Saturday, April 14, 2012


I’m always struck by the disparity in the number of comments different blogs receive. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with readership, to judge by the numbers of subscribers on Google Reader, and—perhaps more significantly—the number of readers recorded (in Blogger stats) for each post here on The Mercy Blog (TMB).

I’m not complaining, by the way, about being neglected by my non-commenting readers—I am always slightly astonished to see how many of you there are out there! It just bewilders me a little that there is such a range of responses. Some blogs hardly ever receive a comment, while some seem to attract many comments, which develop into long conversations—heated, sometimes!—with both casual visitors and those who are evidently regulars. Of course, some bloggers are more punctilious about replying to comments than I am, but still it doesn’t seem to matter that much. For example: there’s a minimalist blogger I read sometimes, who has less Google Reader subscribers than TMB, but her posts rarely seem to have less than 25 comments—sometimes 125—and yet there’s a Franciscan friar and author I read regularly who has far more subscribers on Google Reader, and who receives about the same, or maybe slightly less, comments as TMB.

Some bloggers have closed comments altogether, some have open commenting (and often trouble with trolls and spam as a result) while others, like me, have enabled comment moderation and CAPCHA, It makes (apart from the closed blogs of course) little difference to the amount of comments they receive, seemingly.

Perhaps here is a field for research into the sociology of blogging…


  1. I almost always read but, like most, I fear, have been lulled by google reading into not commenting. I seem to have about 150 people come by a day, but most days I am lucky to get a very few comments. And sometimes someone comments and I have no idea who they are or that they were out there.

    I find that I am most likely myself to comment on people who comment on my blog, at least occasionally. There is a sense of community when we rouse ourselves to reflect on what each other has to say. In fact, just a couple of days ago I was thinking that I am going to abandon commenting on blogs where the writer never has anything to say about mine.

    OTH, to be fair, I have some new visitors and I haven't commented on theirs yet, because I feel as if I am in unknown territory.

    Maybe I'll write about this, too; now you've got me on a roll.

  2. There IS such a disparity, isn't there, between different blogs. I often wonder about that too. Number of comment bears little reflection on quality of posts. I wonder if there is sometimes a correlation between the amount of comments one puts on OTHER people's blogs and the amount you receive.

    It's a curious thing, as it always is when it comes to a group and how people act in that group. You know how they say that it can be scientifically demonstrable that an object changes when someone looks at it? I wonder if there are those same sort of dynamics going on on some people's blogs. I don't know, it's all rather curious and mystifying :)

  3. If a site has the fiddly put in unintelligible letters before enabling posting; I'm less likely to comment.
    On a brighter note - yours is the sort of blog that 'asks' to be read prayerfully - no comment needed.

  4. There is a correlation, I believe, to the number of comments one makes on other blogs. I have a very small, but regular readership, but few of them comment. Sometimes I wonder if my posts are too spiritually personal. Then again, I am not a big commenter on others' blogs. I try to write a comment only when I have something to add. Sometimes I would like to add something, but do not return and add it!

    I am such a raging introvert that I do as much as I can to limit exposure of my blog. If you find me, you were meant to -- basta! There are moments I would just like to disappear into silence and quench any ego associated with blogging, but I am too tough on myself and do enjoy some connection with likeminded souls.

  5. Thank you, people. Yes, you're right, I think, about commenting on others' blogs. But Joany, I am encouraged by what you say. Hopefully, many of the things I post don't really need comments - that in itself being why I don't always comment myself on some of the best things I read...

    The things that annoy you, by the way, are CAPCHAs, and they're designed to stop robot comment spam from landing all over one's blog. But, considering I do have comment moderation enabled (comments aren't published till I've read them and ok'd them - necessary since one or two quite unpleasant things were posted some time ago) maybe I don't need the CAPCHAs as well? I'll try turning them off, and see if my inbox is swamped with sp[am attempts. You're right, they are a bit off-putting, especially late at night ;-)

  6. Just had a thought ... I have noticed people have shortcut comments that you just click on to indicate your 2 cents' worth. You can make the responses whatever you like. If one of yours were to be Amen, I would click it often. ;)

  7. There is a sense of community when we rouse ourselves to reflect on what each other has to say. In fact, just a couple of days ago I was thinking that I am going to abandon commenting on blogs where the writer never has anything to say about mine.

  8. I'm with Barbara on this one. Perhaps the extent to which one receives comments depends in part upon the extent to which one comments on others' blogs. This is in no way intended as a criticism; quite the contrary, I'm talking to myself here - as my introversion does extend to my blogging. As I'll hesitate to contribute IRL, often by the time I've formulated an answer in my head, the discussion has moved on!