A comment on “A Comment on comments” … and Sphinx

So, yesterday I posted a quick observation about the state of comments on this blog (and maybe blogs in general, based on some of the feedback).

I might have come across as rueful of the situation, hence let me clarify a few things because I fear unintended consequences from that post . . .

Namely, I fear an increase in comments due to people (consciously or unconsciously) thinking I was pressuring them (consciously or unconsciously) to comment more often.

Well, let me set the record straight . . .

I’m not trying to pressure anyone to comment, and I’d rather people didn’t comment unless they actually are moved to do so by the content of the post (or other comments).

Meaning, it’s perfectly fine to read a post, nod in obvious agreement (or shake one’s head in obvious disagreement) with everything I wrote, think to yourself about how amazing (or idiotic) this Disperser character must be, and then to move on without leaving a comment. (Grammarly is telling me to remove the “to”, but it flows with the previous bold portion of the paragraph.)

My previous post was a bit observational, a bit self-reflection, and my thought about comments got subsequently expanded/modified by (ironically) the comments it generated.

Yes, there were a fair number of comments, and that’s the thing . . . people comment when I write something that motivates people to comment, and don’t comment when there’s nothing to comment about.

. . . thus, it’s not surprising that many of my recent posts have few comments.

Some people almost always comment, probably as a way to let me know they’ve read the post or to show appreciation for something I’ve posted, and their comments are always appreciated.

Really, what I pondered about was not the drop in comments, but the lack of discussions (the post should have been “A comment about discussions“).

BUT, the reasons for a lack of discussions might be a combination of 1) I don’t do instructional/opinion/observational posts as much as I used to (although I drop the occasional zinger about this or that subject), and 2) some of the people who used to engage in discussions are no longer with us (or are otherwise engaged).

So, to recap . . . it’s mostly my fault and the change in my posting habits that likely stymied healthy discussions. That, and perhaps the fact life offers a lot more distractions than it used to (good or bad, that).

Hence, it’s perfectly understandable that a passing reader might not be moved to engage with the blog.

I do the same thing when I cross a new blog and read something that’s interesting or intellectually stimulating. My first instinct is to comment . . . and my second instinct is to wonder if I really need to spend time on commenting on a blog of a stranger . . . and my third instinct is to wonder if I really need to engage with said stranger who then might become a future Internet friend. Because adding Internet friends adds obligation and further taxes my already taxed available time (there be snacks to be eaten, YouTube videos to be watched, and navels to contemplate).

. . . and that assumes the blogger is interested in what I have to say. I’ve had enough negative experiences to make me hesitant about speaking up. Consequently, I’ve had many instances where I’d already written a comment only to then pause, reconsider, and delete the comment without posting it. And, if I’m doing it, likely others are as well.

Then there’s my FAQ . . . non-careful readers might get the impression I don’t want them to comment unless they agree with me. The actual interpretation is a more nuanced (and possibly the opposite), but that requires careful reading . . . a sort of built-in filter, if you will.

So, where are we with all this comments stuff?

Let me try and summarize it . . . comment if you have something to say that will add value to other readers; comment if you have something to say that you think I or others might be interested in; comment if you want to let me know you’ve either enjoyed or hated the post or a portion thereof; comment if you want to engage in a conversation, an exchange of ideas, or a discussion about a particular topic or point. Don’t worry about not commenting if none of those apply.

I’m fairly generous with my time when it comes to interacting in the comments area, especially if it results in an intelligent, honest, and engaging expression of similar or opposing ideas or beliefs.

And now, one more photo of the White-lined Sphinx Moth (LINK) that visited our patio just before sunset last night. Sometimes also referred to as the Hummingbird Moth, they’re supposed to be numerous, but this was the first specimen I’ve seen since we moved to Illinois.

Some might recall my previous sighting while in Colorado (eight years ago, and documented in THIS post). The shooting conditions last night were not ideal, so I’m fairly happy with these shots (and, yes, more will be shared). As usual, click on the photos for a larger version.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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