Analysis (Services and Self)

Koan Bremner's view on life as a database and data warehouse professional / addict and non-genetic woman

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Comments: use them, or lose them

I know there are at least a few readers of this blog. How do I know that? Well, apart from the usage stats I get from FeedBurner (and which tell me that there definitely *are* some subscribers via that route out there) and the surprisingly large number of emails I've been getting as a result of my posts here, you all have the option of commenting on each post. And some of you have done; and I really appreciate it. But not many of you. Which strikes me as something of a shame; apart from anything else, in the absence of feedback, I can't really tell if this exercise is serving any purpose other than helping me remember what's been happening. So, how can I encourage a spot of audience participation?

Here are a few possible explanations I can think of to explain the relative lack of comments; some of them have actually been expressed to me (in person or in email) while others I've used my fertile imagination to conjure up; followed by my response.

* "I don't want people to think that I'm reading your blog because I'm a closet XXXXXX" - this blog is not *just* about transgender stuff. Gender dysphoria is not infectious; you can't "catch it" by reading about it. (You can't "catch it", period; which goes some way to explaining why I laughed like a drain when I read this story.) Comment anonymously if you're that bothered about it.

* "My typing / spelling / use of language isn't very good" - who cares? *I* certainly don't.

* "If I put a comment up, you'll only remove it again" - no, I won't (with one exception; words that are hurtful, spiteful or dangerous to someone other than me). If I was worried about what people might say about me, I wouldn't have started this blog in the first place.

* "I didn't know if you'd want to discuss YYYYY in public" - it's a faily safe bet that if I've blogged about YYYYY , I'm not afraid to talk about YYYYY in public. And if I *haven't* blogged about YYYYY, I can still choose not to. So really, you're on safe ground either way.

So, please... don't be shy! Also, entertain the possibility that you might learn something equally as interesting (maybe even *more* interesting) from a comment; so if *you* comment, it might help to encourage others to comment, and then you may experience the serendipity of finding out something cool from *their* comment...

Because there is a counter-argument; which is that you shouldn't *have* the opportunity to comment, here, on my blog. The argument goes like this; since it's so easy to start up your own blog, at no cost other than internet access charges and the investment of a little of your own time, if you really want to comment on something *I* write, then you can just as easily do so on your own blog. Paolo makes some excellent points about this in this post. Reading that has made me think about whether I should leave comments enabled on this blog or not. I'm undecided; what do *you* think? Here's a scary thought; you could leave a comment and let me know! ;-)

This blog has been migrated to new software on a different server ( and comments on this post on *this* blog are now closed. All existing comments have been copied to the equivalent post on the new blog. If you still wish to comment on this post, please use the equivalent post at:


  • At 7:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry Koan for not commenting in the past. I, for one, certainly find your words interesting,but I fear that mine are not,which is why I don't comment. Keep on blogging and I'll keep on reading!!


  • At 9:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The challange is that we need a way to keep track of conversations. Technologies such as Trackback and Technorati are helping to us to figure out who's writing about who, but we miss a better technology.

    For example, my readers should be able to reach your post since it's related to mine, but since blogger doesn't support trackback nobody will ever get from my blog to yours... unless you leave a note in a comment on my blog.

    Leave the comments on and invite your readers to post a brief note in your comments linking their thoughts if they have posted them to their blogs.


  • At 11:20 am, Blogger James Snape said…

    I vote for leaving them on. There is no way you will ever persuade the lurkers to come out of their shells and that's OK. Even if the feature is never used, why turn it off?


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