rassafrassan new-fangled technology

It was not blogging in a very indefinable way. Well, I’m sure someone
could define it, but since I don’t really know much about blogging in
the sense of “blogospheres” and “new media” and “unreliable news
sources” and “fancy book deals for books that tank miserably,” I can’t
really explain it to you. For me, it’s always been the difference in
formats and scope. Journals were hand-coded (uphill in the snow!), were very
specifically about someone’s specific every day life, there was a
separate entry on each page and a front page with links to each
individual entry, and each entry (they were called “entries,” rather
than “posts") was a fairly long thing, and then, there was an e-mail link
at the very end. Pay attention to that e-mail link! It is important.

As far as I can tell, the major difference with blogs is how all the
posts are all on one page (annoying), you use blogging software (so
very, very annoying) and now, anyone in the whole world can get
themselves on blogspot and have a damn blog (you kids get off my
lawn!), there are comments on every entry because blogging is a
democratic process and feedback is immediate and everyone’s right and
privileged, and all the blogs in the world, together in one place,
apparently create a sphere. Obviously, it was so much better back in
the olden days, by gum.

So, the e-mail link. That was how you got feedback on a journal. I loved
me some feedback, but not as much as I love fire-eating monkeys who are
dangerous. I read all my e-mails, and then I wrote e-mails in return! And
it was so nice! And people read me, and I read their journals, and we
all knew each other and were best friends and had very nice parties
with lemonade and tea cakes. Sometimes I’d get overwhelmed by someone’s
e-mail and not know how to respond, and sometimes, I would be stupid and
lazy and not respond (this has not changed). What has changed, however,
is now I am “blogging,” instead of “journaling,” and now there are
comments. Comments remain this new and crazy thing to me. Comments! On
a blog! And I don’t know what to do with them. Still. After all this
time.

What’s the etiquette? Do you respond to everyone’s comment? If you
respond to just one comment, are you being rude to other commenters? Do
you say thank you for nice comments? Is it rude not to say thank you?
Does it matter if you respond at all, because who goes back and checks
up on comment threads? I mean, do comment threads matter at all to
anyone who isn’t the person who wrote the post? If you ask a question
in a comment, does the question-asker check back periodically to see if
their question has been answered? I don’t know these things! I panic that
I’m going to do it wrong (I am fully aware of how stupid that is) and
then I do nothing at all (which is a lot of the reason for my negative
bank balance).

I have gotten some amazing comments, and have some wonderful commenters
who I adore completely–anon, I am most especially looking at you. But
so far, I have been astonished by the thoughtfulness and insight
that I get to be privy to every day, and I am blown away by the support
and encouragement and hilariousness of the people who respond to the
things I write. It is, in a word, fucking awesome. Two words, okay. So
a blanket thank you, which will assuage some of my guilt, while I
continue to try and figure out this comment thing, because after 100+
columns, it’s about time, isn’t it?

But the things that really worry me are the questions and the
requests. Some people have left specific questions in the comments. And
some people have asked me to specifically address some issues about
weight-loss surgery, and the experience. And of course, I didn’t know
if I was supposed to respond in the comments, or write a post, or send
a smoke signal, because sometimes, I get flustered. I know, it’s
shocking.

So what I’m going to do is open this up, in a very specifically
addressed kind of way: if you have a question for me (which of course I
probably didn’t answer), leave it in the comments. A question about
anything, at all–about weight-loss surgery, about me, about anything.
If you have a specific issue you’d like me to address (I think someone
once asked me about the costs involved with surgery, for instance),
leave a comment.

And then, I’ll gather up all your comments, and write a post addressing
all your questions, covering all the issues you want me to cover. Or
more than one post, if there are a lot of questions and a subscription
full of issues. I can make it a weekly feature, if you’d like. If you
haven’t got that much curiosity, I can let the idea die a dignified
death. But I need to float the project as a way to assuage all my guilt
for the whole, idiotic "comments? Oh my god, what do I do with comments?"
conundrum that probably worries only me. Because that’s just how I roll.

12 Replies to “rassafrassan new-fangled technology”

  1. Right back at ya, Anne! If I lived closer to you, I’d be your very own personal stalker. I love you that much.

    As for how a commenter feels about the comments section, here are my thoughts: I do read your comments, all of them, because I think your commenters are tres cool and I would like to stalk all of them too but who has the time?

    And I do go back a day or two and check them, even if you’ve already put up another post, because sometimes something gets added late, or a teeny bit of back-and-forth takes place, and I don’t want to miss a gem.

    As for questions, I have none. Just keep writing.

  2. Oh, and how much am I kicking myself I never used my name, or even a fake name, and instead just went with anonymous (although jauntily shortened to anon; cool, no?)
    To be mentioned in a post! By name! Wheeee! Except, um, not a name. Alas.
    But now I have to stick with it, because I’m famous.
    But, seriously? Thanks. I’m like a blushing schoolgirl, I tell you.
    And thanks so much, truly, for always putting yourself out there. Here.

  3. Cool idea! Comments are a weird animal, I imagine. I don’t know what I would do with them if I had a blog. This sounds good.

  4. I’d like to comment on this ;)

    First –

    “all the posts are all on one page (annoying), you use blogging software (so very, very annoying) and now…there are comments on every entry”

    not necessarily true. All of those are true if your current theme are set up to make it so. But I design blogs by trade, and I have many, many clients who also don’t like the above, and it’s not much to disable these functions. :)

    Now, that being said, when it comes to comments, I’ve had that dilemma myself. And my answer to your question (whether you want to take it as truth or not is up to you) – there’s no hard and fast rule.

    Your blog is your blog. If you want to respond to comments, then by all means, do so. If you want to respond privately, then please do. Publicly, do it right in your own comments.

    I get several people who comment frequently on one of my blogs, and based on what they say determines how I respond. The blog I’m speaking of is a “web design help” site, where I offer up freebie advice and tricks I’ve learned over the years. So I get lots of questions. Stuff that pertains solely to one individual, or I don’t feel actually belongs on my site, I will not approve it to be seen, and I will respond via email. But questions that could help someone else, or I find very funny or engaging, then I will indeed engage. (I also go the extra step to email the commenter that I’ve responded so they can go back and check my comments for said response. That’s not necessary, but I don’t have a lot of *regular* visitors, and I’d hate for people to think I’ve ignored them.)

    But in the end, it’s up to you. This is *your* house, and we are welcome guests. And I’m sure you heard your parents say when growing up: “In my house, we play by my rules.”

    *That* is the proper etiquette. ;)

  5. Shauna over at “dietgirl” and “what’s up pussycat?” has loads of traffic and oodles of comments, she replies to a lot within her own comments, and I know people go back and check in on the comments sections of previous posts. But she will also email people back now and again (especially if they give her an email address!) Sometimes she wants to comment/email someone and they were anon, so she asks for them to email her. I imagine that it is overwhelming, but she would probably have a great deal of insight on what has worked for her over the years especially since her blog has grown so popular. She seems to appease the masses ;) I personally like when the blogger comments within the comments, it is more conversational. But I like your idea of a weekly comments post, Shelly is absolutely right though, it is totally up to you!

  6. Hello! It is I, Shauna as mentioned in Loretta’s comment.

    I suffer from Comment Guilt and Confusion all the time!

    If people ask a question that is answerable quickly, I’ll put a comment on the entry to answer it.

    If it’s a longer question or one of a more personal nature I’ll try to email the commenter.

    Or if it’s a real cracker of a question that sparks an idea I might write an entry about it.

    Sometimes when I’m busy I can’t keep up with the questions and emails and I worry that people think I’m a snob or a jerk. Especially if I write a new entry, I wonder if people are thinking “DUDE how rude that you write a new entry when you didn’t answer my bloody question!”

    I also feel bad when I reply to SOME comments in a comment thread and not ALL comments, also wondering if people think i am a snob or a jerk. So sometimes I’ll comment and say “Thanks for all the comments groovers!” because I read each and everyone and appreciate them all, even if it’s not possible to do so individually.

    Then sometimes I feel like a twit for even worrying about all of the above, because maybe people just type a comment then go off and make a cup of tea or go to work and don’t give it another thought. Ahh, the joys of the modern technology.

  7. How did you pay for your DS? If you used insurance, how difficult/easy was that? If you self-paid, how did you round up the Benjamins and where did you go?

    Jules-who’s-thinking-of-selling-a-kidney-to
    -get-surgery-but-I’m-sure-they-wouldn’t-take-my-diabetic
    -kidney.

    Thanks

  8. Comments are interesting things – I hate when no one comments on something I’ve written because maybe no one actually read it, which isn’t true when I see the blog stats. But when they DO comment, it raises the same questions you asked.

    I tend to agree with Shauna and Shelly that posting answers to some things within the comments for that same entry allows people to keep everything together.

    You can pick and choose the ones you want/can reply to quickly and those that seem too personal and that you WANT to answer can get a personal email. Or not. I don’t really expect to get a personal reply when I comment or question somewhere. Mostly I’m just raising things that maybe others have, too, and might make a possible new post sometime.

    It’s your space and you can set the rules even if they change all the time. I’m just happy you’re here :)

  9. I just love reading you, because you are totally in my head with half of your comments.

    Here’s a question… do you keep LiveJournal or MySpace? I would totally add you and hound you like the crazy fool I am.

    I don’t really think there is a fair etiquette to blogging. I have been doing it for many years myself, and eh… if you don’t answer comments, you just don’t. It is YOUR blog/journal.. just keep that in mind. **shrug**

    PS- I’m post-op finally! 3 weeks out (on wednesday) and 19 pounds down! Woot!

    Love ya gal… keep it up!

  10. ahhhh…here you are asking for questions and “for once in my life” i cant think of a one.

    but i’ve got them…

    i rarely go back and check and see if my comment has been responded too. usually if i ask a specific question, the person will come by my blog and answer it in my comments. sometimes i do this on purpose when i think a person is cool and i want them to stop by me and read me and hopefully think i am cool, and then we can stalk each other and have each other’s babies. Ha!

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