I'm always wary about posting about things like commenting, I worry it'll sound desperate - but here goes! I'll try to steer away from the desperate... Richard Hooper over at WPProject makes a post about comments:

One of the greatest rewards you can give a blogger in appreciation of providing content that suits your needs, is to leave your thoughts in the comments section at the end of a post.

Leave a comment

If you’re a blogger, I know you’ll agree with me. There’s no greater reward. Sure, it’s nice to monetize, publicize and so on, but when your readers participate, leaving related comments, suggestions, and even criticism, you really appreciate that. We all do.

Without question, getting comments from interested readers is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of blogging.

~ Chris Pearson

Jai, over at Blog Oh Blog lists a few reasons why we should leave comments below the posts that we read and enjoy.

This blog is relatively new and isn’t getting a great deal of comments just yet, but in due time if I continue to provide valued content, comments will grow. Comments are almost guaranteed when bloggers “regularly” provide top notch content that their readers or subscriber base are tuned into. It’s automatic.

Now, I mostly put this site together for me, for example, my posts about my trip to India recently came in handy as someone asked me for information and it was easy to give it to them. Despite this, at times I have wondered why I keep writing in a public way if nobody is reading? Am I really that chap standing on the street corner babbling to himself?

Occasionally, an article gets a load of traffic, like these ones, but very few comments. This is a shame - it is always nice to get comments. As I posted on the original article:

I love comments - I don’t get nearly enough of them… but then, I don’t post in a niche, I post on whatever concerns me when I post…. this is probably the cause of the ‘not nearly enough’!

Of course, other reasons could be that what I'm writing is without merit (some will be, I hope that it's only some!) - it could be that when I write a big article, I've covered all the bases and there is little left to add.

Nevertheless, at a guess, I'd say it's because I'm chopping and changing topics - it's harder to 'build and audience'. For this reason, at times I've toyed with the idea of separating out the various topics which I'm interested in into their own sites - but would that be too restricting? Would I generate the content to keep each one fed? Probably not.

Perhaps I should 'theme' each category page and so produce sub-blogs, but that'd be a real pain to set up with the categories I have. I like the freedom of a general site, but would like the interaction one would get by having a site on a given topic which builds an audience. It's a bind. A catch-22.... but I would like more comments, they're nice.

Perhaps the first step is to restrict the categories - I have way too many, then I could theme the category pages more readily for the 'sub-blog' solution. The categories were made before tags became part of WordPress, so contain too much information, so the first step would be to take the current categories for all my posts and turn them into tags - how could I do this? Does the cat2tag feature remove the category info? Then I could remove categories, re-assigning deleted categories wholesale and create a few broad categories for my posts. Perhaps: Cycling, Art, Politics, Travel, Entertainment. It's a plan, I suppose. Doesn't sound like a fast change - and there may be broken links caused (a big item on my to-do list already is to fix links in old posts which remain broken from my change from movable type to WordPress!)

Before I commit to trying to improve the commenting situation by radically altering the structure of my categories, I'd really like to garner some opinions - is my analysis reasonable? Do I not get many comments due to the chop-change nature of this site, or is it something else? Perhaps it's simply that what I write isn't worth a comment?... or it's so good a comment would be superfluous?

(This could be an interesting experiment, how many comments will I get on a post about a lack of comments?)

So, there's my post about commenting. Did I manage to keep away from the desperate?

Update: The Cat2Tags feature does remove category info. Glad I saw this post. I'd want to make tags of categories without destroying the categories (I'd want to destroy them manually!)

Lack of Posts

I've not posted much of late. I've just not felt the urge. There's a bit of a malaise at murky internet HQ. It's not as if I've had nothing to say, not least of which is to do with the incompetence surrounding the seemingly never-ending data losses (why should a low-ranking civil servant have the ability to download 25 million records at once? It's reasonably trivial to limit access so they can get records only one at a time - This has never been explained). I don't have a problem with the 'people make mistakes' - I do have a problem with the systems allowing this particular mistake.

I think it's the end of year lull. I'm always a little underwhelmed with December. It's all the forced jollity and people buying things for people which the recipient doesn't really want, only to receive back something they don't really want. It seems so futile.


Then there's New Year.

New Year is never an event in and of itself for me, as it's tied up with my Birthday. This means I each affects the other. When I was a kid, the stroke of midnight got me the bumps - by pissed people. I've hit the ceiling a few times! Also, New Year and Birthday sort of roll together, I envied people who could have a birthday at some point mid year...

These days I've managed to foster the rule that my birthday doesn't start until after sleep happens, but everything is still tied up somehow.

This year I'm 35.

So, what do I do on my birthday? So far, have a cup of tea, look at the internet and have another cup of tea.


TV reviews?

I've had an idea running around in my head, for a collaborative Film/TV review website.

This would be

  1. UK based.
  2. Have several people contributing (I'd try to work out how to produce an RSS feed for each author, to make it easier for them to grab their own stuff and feed it to their own sites if they wish) - though all content would be published under some form of creative commons licence (probably attributions, non commercial use or some variant).
  3. Would hide spoilers where needed (sorry, Artela)
  4. Have different shows in different categories (to allow easy reference) - if a show has no category then it'd be posted in 'uncategorised' and would be moved rapidly to a newly created category.
  5. Would be quite capricious in which shows are followed (i.e. if the posters lose interest in a show, it is not followed, we won't feel obliged to follow a show past the point of interest just because we followed it in the past)
  6. US shows which haven't been shown in the UK yet would not be barred. If anyone has (somehow) seen an advance copy of the show, maybe they've recently been to the US and seen it there, detailed reviews would be future dated to appear after transmission (where reasonable), or even saved as a draft for later activation. This wouldn't apply if writing a preview...
  7. The site would have a ratings system of some kind (ideally, to allow easy rating of the episode.... possibly to give feedback on the post)
  8. Would encourage authors not to review an episode where a review has been written, but instead to comment on that review. In this vein, the first act when starting a review would be to save an empty draft, so that others can see if anyone is working on a review.
  9. Would tend to have authors who preferred the same sort of shows (e.g. SF like Stargate, Who - Drama like The West Wing, Studio 60 (if it ever gets to the UK!) and so on ....)
  10. Would have no bar on someone writing about other shows (e.g. if someone really wanted to write about the latest episode of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.....)
  11. Would invite people to register and submit their own reviews.
  12. Speculation about the future of a show, and rants about a show would be fair game.

I could set up most of the above relatively easily (the layout is the part that takes longest, but that can be done over time...). The thing is, if I were to set up such a thing, it'd rely on having a 'core' on known authors, who would have permission to publish immediately. The first authors would be restricted to people who I've had contact with over time (and so I can be reasonably confident that they'll not turn it into a site advertising pharmaceutical or marital enhancing products. Several trusted users would have the ability to affect user permissions and to delete posts if needed.

The thing wouldn't go for 'complete', it'd go for the sort of thing that the sort of people who currently make up the authorship like. I.e. It'd evolve....

Would there be interest in such a site?

Would there be interest in contributing?