I was quite stunned a week or more ago when someone made a statement on one of my hubs that she had commented twice and I had snubbed her by not replying. Her comment had been particularly flattering, and probably because I've spent a lifetime being flattered by others only to find that they wanted something from me, I'm not in the habit of responding immediately to flattery. I tend to wait to see if it is genuine.
That said, as a writer of more than half a century (in print one doesn't respond to readers), twenty two years on the web, it never occurred to me that I was supposed to respond to everybody.
What is the etiquette, and what if one is unable to. It is particularly difficult at the moment as I've returned to my native South Africa and it's not as easy to get services as one would suppose. Well, not unless one has a bucket of money, and I don't.
Delete both comments and ignore her. Some people have no idea how to behave. I agree with you, Tess, there's no need to respond to every comment, every follow, unless there's a reason to.
Probably the best thing to do. I was caught unawares.
I am fully aware that I am but a novice here, but I do not feel the same way about manners.
I do feel that if someone reads my article and takes the time to comment, I would be lacking in common good manners if I do not acknowledge it.
Frankly, if I have to choose between being a well mannered person or a famous writer, I'd choose the former.
If you have approximately 2000 articles scattered on the web on various sites, have a further 26,000 to 36,000 followers on various other sites, all of whom are commenting, I would suggest, then, that you get a secretary to help you answer them all. It's pretty much impossible at a certain point to respond to all comments. Not unless you want to stop writing, and forget about the rest of your life.
You have every right to handle comments that way, Marie, provided you respect the fact that others are entitled to do it their way. I wrote an entire Hub on this very subject - you'll find it on the slider on my profile.
I think you're commenting from the perspective of a Hubber who sees HubPages as a place to share their Hubs with friends and followers, and mutually encourage each other. Many people do use HubPages that way, but it's not its primary function.
HubPages is primarily a place to write informative articles for an external audience. Outside visitors don't usually comment unless they have a question, or feel driven to express their opinion. I will answer those comments with a meaningful answer. If an outside person leaves a short compliment, it's usually because they're trying to get some benefit - it's not genuine. HubPages has told us that such irrelevant compliments damage a Hub, and that we should delete them - so I certainly don't want to encourage people by saying thank you for them!
You do come across people like that. I wrote a Hub about HubPages etiquette (you'll find it in the spotlight on my profile).
There are some Hubbers who are intensely social. They think the right way to use HubPages is to read and comment on each other's Hubs, and that includes responding to every single comment, following everyone who follows you, etc etc.
Whereas Hubbers who are here mainly to make an income, don't have time for all that - they need to focus on their external visitors and can't waste too much time socialising with Hubbers. I liken it to spending too much time at the water cooler at work.
Everyone has the right to to use HubPages in a way that suits them, but they have NO RIGHT to insist that every other Hubber does the same. Hubbers should respect each other's methods of using the site.
Marisa. Thank you. I'm with you. Just totally gobsmacked me and I had no idea how to handle at that precise moment as I have been off line. This morning, after contacting the board of the telecommunications company, I think they might reverse their decision to let me have service.
Spot on Marisa.
Some people have limited experience of work and how to spend their time efficiently. It's got nothing to do with manners.
She should not have gotten angry. That being said, it is polite to respond if possible. If you cannot do so, you might want to let people know that you do not always have service and therefore cannot respond (perhaps at the bottom of the article), but that you appreciate all feedback. When you do have service, it is best to respond (at least to some people) with a sincere acknowledgment of some kind.
You do not have to follow anyone unless you want to. However, it is always nice to see what others are up to, so if you find an author you particularly like for one reason or another, the best way to remain updated is to follow them. Best of luck to you here on HubPages!
It might be polite - but who has the time to spend responding to everybody who comments?
You do NOT have to comment on somebody else's comment. Newspapers and journals aren't expected to respond to comments and neither are those who write online.
I reserve my responses for
1) individuals I'm very friendly with
2) comments that are particularly helpful to others.
3) queries arising from the content of the hub
(PS Queries which have nothing to do with the hub are not published!)
Newspapers and journals are outside of the community of people who choose to comment on their articles, so obviously those writers do not comment back. Furthermore, they have constant deadlines to meet.....however, they do leave room for readers to interact with one another.
HugPages is a community, and as such, writers speak to one another just as people in any work setting speak with one another. For example, if someone gave me a compliment for a job well done in the office where I work, and if they also mentioned why they appreciate my work, I would certainly thank them. I would not ignore them and expect them to realize that I'm too busy making money to say "Thanks." So in this respect, I agree with Ron. I would consider such behavior discourteous.
Courtesy is always a good thing.
Also, I will not read articles from those who are uncommunicative. They have their outside readers, so they don't need me. That being said, I do not have hundreds of comments, so I can make time to comment, even if I do work a full-time job elsewhere. Perhaps busy writers should remove their comments capsule. But they won't, of course, and that has little to do with the "courtesy" of keeping the capsule intact for their readers. If they were so concerned with courtesy, they would reply.
That being said, some comments are generic, and one can usually tell if the commenter even bothered to read the article. That's annoying, but it's a different story.
HubPages is NOT a community. HubPages HAS a community. There is a crucial difference.
HubPages' PRIMARY purpose is as an income-producing online resource of magazine-style articles, which are contributed by its writers (just like a magazine or newspaper).
To help motivate and encourage those writers, HubPages has created a writers' community. However that is a secondary activity and it's entirely up to writers how far they wish to participate in it.
I would not dream of removing my comments capsule because that would be denying my readers their right to reply, and their ability to ask me questions or seek advice. Now, that would be rude! Like the newspaper, I'm leaving space for readers to interact with each other. You are just as entitled to use it the way you want to, but equally you should respect other Hubbers' right to take a different view.
1++++++ "what she said!"
Marisa - I'm so glad I'm trailing in your wake - there's no need for me to say anything more than the above!
The answer to, "What Is Hubpages?" according to the introductory page on the HubPages website:
"HubPages is an open community of passionate people—writers, explorers, knowledge seekers, conversation starters. Interacting and informing. Sharing words, pictures and videos. Asking questions. Finding answers..."
I am taking Hubpages at their word. That being said, it is also a revenue creating site, but certainly no place to achieve wealth or security of any kind.
Furthermore, I do respect anyone's choice not to comment. I would hope they also respect my choice to interact with community minded individuals, rather than those who have no interest in my comments or my articles either, for that matter.
When I joined six years ago it was because it was advertised as a community for writers to practice and share their art I didn't even know you could make money here. I guess the reason you joined HP originally shapes how you view the site.
YES, that is absolutely true.
When I joined, the focus was far more on attracting writers who wanted to take a professional approach to creating income-producing articles. We had a lot of full-time writers on the site earning upwards of $1,000 a month from HubPages alone. Their way of using HubPages has certainly defined what I do.
That's odd - because on the home page I see when not logged in it just says
"Discover and create original, in-depth, useful, media-rich pages on topics you are passionate about."
No mention at all of a community. Oddly enough it's also a message directed at the content creators not the audience i.e. those wanting access to the information, writing or answers to the questions.
I provided the link.
In any event, everyone is free to treat HubPages as they wish, provided they follow the basic guidelines. I merely answered the question because the author specifically asked about "etiquette," which is: "the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group."
"it's been a learning curve to accept that others write for emotional satisfaction." That's an interesting statement, but I don't fully agree. Writers are more complex than that---even those who do enjoy community.
Tess has limited time to respond to comments and as I said earlier, she can let people know this is the case, at the end of her articles, if she so chooses. That would be an uncomplicated form of etiquette and it would free up her limited time online. I went through a period where I lived 20 minutes away from the nearest library and I did not have internet at home---nor did I have an iphone. In such cases, I could not respond as quickly as I wished to do.
Absolutely! We each have the right to use HubPages as we choose. What probably touches a raw nerve for us is the tone of some posts along the lines of, "OK you're entitled to use HubPages like that if you want, but I STILL think you're rude". There should be no "but".
Question. What happens if someone reads every single comment. I do. I just don't always have time to respond. And, yay!!! I've just gotten online.
Just to show you have read the comments leave one general reply eg "Thank you all for reading this article, I have limited time to reply but I do greatly appreciate all your comments."
Your perspective - not shared by all
My perspective is the scope to comment is open-ended. What about those who come after a statement like yours?
If we had the scope to add in a preamble to the comments section that would be an appropriate place to say - when you set up the hub
"I appreciate all your comments and do read them all. However I don't have time to reply to you all. I do answer queries when I get the time."
However we don't have that scope (as we did at squidoo). I think that's a pity.
My comments sections are limited to titles which say
"Comments and suggestions - Let me know what you think - but please do not spam"
Exactly, and my perspective is just as valued as anyone else's. Just write it in a text capsule at the end of a hub and immediately before the comments section...easy. That way it covers all comments, takes just a few seconds..of the hours it took to write the hub..couldn't be easier...and it even makes you appear polite.
Tell that to all the people who find their hubs become unfeatured the minute they update them in any way!
I have been following this thread and it has been interesting to read all perspectives and where different people are coming from. I can see how the volume of comments a writer may receive and/or the time it takes him to read and respond to each one may make it unfeasible for him to respond to each comment on an individual basis (even if the writer would very much like to, which I realize is a personal preference). I like the suggestion offered by savvydating and Jodah to the effect of leaving a message to readers at the end of each article expressing appreciation for any comments they may leave and indicating that we (writers) may not have time to reply to each comment. I think this shows that we value our readers as well as their feedback. I believe this is a very important message. As mentioned in an earlier post on here, another idea is to write this message on our bio, although the reader is probably less likely to see it there than he is to see it on each individual article. My thoughts are that in some way, it is important to acknowledge to our readers that we appreciate them and the time they take to read and comment on our articles.
"I think this shows that we value our readers as well as their feedback."
Writers provide a service to readers by entertaining them and informing them. Readers pay for this service. It is not about writers valuing readers. It is other way round.
If you don't have readers you don't make money. You have to value them, or at least respect them.
"If you don't have readers you don't make money. You have to value them, or at least respect them."
You are not talking about respecting readers. You are talking about readers providing you emotional satisfaction for your writing.
A writer respects the reader by writing grammatically, providing informative, accurate, and/or entertaining information. And, yes, for that they get paid.
No, I certainly am not. You obviously misread something I wrote.
I don't think so. I think you misunderstand your own need. Once one requires readers to interact with one, it is not about providing information, etc. to readers. It is about relationships formed. When writing becomes about relationships and not information, then it is an emotional relationship.
When I started writing, there was absolutely no thought of readers having to interact with writers or to flatter them, critique them, or writing communities. This is a product of the last 30 years.
If that is your view, perhaps you should just delete the comment capsule and save yourself the bother.
The comment capsule is a service to readers, not a pat-on-the-back to writers. There have been letters to the editor since magazines and newspapers began. To repeat, nobody is saying that the general public shouldn't be allowed to comment, but the comment feature is not there to serve the writer's ego and sense of satisfaction. It is there to serve the general public.
As Tess said, the PRIMARY purpose comments capsule is a service to readers (so they have the right of reply, and the ability to express opinions/ask questions).
Some people also use it as an opportunity to give a pat on the back to the writer. That's fine, if that's what you want to do. But you don't have the right to insist other people use it that way.
The best way to deal with it is this: if you leave a compliment for an author and he/she isn't grateful enough for you, then just don't read any more of that author's work again. Live and let live.
I'd modify that by saying 'visibly grateful'. Lots of people are appreciative of comments, although they may not have time to respond.
No-one is privy to another's circumstances, so any attempt to read meaning into a lack of response is a bit futile. What if the writer has personal problems that prevent him/her getting on the computer? What if they have been taken ill? What if they've lost their internet connection?
Making a judgement based on a lack of response is a bit daft when you don't know the full facts.
For example, on my main account here, I get notifications every time a comment is made, so it's easy to respond. On the other account, nothing. I have to remember to manually check... and I pretty much forget that account exists anyway.
"HubPages is NOT a community. HubPages HAS a community. There is a crucial difference."
Exceptionally well put!
Newspapers and journals are outside of the community of people who choose to comment on their articles, so obviously those writers do not comment back. Furthermore, they have constant deadlines to meet.....however, they do leave room for readers to interact with one another.
As a professional writer I.e. (someone who solely earns a living from writing), while I understand that some see hubpages and many other writing venues where one earns money as a community, I no more see hubpages as a community than I see the Sunday Tiimes, the New Yorker, or Cosmopolitan as a community.
Even in the days that I worked in offices, I was not interested in fellow workers. My job was always well done and acknowledged so by bosses, but I failed to see then, and I fail to see now, why I have to spend time building friendships with other workers. Certainly they happen, and one of my oldest friends in real life goes right back to my very first job.
This obsession with one making friends in the office is a political and commercial ploy by executive management to compensate for the shoddy treatment of workers by the ownership class. It was never an expectation to 'be friends at the office' until the early 80s. As business became to see workers as nothing more than 'objects,' it became vital to ensure that workers didn't leave. They did so by encouraging emotional connections between workers. Right up until the mid 60s, it was seen as unprofessional to use the office as a means of friendship.
You state "I will not read articles from those who are uncommunicative." I read articles to be more informed and more educated. I guess that's why I have about a million views a month on Google Plus, and I guess that's why government officials, peacekeepers, doctors, and people from all over the world read me - because I am informed. In order to keep informed, I read between two and four books a week on a wide variety of topics. I also read as many studies as possible. I do not read to make friends. And I certainly don't read because I want to be needed.
" some comments are generic, and one can usually tell if the commenter even bothered to read the article. That's annoying, but it's a different story."
You are spot on! Peeves me no end when someone is commenting because they want to be part of the conversation but haven't bothered to read the article. Their comments are generally off topic.
Hmmm. That's a nice story, but I don't believe it. "Millions of views...doctors, lawyers, authors..." Yet you have no money for Internet service, which is excellent in South Africa.
I am sure you have your reasons for saying what you say.
For the record, HubPages clearly states that it is a community.....and obviously, it is not a place to make real money.
However, Hubpages can be a springboard...
So for now, I imagine the forum will provide you with the validation you currently believe you don't require, at least for now.
Most of us have a much different perspective about the totality of life, and joy.
You might enjoy a book entitled "The Devil is a Gentleman" It has a chapter on Satanists and a atheists, which you might enjoy. Try not to exploit it.
Be well, dear. You do have talent.
Savvydating, is it really necessary to be snide and nasty to Hubbers who choose to use HubPages in a different way to you? Can't you just accept that there is more than one way to use this site?
I'll say it again - if you don't like how I and other long-established Hubbers use HubPages, stay away from our Hubs. We joined when HubPages had a different culture. Live and let live and stop being judgmental.
What's the point of explaining it again? The reason they can't let it go is that it's some of trigger that touches on something sensitive.
There's a reason I have never enjoyed writer's communities.
I don't gel with them. They don't gel with me.
I write for money. They write for praise.
So be it.
Anyway, I'm done.
Next time someone makes a comment like that, I just delete it.
I got online late last night and have three or four weeks of catching up to do. See you around.
Between 800,000 and 1 million views per month. I don't get paid for it. And I don't comment on every response. There have been occasions when something I have written has generated 1.2 million views with 500 comments (which is the maximum G+ allows. There isn't any chance that I could respond to them all.
I have, at times, earned a living from writing (quite a good one) for years at a time. But it depends on where I was and when it was. And that hasn't been possible for a number of years.
Internet service is NOT, NOT, NOT excellent in South Africa. Compared to the USA, the EU, and the UK, it is 20 years behind. You're an American. What do you know about Internet service in South Africa?
At the time, I joined hubpages the first time, it advertised itself as a place for earning money, and in those days, writers did. However, it can no longer guarantee that so it has changed its blurb to say it's a community of writers.
I really don't care what you believe. You're irrelevant.
I said I was turned down due to insufficient income - not that I had insufficient income. Telkom only wanted to see bank statements and as I had just relocated back to South Africa, I coudln't provide that only letters of validation. I emailed headoffice and yesterday they cleared me to say that I could have service. Too longwinded to explain.
Gosh - I've just found out I've got 36,983,515 views of my Google profile and never knew!
Just made a new circle - called "Writer People" - and added you to it Tess
Tess, I think your question is a fair one and I completely understand being busy, travelling (or relocating) overseas, and not having convenient and affordable internet access. To answer your question, the way I see it is that when somebody comments on one of my hubs, it shows that they took the time to read it and to write some positive words (hopefully) about it, which I appreciate. It shows that they support me as a hubber and writer. I consider the comment a gift for that reason, so it follows that I will thank the reader for his or her comment. Having said that, each of us has different life circumstances; we are not always able to respond right away to each comment. Given the circumstances, I think it is okay to respond to a comment late along with an apology for the delayed response. I have noticed that a few hubbers have included a message in their bio indicating that they appreciate all the comments they receive, implying that they may not respond to each comment, etc. so this is another approach that can be taken. As for me, I prefer to respond individually to each comment I receive as soon as I am able to, which, for various reasons, is not always right away.
Not all Hubbers see comments in the same way you do, and that is what causes situations like the one Tess experienced.
You see comments as a gift from your readers. That's perfectly fine, there is a significant group of people on Hubpages who use comments as a source of mutual support within the community.
However there is also a significant group of Hubbers who, like me, take a different view. I provide a Comments capsule as a service TO my readers, so they can ask questions and get things off their chest, NOT a place to leave me compliments. In fact I prefer not to get compliments, because it interferes with the discussion. On some of my Hubs, readers' contributions in the Comments are more interesting than the Hub! I don't want to interrupt the flow of those contributions with irrelevant "great Hub" and "thank you" posts.
As Ron said on another thread, obviously these two attitudes don't mix - but there is no need to argue which is right and which is wrong. They are both right, it's just a case of us all respecting others' right to manage their Hub account in the way that works for them.
I agree and would not want to see Tess use her limited internet access to answer those "thank you" comments. If someone leaves a comment with a question about their dogs health or behavior, I always try to answer. "Thank you"s, however, though nice, are usually not answered.
I agree. Comments are a carry over from 'letters to the editor' from our print days. They were never meant to 'support the writer.'
I get a lot of questions about tech stuff. I try and respond where I can, but I don't get hung up by it. Often, other people will actually help them out, lol.
Thanks guys. This is typed from my phone so will reply more personal when I get to the library.
I guess, as a writer, I appreciate all responses and read them all but my responses are dependent on many factors. Will go into that when I have laptop.
I believe the correct etiquette whenever responding or communicating with people, irrespective of who they are, where in the world they are or whether or not they understand your accent, is rather simple and quite easy to remember (even for anyone mentally challenged) - Treat people with the same level of respect you expect from them.
Very true. I do not, ever, expect to be thanked for leaving a comment on a Hub.
This is not about polite people versus rude people. (And even if it was I would argue that feeling entitled to a reply is rude).
It is about whether there is a reasonable and pervassive expectation of reply even when the comment is not a question. I am on Team No as both hubber and a commenter.
I don't blame you for being stunned by that comment. It was very rude. When I first came here I thought it was very important to answer each comment on my hubs, but I would never have dreamed of demanding a response to a comment I left.
Now, I am less scrupulous about responding to every comment. I do really value most comments though, and I have rarely gotten a nasty one. On some of my hubs the comments have really added a lot of valuable information.
Well, despite being gobsmacked, it's been a learning curve. Although I have always regarded writing as a profession (probably because one of my late father's degrees was in journalism and I grew up with him being paid for articles submitted), it's been a learning curve to accept that others write for emotional satisfaction.
Flattery makes me freeze and feel ill. It makes me want to hide offline or at least offsite for several days. I'm autistic and I grew up with many people in my community who alternated between calling me a genius and calling me a retard. As a result, both words are equally foul in my opinion. Anything that smacks of a personal compliment makes me feel like I'm dealing with someone who wants something out of me I don't wish them to take or who wants to look good in front of other people. I know that's not logical, but it's my experience-based feeling. Compliments make me remember all the compliments that were lies told to make someone else feel good for making the way-too-smart retard feel good about herself.
That said, I appreciate comments that address my work and not me as a person.
Those are my feelings about comments that are compliments.
I love comments that ask questions, express some bit of knowledge on the topic my reader wants to share, or contain anecdotes or facts that relate to the topic. I love comments that express opinions on the topic.
Those are my feelings about comments that add to the value of the page for readers.
I dislike comments, even my own, that do not add value to the page for my readers. I make an effort to go through and delete them a few times a year.
Here's where I bump into the elephant in the room. All those back and forth "thank yous" without any topic-related substance in them could be harming your SEO. Any off-topic comments can hurt SEO if the word count of the comments becomes significant compared to the intentional text of the page. Search engines can't always tell the content of a page from the comments on the page and a page's quality and topic are determined by an algorithm analysis of all the words on the page. Why else do you think HubPages introduced the editbots to correct the comments?
If I were to say thank you to every comment on every hub, I'd have hubs on which I'd said thank you more than seven hundred times on a single hub. Even if I only said the two words and nothing else, I'd be adding over 1,400 off-topic words to a single hub. "Thank you for your comment" would bring it to over 3,500 off-topic words added to a single hub by me alone, not even counting all of the off-topic "great job" and "good work" comments left by others. I doubt Google could even sort out what such a page would be about.
excellent point. I will need to look out for this.
You nailed it Kylyssa - thanking people could be damaging the profile of your hub! Love it!
I go back to my premise. Limit comments to ones which are wholly relevant (not inane 'great hub' type comments which can and does get left on any number of hubs) and ones which add value to the reader
* say WHY you found the hub interesting
* say which bit you liked the best and WHY
* ask for more information about a specific aspect
* provide an answer to a question
I have seen a handful of Hubbers turned off by non-responses. I respond when appropriate, but honestly, my time is better spent writing than responding to each and every comment. I certainly don't give it a second thought whether or not a Hubber responds to a comment I leave on one of their Hubs. Don't people have better things to do with their time?
It seems you have created quite a discussion here If you want an opinion only, mine is that it depends on your reasons for using HP. If you want the support of the HP community, it is best to at least acknowledge your appreciation of the comments and/or read. These people are great to network with while supporting one another both on and off of HP. They do understand you have a life elsewhere and cannot always reply quickly or individually. If, on the other hand, all you are looking to accomplish is income by attracting other web users to your hubs, replying to rubbers may not be important. But, anyone popular enough online or off generally has to show appreciation to fans or possibly risk losing some.
"But, anyone popular enough online or off generally has to show appreciation to fans or possibly risk losing some."
Only because big business has removed virtually all opportunity for everybody else. As a voracious reader, I hardly notice the name of the writer. I continue to read Der Spiegel, the Guardian, Google News, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, Reuters, AP, etc. despite the fact that I wouldn't recognize a single journalist. It's not about their relationship to me or mine to them. It's simply that I am interested in information.
I think what is true is that many people are so uneducated and so uninformed today, and they have so little thirst and desire for accurate and abundant information that all they can do is worship celebrities. Possibly because they don't have an intellectual life of their own.
So while I understand where you are coming from, that's not who I am. I have never been a fan of anyone in my life - even as a young child.
Perhaps if you are speaking strictly about journalism, but l have been a content writer for nearly a decade. I make most of my money online selling to other people. True journalism is very different from web content found on most hubs, with a goal of catering to Google's SEO requirements in order to drive more traffic to the page for a click on an add, which then pays half a cent or so. While the goal might be to inform, the goal on HP for most writers is not to report and inform in the manner journalists do. I would never dream of comparing HP to something like a newspaper.
As for fans, it's not necessarily an interest in the celebrities themselves,-but in how they do their art. I'm not talking tabloid trash. I'm talking about favoriteauthors whose work you tend to read over and over or more of as it is produced. Maybe yes don't notice a writer's name in a newspaper or on a website,-but if you return to one particular blog often to read, you like that blog and are, by definition, a fan. But thanks for telling everyone else they have no intellectual life because they have a different point of view about writers, journalists, and bloggers.
I have never read a blog in my life and never will. I have no interest in reading the writing of other writers, and I most certainly have never expected any writer to read mine. I write strictly to provide information for those people who are looking for information. They don't care who I am, and I don't care who they are. The point is the information. I see my job as collating information so that readers who are interested in a topic can read my hubs and be rest assured that they have solid factual information.
There is nothing holy about writing and I have no comprehension as to why I should follow any writer. I follow topics, interests, news, trends, science studies, inventions, think tanks, etc. My interest in who writes the article is only relevant in terms of whether they are qualified to make the statements that they are making.
I'm part geek. Nothing is going to change that.
In that case, the original question is of no importance. Etiquette is generally a matter of opinion anyway.
Actually, I had a strong emotional response to being accused of something I wasn't guilty of, so I'm not quite sure why you would think it had no relevance because I didn't read blogs.
I'm sorry. I only meant that it did mean something to you or you would not have posted the question. That strong emotional response if it had not happened, would mean the question would not be necessary. Either it matters or it doesn't. Whether it matters to you matters not to me. I simply answered the original question with my opinion of how various people perceive comments on HP. If your readers are irrelevant to you, their comments should not matter either. If on the other hand, you appreciate or care about feedback from people, the emotions come from time to time. You are not guilty of anything. Things like this happen all of the time, whether in response to something online or as we go about normal lives. We simply cannot please everyone. Part of you cared enough about what is considered the norm to ask the question. I must say, though, that I think I'm done with this conversation. I've made the only point I intended and there is no point in arguing or defending myself over opinions, my own or of others. I am glad you asked the question, though. It was thought-provoking.
Shanmarie, the point with HubPages is that you cannot have fans, because readers have no way to sign up to be notified of new Hubs. We make our money from external readers who are looking for information about a specific topic, find one of our Hubs, and then may never visit again. That's the way HubPages works.
The community is great, but for many longer-established writers, the community is here on the forums, not on each other's Hubs.
I'd argue the community I am part of is around the Internet - in many different places where I find many of the same names.
As the saying says "Travel broadens the mind"
The people I know who write are those who have their own sites who never allow or tend not to have guest posts. Consequently when I visit their sites - or see it quoted on a compendium site - like Facebook of Google+ - I know who has written it.
In my view HubPages promotes topics rather than authors
I beg to differ. I get emails from hubpages notifying me of a new publication from those I follow. Readers to have a way to do so if they choose. But, then again, I use HP mainly for creative purposes and mostly follow creative writers. If money were my intent, I might view it differently.
There are Hub with thousands of comments, it's impossible to answer to everyone. But I've been scolded for not replying quickly too. Because apparently here we should answer promptly. I think the best is to answer this user question and then explaining your situation, asking for some comprehense. This will solve everything in my opinion.
It sounds like someone is joking with you and pulling your leg. Just say the way you are,keep writing and do not pay any attention to those people who are sunbbing your act.
I try to respond to all comments when appropriate, and time permitting. In your case perhaps your view about Americans being "mentally ill ", medically dependent on drugs as well as having a host of other issues because they may or may not support Trump touched a nerve and a reply was maybe rightfully,expected.
So far as your opinion in regards to American's political preferences, more specifically about Trump...for now I will reserve my opinion since this is not the place to post them.
For me, personally, it's important to try to respond to comments. I consider it a matter of courtesy. So, I make it a practice to respond to at least someone's first comment on a hub, though maybe not to subsequent ones. One exception is when the hub provokes a discussion among readers in which they are responding to one another rather than addressing their comments to me. I read those comments to make sure they are appropriate, but usually won't respond.
When I comment on someone else's hub, I take their response, or lack thereof, as indicating whether they value input from the HP community. If they fail to respond, that tells me my input was not valued, so I won't bother commenting on their hubs in the future. If I read a hub and see that the author has not responded to previous comments of others, I won't make one.
To be honest, when I see a hub where the writer doesn't respond to comments, it shapes my view of that writer. I often read the hubs of others expressly for the purpose of supporting members of the HP community. A writer who ignores comments comes across to me as not being interested in that kind of community support, so I probably won't spend time reading their material.
And that's OK. If their entire focus is on external traffic, my crossing them off my list won't bother them, and it frees up my time to read and comment on hubs where the author may be encouraged by what I have to share.
That's exactly how I see it, Ron. We all have different priorities. Live and let live!
Professionally (i.e. someone who earns their living from something), it is not considered a matter of courtesy to respond to every reader who has something to say. If writers did that, they wouldn't have time to write. It has never been considered professional behaviour.
I value the opportunity to earn money on hubpages highly. The fact that I don't respond to every comment has nothing to do with it. As for input from HP community, unless one is posting on the forum, generally each article is aimed at Google traffic. From commenting on hundreds of newspapers and magazines internationally, and winning the prize winning slot 2/3 of the time, I can tell you that comment is to the editor for the benefit of the other readers - not for the writer.
"To be honest, when I see a hub where the writer doesn't respond to comments, it shapes my view of that writer." That's probably because you want affirmation as a person, not because you're looking for hard core information. And, no, I'm not interested in emotional support. I'm interested in earning a living.
Some people see this place as a community
Some people see this place as somewhere to publish articles and they tend to be much more interested eg external traffic and making efficient use of their time.
I don't make a distinction between hubbers and others - however I do make a distinction between whether a comments needs a response or not
I agree totally Ron, and have the same approach as you. If someone doesn't acknowledge my comment on their hub I don't bother reading any of their other hubs. I also reply to all Initial comments on my own hubs and try to make time to read a hub by each commenter.
One doesn't read the work of writers because one wants to befriend them and/or because one wants them to reciprocate. One reads hubs or anything else as a source of information for entertainment. I don't expect authors to befriend me because I read their books, and I certainly don't expect journalists to respond to my opinion because they wrote the article.
But when reading books and magazines you don't have the opportunity to comment on them to the author immediately after reading as we do on HubPages with a built in comments section on each hub. So in my opinion you can't really compare them. But we obviously all approach commenting or not the way that suits our circumstance. However if I was harassed or made to feel guilty for not replying to someone's comment I would probably be annoyed and delete it as well.
The fact the comments module is published does not mean people are owed responses
I would however point out to people that there is an option to disable showing the comments module. If comments didn't factor into how a hub was rated maybe people would use that more?
....but if you comment on an article in a newspaper or magazine, do you expect the editor or author to respond to you? If not, why should HubPages be any different? HubPages is just like a magazine and we are all staff writers. At least, that's how Hubbers like me see it.
I know you see it differently and that's where the different attitude to comments arises.
I'm just interested to know if the people who don't leave or reply to comments on hubs ever leave fan mail for other hubbers or approve fan mail left for them?? Or do you see that as also totally irrelevant like comments?
I very, very rarely follow other Hubbers, so I can't remember the last time I left fan mail.
Again, if HubPages is a magazine and we are all staff writers, then I don't see why I should feel obliged to read the work of my fellow writers. They do their job, I do mine - if I want to chat with my colleagues, I do that on the forums.
I don't have any control over whether people follow me or leave fan mail - so if they do leave fan mail then I will approve it.
And just to clarify, I don't see comments as irrelevant - if the comment is someone expressing an opinion or asking a question about the Hub, then they are relevant obviously. That's why I provide a comments capsule, as a service to readers who have something they want to express. In fact I think it would be rude not to provide a comments capsule, as that would prevent readers having the right of reply.
As for comments affecting how a Hub is rated - as you know, scores are meaningless.
....and thank you for raising the issue.
I have used the magazine comparison before, but only to help newbies understand the quality required. Thanks to your persistent questioning, I now realise that the magazine comparison extends much further, explaining how comments and following and fan mail etc are treated by those who write for income. So thanks for helping me work that out!
@Jodah - Why - what relevance does that have to anything?
People participate in different ways - period.
Why are you suggesting comments are totally irrelevant when nobody has suggested they are.?
I think you've completely misinterpreted what has been said. Maybe go back to the beginning and try reading through again?
makingamark, I feel it is relevant to know how others think about this and if they treat fan mail the same as they do comments. No, I don't have to go back and reread....it has been suggested if not actually stated. I don't really care either way..you either leave comments or don't ..up to you..no big deal.
I understand where you're coming from Jodah but like makingamark, I wondered if you had misunderstood our comments about comments (LOL).
I can't emphasise enough that comments ARE important - I can't see anyone on this thread saying that they NEVER respond to comments, or ignore them (apart from one person who's got way behind!).
The difference is in the type of response. I will answer comments if I can add value to the conversation (e.g. when. someone has asked a question, or presented a counter argument, or added a new fact that I wasn't aware of). I won't answer comments if I have nothing meaningful to say.
Commenting for politeness is important to some people and not to others
Commenting to make friends is relevant to some people and not at all to others
Commenting in response to somebody who asked a valid question is of value - and most people do this. (Rhetoric doesn't count)
Commenting because somebody made a constructive comment which added value to the hub is also of value and may well merit a response - but it's not required.
If you want avoid nasty comments and therefore don't permit the comments module to appear on your hub that is also OK - so long as the content of a hub stays within HubPages rules for acceptable content.
It is to me or I wouldn't have asked it, but you obviously don't think so so don't bother answering.
No I didn't say that I didn't think so.
My question indicates I can't think of a reason why it would be - which is a completely different point. I was asking you to enlighten me.
For what it's worth, I think fan mail has little value unless it is a genuine expression of real value to the author.
I also think fan mail is used a lot by people who want other people to like them. Whether it achieves that aim I have not a clue.
I know the fan mail I get that I really appreciate is the email that comes from people having taken trouble to find my email and to write to me personally in a way which is not advertised to all and sundry. That's the fan mail that I always answer.
Thank you for "enlightening me", I just wanted to compare the correlation between how comments and fan mail was viewed. I personally think it is a compliment to get fan mail, more so than just being followed. Now I am happy and can spend more of my precious time answering comments on my hubs, and catch up with the reading and commenting on the hubs of all those I follow.
I've been spending too much time on the forums lately, it really isn't my preferred scene.
Spot on Tess
The issue seems to be whether or not you are participating in HubPages as some sort of community or because you want to write
Be forewarned. I never respond to comments, leastwise so far. I never reciprocate, leastwise not recently. I am a slacker and have accepted that.
I have so many comments that I've never even approved -- nearing 150 or 200, I think. I let them stack up too long and now I just can't face the task. Plus I just don't feel like it. One of these days... maybe.
you should just reply to the comments made by hubbers who are popular you don't want to lower yourself by giving every person aknowledgement then you will lower your own reputation. it doesn't matter whether the comments are good or not just kiss the right butts and then you will get more popular. i appologize in advance if you are popular already i am new here and don't know who the big kahunas are yet.
You mean just act like a creep?
I reply only to comments that ask a question. There is no 'reply notification' so I assume most commenters will never return to the hub and so never see any comment I made in response to their comment.
Generally online, a policy of "give freely, expect nothing in return" works best all around. Hubpages or not, every community has its culture, and in some cases subcultures. Because no one wants to say that there is a particular culture for Hubpages overall, you will find subcultures reign.
Inside a subculture you find greater expectations, but greater rewards if you are a good fit.
I haven't quite made up my mind just what Hubpages is, but it seems that people here fit in a "forum" style. You have to toughen up your skin if you're sensitive or stay under the radar.
That is my two cents. Basically it means do whatever you want, but don't be surprised when you knock into someone and get a consequence or two.
I am still smoldering about some things, but revert to the first attitude, which helps me move on.
It's a excellent point - but I'm not convinced all Hubbers fit into the "forum" style.
There are definitely two extremes of Hub culture - those who see HubPages as a community first and foremost, and those who see it as a place to earn money first and foremost. Most Hubbers are probably somewhere between the two.
Those who see it as a community first, set great store by reading and commenting and thanking and following etc etc. Some mistakenly believe that's the way to make money on HP - others know it isn't, but have decided earning an income isn't their priority. In that sense they are using it more like a writers' Facebook or Linkedin.
Those who see it as a place to earn money may barely participate in the community at all. They will follow very few other Hubbers, won't respond to comments unless they have something meaningful to say, and won't read or comment on other Hubs. In that sense they're treating HubPages more like a blog.
I think the second group tend to be on the forums more, because the first group does so much of their socialising on each other's Hubs.
Funny you should say "treat it like a blog" which probably has more to say about what blogging has become Old time blogging, like I did before 2005 was very much about sharing, commenting on each others posts, etc.
Having come over from Squidoo, the culture here is not one I find easy to access for some reason. They are all communities of some sort, just as forums are... I was calling that "subcultures". While I learned alot about monetizing from the community at Squidoo, maybe I am naive when I say there can't be too many that are here just to make money.
Yes, I probably am ignorant of that whole sector. I have gravitated toward trying to turn my writing into more of a business than a hobby, personally, and that is why I like to analyze and observe what goes on in these communities (for my own information).
Besides it is kind of a fascinating social phenomenon.
I used to spend LOTS of time on forums, and believe me, whether on their hubs or here all who interact with each other very much behave in a manner like the forums. Maybe it is just how online communities organize themselves? I don't know.
LOL! I have to say something about FB: using facebook like a forum is just plain scary- no moderators!
You are exactly right. I'm here to earn money. That's it. And it doesn't make one earn money by befriending other hubbers. This does not mean I haven't made friends with other hubbers. I have. But we became friends because we had things in common, not because they were on hubpages. That's just where I met them.
That's a really good way of putting it.
The interesting thing is that some of those I met on Squidoo I now hang out with and have as friends on Facebook. Who they are very largely depends on whether we would have found things in common anywhere we happened to meet. It's not just because we met on a writing site.
Thinking about it - the real communities I belong to are now all on Facebook.
I just love Facebook Groups - always subject focused and we all like the same stuff!
Birds of a feather flock together! That reflects my real life experience as well. While my real life friends (outside cyber world) definitely comprises writers (journalists, best selling authors, screenwriters, etc), all my friends are friends because we like talking about the same things and respect each other as people. Ironically, none of us like talking about writing...
I agree. Good point. And I rarely participate in forum discussions because of I don't go looking for discussions, but this one came up in my feed and caught my attention.
For me, I try to respond to all comments provided they relate to the topic in my hub. My challenge is the response time - sometimes I go 10 days without having time to check HP as my day/night job and family take priority.
BTW - I have a sister who never responds to email or text messages unless she wants something. She treats our communication like I am feeding her information and no response is required... people are people and will do what they want without regard to etiquette...
Not responding because you are busy doing other things, forgetful, or don't feel you have time to stop and respond is just life and understandable.
Making the time to respond is preferable and definitely common courtesy. Isn't that one of the reasons we write? To influence, entertain, and provoke commentary? Comments are fantastic in my book!
Not responding because you think a particular hubber is "not popular" or you don't want to damage your reputation by interacting with them is something I vaguely remember from high school or even elementary. Wow. That kind of attitude is extremely off-putting and I would avoid those writers (hubbers).
Good luck everyone out there and enjoy the comments you do get as I do, because they are a confirmation that people are reading!
"Isn't that one of the reasons we write? To influence, entertain, and provoke commentary"
No, that is absolutely and utterly not why I write. Never has been.
I started writing in 1962 or 63 when I read an article in the Sunday Times and told my late father I disagreed. "Time to write a letter to the editor," he said. I wrote, expressing my disagreement and it was published verbatim. The topic was apartheid. My late father encouraged all of his children to be citizens, i.e. to actively partake in the political process.
I write about politics and the economy, and my motivation is to inform - but never to influence, entertain, or provoke commentary.
My other motivation is strictly money.
Aside from informing, uses you write for an actual paying site and not a revenue sharing site like HP, you need to focus more on Google requirements rather than the information, or at least make sure the SEO is not overlooked. Because it is not the reading that earns the money, assuming a person stays long enough to read. The income is from people clicking on ads to other sites.
Google's requirements for a page or site to rank highly is that it is informative and adds value to the reader
There's also more than one way of making money.
Some people make far from Amazon than they ever do from the adverts. That's because irrelevant adverts get served up on niche topics whereas if you highlight the right product on a niche topic with a niche audience you're far more likely to get a positive response.
And you think I don't know this... Why?
You really opened a kind of Pandora's box by commenting upon comments. I read through the thread of responses and was surprised to find the level of passion people conveyed on their individual perspective regarding the subject. Most of the stuff I "publish" to HubPages receives a zero comment response, although I can see from the stats page that I get a fair amount of traffic. Getting a zero comment response leaves one to wonder whether the Hub was entertaining or not. Maybe because of this, I tend to leave very long (probably too long) comments for fellow writers who wrote something of real interest to me. I'm pretty conservative about the number of people I follow, and consequently I don't have a huge following myself, and this is how I prefer it. If a Hub moves my mind to any degree, I feel obligated to let the writer know how his/her material had an impact upon me. Either a Hub moves you or it doesn't. Sometimes I leave negative feedback, but even this seems to be appreciated by the more erudite writers. They, like myself, welcome comments -- even if the comment represents some level of opposition to their point of view. I'm not alone in being a writer who usually receives zero feedback. I've read some great stuff that may have been posted years ago and will find that they also received no comments. Sometimes I'm rather astonished because the subject can often be controversial ... yet there are no comments. I've come to accept zero response as the norm. When I set up my account I did something wrong so I've never earned a dime off the HubPages site, and I could correct this but haven't bothered. Maybe some are earning a thousand bucks per month -- good for them. I'm living at a subsistence level and should be eager to try and make a few dollars of my own, but I'm not into writing for payback. It's not logical but I'm just happy to be included in a forum where my junk can be read -- even by a few. For me that's gratifying enough. I write because I can't help myself to do otherwise. I have a drawer full of short stories and even two novels that just sit there. Most probably no one will ever read this material because I make no effort to see that it gets any kind of distribution -- free or otherwise. Putting it another way, I simply write for myself. Like any other writer, I feel gratified by getting a comment or two here on HubPages. Writing a response to a response seems unnecessary unless there is some bone of contention. My stuff doesn't seem to generate much contention -- in fact I don't think I've ever received anything other than compliments. It seems ridiculous to say thank you to everyone that has left favorable returns. However, anyone who spends even a few minutes to provide a comment is someone I will end up exploring myself. Since my returns are modest, I can take the time to do this because I'm interested in those who find some merit in my work (if I can call it work). Nearly 90% of the time I'll find that the commenter has posted some really interesting writing of their own, and so I'll subscribe to them. So, leaving comments can pay off if you are at all interested in expanding your own articles/poems/stories/whatever. Writing is a lonely "business" even if you are doing it for your sole satisfaction. We don't get a pat on the back for every well-written sentence. If you are in it for the cash -- good luck to you. Maybe getting even a tiny check is equivalent to that pat on the back. I cannot say because I receive neither one or the other. My idea can be reduced to the following: Be generous. To the degree possible be supportive. Leave as many comments as possible -- just for the other guy/gal to know that he/she isn't operating in a vacuum. Take the time to leave meaningful comments. Hearing someone say "I liked this," is nice to receive but we all want to know specifically what impressed them or left them cold. Since I write as a hobby and not as a source of income, I can feel generous about my time in leaving detailed remarks. Providing a comment is an art in itself. You are still writing, still trying to communicate something, so don't be stingy unless you are in the money-making group and feel you must commit your time toward producing rather than offering any kind of insightful feedback for a fellow writer. As previously stated I'm operating at a subsistence level, yet I enjoy providing comments if a given piece is well-crafted. I suppose most Hubbers are into this project with the intention of earning some extra cash. So, they have a different focus than my own. Maybe after I've written a thousand Hubs of my own I'll wake up and smell the coffee. I kind of doubt it. But even if you are into this for a few extra bucks, try to be generous with your comments. Providing feedback is the only pat on the back we're ever going to get. And if we cannot support each other in this easy fashion who else may we rely upon? I guess some number of "outsiders" drift into something posted on HubPages, but they are the least promising audience to leave a comment. Being mutually supportive is not incestuous. The intercourse is all intellectual, not physical, right? You don't have to offer thanks to everyone who may shower you with a bit of praise. I don't expect to be thanked for leaving my remarks but I sense that a lot of authors feel obligated to recognize almost every response with a personal "thank you." It's absurd. If I offer you kudos on an article, I don't want to be thanked for it. Saying that you liked/disliked an article and explaining why is sufficient. The author is going to read your remark, and it's up to him/her to digest whatever you have to say. Giving thanks to thanks is a bit too much. As a fellow contributor I enjoy receiving any kind of positive response. But blessing the commenter leads to a kind of Mobius Loop. If you thank someone for responding to your stuff, is the responder supposed to then thank you for thanking them? This could go on ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Just let the commenter's statements stand on its own. You wrote your piece (for better or worse) and you have to just let it hang out there and accept whatever response -- even if it amounts to a zero response.
+1000 very well said rjbatty. I am off to check your hubs.
RJBatty raises a very good point, which I omitted.
As I said, I never respond to comments unless I have something meaningful to add to the discussion. So that means I don't thank people for comments.
However if someone has left a thoughtful and relevant comment, I will go and look at their Hubs and see if I can find some which interest me and where I can make meaningful comments in return. Which takes more time than just saying thank you.
As Kylyssa points out, meaningless comments and thank-yous can actually damage a Hub - leaving relevant comments for each other is far more valuable.
I had to go and check your hubs to see if you knew what a paragraph was. That was really difficult tor read because you pushed it all into one paragraph.
I'm wondering at which point one can accept that it's just not possible for writers to respond to most comments.
Personally - and as a matter of principle I NEVER (except this one time) comment on writing that lacks paragraphs appropriate for online reading - or just lacks paragraphs period.
i.e. I can't comment as I find it difficult to read.
Gee wiz, kids, I'm sorry about not inserting paragraph breaks. Just as a heads up, don't try reading any Russian literature. I'm not comparing myself to the likes of Dostoyevsky, but some of the best writers composed entire pages without paragraph breaks. I mean, come on, guys. You have difficulty reading text without paragraph breaks? Really? I suppose if you stated so it must be true, but, well, okay. I'll remember that in the future.
Just a general thank you to everybody who responded. Regardless of whether some feel that comments are there to support the writer rather than discuss the topic or respond to the topic, I gathered from this that there are a variety of views on hubpages and it's more about how I want to treat the comments.
So my policy is basically that I read it all, respond if clarification is needed, and if I have a busy day or a busy week, will probably not respond at all despite reading it all.
I receive a number of compliments on things I've written. I usually respond to say "thank you," or. I am glad you enjoyed it," or thank you for sharing your experience "... or ... something. People like to know they're being heard and, in this day and age, social interaction has become important to the success of internet and its social sharing needs. For me, it may not be much, but unless something just absolutely needs to be deleted completely, I try to be polite.
When people ask if I can help them find something, I give it an easy try but mostly direct them to sources or give suggestions that might help on their search. I have a lot of folks ask if I can help them find such and such product or cartoon that they vaguely remember. I cannot help everyone and I certainly don't have much to go on with someone's vague memory. But I always want my readers to know I appreciate their patronage and am listening to their questions (even if I cannot answer them).
We journalists have become more than disseminators of information; the social aspect has opened up that fourth door. Personally, I have had to adapt to this new way of business because the word-of-mouth aspect is now very important.
Writing and editing articles are only part of the package. There is good public relations and social sharing and promotions and all the rest. It's a different world for journalists, to be sure.
Any online writer will agree with you. It's not enough to just write the articles - you have to engage with your audience if you want to build readership. However, the people who leave compliments on your Hubs are not your audience! The culture of posting compliments on articles exists only on writing sites like HubPages. The people who post compliments are overwhelmingly other members of the site.
Some Hubbers are here mainly to socialize - and for those Hubbers, whiling away the time exchanging social niceties is what HubPages is for. They'll never make much money because their focus is inside HubPages. If you're in that camp and enjoying it, good luck to you - that's your privilege. But if you're here to make money, then getting involved in the never-ending circle of reading and complimenting each others' Hubs is a dangerous thing, because it diverts your attention from your real audience. Therefore, I don't thank people for compliments because I don't want to get sucked into that culture. If someone leaves a compliment and is upset because I don't say thanks, they won't do it again on my other Hubs - and that's fine with me.
A more common reason for posting a compliment is self-interest - the person wants you to reciprocate (in other words, you're expected to go and say nice things about one of their Hubs even if they're a cr@p writer). Or they are a non-member, and if you check their name, you'll see it's a link to their website (which they're trying to promote). If someone is posting for their benefit, then I don't see why I should thank them!
Go and take a look at any popular blog. You'll see lots and lots of comments. Occasionally you'll see compliments, but generally they're part of a bigger comment (e.g. thanks, this blog is great, and I wondered if you can help me with...."). The blogger will likely offer a newsletter or ebooks too, and have a Facebook page on the same subject area as the blog. Thanks to all that, the blogger will have direct contact with his followers and know exactly who and where they are. THAT's engaging the reader. You can't do that on HubPages - it's the major disadvantage of HubPages as a writing platform (however, there are several advantages that for some, outweigh that issue - but that's another topic).
I have one hub that has become almost a forum. People come and share stories and advice in the comments. I pop in once in a while to add my two cents, but mostly I just approve the comments, and it takes care of itself.
Marisa, that is correct. My INTJ article, to date, has some 150 comments. Serious ones. I respond when necessary.
I haven't gotten many comments in comparison to the majority of people on this thread, nor am I as active but when I do get a compliment I have a similar confusion on how to respond. All of mine have been 'thank yous', which have been nice but I am rather shy and don't know how, or if, I should respond.
The best advice I've gotten is to reply when there is an opening to, such as in response to a question or when I have something to add. Which seems to be advice given here too. As someone in the short story section, this isn't a common thing to receive in comments. It's good to know that I am not the only one questioning this though.
Thanks for dropping by, because I hadn't thought about fiction. My advice was related to factual articles only.
If you're writing fiction, the whole purpose of the comments section is (usually) to get feedback on the quality of writing, the structure, the language etc etc. Most of that will be from members of HubPages, and the best way to show your appreciation is to go and comment on some of their fiction. Because you're not relying on search engine traffic, you don't have to worry about "meaningless" comments damaging your keyword density, so from that perspective it doesn't matter what you say in the comments.
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