So here’s a blog post about my blog. Specifically, about how comments are handled here.

I love when readers comment on posts here—partly because I think of this space as a conversation, not a monologue; and partly because it’s nice to know that someone else out there is reading this stuff. (If I wanted to write only for myself, I’d start a LiveJournal and set the privacy level on each post to “Just Me.”)

My own philosophy is that if someone goes to the trouble to read and comment on a post, I owe them a response. I’ve tried a couple of approaches to responding to comments, and until now haven’t been happy with either of them.

At first, I used to post my responses in the comment threads themselves. But unless the previous commenters come back to check the thread, they never see what I wrote. And because remembering to check back for follow-up comments can be a PITA, most people don’t do this.*

Next, I tried the approach of responding to comments directly by e-mail. This ensured that each commenter saw my response to what he or she wrote, but doesn’t do much to foster dialogue among readers. I’m not saying I expect commenters to write essays to each other. But it can be a lot of fun when one comment inspires another and the next thing you know there are interesting things going on that aren’t necessarily related to the original post.

So to make things easier for all of us—me, regular readers, people stopping by for the first time, anyone—to converse here, in early February I added a nifty plugin to this blog: Subscribe to Comments.

Subscribe to Comments lets you do just what its name promises. If you tick the box before posting your comment, you’ll automatically get e-mail updates about any comments that follow yours for this particular post.

Oh, and I’ve recently adjusted the feed for this blog so that all posts appear in their entirety in readers. I had it set to display just the first few lines before because I really wanted people to click over to here and see what other people (not just me) had to say, too, but with that new plugin in place I don’t think that’s necessary anymore.

*It is possible to subscribe to the comment feed for this blog (just click on “Comments RSS” under “Meta” in the right-hand column on this page), but my hunch is that most people aren’t interested in reading every single comment that gets posted here—just the ones that follow their own comments.

5 Responses to “Meta-blogging”

  1. Vickion 26 Mar 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks, I’m always ready to learn some bloggy tips!
    Yours are explained well

  2. Marshaon 27 Mar 2009 at 11:02 am

    I’m glad it was helpful!

  3. lisa_alberson 28 Mar 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Awesome, Marsha. I was just wondering how to do this myself. Will see how to do this on Typepad. Thanks!

  4. Marshaon 28 Mar 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Good luck, Lisa! I for one love it when people have this plugin, so I hope you find a version of it for your blog.

  5. Ruth Won 02 Apr 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Marsha, have missed you at knitting. Maybe we keep missing each other. I wanted to thank you for the Christmas card from you and your family That was such a nice thought. I love those photos of friends and their kids. I kow this has nothing to do with the above.