Comment Challenge Day Nine: Should We Be Commenting on Blogs?

Check out this article and the many references to bloggers who think that comments should be disabled on blogs. Read through those posts and consider whether or not you think it’s better to build community through comments or through conversations occurring across blogs–or maybe a combination of both. What, to your mind, is the purpose of comments on blogs and are we better served by encouraging people to respond to ideas on our blogs or over on their own blogs? Then write a post on your reflections.

I can’t remember where I read it (and I suspect that Googling it would result in more than one credited source), but I have read that a blog without comments is just a webpage. I believe that blogging should be about conversations, rather than soapboxes. Conversations across blogs can be effective, but I find them harder to follow than a comment thread, especially when each blog has its own set of comments to read. Having to follow a conversation all over the blogosphere is tiring and creates a barrier to participation. Additionally, I suspect that many, if not most, people read blogs on a wider range of topics than they personally blog about. People will participate in conversations on other blogs that they would be reluctant to start on their own. As Connie Crosby stated in response to “Rethinking the blog comment policy” on the blog Eloquation, “Comments I would have wanted to make did not necessarily fit in with the focus of my own blog, so I would not be likely to post a response there.” When a blogger disables comments on his blog he limits the conversation in the community. Even though I am in favor of commenting on blogs, I believe that individual bloggers have the right to make up their own mind when it comes to allowing comments on their own blogs.

About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
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6 Responses to Comment Challenge Day Nine: Should We Be Commenting on Blogs?

  1. Sue Waters says:

    I totally agree with “I believe that individual bloggers have the right to make up their own mind when it comes to allowing comments on their own blogs.” However I would encourage bloggers allow comments for all the reasons you have stated — it makes following the conversation easier and I definitely don’t want to write a blog post every time I want to make a response.

  2. Sameer Vasta says:

    I’m glad you talked about Connie’s comment here. Connie’s been a great friend and resource to me, and her opinions resonate very strongly.

    The aspect of a blog as a conversation is an interesting one to me, and while I wholeheartedly agree now, it wasn’t always so. As I was telling Sue, when I first started blogging in 1998, it was definitely all about personal publishing. The conversation aspect of the medium is a relatively new idea.

  3. kamccollum says:

    @Sameer – I think the conversational aspect of blogging is its best feature. In the university course that I teach, I use a class blog as a medium for discussion rather than a discussion board. I find that my students have an easier time learning blogging conventions than they do following the conventions for threaded discussions.

  4. Sameer Vasta says:

    I’ve seen more and more people using blogs as discussion platforms, particularly in classrooms. I’d love to know more about what’s worked well for you and what are some best practices…

  5. kamccollum says:

    @Sameer – I’ve had a little experience in using blogs as discussion platforms in my classroom, but I think Stacy Baker does a better job on her class blog, Extreme Biology: http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2007/09/20/ecology-animations/
    She also has a blog for educators called using blogs in science education: http://blogging4biology.edublogs.org/. She offers many practical suggestions to help teachers manage blog discussions. She also highlights the use of other instructional technologies as well.

    I recommend Stacy as a source for true “best practices”.

  6. Sameer Vasta says:

    Thanks! I’ll be sure to check out her stuff.

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