Discussion: The Science of Comments

Every once in a while, a random thought will pop into my head and I will feel compelled to address it with you guys in the hopes that perhaps one of you will help shed some light.  
This week it's comments.

Example: A popular meme on one blog could have just a handful of comments while the same meme on someone else's blog could have a zillion comments.  Ok, maybe not a zillion - but close, like 30 or 40.

Aside from varying degrees of blog popularity, why is it that the same meme on certain blogs get such an abundance of comments while others remain commentless?  (Think: IMM, TGIF! or Tempting Tuesday, etc.)

Hell, for that matter, why is it that certain POSTS get more comments than other (like) posts of the same feature on the same blog from one week to the next?

What exactly is the science behind commenting, if there is one?

I know blogging isn't just about getting comments, but let's be honest here.  Getting comments feels good.  It means that someone has taken the time to not only read your post but to give you their two cents about it.  It also encourages dialogue between bloggers.  Truth is that if none of our posts received comments, then there wouldn't be a point to blogging because where's the proof that our posts are even being read.

Am I over-analyzing?  Probably - cuz I do that - often!
But I really wanna know: Why do some posts/bloggers get so many more comments than others?


  1. There are a lot of reasons. Personally, I've found that: a) people are more likely to comment on your site if you comment on theirs and b) people are more likely to comment on your site if you respond to their comments. For me, it's about building community. I think people who comment regularly on my site understand that. And there have been some pretty funny/awesome discussion in my comments section.

    That said, sometimes it's a total crap shoot. For some reason, negative reviews usually get more comments from people who don't normally comment than my regular commenters. It really depends on what people find interesting, I guess.

  2. I wish I knew the answer to that . It does seem random, doesn't it? *wanders off to puzzle some more*

  3. I must admit, I am often too lazy to comment, and judging from the page views of certain blog posts and memes, many others are just like me - reading the post and too lazy to comment :-D!

    Also, especially with IMM posts it often gets simply too much and I will only comment on my fav blogs or when I see a particularly nice book haul or books I read myself or those I'd like to get my hands on. I realize it will only take a minute or two, yet with many blogs this does add up *sigh*. Yet I vowed to be a better commenter and hey, look at that, I just commented here ;-)!

  4. I think that sometimes it becomes a collection thing. You visit a blog, say nice review, they visit your review, say the same back. Most the time leaving links to eachothers posts.

    I used to see the same thing when I was a part of Singsnap.. that's an online Karaoke site. someone would post, sounds great, then the other person would go post sound great on their song, and so forth..

    but in my opinion, none of that matters, none of it.. those comments are shit. When I first started blogging, I would see everyones comments, and get a little pang.." oh why dont I ever get that many ".. take the time to look at most of those commments. chances are, there are a handful of legit comments, mushed up between all the two/three word ones.

    We'll use farmtown as an example.. I used to play it, not anymore. I had a select group of farmer friends, and we had the run of the place, I tended their crops, they tended mine, I made money, they made money, our farms grew.. there wasn't a tree I didn't have. lol.

    I'm not saying every blogger has their own farmers.. tending their comments.. but sometimes when I see the back and forth worthless comments, it makes me think of that.

    I dont comment as much on everyones blogs as I would like too, but I do put thought into what I say, and read the post I'm commenting on. I also don't get a ton of comments on my posts, and I'm okay with that, the ones I get are usually thoughtful.

    hope this response makes sense.. I just wrote you a book. lol.

  5. Let me know if you ever figure it out! :) LOL

  6. I notice that from week to week with my blog feature. Some weeks will get 15 to 20 comments others will only get 1 maybe 2. And giveaways have the same thing - some are great with piles of comments others I get 1.

    It seems random.. but who knows.

  7. I find that there are so many blogs out there and a lot of are similar so it comes down to the relationships between bloggers. There are certain blogs that I love because I have become friends with the blogger so no matter what I make the effort to find something to say about their review/posts. And a lot of times I don't have to think much because we are used to engaging in conversation so I just naturally have things to say. I notice that even if there is a good review by a blogger whom I don't talk to much, I'll start to comment and then realize I don't have anything good to say and I don't really know them anyway so I don't bother. Logically I know they'll see the comment, but if I comment over and over and there's no acknowledgement of some kind like a response or interactions, then I don't feel like my comments are even seen, so why bother? It does take effort and time to comment so when I have little of either, I focus only on people who I know and/or take time to reciprocate or engage in conversation.

    That being said, I've seen bloggers who get gazillions of comments, and I don't necessarily see them reaching out a ton to others so in those cases I don't know!

  8. I think I agree with what most everyone has said.

    I know I try to visit and comment (a meaningful comment) on the pages of anyone who leaves me a comment.

    However? Anyone who just says "hopping by, here's my site!" or anything generic? I ignore their comments and their blog. Nothing drives me more batty than those comments. I'd rather have none than a bunch those.

    I think for the most part it comes down to leaving sincere comments on other blogs.

  9. I definitely agree that a lot of comments don't really mean anything. When it comes to memes I don't get super excited about it because I know people just want me to come by and check out their site as well, but it is nice to know that people are coming back even after the meme is over. Usually I try to keep a good relationship with other bloggers and if they write a review about a book I loved, I'll check it out and maybe say why I agree or disagree with them. I do try to comment on at least 40-50 blog posts when I have time, just to let people know I'm reading!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  10. I think everyone else has pretty much summed it up. I know that when people leave a comment on my blog that is more than a few words, I am more likely to go to their blog and leave them a comment. There are certain blogs that I visit everyday, and some I only visit once a week or every few days.

  11. Exactly what Amanda said!

    Though sometimes it depends on the topics and/or books posted about. I don't read near as much YA as most of the people I follow do. Sometimes I have nothing to add to the conversation so I don't comment (whether it is on a meme or a review). I always like to comment with something substantial (doesn't always work out that way) instead of just great review. Funny though it doesn't bug me if someone just says great review---topsy, turvy that.

    Mostly though it is community :) I think the same lovely (and I do love them) comment on my blog all the time which is super awesome. I feel like we have a mutual love thing going on. I can tell by hits that more people read it, so I just think they are probably shy LOL.

    All in all it could just be the weather, who knows ? :)

  12. I've been wondering this too. For memes I don't get why some people get more comments then others.
    But as for reviews, well, I pretty much visit people who visit me. I mean, I visit others when I have time, but first of all I go through my comments and visit everyone back. Which I guess encourages them to visit again.
    But I still see lots of people who get like 30 comments, even on a review and I don't get it! How do they get so many?! I guess they just have some faithful commenters!

  13. I'm with Amanda. She nailed it. It's about communication.

    As for memes, I have no idea why some garnish more comments then others. I love Teaser Tuesdays but they don't bring allot of comments for some reason.

  14. I agree with Amanda, too. I feel SO guilt over this a lot of the time be/c I struggle my arse off trying to leave comments. It can be time consuming and spare time isn't something I have a lot of. :/ But building community is key, methinks. Pretty much the point to this entire book blogging thing... :D

  15. When I first started getting into the blogging community, I was definitely disappointed at the lack of comments on my site as compared to other people's - but now I've realized that it's about quality, not quantity.

    With reviews and posts that are more like articles or "two-cents" type posts, I will only comment if I have something to contribute beyond "nice review!" even if it's just to let them know that they've made me want to get the book, or that it's been on my shelf a while and their review made me more excited to get to it - that may be a simple comment, but I think it's nice to know, as a reviewer, that my review did inspire someone to read the book I was writing about.

    If it's a post I enjoyed, but I don't really have anything to say about it in a comment, I might just link it on my Facebook, "like" it from the post, link it on Twitter...that sort of thing. Quicker than commenting, but still a way of acknowledging that I enjoyed what the blogger had to say.

    I think it'll be easier to build more of a sense of community (at least for us folks on Blogger) now that Blogger has added a "reply" feature on comments. I always hated that I didn't have a way to really interact well with people who do leave comments on my posts, so I'm pleased that now I can respond easier and let my readers know that I appreciate their feedback, and am excited about the potential for actual discussions in the comments now.

  16. I agree with everything Amanda (On a Book Bender) said. I get WAY more comments if I comment back. If I keep up with it all on a regular basis I get tons of regular commenters. Since I took a month long break, coming back in, I had almost no one commenting. I felt sort of down after that.

    For reviews, I feel like people comment more if it is a popular title or they've already read it.

  17. I have often wondered the same myself. Interesting discussion- I've definitely enjoyed reading the rounds of opinions here as I am still learning the rules of the blogging world. (taking notes over here)

  18. Everyone has made some really good points, but one more I think might be a factor is timing. Some weeks people are more active than others. The time you post your meme and when you get your link in to the sign-up. I do a lot of blog hopping in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. I always set my posts to go live at exactly midnight, so those that post in the middle of the night I see more readily than those that post early in the morning when they have been overwhelmed by everyone else in my feed.

  19. I think commenting is reciprocal. People who are out there commenting and participating in conversations are more likely to get more comments on their blog in return. That's not the only thing that encourages participation though. I also think how a post is written can attract more commenters. If you ask questions in your post, and want to know what people think about the topic you're writing about, it encourages questions and comments.


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