What if a sweet little old lady with generations of research of your family tree stumbled onto your blog? Wouldn't that be great? What if she had trouble leaving a comment and got so frustrated that she left your blog without saying a word? This is my worst nightmare. In my genealogy fantasy world in my head, I picture this lady out there somewhere. I call her Betty With All the Answers. When she does find my blog and wants to share all her notes, I've made it easy for her to contact me.
This got me thinking...and it's always dangerous when I start thinking...
I'm curious to know how your blog is set up to receive comments from others. I have some questions to ask all of you. These are in bold, and I've put my responses below them. If you want to answer as a blogger or reader of blogs, I would love to get your input. Leave a comment below.
Do you have your email address on your blog? Why or why not?
I do have my email address in the top right corner of my blog. It gives readers a way to contact me privately. Sometimes, as a blog reader, I want a way to share family history information or other details that I'd prefer not be in a public comment. I'm assuming some of my blog readers feel the same, so I've given them an option to contact me off the blog.
Do you allow comments from only those who are registered or have special accounts, such as a WordPress account or Google for Blogger? Why or why not?
I comment on a lot of blogs, and I notice that some require readers to have an account in order to comment. This is to curb anonymous commenters and possible junk, I'm sure. However, it also blocks regular people who don't have special accounts. I don't have a WordPress account, so I can never comment on those blogs with that setting.
My blog is open to all commenters. You can be anonymous and don't have to have a Google account, otherwise my own parents would never be able to comment on my blog. I've found that most people provide their own names, or familiar nicknames, and I rarely have a real "anonymous" commenter. This open commenting setting is important to me because it's one more way Betty With All the Answers can reach me.
What's your take on word verification?
Many, many blogs have this feature turned on. My blog does not currently utilize word verification. Here's why:
1. The Blogger word verification feature is not entirely reliable. Sometimes it plain doesn't work. I can't see a word in the box, there's nothing for me to type, and therefore I can't comment on a blog. Everyone loses.
2. The squiggly letters are getting more difficult to read. People, I'm in my 30's and I can't make sense of the letters sometimes. I can't imagine my wise elders with worsening eyesight are faring any better in deciphering them. One less headache in my book.
3. The purpose and process of word verification isn't as easy for our readers to comprehend as we think. Two different family members of mine expressed confusion with the word verification process. I don't want readers dealing with the same experience, and I sure as heck don't want Betty With All the Answers to be confused.
Blogger has been really good about sorting junk comments into the trash bin. I've only had one junk comment get into my blog since turning off word verification, and it was easily spotted and erased from the "comments" page on Blogger. I really hope I can continue to keep word verification off as long as possible. So far, so good.
Do you manually approve your comments before they are published on your blog? Why or why not?
I only require this of comments that are over 14 days old. I have a couple of blog posts that are magnet for junk comments, and this controls that. However, I may turn this switch off as well and see if Blogger can handle it.
On this here old blog, it's important to me that I provide a welcoming, friendly space for a someone to contact me. It's scary to contact a stranger out of the blue and I want to ease that process. Comments are just too important to me. I know my Betty With All the Answers is out there and I want her to contact me when she finds me.
I read a ton of blogs and comment on a daily basis. Usually there are 2-3 blogs a day where I am unable to comment due to restrictions put forth by a blog owner. Perhaps this is their preference, but it is also a lost opportunity to connect.
Does tight management of junk comments come at the expense of real blog readers? There is no one-step solution for all. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to manage blogs, as everyone writes for a different purpose or audience. I just wanted to comment on comments and invite you to do the same.
What say you on the subject?