn about what to do. I considered stripping out the advertising part, but that didn’t seem fair to the author, really.

Oh, and I wouldn’t have minded the person posting the first chapter, and then signing the comment, “Aretha Writer, author of XYZ”…even if the XYZ part was a link to the book.

That’s not so…pushy I guess is part of it, but it seems like it is exploitation, I guess.

So, I’m asking for your opinion. Should I pretty much just approve all of the comments, even if they are irrelevant and/or advertising?

I know I tend to be overly strict on these sorts of things, and I’m just not sure if you are so used to advertising everywhere that it wouldn’t bother you. :)

Feel free to let me know what you think by commenting on this post…but I will be looking for those alien pinkies. ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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40 Responses to “Commenting on comments”

  1. KutyaRuntheWorld Says:

    as every bloger like it, i think :-) It´s really good feature I have to try it :-)

  2. Harold Delk Says:

    No, please do not approve spam posts. IMHO, if the post is not relevant to the subject matter it was not “human-generated” and the purpose of it was to generate spam. A link in a signature which leads to an author’s site is ok, but even those can lead to a problematic site. I do not click on any links in any post because they may not be what they appear to be … it is quite simple to disguise a link to go other places than what one might think by reading the link text. I’m not familiar with the settings in WP, but in some apps hyperlinked text can be disabled in reply posts.

  3. linnerlu Says:

    Oh how ironic (and kind of funny) that your first Comment is by one of those very folks you are writing about!

    As one who does often read the Comments, it’s easy to spot those fakers, but it also irritates the devil out of me. My preference would be to “disallow” all of them. I just don’t like the idea that for each blogger who allows them to stay, they are “winning” their dishonest game.

    I enjoy your blog very much, and appreciate your honest opinions and recommendations. Thanks!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, linnerlu!

      Actually, I’m quite sure that one is intentionally funny…Kutya has commented appropriately before. :)

  4. Zebras Says:

    As someone who likes to comment on your posts, and likes to read other’s comments, I think you have every right to eliminate the ones that are irrelevant and that advertises things, no matter how relevant. Your have maintained a great deal of integrity in your blog, and you have the right to keep it that way.

  5. Pam Says:

    No, I wouldn’t approve advertising or stuff that has no relevance. That’s what the approval process is for! I trust your judgement! :)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pam!

      Good point about the approval process. It does take some time, but I do get quite a bit of wisdom from what you and others say in comments. If I didn’t use the approval process (and that’s an option), I wouldn’t really get to read those.

  6. Tania Says:

    No advertising in the comments, please. I’m bombarded everywhere else.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tania!

      It’s funny, I remember when we used to get ads in the middle of paperbacks…that seems to have vanished over time.

  7. Bailey Says:

    I know that I would prefer it if you just kept doing what you’re doing. :)
    I personally get enough ads in the rest of my life, so when I come to read the comments, its very nice to just get a kindle discussion. Self-Promoting authors are one reason I don’t spend much time on the kindle forums anymore.
    So please, don’t let the ads in! :)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bailey!

      Good feedback…and I know what you mean about the forums. Amazon actually split off a separate sort of “self promotion” forum for that reason.

  8. Miriam Says:

    What you say is “overly strict” I call discerning. I definitely appreciate your judgement and agree with a previous commenter about you maintaining integrity at your blog. I do appreciate reading comments.

  9. Roy Knight Says:

    I would not accept anything that hints as a ruse to draw someone in. Remember there are people who make a living separating people from their money. I read your blog because you keep it clean. If I read a blog with any of the links or items you suggested then the blog becomes history. Your blog depicts class.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roy!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Actually, I don’t think there are a lot of people who make a living without “separating other people from their money”, but I understand what you mean.

  10. ddlarsen Says:

    I would definitely eliminate the obvious spam advertising. If there is no connection at all to your post, and it doesn’t seem to be coming from a “human being”, I’d zap it. Sounds like your instincts on this sort of thing are right on.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, ddlarsen!

      As long as your instincts on my instincts are good, we’ll be fine. ;)

  11. Louise Says:

    I’m also of the opinion that you should continue as you have been. I don’t read comments at very many blogs because of the spam advertising and, sometimes, off-color references. Although I seldom comment, I always read the comments here.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Louise!

      I do get kidded about not using swear words in my “real life” as well. :)

  12. Ana Says:

    Please, continue as you have been doing. No strange links or unrelated comments.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ana!

      I appreciate that advice! Strange can be okay, but unrelated may not be… ;)

  13. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I appreciate your efforts to insure that comments are if not totally on point, at least relevant and that you try to keep gratuitous advertising out.

    Think of yourself as an editor. If somebody makes a post that is partially acceptable and partly not, you could always do what publishers do when they’re interested in a piece that is flawed. You could send it back and tell the poster what needs to be modified in order to make it to the main page. The person then has the choice to make the necessary changes and repost, or choose not to resubmit.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Great analogy and advice!

      I have actually done that before…mentioned to a poster changes I would need before I would approve. Typically, I don’t get a response in that case.

  14. Man in the Middle Says:

    I’ve recently noticed Glenn Reynold’s “Instapundit” blog handling author requests well. He occasionally posts an author reader’s request for Instapundit readers to take a look at their book, with a link to its Amazon entry. I always click through on those, figuring that anyone else who enjoys the same blog I do might have written something of interest.

    I agree with others that we don’t want to reward link spam, nor view ads.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      The only caution I would give you is that the post may come from a robot, rather than someone who also enjoys the same blog.

      Not that I have anything against robots enjoying things… :)

  15. Morgan Says:

    being “strict” is a good thing…don’t approve the spam and such

  16. John Says:

    Bufo,

    No Ad’s/Spam please. Appreciate your excellent filtering up to this point. I think comments should be on point, just like (most) in the discussion boards. Otherwise it’s just rude, newbie’s or bots.

    Really have been enjoying your blog, especially your fairness and non partiality across all versions of the Kindle in your discussions and news. I like reading your comments, all the research you put into this each day and the wide variety of posts. You keep it entertaining! Thanks again for a great blog…and the free Vol. 1 (for everybody) the other day!

    John

  17. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I wouldn’t change what you’ve been doing — it’s fine. Also I don’t think you are being overly strict — you seem about average in the policing you do compared with the myriads of other blogs and sites that I visit on a daily basis.

    Your blog also seems to be remarkably free of flame wars :D.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I appreciate that assessment…I know you read a lot of blogs. I only read a few, and I don’t always dive into comments.

      I do think we tend to be a pretty civil bunch here, although we do disagree about things from time to time. ;) I wouldn’t approve a truly ad hominem attack at any rate. It’s possible I’d ask someone if they wanted to rewrite it…

  18. Tony Redman Says:

    I agree. Chunk the spam comments. If you don’t, it won’t take long until your comments section is overrun with them, and people who want actual comments will stop reading.

    I haven’t seen any of the comments from authors who include a chapter of their book as advertising, but if it’s any longer than two or three paragraphs, I’d just leave the link where anybody who wanted to sample the book could do so.

    Whatever you’re doing seems to be working great, both in the comments and in the posts themselves. Keep up the good work!

  19. jadwriter Says:

    Ignore the ‘buy me’ and ad comments. Ones that are blatantly advertising their books. I have read that lots of authors hate that sort of thing. I would. I would accept the ones that sound genuine, and are actually talking about what you have said. Now and then when I comment, I might refer to one of my ebooks or forthcoming stories, but only if it is connected to the post I have read.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jadwriter!

      I actually don’t mind somebody including a title of a book as a sort of…credential, I suppose. However, I don’t see it as necessary. I will, based on the feedback I’ve been given, not approve ones that are specifically geared towards getting people to buy it. For example, I won’t include ones with blurbs. :)

  20. Phyllis Singler Says:

    Please keep things the way they are. Your blog is perfect. Thanks

  21. Deanna Mosier Says:

    I think you should only allow real comments, no ads or phony links. Thanks for your blog!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Deanna!

      It’s sometimes a bit tough to tell, but based on your comment and others, I’ll err on the side of exclusion.

  22. “Your writing taste has been surprised me…” « I Love My Kindle Says:

    [...] Not too long ago, I wrote about comments I get on the blog. [...]

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