Monday 11 February 2013

Is there Blogging Etiquette?

Here's something I have been pondering lately: is there a 'blogging etiquette'?

I.e. do you think it is polite to behave a particular way while blogging and commenting. By that I do not mean the obvious 'don't be rude/insulting'. I mean issues like: do you reply to every comment you get? Do you expect people to reply to you if you comment? If new people comment, do you visit their blog in return? Only if they follow you? Do you auto-follow back?

Phew that's a lot of questions!

I see it this way: certainly if people comment, I reply. I do not, however, always expect people to respond to my comments, if I comment on their posts, which is funny. I don't always go back to see if they have, or sign up for comments, though I often do. Time just doesn't allow it.

One thing I have noticed once or twice is, say, 10 people will have commented and the blogger has replied to 6 of them. Okay, if the other 4 only said 'Great post!' then perhaps there's not a lot to reply to that. But I have been one of the 4 with a chatty comment and wondered why I wasn't replied to. Not that I mind - blogger's prerogative - but it set me wondering.

I hope I follow back most of the people who follow me - I have certainly tried to, let me know if I haven't. I feel like I have been getting used to blogging and how it all works, so certainly I may not always have visited commenters back or followed back as I would like. Sometimes time and life runs away with me, and I can't reply to comments etc. as quick as I'd like.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

I won't be here Wed with a post, but will return Fri to celebrate small things.


  1. I think it's good to reply to comments but I know sometimes, I will get halfway through replying, then plan to come back later and totally forget what I was doing. I'm not being deliberately rude, it's just I have many things going on and don't always get time to get back to everyone. I feel that if I am getting to everyone's blogs when I can, hopefully I'm doing enough. I totally understand when other people don't reply to comments - it can be hard to keep up with! :D

  2. I try to reply to all comments if I can, but I do it in batches. Last week I had a few comments on my Celebrate Small Things post and I have replied to all of those, but since then some others have commented and I haven't got to the replies yet. It can be tricky keeping up sometimes.
    I certainly visit the blogs of any new followers I get, and then follow and put them in my Google reader. I'm getting better at keeping up with this stuff.

  3. I try to reply to comments, even if it's a simple "thanks for dropping by". I don't always follow back followers or commenters though - I usually do, but I need something more than the person following me for me to want to follow back, if that makes sense.

  4. I try to reply to all comments AND visit the blogs in return, but it has happened that all of a sudden there was a comment explosion. I still visit every person's blog, but I was simply too over-whelmed to do both. (My kids want to see me too ;) )

  5. I do my best to reply, but sometimes it's not for a day or two. I also might not have time to go back to older posts to reply to a comment that just says "Thanks for this," or the like. I can't even keep up with all the blogs I follow, all the comments I make to others, my email, twitter, tumblr, my own writing, reading, CP work, etc. Plus, you know, family and the rest of real life.

    I'm sure everyone understands that I don't live to maintain my blog. Ah, if life were only that simple! But I do read every comment someone makes, and I'm always thrilled when someone says a post was helpful or entertaining. I do my best to check out the blogs of new commenters, and will often follow them back. The list of blogs I follow has become so long I couldn't keep up in a million years, anyway, so why not? :D

  6. I try to always reply to specific comments (not just "Great post! I agree!" and the like). If someone comments on a post I've written or follows my blog, I'll certainly click back to see if they have a blog and what it's all about!

  7. I have a lot of these same questions too. I always reply to comments, usually in a grouping post, but I never go back to see if a blogger has responded to comments I left. I just honestly can't keep up with everything. I love blogging but I can't deny I find it harder and harder to keep up with.

  8. If I didn't reply to your comment, my apologies!
    I reply in batches, and not always to every single comment. I read them all though.
    If someone comments, I try to comment back. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and miss someone though.
    I usually follow back as well, unless the blog really doesn't appeal to me.
    Once in a while I'll go back for an answer, but not often.

  9. I try to reply to every comment left on my blog. Sometimes if the comment is left a day or two after I posted, I forget to respond. This is due in large part to the fact that I receive a lot of these comments via email on my phone. BUT, I do intend to get to them each and every time. On the blogs where I leave comments, I sometimes go back and check if the blogger responded or not. I guess one of the big reasons that I blog is to have meaningful conversations about a variety of topics with other bloggers. It's hard to "converse" if it's only one-sided, you know? :)

  10. This is a timely post. I have been trying to reply to comments, with greater or lesser success, and saw that a few on my most recent post hadn't received a response. I'd been in and out and unable to check - what to do? Plead total newbieness? Hm. Also, I have had trouble locating blogs from responders. I'll try harder. (and don't feel you must respond to this… ;) )

  11. I try to reply on all comments too, sometimes I don't get to all of them on the same day but I do reply eventually. If I have time I do check to see if other bloggers have responded to me, I don't mind if they don't. I also do check out my followers and if I enjoy reading their contents then I follow back.
    Speaking of blog etiquettes...
    I do get a little annoyed (this sounds bad) to responses people email me instead of commenting but then always end their own posts in "don't forget to leave a comment" why ask people to do something you don't do? OK, this happens on my personal blog which is separate from my "writing world" but still...

  12. Vicki, you do a wonderful job of responding and as Laura points out, sometimes it's hard to work consistent blogging in with everything else we do. But I do like Jamie reminding us that we should be blogging to have a conversation and that's hard to do if there's no back and forth. I guess we shouldn't get hung up about the protocol, but embrace the dialogue? I've got another twist in the ointment for you. What about someone who's part of a group blog where most of the group bloggers don't comment or visit other blogs?

  13. I admit I try to do a mix of all of those things, but it doesn't always happen every time. I just try to keep up as best as possible. ;)

    I also wonder...If I reply to people's comments on my blog, do they actually come back around to that post and check for the responses?

  14. I don't reply back to my comments. It doesn't seem right having your post saying twenty comments when half of them are your replies. But I try to follow back as soon as I can (and I still have to follow many blogs yet that I have followed mine).

    And yes, there's blogging etiquette in comments. If you're going to say something mean, don't say it at all. If you can relate to a post, etc., then comment even though it may be a few sentences long.

  15. I've thought about this. I do try to reply to all comments on my blog, but sometimes, if it is for a blog hop or something, I don't make time to respond. As for following back people who follow me... it is nice to do, but I really only do it if it is a blog I am interested. Unfortunately, I am not the ninja captain and cannot keep up with so many blogs!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  16. I definitely try to reply to all comments, unless they are contest entries or something like that. I also try to visit my commenter's blogs, and follow back. I'm not as good at that last part, but I'm doing my best! [g]

  17. Hi There,

    I consider myself still fairly new to blogging, I've been a blogger since October 2011. I still not sure if there is indeed an unspoken blogging etiquette that I've missed. However I try to apply the same rules I do in life; being polite, and regard people with respect. I think being a blogger is being part of a community and that we support one another. :)

  18. I try to reply to all comments--sometimes I fail, but I like to at least acknowledge personally everyone who takes the time to share a thought about the blog article. One thing to be aware of is that the willingness of people to comment often depends upon you writing an article that's comment-worthy. A funny picture may produce nothing more than a smile on your reader's face. But a thought provoking--or even controversial--piece about something that interests you might get a lot of responses. Also, not everyone likes to comment. It's interesting that some of my most visited posts don't have nearly as many comments as some of my lesser-visited ones.

    As to following, I already have a very full roster of blogs I follow, or at least keep an eye on. If I get a comment from someone I don't recognize, I will invariably visit their blog (if they have one and can find it). If I like what I find, I might well add it to my list.

    There are my thoughts, for what they're worth. :)

  19. Kyra - I am the same especially comments which arrive after the main thrust of them. It's so hard. That's why I wanted to ask this post - to make sure I wasn't alone!

    Heather - certainly I agree keeping up can be hard, esp. when comments arrive at different times!

    Clare - totally makes sense, I get that you need a pull back yourself to follow!

    T. - yes I know what you mean suddenly it's overwhelming! (and family have to come first!)

    Laura - yes I too sometimes take a day or two (exhibit A - this response!) It is all a lot!

    Thea - interesting to hear you'll always click back to see what they're about. I try to, and especially if people are following. Though sometimes it's not immediate!

    Julie - I don't always go back either. If I want to see a reply, I'll 'follow the comments' of a blog and get them emailed to me.
    I know what you mean, time wise it is hard.

    Alex - you always reply Alex! At least that have seen and I am in admiration of it. I would be overwhelmed if I were you!

    Jaime - yes agreed, it seems to be a popular theme that comments left a day or two later are harder to keep up with! Terrific way of putting it to say it is to have meaningful conversations. I agree, that requires responses. I love responses like yours to my posts because that's partly why I posted the post (and didn't keep the thoughts to myself!)

    Diana- it is hard to keep up. I say reply when you can and if you miss a few don't beat yourself up. I can't always find the blog of a commenter either!

    S.K. - you are very good, sounds like you really keep up. I haven't had the email response thing,myself. I agree if you ask people to comment then it's nice to do it too (when you have something to comment I guess!)

    Kim - bless you for saying so. I guess you are right, let's not worry about protocol but focus on that dialogue! Great way of putting it!

    Ah well I have just joined a group blog and true, what is the protocol here? I am learning here.

    Nicole - sounds a fair policy! I don't know if people come back.. I guess I might see after this one? (*peers around*)

    Livia - I agree, don't say anything mean for sure!

    Allison - I am the same I can only keep up with so many! I admire people who keep up with a lot!

    Lara - sounds like you are doing great!

    Sally - sounds like a great philosophy! I like it. We are a community and I guess apply the rules of any community regarding politeness, respect, etc.

    Colin - ah yes, agreed. Not all posts are comment worthy. I find myself struggling with same sometimes.

    Interesting that you have very visited posts without as many comments as others. How to know if you are reaching people? Comments or visits?

    Thank you for your thoughts - they are worth a lot!

    Thanks everyone for your comments here -- very interesting and insightful!

    1. You would think you are connecting more with people who comment, but from my own experience, I know there are blogs I visit regularly but only comment on occasionally. And frankly, a lot of people will read blogs, perhaps even bookmark articles, and never thank the author for writing it. Again, this is just the way we are as people--we often need to be reminded that bloggers like to hear from their readers! :)

      Not to put all the blame at the readers' feet--it's very possible my blog articles either aren't interesting enough, or thought-provoking enough to warrant comments! :)

    2. That's true, some I visit but somehow don't comment on often.

      I find your blog articles interesting ;)

    3. Awww... thank you! :D

      And, yes, I try to remember where I've commented, and check back for replies. ;)

  20. I always reply to any comments I get on my blog :)

    But, I don't follow back everyone who follows me, it's physically impossible for me to visit every blog who subscribes to mine :( I don't expect people to follow me back if I follow them either ;)


  21. you know me... a blanket thanks and gist of a reponse unless someone asks a question or needs more. i dont usually go back to read rsponses to my comments and i know many dont have time - so i return the favor with a comment back at their place.

    as for following, i usually follow back, but if i get a follow w/o comments, i may not. i like interaction. and sometimes i cant get to their blog w/o a comment...

    its part personality, part availability and part compatibility =)

  22. I'm a newbie, but I try to respond to all comments. Sometimes, someone will comment on an old post, and I don't catch it for a long time. I don't go back to all the blog I comment on to read blogger's responses. I wish I had that kind of time, but I don't. Surely people don't take that kind of stuff personally. Heck, it could go on forever. :)

  23. Vikki - thank you, that's interesting to hear. Yes I don't expect to be followed back either!

    Tara - I think that's a great way of putting it! Part personality/availability/compatibility!

    Celeste - I have the same, a comment on an old post and I can't always catch it! Yes I'd hope we all understand that sometimes one can't comment/visit/be everywhere!

  24. When I first started blogging I'm sure I lost quite a few followers by not visiting their blogs/following back. Oops. I just had no clue had it worked. I figured it out pretty fast though. :)

    I try to respond to all comments and visit everyone I follow as often as I can, regardless of whether they've been on my blog. I try to follow back but sometimes it's hard. I have one person who visits my blog really often and always comments. I've repeatedly asked her for the link to her blog, but people don't tend to come back and check out responses to the comments, so I guess she hasn't seen them.

    The problem is that, when I click on her link, she has like twenty blogs. I have no idea which one to go to. Things like that can make it difficult to follow back!!

  25. I try to reply to every comment, but sometimes I shut down for the day and come back two days later to find 20 more comments -which is awesome, but then I haven't replied which makes me feel rude. It's a matter of time. Sometimes people follow me, and I think I've followed them back and find out two months later that I never clicked the right button . . .sigh. So, I do my best not to be rude, but sometimes I make big mistakes.

  26. Tamara - yes it's tricky to work out at first isn't it, how it all works. Yes people don't always see the responses do they! I often click to follow someone back and just can't find their blog. I don't know what I am doing wrong.

    Tyrean - I am the same when people comment later on, those are the ones I might miss! I don't think they're mistakes when you don't follow someone, just... accidents maybe!

  27. Blogging is about making connections and communicating, so I truly think that replies should happen, even if most times the people don't return to read the replies. You never know if they will!

    But like you said, if someone makes a simple comment, then I think it's okay to not give an individual reply. At times, after having several quick comments in a row, I make a general response to all of them. Then I respond directly to those who've made more specific or in depth comments.


Please comment, I'd love to know what you think! :)