Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On comments

Elberry, or as he now insists, his Ghost, has taken the unusual step of disabling comments on his blog.

Each to their own, I suppose, but for my money commenters are the essence of blogging. A blog without a merrie band of regular commenters is a sad, emasculated thing.

Most blogreaders don’t comment – I reckon from unscientific but long-term stat monitoring that overall about 1 in 8 TofE readers comments at least occasionally, which is, I think, a relatively high percentage as far as blogs go. Of course I’m grateful for readers – including the voyeurs – but I’m much more grateful to the commenters (even, perhaps especially, the cranks and contrarians) and admire those who cross the Great Divide, who bust the Third Wall to explain why race isn’t an issue in America, or why Hank Williams invented the Beatles.

There are caveats. A blog with too many commenters, all of whom are nasty and cretinous, is unreadable. I’m also not keen on Anonymouses. A moniker is the starting point, because without an entity to hang the comment on, comments are just words in space, and there is no development. Blogs are pubs – you make friends in them, occasionally enemies, often enemies who eventually turn into real friends that you go on to meet in real pubs. And as with real pubs, too big and crowded and no-one can hear anyone else; too quiet and they’re dead.

Of course, the number of comments generated is no great guide to the quality of the post. The best thing ever posted on Think of England (and, by logical extension, on any blog on the internet) garnered but 7 comments, two of which were me and one of which was a misfire. Whereas this pointless inanity yielded 26 stridently argued missives, merely because it hinted at controversy.

It occurs to me that the best way to get lots of comments, therefore, is simply to blog three blank posts entitled: “God”; “Darwin” and “Anthropogenic Global Warming” and watch ‘em roll in.

(Although Darwin is now so 2005. "US Healthcare" would do the trick...)

12 comments:

Frank Key said...

This tallies with the results of a study I commissioned from the Blotzmann Institute, with a brief to analyse comments at Hooting Yard. The boffins' findings were that pointless gibberish garnered lots of comments, whereas world-shattering profundity torn from the very core of my being (ie, the majority of my postage) tended to be roundly ignored by all but one or two stalwarts.

Brit said...

Ah well the Hooting Yard instantly provides an exception to my rule about blogs requiring commenters.

One reads a Hoot and thinks: "Well, what is there to add? It has all been said."

worm said...

personally I thought your zenith was Jase Rooney, he made orange juice come out of my nose

malty said...

Personally I follow the "type the first bit of rubbish that comes into your head" school of commenting.
Elberry is a one off, or possibly a half off, seems to have flitted to Kiel.de, I hope he can avoid the Romanian hookers and will adjust to dogs in shops and restaurants, and, of course, Krauts.

Peter Burnet said...

You'll have to take some credit for the comments here, old swot. The best blogs are those where the host participates in the discussion promptly with plenty of wit but just a soupçon of snark, and sets the tone for language, depth, rigour, etc. Frank is a rare exception because you don't need a map anymore once you've found the treasure chest.

Darwin is now so 2005

I couldn't decide whether the response to that nonsense should be "...whereas God is eternal." or "This from the man who believes The Beatles will prove timeless."

martpol said...

No chance, then, of a collective act of irony on the part of ToE readers - i.e. not commenting on this post at all.

Brit said...

Too late now, Martpol, but I did consider disabling comments on it. For a laff, like.

David said...

I can't have been the only one who thought of Think of England while watching the latest Harry Potter movie, featuring a classic Pavement Panto.

David said...

Or maybe I can.

Brit said...

I haven't seen it David (and obviously nor has anyone else, or they'd have definitely Thought of England). Can't you provide a youtube link or something to save us bothering our attention spans?

Hey Skipper said...

Of course, the number of comments generated is no great guide to the quality of the post. The best thing ever posted on Think of England (and, by logical extension, on any blog on the internet) ...

At the risk of starting a FLAME WAR, this was the best thing ever posted on any blog ever since His Goreness invented the intertubes.

ghostofelberry said...

Elberry was quite freaked out to see a bear-sized Rottweiler accompanying a pretty German girl into the Kiel Starbucks, but he quickly adjusted. He draws the line at cats.

Elberry also tends to have quite aggressive and abusive readers - he tired of receiving daily "you suck, you're a fucking douchebag, why don't you kill yourself" type comments from trolls, even if he didn't publish them.