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In an article I recently read on CNN covering the SXSW Nick Denton who owns website properties Gawker, Gizmodo, io9, Jezebel and Lifehacker gave an interesting speech about blog conversations being mostly off topic and toxic to articles.

His synopsis was that sites with 2 million visits per month (which the article called smaller blogs, I wish I could get that much traffic) have so many comments that an editor just has little time to moderate them effectively and that time is better spent on writing the next article rather than moderating comments and responding to readers in past articles.

In addition, he clearly pointed out that many comments left by readers can often become offensive, off topic and have been known to affect the editor by causing stress when particularly offensive, rude or disrespectful comments are made.  By his opinion comments were either not worth having enabled on a blog or just simply ignored and authors not pay any attention to responding to them.

The main point of commenting which is that comments add value to the article is thought to be “great in idea” but doesn’t actually pan out.  I have seen some blogs shutter the conversations and others just simply let readers comment but have little author interaction with the commenters.  It is a mixed bag for sure.

Commenting for Connections

Clearly for the smaller blogger conversations are key to building connections, this is more important for a blog that sells affiliate products where you need to build and establish yourself as more than just a journalist or author for an article.  For blogs that simply report information and aren’t so much interested in conversing, maybe comments themselves aren’t a necessity.

I do agree that spammers and negative comments can reign supreme and some categories are blogs are more prone to poor commenting, media and entertainment blogs around Hollywood, scandals…etc. will naturally draw people who love to talk about this and share their point of view, slam, praise, defend, attack…etc.

Technology blogs tend to draw critics if you talk about a company or product that isn’t liked or if you report something incorrectly you can receive quick feedback that points out your mistakes.  Video game blogs are the same way for sure with fans coming out of the woodwork to defend a liked game, or criticize one that isn’t well received.

I do enjoy conversations which is why conversations are a key part of all the blogs that I run, but I have a clear commenting policy and I don’t accept or tolerate disrespect.  I will admit that some days I get about 50 comments that are valid and are worth a reply across all my properties, this does take about 1/2 hour per day currently which is factored into my blogging time.  I probably could write an extra article per day in the time it takes for me to read and reply to all my blog comments in a day.

If my primary blog were to grow say 5x in it’s number of readers and comments I am not sure I would be able to read and reply to every comment on DragonBlogger.com being that I am a part time blogger.  So what would I do?  If I had 250 comments per day, I would have to skim and pick or choose which comments to reply to, I suppose.  One thing to help alleviate the commenting reply load when you are a multi-author blog is to just have your authors keep track and reply to their own comments, but I still generate the majority of articles on my site technology blog myself with about 20% of the site’s articles coming from my writers and 10% coming from guest authors.  At some point I may have to be selective and just skim comments only responding to ones that warrant replies rather than respond to every single one, or I will have to outsource more articles and focus on being the primary person responding to all comments across all articles.  One thing I don’t want to do is decrease the interaction that I have with my audience and readers, I am a big proponent of engagement and conversing through social media with readers.  This does kind of make it easy when using a commenting system like Livefyre which bridges your social media channels into your commenting platform to allow for cross platform conversations but it also means you can be responding to more than just blog comments on your blog as Twitter replies and Facebook page comments can show up on your posts as well.

How Would You Handle Mass Comments?

It is an interesting conundrum for sure and one that all bloggers hope to face I would think, since if your site is popular enough to draw so many comments you have a hard time moderating them, then you must be doing something right.

So I pose the question to both newbie bloggers and experienced bloggers, how would you handle moderating 300+ comments on your blog per day, do you have time to respond to every one and still be as efficient in producing articles and other media promotions?  Is this sustainable?  I want to especially hear from any bloggers that may have already faced this challenge, and I am not talking about spam comments that would be blocked by Akismet or CommentLuv Premium.  I mean legitimate comments that you would normally respond to, how do you handle the volume efficiently and still be productive?

Dragon Blogger

Here was the original article:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/tech/web/online-comments-sxsw/index.html
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Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Justin Germino

Working in the IT Industry for over 11 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. I run a successful technology blog and try to help others with blogging and WordPress tips on my spare time. Follow @dragonblogger on Twitter.

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