In the past, we’ve used this blog to post news and updates about our commenting software. We hope IntenseDebate has improved your overall experience on different sites — including your own.
This time around we thought it’d be helpful to offer tips on commenting in general. What’s the point of setting up and using IntenseDebate’s features if you make comments in the blogosphere but no one engages with you? We’re all for an intense debate, but your comments must always help to generate a lively, healthy, and constructive discussion.
Here are some tips on how to be a more thoughtful and effective commenter:
- Read entire posts and responses. With IntenseDebate, you can respond to and moderate comments on-the-go with the help of email notifications and the handy reply-by-email feature. But be careful, as other commenters can tell if your comment is made in haste. Always read a post in its entirety before leaving a comment. Use the option to subscribe to all comments so you can read all other comments before adding your own.
- Contribute something new. A post often acts as the springboard for a new conversation. Instead of a simple “great post” or “thanks for writing this” or “I really enjoyed your take,” add something substantial and new to move the discussion forward — add another point to the original post, respond to a question posed by another commenter, or ask your own follow-up question to which the original poster or anyone else can respond. Remember: your reputation score is based not just on the quantity, but the quality of the comments you make across all sites with IntenseDebate.
- Get to the point. A comment is exactly that — a comment. Succinctness is important, and a comment should never be the length of a blog post. If you have a lot to say on a particular subject, leave a teaser in the comment section that summarizes your stance, and then link to a relevant post on your own site that expands on the topic. You not only express what you have to say, but also draw readers to your own site.
- Avoid blatant self-promotion. This type of comment is easy to spot — a quick, thoughtless comment saying “thanks” or “check out my site” with a link to your own site or blog. Don’t do this — moderators may delete your comment, and if you leave shameless plugs like this on a regular basis, you may be banned from leaving comments on other sites.
- Ensure your account settings are up-to-date. Users want to learn more about you — with whom they’re interacting, and who they’re challenging! Make sure your commenter profile is updated with your display name and description, correct links to your blogs/sites and external services (social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and a current picture (Gravatar).