Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Poll Results: Responding to Comments & A Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who participated in my very first poll. I had actually planned to ask a very different question on another topic, but because of recent discussions I had encountered around the blogosphere, I thought a poll might be a good way of gauging the opinions of my visitors on comment responses.

While comments are nice for statistical purposes, that is not why I like them so much. They give me an opportunity to get to know who is reading my blog, connect with other book lovers, and form friendships. For me, blogging is mostly about the community, sharing my passion for reading and books with others.

That's why, whenever you stop by for a visit and take time to leave a comment, I couldn't be more appreciative. I subscribe to more blogs than is probably healthy, and so I know the effort it takes to visit my blog and offer your thoughts on any given topic. Whether you have only commented once or you comment with every post, I am grateful. I personally feel, as a result, that the least I can do is offer a response in return, even if it is simply a "thank you." I try hard to give a brief response to every comment left, but that is not always possible. Still, I make a point of doing so when I am able (even if sometimes I am days behind).

And so, I was curious to know your preferences for responses, or even if they mattered at all. I posed the following question:
I like to respond to the comments you leave me. How do you prefer to receive my responses?
I am overwhelmed at the number of you who responded. Ninety-four of you! I didn't even know there were that many of you out there reading my blog! Of course, many votes could have been from people stopping in for the first and only time, but let me pretend for now that there's really that many of you that visit more frequently.

The results were as follows
By e-mail. There's nothing more exciting than finding a new message in my inbox. 9 (9%)

One of the great things about blogs is the open format, and the ability to be a part of a discussion. I like it when you respond to my comments directly in the comment section. 37 (39%)

It's best if you respond to my comments on my own blog. I don't mind that it may be off topic. 6 (6%)

Whatever is easiest for you is fine with me! 36 (38%)

Don't bother responding at all. I don't have time to check back and my e-mail inbox is full enough already. 3 (3%)

Huh? I didn't know you responded to the comments I left. 3 (3%)
I tried not to let my own bias show with the choices given, but I am not sure if I succeeded. Some of you had already heard my thoughts on the subject from the other discussions around the blogosphere; not to mention the fact that perhaps my current format is a dead giveaway.

A few of you e-mail your responses to those who leave comments on your blogs and I love that personal touch. It's also a chance for you to say so much more than you might be able or willing to say in the public forum of a blog.

My personal preference, however, is leaving responses to comments directly on my blog. In my mind, it goes along with the community atmosphere and can help build on discussion points. I haven't quite mastered that effect the way several other blogs out there have, but there's always the possibility that I might someday get there.

There are practical reasons also, mostly dealing with the best management of my own time and also the lack of access to e-mail addresses (and no, I'm not giving up Blogger anytime soon--I am quite happy where I am). Suffice it to say, responding to comments on my own blog is most convenient for me, both in regards to time and effort. So, yes, I admit it. I'm a little selfish that way.

So, going by popular vote, the status quo will continue as is. Fortunately for you, there is a "Subscribe to Comment" button that offers you a chance to receive comments to my blog directly in your e-mail inbox if you so desire. I know it can be a pain if you only care about the response and not about everyone else's comments. That is where unsubscribe comes in handy. I personally enjoy reading other people's comments, and so I don't mind that so much.

My preference for responding to comments on my own blog only applies to me here on my blog. However you choose to respond to my comments on your blog, if at all, is perfectly fine with me. I do check back for responses on blogs I comment on either through the automatic notification option or through the wonderful Commentful.com site that helps me keep track of those blogs that don't have a subscribe-to-comment feature. So, whether you send me a direct e-mail, leave a response for me on your own blog or here on mine, I am just grateful you took the time to do so at all.

Thank you again to everyone who took time to participate in my poll. And thank you too to all those who have taken the time time to leave a comment either in the past or today.

*For the sake of disclosure, there are comments I will not respond to and will even send to the trash bin. I do not mind if a commenter disagrees with me, but I will delete any comment that I deem to be hurtful or malicious. I do delete duplicate comments--those accidents that sometimes happen. And, of course, I will delete blatant advertisements that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

As a little thank you, I thought a giveaway was in order! I recently purchased a wonderful little device called a BookWorm. You may or may not know that I like to collect bookmarks, especially unusual ones. One day, not too long ago, I discovered that Rachel from Bookwormz makes her own bookmarks, which she calls BookWorms. They are quite handy and not as easy to lose or misplace as those loose bookmarks I sometimes stick in my books. My cat won't be able to run off with it (at least, not if it's attached to my book), and I won't lose it when I fall asleep while reading in bed.

Rachel has agreed to offer one of her BookWorms as a prize in a giveaway. I do hope you will stop by her etsy shop and check out her wonderful creations. Maybe you'll find one that is too good to pass up like I did!

To enter the drawing for a BookWorm:
1. Leave a comment below.
2. If your e-mail address is not on your profile page or easy to locate on your blog, please include your e-mail address in your comment.
3. Giveaway is open to anyone around the world.
4. Deadline to enter is at 11:59 p.m. (PST) on Monday, February 9th.


  1. I enjoyed reading the results of your poll. I'd love to be entered to win a Bookworm. Thank you.

  2. I also stopped back by to see what the results of the poll were. Interesting to see the variety of responses! The bookworm sounds useful in my be-catted household so sure, enter me.

  3. Very thoughtful post.

    I try to answer all my comments too, but sometimes life gets in the way. I generally answer on my own blog, unless there is is compelling reason to head on over to the person's blog.

    Depending on the type of post, the best response is sometimes a universal "thanks to everyone" kind of comment.

    Anyway, I'd love to win a bookmark.

  4. I tend to respond to a comment right under it, on the post, but i'll often then pop over to the commenters blog and say hi too.

  5. You are an incredibly thoughtful commenter, and is much appreciated! I do feel overwhelmed sometimes, because I follow quite a number of bloggers and I always feel compelled to say something! It could be a full-time job!

    I'd love to win a bookmark. I collect them! My e-mail is rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com. Thank you!

  6. Thanks for posting the results of your poll! Interesting response! A bookworm sounds like a useful tool. Hope I win!!

    -Amy from Life by Candlelight


  7. I think you have summed up my feelings about comments as well. I try to respond to all comments and if the commenter is not a "no reply" commenter, I respond by email as well. Like you, I think the sense of community that develops with regular commenters is the best part.

  8. Ido my best to reply to commenters, but sometimes I'm unable to do anything but leave a comment on my own blog -

    and I'd love to be in the drawing!

    teabird 17 @ yahoo dot com

  9. For this year I am going to try to be better at responding to comments on my blog. I also probably need to try to comment on the blogs I read more too.

  10. I had not heard of these fantastic bookmarks! What a great idea...I would love to be entered into the contest for one.

    I really don't care how people reply to my comments...It's up to you...and your time constraints...if at all you choose to reply! :)

  11. You're one of my role models as far as responding to comments goes :-). And since I know you DO respond to yours, I always come back here to check!

    I actually like the idea of responding by e-mail, but I think it does take away from the group conversation a bit, so I don't do it all that often unless it seems more appropriate to the particular comment (and, as you mention, you don't always have the option with Blogger anyway). It makes more sense to respond to comments on my own blog, but sometimes a comment will prompt me to go and check out someone else's blog and comment over there as well.

    I love bookmarks that wrap around my books, so please enter me for a chance to win a BookWorm!

  12. Comments are fun to receive and fun to give! I just found this site, so I didn't participate in the poll. It was interesting to see your results! I think I prefer replies in the Comments section.

    These Bookworms are super-cute! What a great craft!

    cecilia // cecpham(at)gmail.com

  13. Great post. You always put so much into your posts, that's what I love. I too like the subscribe to comments feature. I love being able to see what everyone thinks on whatever was being discussed.

    That being said I'd love to enter for a Bookworm. They're gorgeous. I know you know who I am but I'll leave my email to make things easier cause I love when people do that-lol.
    bj19662001 (at) yahoo (dot) ca

    Thanks for a great giveaway!

  14. Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos had something on replying in emails or on the post awhile back and it has a lot to do with the nature of the blog. For us knitters, there are many, many projects and knitting to look at, it's a larger community and less discussion on one particular project so it doesn't really make much sense to reply in the comments, not many people check back.

    For book bloggers, there can be a lively discussion on the book in question, although really, most comments always seem to be between the blog author and the commenter for the most part anyway.

    But I think whatever works best for you on your blog and your readers is what you should go with, no? :)

    That is one cute bookmark. Clever idea. My email carriedaway at myfastmail dot com.

  15. I always try to comment back to bloggers who comment on my blog. It may take me a day or two...or three, but I try. Its not that I don't want to take the time and do it, but as you all know, and I guess it is like that for most of you, life gets in the way sometimes and then there are just not enough free hours in a day to be able to visit all the blogs one want ;o)

  16. Hey, look, I am actually commenting on your blog! I feel like it has been a while, but maybe I am wrong... Anyway, count me in for the give-away. I really like bookmarks, too! They tend to become cat toys or get misplaced, but that is besides the point! lol

  17. It sounds like your readers are pretty agreeable. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

  18. I'm like you, I prefer to respond to comments in my blog - it's just easier :)

    What a fun poll and neat to see all the results to thanks for sharing with us.

    And, I'm off to "heart" BookWormz - those are so cute!

  19. Thanks for the poll, sorry I missed it. I am in the percentage that likes you popping by my blog to leave a response. Makes me feel good that someone stopped by.

    Please enter me in the bookmark. Those look really neat!

    aknittingnut at gmail dot com.

  20. I prefer the open format too for the exact same reasons as you. So I'm happy you'll stick with that :)

    I LOVE the BookWorms! I'd love to be entered, and I'll also check out the etsy shop.

  21. What a great poll. Personally, I like the idea of commenting via email. I love the Book Worm and also collect unusual bookmarks and would love to add it to my collection.

  22. I enjoyed participating in your poll and now reading the results. I really don't know how you keep on top of all of this, read, plus work and be a wife, mom to animals....and the list goes on and on!!!

    Those bookmarks are so stinkin' cute!!! I've got to go to her etsy store and check them out!!

  23. Having just talked about comments on my own blog, I like seeing other people's thoughts. I feel like I'm horrible at responding to comments but I'm trying to improve!

  24. I love the open format, because it's great reading everyone's response and I too think it's a good way of building community!

    I love the bookmark! Please enter me, Wendy. I'll have to visit the shop. :)

  25. Cute bookmark! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  26. I can only check your blog from home. I get uber blocked at work...sigh...I look forward to my evenings on my laptop when I can check on you (and a couple of others)
    = )
    I love Etsy.com! I am addicted to that site. Added bookworms to my favorites.

    VWinship at aol dot com

  27. I'm glad you'll be sticking with the current format. I think it does do a lot to help foster the community--even if sometimes it's only to say--hey, I read your comment, thanks for coming by. I haven't heard of commentful.com...will definitely have to check it out.

    By the way--STILL listening to Phantom on the ipod. :) Thanks for reminding me of how much I love the music.

  28. I'm the same way, I prefer to respond to comments on my blog -- much easier to keep track of what I'm doing that way. (Which reminds me, I really need to get back into a commenting groove!)

    My cats love to run off with my bookmarks, so Bookwormz would be fantastic for me! *bookmarks Rachel's site*

  29. Totally agree with you. I like to leave comments on every blog I visit because I know how much I appreciate getting comments on my posts. When it comes to responding to comments I like to do it on my own blog. Even then it's not always easy to keep on top of things.

  30. Oh my goodness! I spend a day at the office and look what happens. I come home to 30 comments! You all are wonderful. Thank you.

    Beth - Thank you! You are definitely right. Some posts just don't lend themselves to discussion and one big thank you works much better than a series of individual thank yous.

    Hagelrat - Blogger comments don't allow for responding to a comment right under the post, but I've seen blogs that do offer that feature. I think it's definitely a good one--and I'd probably take advantage of it if I did have it. And like you, I do like to stop in if I get the chance and visit the commenter's blog as well. I'm not always quick about it though. :-)

    Sandy - That is so nice of you to say, Sandy. Thank you! I know what you mean about being overwhelmed. I follow quite a few blogs as well and keeping up can be a real challenge. Too bad there isn't a paying job for blog hopping, huh? ;-)

    Lisa - I enjoyed following the discussion on your blog on this topic. It seems like it's been a subject on a lot of our minds lately.

    Lori - I enjoy leaving comments on the blogs I read, but sometimes I just don't have the time to. I imagine it is the same for you. We just do the best we can. :-)

    Serena - The BookWorms are fairly new to me too. I think they're great. :-) I really am the same way in terms of how people respond to me. It is nice to have my comments acknowledged one way or another, but I know that's not always practical. And sometimes my comments really aren't worth a reply.

    Florinda - Are you trying to make me blush? :-) I like the idea of e-mail responses too, and sometimes I do respond that way, but not too often. I try to visit the blogs of those who have left comments on my own--many, of course, I already subscribe to and so it's something I do more often with bloggers I am unfamiliar with.

    Dar - Thank you for your kind words! I was so thrilled when Blogger added the subscribe to comments feature. I hope they eventually will add it to the Blogger blogs that have the comment section right in the post. And like you, I enjoy reading other people's comments. I've discovered a few new blogs that way too.

    Carrie K - I can see how different types of blogs wouldn't be quite so discussion oriented. You are right about the comments in book blogs, although I've taken part in ongoing discussions that way as well. Sometimes I will even comment on someone else's comment. I enjoy reading other people's comments and the responses when possible. Sometimes something will come up that hadn't been mentioned before that I'll find interesting but hadn't thought to wonder or ask about. Those types of discussions may not happen often, but they are definitely worth it when they do.

    Bogsider - I am the same way. I am not always able to respond to comments right away and it may be a few days before I get the opportunity to do so. And as you said, it's the same with visiting blogs too. I wish I had more time to comment on everyone's blog I visit. I wish too that I had the time to visit everyone's blog in a timely fashion, but I don't. I often find myself playing catch up.

  31. I like to respond on my blog too, but sometimes I don't manage it and I'm always playing catch up reading blogs and comments. I also like to visit commenters' blogs.
    Those Bookworms look fantastic - my cat doesn't run off with bookmarks but she attacks any that have tassels dangling out of the books.

  32. Kelly - LOL I am glad you could stop by. My bookmarks disappear often--even the ones holding my place in books. I've caught Anya pulling them out and running off with them a couple of times now. Sneaky cat. I can't be mad at her though. She's so cute doing it.

    Antonette - I am sorry you missed it too. I do try and make a point to visit the blogs of those who leave comments for me. It may take me a few days, but I eventually make it over. :-)

    Ruth - I find it easier to keep track of what I'm doing this way as well. Another blogger with cat thieves! Haha!

    Trish - Commentful isn't perfect, but it helps me stay organized. I am glad you are enjoying listening to Phantom. :-) It makes for great music to and from work each day, I'm finding.

    Vickie - I am really limited in my online time at work too. I have to do most of my blog hopping from home as well. Etsy is a fun place to spend money or even just look around. :-)

    Staci - It's a juggling act sometimes and certain things can fall by the wayside(like the pile of laundry that I should have started washing tonight). I really admire those with children. Their plate is much much fuller than mine.

    Epic Rat - I am glad you found me! I enjoy receiving and giving comments too. It's part of what makes blogging so much fun, I think.

    Teabird - I really like the interaction with other bloggers and so I try to do my best too.

    Kathy - Yes, I've noticed that. LOL

  33. Iliana, Nymeth, Melody, Jenclair, & Booklogged - Great minds think alike. :-)

    Sandra, Jeane, Amy, & StateofDenmark - I am glad you liked the poll! I may make a habit of it. Thanks so much for entering the giveaway!

    Marg & Kristy - Aren't the BookWorms great? They aren't only attractive, but they are practical too.

  34. Margaret - I seem to play the catch up game all too often as well. We do the best we can though, don't we?

    The tassels on bookmarks are very popular in my house too. LOL Everything's a toy to my cats.

  35. I agree 100%! I really appreciate comments on my blog and always try to make sure I reply to those comments and visit the blogs of people who comment, especially if they are new to me. I find the subscribe function very useful as I'm often interested in discussions that arise in the comments. Interesting poll results!

    Bookworms, what a great idea! I'm off to etsy!

  36. I totally agree as well with comments being received makes me giddy with happiness (is that sad or what).

    Responding though is a tricky issue especially if you are like me and rather forgetful of what you have and haven't commented on.

    I didn't know about the subscriby thing so I might have to do that I think.

    Those bookworms are so cool I know what I am getting my bibliophile mother for her birthday!

  37. Hi - I never quite know how to respond to comments, we all do it very differently. If a comment particularly strikes me or asks a question then I will attempt to respond, but often get stymied by that stupid - no-reply-blogger thingie!! And that puts me off a lot, as well as making sure that I have made sure that my email is actually switched on!!

    Perhaps I should make more effort to respond to comments, particularly when I myself am thrilled to get a response from a comment - but I hate having to search for an email address!!

    Oops, that got a bit long didn't it!! Anyway - that looks like a really nifty bookmark - mine often fall out, particularly if I put my book in my bag!

  38. Thank you to all who have commented so far. I've got the latest additions added to the drawing.

    I woke up this morning with a stuffy head. I sure hope I haven't caught that nasty bug that's going around my office. This feels different than my usual allergies, unfortunately. Fingers crossed that I'm mistaken and it's really just those darn allergies and nothing worse. I knew I should have gone to bed early like I first planned last night. Ugh.

    Mariel - Yes, that subscribe feature has proven to be very helpful! I was just thinking though how rarely I go back and unsubscribe. It's fun though to suddenly see someone commenting after weeks, sometimes months. :-)

    Caspette - Haha! Not sad, we just like finding little good surprises in our mailboxes. :-)

    As for remembering who I commented to, I have a little method of my own to help me with that. I do try to reply in a certain order (although with this post, I was all over the place), and since I reply here on my blog, it makes it easy to see who I responded to. I also keep all of the un-responded to comments in my main folder until I do respond, and then they are archived into a folder once I've responded. It all goes very quickly that way and it works for me. My blog comments all go to a separate e-mail address than the one where I receive all other e-mail. I know not everyone likes having multiple e-mail accounts, but it works for me.

    Sam - You are very right, we do all have our own way of responding to comments. That's, in part, why I don't mind how others respond to my own comments so much. We all do what works best for us--and sometimes that means not responding at all.

  39. I liked reading the results of your poll, too. It makes me think about how I should respond to comments on my own blog.

    I don't know if my email address is accessable. If not it's nikki (dot) demarco (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks for the great giveaway! If I don't win I'm going to go buy a bookworm. They are so cute.

  40. Oooooh, I hope you aren't getting a cold. That would be awful. Fingers crossed that it's only your allergies.

  41. Hello - would love to win one of the BookWorms! I am going to have to check out her site, as I have a houseful of readers!


  42. Those poll results surprise me. I respond to comments by email mainly because 1. it's more personal and 2. sometimes I barely have time to visit other people's blogs, much less revisit posts I've already commented on to check for a response! I know this sounds selfish... but time is of the essence. And that's just my personal feelings.

  43. I love getting comments on my blog and I also enjoy responding to others' blogs (and checking back for other peoples' responses too!)...the community aspect of blogging is so awesome!

  44. Thanks for sharing the results of the poll! I'm glad that you are going to continue with responding with comments. I like the sense of community and it can get a good discussion going sometimes. You can always email someone besides, with a private response.

    The Bookworm looks cool and I would love to win.

    teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

  45. I've started responding to almost every comment on my blogs too.

    Ooh! Those are SO neat! I'd love to win one :o)


  46. This is a terrific post. I'm glad you wrote about the results of your poll. This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I appreciate commentors so much - it's really so important to know that someone enjoys what you have to say. So the conclusion I've come to is that I will begin responding within the comments on my own blog.

    Thanks for addressing this subject in such an informative way :)

  47. It was interesting to read about the results of the poll. I'm glad you're going to continue responding to comments on the posts as you have been doing. :)

    I've been replying to comments on my posts for quite a while but lately I'm trying to make more of an effort to visit the blogs of the people who visit as well. I have a few blogs that I visit regularly regardless (of which yours is one) but for others I thought it seems fair that when I have time the first people I visit should be the ones who visit me. Selfish perhaps but since I can never visit everyone I'd like to, I have to prioritize somehow. This week I've barely had any time for blog reading but I am trying.
    Anyway, those bookworms are very cute! :)
    (tanabata2000 at gmail dot com)

  48. I love it when people leave comments and always try and answer - but don't always remember to go back and check if there has been a response to my response - unless I remember to click the email comments box :)

    I follow over 100 blogs through my google reader - so don't always comment - but if I want to then I can just click onto the link and go directly through to the blog link

    Those bookWorms are the most innovative thing I have seen in a long time - such a simple and effective idea. Just the sort of thing a bookaholic should own :)

  49. I've added all of the new commenters to the drawing! Thanks for entering!

    Nikki - It's interesting to see where my readers stand on the issue of response comments. I wish I could make everyone happy, but it would probably be too difficult for me to remember or keep track of everyone's preferences.

    Dar - It turned out to be just my allergies acting up worse than usual, thank goodness. At least the allergies go away--of course, they do come back quite regularly which isn't so fun. :-(

    Kristi - I like the one I got. It's serving me well so far.

    Monica - I understand where you are coming from. You do have the advantage that you have easy access to commenters email addresses, something I don't have. And the comment notification features as well as Commentful.com have made it rather easy to follow comments on blogs I leave comments on--I am notified directly in my own mailbox so I don't always have to revisit blogs. The way I do it works best for me time wise not to mention I like the more communal atmosphere that goes along with it. But that's just me.

    Lexi - I love the community aspect of blogging. I've met so many great people this way.

    Teddy - You're very welcome. :-) You are definitely right. If I want to, I can still email someone privately.

    Jen - Aren't they neat? I really like mine.

    Joanne - Thank you! I love receiving comments from other people and figure it's the least I can do, to try and respond back. I know that not everyone is able to do that though, especially as busy as life can get sometimes.

    Nat - I'm still amazed at how many people responded!

    I think you have a great idea there, Nat. I do try and visit the blogs of everyone who leaves me a comment as well, although this week I've fallen terribly short in that area.

    Sally - I had a hard time keeping up with checking back for responses on other people's blogs too until I discovered Commentful. It makes things much easier--even though it has it's own stumbling blocks now and then.

    I'm the same way with my Google Reader. I subscribe to so many blogs that I can't comment on them all.

  50. Hi Wendy, I enjoyed reading the results to the poll. I am one of those who subscribes to your comments section because it's always interesting to see what the others say too. :)

    I'd love to be entered for the bookworms giveaway! They're really beautiful!

  51. Alice - It is fun to see what others have to say, isn't it? I added your name in for the drawing!

  52. Personally, it's easier for me to respond to comments via email - the comments that people leave me automatically show up in my inbox, and I can just hit reply and it will go directly to whatever email address they used to make their own comment. For me, that's the least time-consuming way I can do it. But I can absolutely see the value of responding in the comment section, and I may switch to that at some point.

    Thanks for a great drawing! Email is book.addict29@gmail.com

  53. I try to answer the comments, but sometimes it takes me awhile. I respond in the blog comments, but sometimes a comment warrants an email, and I'll send one.

    I think the bookworms look great, and I'd love to be entered! Thanks!

    Diary of an Eccentric
    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

  54. I just ran across your blog from BookWormz blog! I'm adding you to my favorites, and I know what you mean about being subscribed to more blogs than is healthy...:-)

  55. I added you all in for the drawing! Thanks for entertaining.

    Heatherlo - All of the comments left for me on my blog come to my email address too, but Blogger sends them through a router and so it isn't possible to reply to the messages and have them go anywhere but bounce back. Unless someone includes their e-mail address to me in the content of their comment or it's on their website, I don't have access to it.

    It's easier for me just to comment here rather than search out everyone's e-mail addresses. One place stop. :-)

    Anna - I'm not always very quick in responding either, Anna, so I know how that goes. We do our best!

    Angela - I'm so glad you found me! I seem to come across a new blog or two every day. There are so many good ones out there.


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