No Comments – a very short post

<![CDATA[A friend got me a little worried earlier this week – she said "I almost never have anything to add to your posts" and wondered what it is that others do to generate comments.

Should I be worried? Is there something that I am doing wrong? If so, how can I do better?

My worry lasted only a few minutes but still I thought I should ask my readers who don't leave a comment, to leave a comment (yes!, isn't that an odd sentence!) telling me why they do not leave comments on my blog!!!!!

Afterthoughts – added after first three comments

Lack of time is a factor which I recognise myself, or not having something significant to add, other than “nice post’, so I have no issue with this.

The conversation I had was about the necessity of having your posts commented on, for the ‘dialogue’ and I was wondering in a general, sort of rather aimless way, stuff like

  • do all our posts have to raise controversies
  • when is a blog post a post and not an article
  • why does it matter if no one comments
  • is a post non-commented less worthy than a heavily commented post

I know this is a bit of contemplating the perennial blogging navel, but may be someone out there has some answers?

Is what I’m doing in this post which has generated 3 comments already more worthy than some of my other posts… Or is it not… because at least a hundred eyes have seen this post so far and only 3 have had the time to make a comment.


Is the bloggosphere getting a little bit too much to handle, as Lindsay says, and are comments the mutual grooming expected to maintain it?

Does this sound like Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City?

It  probably does and it is probably equally insignificant….. :-)]]>

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28 replies

  1. Hi there

    Being one of your readers who doesn’t often leave comments I thought I’d start!

    I guess it’s the sheer size of the blogosphere now, or at least the part I am trying to follow. Around a year ago it seemed much more manageable. Now I have 35 blogs in my reader and a few more I go and see from time to time. It’s just too much for me.

    The other problem is when I arrive at a post which has a million comments on it already. I feel like I don’t have anything to add.

    Finally, I sometimes feel like I am always saying “great post!”, which I really mean but then I wonder if it sounds empty to post it too often.

    So, I dunno… maybe a combination of all three? I often find I send people to others’ blogs or blogposts without telling them (the blogger) that I’ve done that. I think I need a blogging secretary or personal assistant!

    Great post by the way 🙂

    • Aw..Lindsay, no of course I don’t mean comments of the ‘what a nice post that was” although this doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t feel the need to say this under a post myself.

      But sometimes there is just not enough time – I know. I have more than 70 blogs in my reader and sometimes not enough time to read all the posts, although my reading speed these days has jumped up to something amazing!!!

      My question is about, oh, well, I said it all to Simon below and there are still 35 new posts up which I would like to have a quick look at.

      By the way… nice comment… 🙂

  2. Good question, Marisa! The times I don’t leave comments in the posts I read, yours and other bloggers’, it’s just due to lack of time.

  3. Hi there,

    I think Lindsay has hit the nail on the head. Often by the time you read a post everyone has already said what you’d like to have said or like he said you don’t just want to say ‘nice’ post!

    I have your blog on my blogroll and read regularly but I’m not sure if I’ve commented more than once…sorry

    It’s a strange old world this blog world!


  4. On the Young and Teenage Learners SIG discussion group, there is often talk about lurkers. Andrew Wright kindly reminded us that lurkers are in fact readers, both curious and willing to learn.

    Personally, I don’t always feel competent to comment, and have always promised myself not to give opinions about something I don’t have an opinion about, because there’s usually someone who has.

    I admire people like you and Lindsay (and all the others) who have the courage to write a blog, and the fear of not making a ripple in the vast sea makes me hesitate (at least for now) about writing one of my own.

    But this is just to say that lurkers/readers like myself (most of the time) really appreciate how much I have learnt in the short time I’ve joined in the online community.

    So this is a big thank you from some of us who don’t have your courage, but really appreciate everything you write.

    • Hello Simon and welcome to my blog 🙂

      I do agree that being a reader (I actually agree with Andrew and hate the term ‘lurkers’) is just fine and I don’t feel I need people to stop by and just write congratulations.

      May be there should be a simpler system on all blog platforms (Edublogs does not have this) of showing one’s approval or lack of to a blog post, a simplet “Like-don’t like” etc system such as what you get on WordPress (Stars from 1-5) or on Blogger where you have a rating system under each post.

      Well, I am glad to see you here, anyway, or to do a pas de deux with you in SL anytime! And I do think that if you ever decide to blog, you would have a lot more to share than you care to admit.

      I want to thank you for your response and show of appreciation, although the aim of this post was not to generate some more of that… that would be wasting my energy and that of my readers, really for a bit of an ego trip.


  5. These are great questions

    * do all our posts have to raise controversies

    One should hope not!

    Controversy sparks debate but sometimes it also sparks only anger or hurt and that’s not terribly good for anyone involved.

    * when is a blog post a post and not an article

    When it is a conversation. An article tells, a blog post converses.

    * why does it matter if no one comments

    It doesn’t – statistically you’re always going to have only 3-5% of people genuinely and selflessly contributing. Most don’t have time (as mentioned above) and like the others I don’t usually enjoy adding my thoughts when there are 20+ comments already… unless I totally disagree with the other comments made.

    I also don’t like saying “nice post”…

    But I do like supporting new bloggers and even if there is not much to say on something that they have written whenever I find a blog that is fairly new and doesn’t have many commenters I will add my thoughts – mainly to let them know that someone out there is listening.

    Comments, as a rule, tend to be important however because of the genre. They very much help us know if we’re sharing and if there are others who want to share with us. Blogging isn’t like writing books or educational articles, they’re meant to embody conversations really, just as in a pub or staffroom, if there’s only one person doing the talking then it gets old.

    But most importantly it gets old for the blogger because if he or she is never talking with the “void”… there ends up being not much point. I think – well that’s what I’ve heard.

    * is a post non-commented less worthy than a heavily commented post


    Sometimes posts aren’t commented on because they simply don’t need to be. They share a download or a tip that doesn’t really require any debate but if the point of the post is to invite debate and it doesn’t generate any then it’s time to look again at the style?

    Personally my crazy statistics reveal that on my top 5 of all the 200+ posts (those which have attracted 6000+ visitors individually reading)… they average only between 3 and 5 comments on each of these… in part it’s because they are downloadable lessons only… but my no. 7 does have 80+ comments…

    Who knows!


    • Hi Karenne,

      You are right about the genre specific nature of blog posts and the comment option making anyone’s writing immediately inviting some sort of comment or other.

      But I am not really worried about the number of comments I have received. On a the 38 posts so far, the blog stats list 510 comments, then an average of 13-14 comments per post, so, really there is no issue for me and I am not complaining to anyone – the question to my PLN was somewhat idle curiosity and to find out if, apart from lack of time, they have other reasons for not responding – I know for a fact, that some teachers have told me they are reluctant to comment, lest their comments appear irrelevant or not very suitable.

      As a tutor on various courses who has been encouraging recent trainees to blog and to begin by commenting, that is something to think about however.

      As fas as I am concerned, there are different types of blogs and blog posts which generate different types of responses.

      There are blogs such as yours or Lindsay’s which have a commitment to open-endedness in all their posts inviting reader responses. Blogs like Scott Thornbury’s or Jeremy Harmer’s generate a very large number of responses because, well, they are Scott and Jeremy and their writings and presentations have had an impact on so many teachers in one way or another, that many readers, including myself, will want to contribute to the discussions which they open up

      There are other blogs, however, which include highly informative content but do not necessarily need a response to validate the value of their postings. One example are Nik Peachey’s blogs which I follow and always read but I have no comment to add to the useful advice and tool Nik always puts out on his blogs, nor do I have the impression – perhaps wrongly – that Nik expects it.

      Between those blog or blog post types, there are many blogs, including my own, which my sometimes generate long discussions and sometimes not.

      After all, blog content is the blogger’s current preoccupation or response to other readings at the time, and not everyone happens to have the same preoccupations at the same exact time.

      Or, au contraire, if a post appears to be more than an article than a blog post, and I don’t see why not, some people may perhaps sense that and feel less eager to engage. For many educators who do not have the option of being published in the big journals, their blog is a fantastic place to put down their ideas and thoughts with the same care they would expend to submit to the ETP.

      But the rules of blogging and what makes one blog more readable than another one are so fluid and so constantly changing and being shaped by the different types of bloggers out there, that I don’t think we can follow receipes.

      It’s the great diversity of styles which comes down in my Reader every morning that I enjoy; the long and the short posts, the questions and the list posts, the tools and reflective postings… that’s what makes blog reading so interesting and addictive.

      For me it’s more important to be read and perhaps to stimuate someone to rethink something – or pat themselves on the back, that is also great, or even write a post of their own as a response.

      But I am not as preoccupied as some with the stats of commenting.

      Although, I must admit that I do like writing comments myself!

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  6. I manage the ICT4LT website and blog at The website gets around 1000 hits per day but I hardly ever receive more than half a dozen comments per month via the feedback form or blog. This used to bother me. “Aren’t people interested?”, I thought. Now I realise that it’s a question of time. I skim through my Twitter and Facebook accounts daily and use Google Reader to present RSS feeds from around 30 sites, blogs and wikis to which I subscribe, but I don’t try to read everything and I don’t comment a lot. I spend far too much time on the Web when I should be spending more time with my family – which I am going to do today: big family barbecue this afternoon.


    • Well, I guess the conversation is all about hits, I guess, and although, like anyone else, I like my blog to be read, its life and purpose for which I maintain it do not depend on the number of comments.

      Your high number of hits just goes to show that if you have good content, people will want to read it, even if not overtly responsive to it.

  7. Sorry, sorry… totally not on topic and I’m actually blogging on this subject this week… but I have to jump in here because so very many people don’t understand what hits are and I’m terribly sorry, they’re not anything –

    One single page can have 1000 hits but in fact be made up of only 20 visitors (exaggeration) depending on what’s on the page.

    You see the thing is that hits are basically just a request for a file from a server. If someone has a template with a number of items on the page – widgets, photos, videos, slideshares or any other embedded content…(including google ads) or even they wrote the original post in Word first.. then pieces of code are left around from and… they hit the server.

    The thing to be recording, as a serious blogger (rather than someone just stroking the ego 🙂 referring to your navel searching comment above)… is the number of Visitors versus the number of Page Views.

    In fact I would go even further to say that one should completely ignore even the number of visitors who may well be made up of a high percentage of accidental visitors (via google – someone types in a set of keywords and lands on a page to discover it’s not what they are looking for).. and instead should focus on length of visit – how many visitors stay on the page for over a minute. How many visitors turn into repeat visitors is another favourite stat I monitor. That’s the only real indication of a blog’s “success” – in terms of measurement of such things rather than “quality” – which can occur with only five visitors…

    Anyway, these particular figures are probably the most true test of who and how many people are “really” reading one’s comment.

    But whatever you do, don’t count hits!

    • Karenne is absolutely right: hits are not the yardstick by which the popularity of a website should be measured. I don’t take hits seriously. The stats counter that is used by my ICT4LT site is quite sophisticated, however. It’s not a standard counter; it was tailor-made for the site by the university at which the website is hosted. Most hits are from Web crawlers such as Google and Yahoo, but I can also see the unique number of real visitors, including repeat visitors, and I can identify where many of them come from. Most visitors are from UK teacher training colleges, where my materials are recommended for various courses. One college visited the site over 700 times last month. I can see the search terms that visitors used to find the site, and referrers are listed too. The site received around 9000 identifiable “real” visitors last month.

      I have another site which is used for my business activities and. It uses the Webalizer counter. Interestingly, the business section of this site attracts far fewer visitors than the sections in which I store academic articles that I have written. The second most visited page is one on which I describe a very rare medical condition that I have – and I get a lot of feedback from people who have the same condition.

      In spite of the opportunities that Web 2.0 offers for two-way communication these days, most Web traffic is still one-way.


  8. Dear Karenne and Graham,

    I am new to blogging but not to web design or webmastering. I started as far back as 1998 and I maintain one main domain and four subdomains for different courses – not visible to the public. So, the difference between hits and actual visitors is not unknown to me and I have also worked with different programmes for measuring traffic.

    One of the things I have learnt is that content rules. Not the comments or the questions – content.

    If you google CELTA or TEFL in Europe, it’s quite likely that my centre will come in the first couple or three pages, something for which I have not paid, by the way, nor is it due to some optimization service, it’s understanding what drives traffic, rich content, and the right meta words.

    So if this blog does not really draw 2000 visitors per month or so, which is what my analytics suggest, it does not really matter because it is my main website which does matter and that is doing just fine. That is where the business happens, that is what pays my rent and overheads as well as my tutors; here it is for my interests and for my own development.

    And to be quite honest with you, the traffic to my school from my blog is minimal. Or from twitter.

    Per 1000 visitors, 500 are direct requests, 300 from Google and the rest from all over, including here.

    Now, if you had a lesson about THAT one, how to generate registrations from this blog, I would really really prick up my ears and listen good!!!


  9. HI there,
    Well… I have to confess that half of what was said above is way over my head. I am a new blogger and I almost never leave a comment, because I feel I have nothing to add. But because I’m new in the blogosphere and I’m learning a lot, I don’t want to come to the conclusion that a blog is a “success” if there is a heavy audience out there. It feels wonderful to adapt activities I have been using for ages from dear books like Humanizing Your Coursebook and post on my blog for further reference.I also don’t like when a person leaves an empty comment just to “motivate” a new blogger. It doesn’t seem real…Well… One thing I do get, It’s worth it if you have a purpose, mine is growth and I learn a lot by coming here eventhough I almost never leave you a comment. Thanks for your “great” ´post.

    • Hi Danilyra, you really made me laugh with your ‘way over my head’ – thanks for stopping by today. You don’t have to leave comments always, you know. It’s good just to know that some people are using my ideas. 🙂


  10. As a new blogger and twitter I am still surprised by how different people tell the world about a new post – some simply write their post and do nothing more, and others seem to spend more time advertising their post (and past posts) than they spend writing it … hoping to “generate” those comments and visitor numbers I guess.

    I just wonder how people react to the different approaches – I know I get turned off by a lot of the in-your-face advertising, but then I suspect it probably has as much to do with cultural backgrounds, and what is considered appropriate behavior, as personality and style. And clearly many of us are using blogging to market ourselves, and not simply to share ideas and thoughts, and so numbers of visitors and comments are important. And then there’s the ego factor …

    What seems certain to me is that blogging is an incredibly personal thing – we all have our own reasons and our own objectives, and only we can judge if our blog is successful or not. We all have to choose our own criteria to measure that success, and so numbers of comments are only important if we decide that they are important. It’s as simple as that.

  11. Blogging is not writing books or even articles – it is an entirely separate genre and when treated as if a journalistic article, a book review in a monthly magazine, a heady academic report it fails its function.

    The central point of a blog is to write for and with an audience.

    It’s not important… as everyone has said already above… how many comments occur, especially in a blogger’s early days – however comments are directly representational of one’s ability to hold conversation.

    Blogs are not lectures and differ entirely from say, a presentation or training workshop. Elements of these can be integrated into one’s posts however must not be top-down information but seek the input of the community one is addressing.

    Blogs are not meant to be written as articles – feedback is necessary, a blog post is supposed to be live and dynamic – something that changes in direction (like this post is doing) goes back and forth, moving and adapting with each new input from the people one is communicating with.

    If someone wants to throw one’s hands in the air and declare that they can write their blogs not as conversations they can, but they won’t be widely read and eventually the blogger and blog will die. In fact, it doesn’t really make sense because one can write up articles in word, pdf them and stick them up on a web 1.0 platform if must be.

    But if one blogs, then one blogs primarily for one’s audience, to elicit from them. Therefore comments are an integral part of the web 2.0 experience.

    If not, then the blog is in fact, merely a navel-searching exercise.

    Not my philospohy, the blogosphere’s.

    🙂 Enjoy the ‘sphere!


    • Karenne,

      Am really enjoying the blogosphere tremendously. If my posts do not always conform to the genre, well, that is all OK.

      I enjoy your posts which are always written in a fast and hot style, but that is you, so much you… just like Sara’s more reflective and deeply analytical posts.

      I think the blogosphere has a high degree of tolerance for all styles and voices. And until I find my own, I shall always listen to you and, in fact, as you well know (cat’s out of the bag now) this post is in response to your own concerned comments – made out of your interest to help me become a better blogger.

      But because I also have a very unruly nature, I will sometimes write what someone very aptly called ‘insanely long’ posts!!!!

      Which may or may not invite comments – but, hey, who says we have to get it right all the time to keep trying?


      • Ach, Sweetheart – they were private comments which you could take with a grain of salt or choose to reflect on.

        I actually really liked that you turned it into a blog post but, pause and shy smile, not so keen on your revealing me as the lady who goes round telling others what to do…

        you know what I do through BELTfree, I try to stimulate discussions and reflections of the practices of blogging via our platform and, I might be wrong, but I really think that we’ve all been growing hugely and developing as a community of reflective practitioners as a result.

        But being platform mistress doesn’t mean I’m “the boss” so not instructing anyone really, on how to blog or how not to blog, my comments as above here and in private are based on reflections of the blogosphere in general and the known practices and codes…


        • oh… and also, do so hate people referring to blogging as navel-searching as for me, it devalues the work that I do. I don’t, personally (although recognize some may think of it this way) see blogging as an exercise of the ego but instead an exercise of the anti-ego.

          It takes energy and time to reflect on one’s one practice as a teacher, to share lessons and tips with other teachers, to load up training documents or videos, to converse with others to find out better best practices and so for me, really, rather the opposite of navel-searching but my “real job.”


          • I don’t think of you as the lady who tells people what to do… rubbish! I do listen to people who know more than me in whatever their area of expertise and I have clearly declared myself a newbie in this genre, experimenting, sometimes doing well, other times, well… hmmm. you know what I mean.

            As for the phrase you say you hate, I shall quote it and analyse it for your perusal: “I know this is a bit of contemplating the perennial blogging navel,..” “this” referring to this post and discussion and not to blogging itself.

            We all do know what you are trying to do through beltfree, with a generosity which is not what I am used to in my local waters, where if I was in danger of drowning, my competition would hoot with great pleasure….

            You are so not competitive in this way. I love you for it. You are competitive in trying to excel – that is fabulous and it drives the rest of us to do well and to write better posts.

            Don’t be shy.

            Be proud that you have done your very best to create a new breed of ELT bloggers who look at blogging in a serious way.

  12. I think silence can mean a lot of different things depending on context. It might mean, ‘I’m not interested’ but it can also mean ‘I’m just enjoying listening to you, my dear friend.’

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