Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Q&A

Blogging. I've been here at Blogger since July of 2006. This was my first post.

The template I used was a lot different then, but as Blogger updates, it's "retroactive" so you can't see how bare bones my early blog page was.

I've got some questions at the end of this post, and would appreciate your feedback. I hope you'll take a moment to comment.

A while back, there were issues leaving comments on this blog, so I changed the comment system to the pop up instead of embedded. Perhaps coincidentally, I noticed a upsurge in spam comments. Now, Blogger has a very good (as far as this blog is concerned) spam filter, and in all these months, only one spam post has made it through the filter. However, I get notified about every comment posted here, and that includes the spam. Then, I feel some obligation to verify that they didn't show up on the page, which does take time.

A possible solution might be to put back the spam word verification system, but that adds one more step for my legitimate readers, and I really prefer to make things as simple as possible. I allow anonymous comments, simply because there are those who prefer not to give any personal information.

What I don't understand is why these kinds of spammers exist if Blogger has such effective spam filters. Since they're never showing up on the blog, what's the benefit to the spammer? Many of these posts aren't even trying to sell something, and they don't have links to click that might send you to some evil website. Anyone know how these things work?

Another question that runs through my mind all the time is responding to comments. I think it's only "polite" to acknowledge that someone has taken the time to say something. Yet I've seen numerous blogs where the blogger never responds. I don't like generalizations, but it seems the bigger the name, the fewer the responses.

To me, blogging is a place where people can have discussions if they want. If you leave a comment on a blog that includes a question, do you go back to see if anyone has responded? Does it bother you if they don't?

And, finally … blog comments as personal promotion. I've seen blogs where a person leaving a comment uses it to tout his/her own work, and the comment often is only very loosely related to the topic at hand. These are the folks who can't leave a comment without mentioning their own book titles. Now, I don't mind people leaving live links in their comments (I do it when I comment, although there are some blog platforms that immediately kick those into spam or moderation). But I'm simply offering a way for people to find me, since not all blogs give live links to the person leaving the comment. To me, there's a difference between a link, which someone has to click to follow, and a personal promo, which is front and center.

So, some specific questions for you.

First: I've put the comments back to embedded. Can you leave a comment? (And if you can't, you can let me know by emailing me at terry (at) terryodell (dot) com )

Second: What are your feelings about having to type those word verifications? Blogger has relatively "easy" ones to read, unlike some sites, but it's still another layer between the reader and the blog.

Third: Speaking of readers – I'm trying to increase my followers, after sitting and watching things come to a halt at 349 followers. I'm looking for 500 by the end of the year. When I hit that number, I'll hold a celebratory giveaway. And I'd like to see 250 "likes". You can find both options on the right-hand sidebar. Please tell your friends. I'd love to welcome them to Terry's Place.

And, as is always the case, now that I've begged for followers, the Follower Gadget isn't displaying properly. At least for me. Hope it's a temporary glitch.

Thanks for your help.

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Wynter Daniels said...

I've always found the word verification process to be a pain. I don't have it on my blog, not because it is difficult to read or anything like that, but because it takes several seconds to load and it isn't clear on some blogs that there is a code, so you move on and your comment is lost. Just my $.02

Sofia Essen said...

1) It looks like I'm able to leave a comment.

2) I don't mind the word verification too much. Blogger at least has legible letters.

3)I've signed up as a follower and "like" you. I shared this post with Facebook. And I'm going to send people I know your way, Terry.

All the Best,

Jess said...

1. Yep, I can comment!
2. Captchas are annoying, but do cut down on the 'bots' and 'scripts'.

as for spammers, most do it because they can, not to gain anything.

I never mind someone leaving a link to their own site/blog, but it's just tacky to use a comment to someone else's post for shameless self-promotion.

Terry Odell said...

Wynter - yep, I hate those where the captcha codes show up AFTER you've submitted the post. I've had my comments disappear too many times.

Sofia - thanks, and good to see you here. I appreciate the sharing.

Jess - it's a matter of whether I should annoy my readers, or just be annoyed myself at having to keep cleaning out the spam folder. If the spam showed up here, I'd definitely have to put the verification code back.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

No problems commenting! I'm not wild about word verification, although it doesn't chase me away from commenting, usually.

I've liked you. :)

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Elizabeth - maybe the glitch with comments was short-lived. I just hate changing things back and forth. And thanks for liking me!

Sue-Ellen Welfonder said...


1) Comment looks fine.

2) Hate word verifcations and often won't bother to comment if they're used.

3) I'll follow and spread the word.


Karen and I use and prefer Wordpress on our blog. We rarely get spammed. When we do, it lands in the spam folder and we just delete it.

On respondng to comments.. I agree. Absolutely. If someone takes the time to comment on a post, the blogger should have the courtesy to at least acknowledge the comment. As you know, Karen and I always keep a lively exchange with our readers and friends on our blog.

I'm laughing at your remark about the 'bigger the name.' That's my opinion, too. I've noted, for intstance, one hugely popular author who is followed by trillions on Twitter, yet she in turn follows two.

And, yes, I think it is very tacky for authors to use another author's blog to rah-rah their own work. That's one reason I rarely comment on author blogs. I worry my 'popping in' will look like I'm trying to say, "Hey! Look at ME! Buy my book!"

Made an exception here today because we're friends. Good luck with the blog and upping your followers. :)

karenranney said...

Hi Terry,

I'm able to comment - yea!

I don't like some of the Capcha thingees that are so difficult to read. Word verifications aren't too bad.

I'm bad about answering comments during the day on my blog, only because I'm a nutcase about making my writing goals. But I do try to answer anyone who makes the effort to leave a comment.

Terry Odell said...

Sue-Ellen & Karen. Thanks so much for stopping by. (And everyone, you should check out their blog, Tartan Ink.

I looked into Wordpress, but found it far too complicated for my feeble mind. And I've got 5 years of blogs posted here. Despite the flaws, I'm "comfortable."

Anonymous said...

Hello Terry

Yes, I can comment.

I don't like word verifications. I had trouble in the past and it just seems like a waste of time for the person posting.

I will spread the word and on my Romance Readers facebook page, too.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Oh...just wanted to say Thank You to Sue-Ellen over at Tartan Ink for spreading the word.

I had to post this comment under anonymous, since my google account wouldn't come up.


Terry Odell said...

Mary - thanks. That was one of the glitches; not being able to connect to your google account when trying to leave a post. It might have something to do with which browser you're using. I think the newest IE iterations are problematic.

Kathy Garuti said...

I perfer the embedded beacuse I never know whether it is a zero or an o in the code words.

My first real experience blogging was following Sue-Ellen Welfonder aroungd the blogs. She acknowledged everyone who posted. I could not have had a better teacher!

Terry Odell said...

Kathy - good to see you here. And Sue-Ellen IS a great role model.

Karen C said...

1)I don't think I'll have a problem commenting. 2)I'm not crazy about captcha because I can't read them half the time. Blogger isn't too bad. I'll still comment, if I feel I have something worth while to say.
3) I follow you via GFC and I 'liked' you some time ago.

I do enjoy your posts - learn so much and have fun!!

Terry Odell said...

Karen - thanks for your input, and I'm so glad you're a frequent visitor here.

Maryann Miller said...

Terry, if I pose a question on someone's blog, I do try check back to see if it was answered. Dealing with some rather old gray matter here, so sometimes I forget. LOL

Regarding the word verification, I don't mind terribly having to do it here on Blogger as the letters are distinct. There are some blog sites where the letters are so blurred I can't make them out and sometimes have to try several times to get it right. Don't care for that.