To all the people whose comments I wiped, please accept my apologies. I didn't want to do it, but I had to. I teach three college classes; write two regular blogs; research and write numerous articles on high technology; spend six hours a week pumping iron in the gym; and pump out a couple of novels a year. Once in a while I like to say Hi to my wife. There are only so many hours in a day.
At this point, only about one in ten comments I receive get published, anyway. There are many reasons for that, so I thought I'd post a quick entry suggesting some dos and don'ts that, if you follow them, will up your chances of having your comment see the light of day, and might just reduce the amount of stuff I have to wade through every day.
* Do be patient. Fielding comments is low on the priority list compared to everything else, such as writing new entries. It often takes me a while, but I try to read every comment.
* Do feel free to express your opinion in a comment to this blog.
* Do feel free to disagree with any position expressed in any posting. That just makes a healthy environment for ideas.
* Do fee free to suggest blog entry topics. I often take up subjects suggested by commenters.
* Do use standard English. It's amazing how many comments are unreadable because of simple errors in English. That includes spelling, sentence structure and using the right word to say what you mean. Nobody expects you to be letter perfect, but try hard. Even if English is not your native language, you want what you have to say to be heard. That won't happen if what you say is unintelligible.
* Do think about what you want to say before you start writing. There is always a "take home lesson" for everything you write. That's a phrase or two that you expect your readers to recall later on. If you don't know what you wanted to say in the first place, how will anyone else figure it out?
* Do write out what you want to say before you put it into the comment text box. Many commenters have commended me on how clear my writing is. That's the result of editing. I typically run everything through several (5-10) revision cycles before posting it. My latest novel, which is in the production stage right now, has already been through 11 separate revisions, and most of those revisions were proofread 3-5 times. You can start on a separate word-processor document, then copy and paste into the comment box when you're satisfied that what you've written actually says what you want to say. Nobody expects you to spend a lot of time revising a blog comment, but you need to take the time to make sure it says what you want it to say.
* Do sign with your name, or at least a "handle" that serves as a name. Your handle should NOT be a marketing message! "Buy my stuff" is not a valid handle. Neither is "my stuff's the greatest thing since sliced bread."
* Don't expect a response. Generally, I don't respond to blog comments unless I have a specific reason for wanting to. If I do, count yourself lucky. Less than one out of a hundred comments get a response.
* Don't use profanity. This is a G-rated (well, at least PG) blog. Profanity in comments won't see the light of day. My own writing varies from G to XXX, but I know when and where to say what.
* Don't repeat comments. A lot of commenters write basically the same message in comments to multiple entries. That just fills up the space, and ticks me off because I've got to sort through it. I can tell, and will dump repeated comments in a heartbeat.
* Don't include your marketing message. It's my blog. If you want to sell your product or service, start your own blog. Yes, I often promote my books. That's the point: I promote my books in my blog. You don't promote your stuff in my blog. If you try to, I'll just toss your comment into the dustbin.
* Don't fill up my pending comments box with long strings of text that mean nothing. That's a variation on the old denial-of-service attack. But, it doesn't work here. It takes you a lot longer to paste a pile of rubbish in the comments textbox than it does for me to hit the delete key.
* Don't use blog comments to yammer on about something that you want to talk about, but which has nothing to do with the blog. Put that content in your own blog.
* Don't imagine that sucking up to me by piling a lot of praise into your comment will get your marketing message published. I get plenty of praise. If I see a marketing message, your comment's gone!
Those, I think, are the main things to think about when writing a blog comment.