I am normally pretty happy to hear opinions on things I do well and not so well, but I have to admit that I become a little wary of suggestions I receive at midnight as I did last night. Here's the scoop: A person (who shall remain nameless) sent a comment to my blog that I chose not to publish. As the blog owner, I have that right to do so, or so I thought.
Here is the lovely e-mail I just received (edited for length, grammar and spelling):
I'm not an editor, just a reader who looks to your publication to give me insight into my world and how others are facing the challenges it presents. So if you will, please let me explain myself and why I think the blog responses should be very visibly published.
I love reading the blogs and always look for comments. They are my colleagues' insights essentially and I can learn a lot from them that can help me be better at what I do. Right now, the responses that you get are invisible and therefore useless to your readership. That's why a zero, when you have received comments, is discouraging and kind of turns me off to the blog's value.
Why do that when you can open the comments and establish your magazine as a place to go and read for news and the insights of colleagues as well. I have a comment, now days old, that you have not addressed, ok'd or denied and that's what prompted my original questions on its status. If others have written in and they see the same result, they will stop writing.
I might suggest that the blogs appearing in your publication can engage readers and tie them to anticipating your e-mail news. Part of that is the blog's concept of reader involvement and response. Whole threads create viewers who log on to read them and subsequently read and subscribe to the magazine. That helps subscription rates and in getting advertisers to go with you and not another publication.
Your magazine is positioned as a very important source of industry awareness, info, and news. That's why I suggested turning on the comments so they, after you screen them can appear and you can leverage the blogs accordingly.
So about my comment...still invisible. And not publishing it is of course ok, but please let me know or the respondent know that and why. Don't leave them hanging and wondering.
I have comment moderation enabled on my blog, which means that if someone posts a comment I am able to look at it prior to publishing it (exactly what this person suggests I should have in place). Normally, if a comment is relevant to a topic and does not offend anyone, I will publish it. Unfortunately, I was out of the office sick when this individual's comment was posted to my account and I did not see it until this morning. But by then, I had already received a late night e-mail from this person berating me for not publishing the comment.
The fact is I do not get a lot of comments to my blog postings â€” the web stats say you are reading and subscribing to the feed â€” but comments are minimal. And most people I have spoken with says it takes years to build that sort of trust among readers. Hey, it is even rare to get a "letter to the editor" and the publication has been around for four years now.
So, it is disheartening to hear that this person finds my blog has little value because I do not have a lot of comments. But I think my blog is to first, deliver breaking news to you and second, to give you the opportunity to see items I hear about that you may not know about (expand your knowledge of the industry, maybe?) Of course, you are forced to hear about some of my opinions in the process â€” but that is what will help get some more discussions going.
I believe discussions are great and we've had some good ones on this blog â€” remember the arming parents at schools feed this past fall? â€” but I will not post comments because someone tries to strongarm me into it. That is not the point.
But if you think differently, please don't hesitate to let me know.