Sunday, September 08, 2013

Comment Poll (Just this once, then you can go back to lurking!)

I was looking back at the data for old posts, and something interesting stood out to me.

Back in the heyday of blogger (2005-2009 or so), the ratio of visitors to comments on a post was approximately 50:1. As in fifty people would visit before one would leave a comment.
It started dwindling in 2010 until now, and now the ratio averages around 1000:1. A thousand unique visitors before one person leaves a comment. My conversations with friends who run blogs seem consistent with this trend.

So I'm curious to know what happened? Not that comments are the reason you run a blog by any means, and while I liked the feeling of a big blogging community interacting in the past, I'm asking mostly because I'm curious about the psychology of someone who decides to comment vs. someone who doesn't.
So if you don't mind, please take a moment to answer in the comments (just this once :) ). I'll make it multiple choice, so you don't have to elaborate if you don't want.

Pick one of the following reasons why you usually don't comment on blogs you visit/frequent:

A. TL:DR. I skim through a giant blog and tumblr feed these days, and with my limited time, comments are definitely out of the question.

B. Blogs are dying. I spend my commenting time on other sites like Facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc.

C. No faith in responses---I've been ignored too many times, so I no longer like putting a comment out there when there is no promise of a response.

D. Followed a link only, not going to waste any more time here. (I probably won't get many people giving this answer, but I'm guessing this is one of the big reasons.)

E. No point. I'm usually just telling people "Good job, your art is cool!" and that eventually seemed tiring and useless.

F. Typing is hard. For some people, it is.

G. Some other reason. It's okay to simply answer "G" if that's all the time you have, but if you know the reason specifically, I'd be very interested to hear it.

Depending on how people answer, I might do a follow-up post assessing preferred ways to communicate with other artists, whether more meaningful communication is necessary, and whether you feel like we're losing something by checking blogs without interacting.

Thanks for your time!

108 comments:

  1. G + E. It's easy to kick back and watch, but scary to jump in and participate. You put yourself on the line by sharing your efforts, and the efforts put into a comment feel vastly inferior to the effort artists have put into their public works. Leaving comments is a bit like deciding to go to a nudist beach. Sure you want to join in the fun, but when it comes time to make the drive it's easier to just stay at home.

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  2. I would browse your blog fairly regularly but weeks might go by between visits. I am not sure if I have ever commented on any posts. I feel like I'm eavesdropping the majority of time, and arrive into the conversations a little late when to comment would seem to be bringing up old news. Lurk on!

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  3. Anonymous11:41 PM

    G+E, ditto to Andy's comment.

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  4. This is a tough nut to crack for me, I think it's a mixture of every reason. But I think the closest answer for me would be B.

    I noticed everyone getting tens of thousands of notes on tumblr, and a million llama badges on deviantart,so I guess I gave in to the lure of quantity and abandoned my quality home :(

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  5. It's a mixture I think - but at the top of the list; blogger isn't set up for conversation. Also, I came here from a link on Facebook - home of immediate gratification...

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  6. Anonymous11:54 PM

    Yeah, I agree with everyone else, plus a little of C.

    I don't comment anywhere very often anywhere because all comments on the internet generally fall into a echo chamber or a meaningless argument.

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  7. B and E I guess. Blog posts are typically more of a lecture than the start of a conversation, which doesn't leave much room for audience interaction especially since it's really a self-selecting audience so mostly people want to leave asspats or say "Agreed! me too!" which would normally be communicated in real life through a head nod but seems a waste of time to post.

    This is why most sites that really try to foster social interaction have moved toward "like" systems where you press a heart or a thumbs up and you get to send your gesture of approval and the poster gets immediate feedback.

    Also in my experience the interaction I get on blogs is usually two way, I leave comments for people who have left me comments and we just sort of feed each others blogs. Which is easier to do on a site like tumblr than it is on blogger.

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  8. A bit of A and E seems to often be the case.

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  9. Definitely E. Your work is amazing and I'n never suppose to crit. I lurk to learn and be inspired.

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  10. I agree with what Andy said.

    For me, it would be a mix between G, E and C -- usually when I leave a comment on some blog, I forget to come back to see if anyone's actually reacted. And by the time I remember it, I may have forgotten which post I'd commented on. Maybe I do that unconsciously because I just assume people will not respond?

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  11. Honestly, visiting your blog is part of my daily computer routine. (Hope that doesn't sound creepy!) But it's true! You are actually one of my top favorite artists right now and your art and the things you teach are very inspiring for me as an artist and I love seeing new things come up. I usually never post any comment because frankly I don't know what I could possibly say. I could say stuff like "That looks awesome!!" or "Sam, you are amazing!" but it would seem to discredit the art or thought that was shared with such a menial comment like one of those. So instead of coming up with something of worth to post I lazily back out and say nothing at all and continue to admire the work you do. Maybe instead I shall actually give it a go from now on and let you know that your work actually means something to me and that what you share is of worth to someone out there.

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  12. G: I typically get your updates via RSS (which shows me everything, I don't need to click through to the website), so I don't see the comments, or get any kind of prompt to leave one. So I guess that's my main excuse!

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  13. For me it is a combination of E+ G

    I am a Dutch art student aspiring to work in the animation industry. America is a bit to far for me to come hang every once in a while at, for instance, a gallery expo. So blogging is a way for me to stay in contact and follow the latest developments.

    Like a lot of the other commenters have said; It feels like "Hi, it looks great Sam!" discredits the hard work the artist puts in to his work. So when I decide to comment it is mostly to share a thought ore question about the post. Although whenever I leave a comment, I get no reply. But when I look at the comments, other people do seem to get a response. I figure that these guys know each other well. But you'll eventually stop commenting. I got the feeling that it was a very closed community.

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  14. It's this stupid proof of identity you have to do before commenting!

    Who wants to do that only to say: "Oh I like what you're doing"?

    I personally love blogger and I tend to give more insight into my work than I do elsewhere.

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  15. I think blogger as a platform just frustrates me- it still has to catch up with some of the better innovations with Wordpress and Tumblr and the like, and so commenting is still something of a drag. It takes you to a new page, you have to enter a capcha and it doesn't remember your login, etc etc etc.

    I'm usually a pretty heavy commenter and obviously I think you're PRETTY DAMN AMAZING, but blogger always feels like something of a hurdle when it comes to engaging with someone. :)

    -Claire

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  16. I'm trying to get into the loop of commenting more, but E's usually my biggest obstacle. There's only so many times you can say "Great work" before it starts feeling insincere and... well, it can be tough figuring out how to describe in more depth why you like a piece (and it's a little disheartening to do so and not get a response, so option C factors in a bit too, as selfish as I feel saying that!)

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  18. A combination of several. Blogs are one of my main sources of daily inspiration and learning, totally different experience from social media sites. The RSS feed option is key to the blog experience.

    I don't normally make general "awesome job" comments because that's the reason the blog is part of my daily RSS feed list in the first place – they have worthwhile posts that inspire, teach, or inform. I would usually post only specific comments or questions ... and I'd think twice before sending, knowing that it becomes a direct comment to you AND the 1,000+ others reading it on the billboard in Time Square. ;-)

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  19. I would go with G. For me It has to do with not really being known by the author of the post. I have to agree with Stephanie Roos it does feel like a closed community of people who have such great skill that a pat on the back from me or feedback will seem very insignificant.
    But here it goes anyway; I want to say thank you for your inspiring posts, If I hadn't seen your blog back in 2010 I probably wouldn't have had the passion or motivation to improve and get better in my art. you made me realize that there is a science behind painting and that made it so much more exciting than what the art world looked like to me before that(the shallow splotches and stains on canvasses).
    Living in a country where this kind of information is not really available to students (or is way too expensive for most) makes you scour the net and books for self teaching materials.
    You have made a difference to me. Thank you!

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  20. C + G

    G = most of the time I ask questions on blogs the answer has to be shown with pictures and drawings and not just with a few words so I get no answers because of that or I just don't ask the question .

    And blogger does not make it very comfortable for commenting and answering coments and following up on coments - other sites do a better job at making it easy for you to leave a comment or be informed if your coment has a follow up

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  21. I'd say E as well: most of the time I don't have "real" comments to make. But I have a blog too and I'd love that every one who doesn't have a real comment write something anyway, it's always nice.

    In your case, your blog is on my netvibes tab "illustrators", which contains 53 blogs that I mostly look for inspiration, and don't read every time. Yours was one of the first and you sometime give lessons, so I still read your articles, but commenting is not instinctive. Especially when you're not a native english speaker. And Andy (first comment) is right too about the nudist beach :)

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  23. Hi Sam

    Several years ago I quit visiting artist's "portfolio" web sites because there was never anything new to be seen on them. If these artists had blogs, I subscribed to them because there was at least a chance to see something new once in a while. I ultimately shut down my own "portfolio" web site and now only have a blog as a web presence... and as you have noted, responses compared to visits are minimal... yet there are a lot of people flowing through the blog.

    I personally usually do not comment on any blog just because I have nothing to say or add to the conversation.

    I have enjoyed your work for many, many years...

    Dennis

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  24. In my case it's mostly E. And also the fact that others don't really post comments, it's a bit scary to be the first one ;)

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  25. E. I'm not an artist and I don't really have any intelligent feedback to leave. I come for the pretty pictures!

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  26. E.

    Most of the time I think my comment is lost in a lot of other one, and of poor interst for the blog owner.

    Sometimes, on some blogs, when you are a new visitor, you feel like you push a door and enter in a room where everyone know each other, and you don't. As I'm shy, I post only when I have something to say, something more important than "Hey, I like your work !" (yes, I like your work, that's why I visit this blog, and put it in my RSS feed not to miss anything).

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  27. Probably A and B. Sometimes I just don't have anything interesting to add. I tend to be more of a lurker. also, this may sound really lame, but the Google word verify-er is getting harder for me to decipher. Maybe I am becoming a robot.

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  28. For me, I love the art and am interested in seeing it on a regular basis (I've kept it in my Blogger feed for a few months now), but I don't have any intelligent commentary on what's posted. I'm too new an artist to have much to add, so I admire it and study it for half a minute before moving on to the next art blog I have coming up.

    Like you said, if I were to comment for commenting's sake, it would just be "Good job! ...person 1000x more experienced than me", which seems inane. Perhaps I could ask technical questions, but there's a million other places for that sort of thing and your blog doesn't seem geared towards answering fly-by "OMG I LOVE YOUR WORK CAN YOU PLEASE TEACH ME TO PAINT" questions. :P

    So, I lurk. *steps away slowly and fades into the background*

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  29. I think C fits me best. So many of you that are incredible artists are so busy professionally that many seldom take the time to comment.
    I love your work and follow your work but also know that besides working in the business you also teach...it doesn't seem you have a lot of time to browse comments.

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  30. I've got to go with a little bit of B and E. Most of the time there isn't much to say that a "like" button wouldn't take care of. As much as I love seeing your art and reading what you have to say about art and about your process, I don't need to tell you that every time I look at your awesomeness.

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  31. Mostly C and E.

    Just like somebody else mentioned here, you seldom get any comments back from the larger blogs out there. So I stop commenting after a while.

    And if you really want to reach out to sometone, It's much easier to interact through Facebbook/Twitter/Insta nowadays.

    I really love your blog posts though, so I hope that you keep posting regardless. You probably hear this often, but you have no idea how much you inspire others with your awesome art and tips.

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  32. H. I know it is not there, but none of the reasons I don't post were in you list. I guess the reason I don't post follows the old Hebrew Proverb "27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent." Personally I love the work you do and it has inspired me.

    Travis Vick

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  33. A, C & E. I find your work very inspiring and I think you're very talented, but I follow over 500 blogs and I never comment. I guess I also don't think that people would get much out of what I have to say. I don't want to waste everyone's time fangirl-ing, and I'm not experienced enough for them to take my opinion seriously. But at least take my follow as a compliment, because even at 500 blogs, I don't follow crap.

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  34. My vote is 'A'.

    I love having a huge archive of inspiration to wake up to each morning. So I'll browse through several that I like and bookmark ones that stick out to me and what I'm doing.

    Occasionally I'll have a question or comment for clarification on certain topics but that's about it! Who knows, maybe your next post will have me commenting more often :).

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  35. B,C, and E.

    Blogger just isn't set up for comments. I came from facebook as well. Also when they shut down Google Reader I pretty much stopped looking at nearly all blogger sites.

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  36. Well, I think mine would be close to E. But I don't get tired of saying good job or awesome work. I think I will continue with that until I have something to say. Your blog is extremely inspiring to me. Awesome work! :D

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  37. C+G

    To respond to some of the other commentators, it can be very daunting trying to contact someone whose work you admire, and you have to work up a lot of courage to post commentary online. As for me, however, it mainly comes down to a lack of reward for the commentator.

    I used to post comments on blogs. A lot. I always tried to make my comments long and insightful, and relevant to the topic at hand. Sometimes they would be questions to the author, or to other readers. And it used to be that people would respond to my posts. Come to think of it, it was back during the "heyday" of blogs from around 2004-2008.

    Unfortunately, as time wound on, the original authors tended to reply less and less. And not only on blogs... on gallery sites (such as deviantArt) as well. Many writers even stopped allowing comments on their blogs altogether stating "I just don't have time to respond to you people" on their blogs.

    And I'm not just talking about individual responses. Although these are nice, I understand that it is incredibly time consuming to respond to every comment. A lot of authors used to do posts where they replied, en masse, to the comments of their readers when the comments or questions were similar.

    As a result, I tend to comment a lot less. The reward of interacting with blog authors just isn't there as much anymore. Unless, of course, an author requests that we comment, in which case... here I am.

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  38. I don't visit as much as I used to since Google Reader died, and I haven't got around to replacing it with anything else. But I usually only comment on blogs if I have something fairly relevant to say. My knowledge of this field is very limited, so that cuts down my comment count substantially.

    Also, as others have also mentioned, part of this may have to do with the way online interactions have evolved. I used to participate a lot more heavily in blog discussions, but now it seems as though I am more prone simply to "Like" or leave a quick comment on a friends "post" or simply favorite a comment of theirs on Twitter.

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  39. E. I don't feel qualified to comment on art - I don't think my comments would be useful, but I sure enjoy experiencing it and reading your background explanations!

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  40. Oh, and I also think it has a lot to do with my own blogging activityrs. When I was blogging myself, I really loved getting comments. I think that made me more likely to leave comments for other bloggers.

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  41. 'B' option. Facebook killed the blogger star.

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  42. Thanks everyone for the answers! Remember, this is for data gathering purposes, you don't have to apologize for not commenting here usually. :)

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  43. Anonymous8:56 AM


    In a given week I could leave 100 comments. I have no interest in saying things to everyone out there about someones work. It just feels like being a casual armchair critic which I find kind of gross.

    Every now and then I will feel a kinship with someone's work and email them directly hoping to have a deeper exchange.

    I hate vapid bite sized comments on my work but a long well written email (+ or -) can be creative rocket fuel and makes it all worthwhile. When I found myself wanting comments it felt like begging for spare change.

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  44. Mine is pretty much every reason depending on the context, but E and A. I usually love everything you put up on here so me telling you "Nice job" would probably make me sound like a broken record :)

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  45. A, B, C, E are probably my main reasons. Your art IS cool, but usually I comment on something when I discover a new artist to follow, or if something really grabs my attention.

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  46. Andy: I like the analogy.

    Monkeyshine: I usually feel the same way. There are some artists I know personally and I will nearly always comment on them.

    Thanks Anonymous 1, 2, and 3 (sorry to lump you together, it just seemed more efficient this way)!

    Tyson Murphy: Haha, I've done the same, except not Tumblr yet. Just Deviantart.

    Tom Scholes: I hate that blogger is so bad at conversation. I think I want to talk about ideas of how to solve the problem in the next post.

    Dii: Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to set up a post for a conversation instead? I totally understand like buttons (and I click them too). Not sure how I really feel about them though.

    Clémence Liberge: That really bothers me too. And subscribing to a comment thread can just be annoying because you get e-mails about _everybody's_ comments.

    Brian Cooper: Thanks! I'll put you down for E. I'm going to count up the numbers and report on the total in the next post.

    Sarah: Usually, that is me too.

    Stephanie: That's so interesting that many people feel the same way. I'm going to try and be better at answering comments more often. Usually I don't answer comments for the same reason I don't comment on other people's blogs: so little time, and I feel like the chance that they are going to come back and check on the comments is low.
    That's blogger's fault for being a bad format for conversation.

    Kan Muftic: I hate that. Spambots are ruining things for the rest of us.

    Claire: Yep, sounds like a lot of people feel the same way. Blogger just isn't innovating where it needs to in this area. I'm considering starting a Tumblr for that reason (which is part of the reason for this poll).

    Antonia: E and C are coming up a lot. Thanks for the feedback!

    Tim Shirey: Interesting, I hadn't considered that as an option---that a comment becomes a part of the post and the public nature of that would be discouraging.

    Philipe Rios: I'm so glad to hear that!

    Thanks Nevena!

    Camille: It's such a strange juxtaposition, I know. You totally don't mind people just saying "Nice job!" but it feels stupid to leave such a comment. Maybe this is where Like buttons are useful.

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  47. By the way, I don't have word verification on my posts for the same reason that people are complaining, it's like welcoming people into your house but having a chair fort in the doorway that they have to climb first.

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  48. I know it keeps the dogs out, but still.

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  49. thedennisjones: That's why I like blogs, too. It's still a better way to follow artists than similar systems on sites like CGHUB or deviantart.

    Fenwyn: I totally understand.

    David: Again, totally understand.

    Hélène: I promise that we don't all know each other here, that is an illusion (yes, I personally know some people, but only a small fraction of total commenters). So thanks for commenting!

    Kim Kincaid: The word verifier is awful. Sometimes necessary, but still awful.

    Arahmynta: Thanks for coming out of the shadows for a moment to comment! :) I totally understand and often feel the same way.

    Alan Anderson: That is probably the main reason why I haven't answered comments often. Which is sad, I really feel bad about it. I wish I could say I would change, but some days and weeks are just so crazy, and then the moment has passed by.

    Jacob: Thanks!

    Andrea Femerstrand: Very interesting how many people are feeling the same way. Thank you!

    Travis: Awesome. I need to add a "I'm appearing wise" option. :)

    David: That's me. Hundreds and hundreds of blogs in the feed.

    Rob James: Feedly just isn't quite as good, is it?

    Robert Pierce: Thanks for the frequent comments, I am glad you don't tire of it!

    Curtis: Thanks!

    Nathan: I understand that. I've refrained from making comments on so many blogs I admire for those reasons. It's really sad though, because I miss that community feeling (and it's really not the same on community art sites, maybe because of the commitment that blogs require to communicate back and forth? I don't know).

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  50. Melissa: Feedly is not bad. It's not as good as Google Reader was, but it's pretty easy to set up.

    Tangaroa: Thanks for the feedback!

    Melissa again: Yeah, it was a cyclic thing back in the day, sort of a back-scratchy co-op.

    Juan Bauty: It is sad, but I think you might be right.

    Anonymous: Ew, I understand the feeling. Still, I think that feedback is part of the reason why artists do what they do (whether we want to admit it or not), so I don't think it's all bad. I am wondering whether "You're great!" comments are necessary as part of that feedback cycle though.

    Jesse Larsen: That's what I'm finding as I read through people's comments. I empathize with almost everything because I've felt the same way before.

    Ezra Lau: That's usually when I break my lurky silence, too. Cool new blog, or something that stands out.

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  51. Seriously, thanks everyone for taking time out to comment. I'm going to compile these responses and see if we can draw any conclusions about where the future of art/gallery/blog sites should go.

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  52. Annie9:44 AM

    B. I follow you through Feedly (a RSS feeder), and I have to click several times to just comment. If you were on tumblr or facebook, it would be much easier to comment and "like".

    E. Your art rocks. I don't usually have any other opinion than this.

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  53. For me, it's definitely E. Your work is amazing Sam and I don't have anything to say other than "Wow" and I'm sure you're annoyed by people asking nooby photoshop/lighting/painting questions...so I just admire from afar.

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  54. I’m with you. I love comments and interaction with viewers, but I really haven’t seen very many for a long time as well.

    A.
    **One of the reasons is I have tons of blogs in my feed reader. Even with a reader, I still don't have time to comment on every blog I'd like to, and when I do take the time, it's a commitment, and I really do mean what I post. My comments are very honest.

    C.
    **Because it's my time I use to make a comment, I am often put off when someone doesn't take the time to respond to a comment or question I have. If I get a couple of no-responses from a blogger, I usually don't feel the need to make comments or ask questions any more. It would actually be easier, and make more sense for them to switch off comments if they aren't going to respond.

    With that said, if I only get a partial response to several questions I post in a comment, it can be rather disappointing. I don't feel like my comment was fully read through and acknowledged. –almost as if the blogger says they want to address every comment, but don’t really follow up on what they ‘agree’ they’ll do. I would prefer a comment such as “I can’t answer that comment at this time”, or I’m sorry I only have time for one answer per comment”, etc –than to have only a partial reply or no reply.

    I’m using my time to construct a well thought out (and nicely punctuated) comment to a blog. It would be the least I could expect from a blogger to respect the time I take out of my life to type something.

    G.
    ** I think Will Terry addressed this well in one of his posts. The more ‘hoops’ I have to jump through to leave a comment, the less inclined I am to leave something. He complained of sites requiring a visitor to actually log in first (pretty extreme), but I’m even contemplating disabling the Captcha box for a while to see if that makes things any easier for visitors.

    **Sometimes I don’t comment on every post because I feel the blogger would become tired of my comments and even ignore me. –so I space my comments out instead.

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  55. A mix of A, C and G.

    A) I usually read, write and comment blog entries in between pauses from my regular job. That (and my addiction to editing everything I write) takes me lots of time to do it; so the system tends to show those annoying "security" error messages ("your comment couldn't be uploaded, please try again later" / "please login again to comment" / "for security reasons you must re-log in whenever we want you to do it" / "the captcha you entered does not match", etc). Of course I won't rememember everything I wrote in order to do it again, so most of the times I just quit and move on.
    E) Sometimes I don't get answers to my slooow comments, so all that time becomes a doble waste.
    G) Sometimes my favorite artists get involved in projects of redesign of characters I never liked anyway, so I just give a quick read and I go.

    P.S. This is the second time I re-write this comment, due to those annoying messages I was talking about. I only rewrote it because that proofs my point.

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  56. After reading through all the comments, this might actually be really good feedback for the Google Blogger team itself!

    I'd love a 'like' system, and a way to 'chain' conversations together as on DeviantArt.

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  57. C,E,G

    c- Some people comment back rarely, and others don't at all. I have emailed questions to some artists who write in blogs and they don't respond so I figured they are super busy (which they totally are)

    E- also to go along with that. I just got out of school, and am pretty old as far as the industry is concerned, I feel. what in the world would you want to hear from me for? what could I possibly say that would matter or be meaningful?

    (thats a real question to you, Sam. what would YOU like to hear?)

    G- for me there is a difference between your blog and others like mine. I put mine up there to journal my "progress" and hopefully get a comment or 2 for critique. artists like yourself certainly don't view themselves as having perfected anything, maybe, but to most of us you've nearly reached it.

    SO having said that, I view it as a service to the rest of us who enjoy your work and are inspired by it. It's great to see what you are doing and get some hints on how to get better! I do feel selfish when I get good tips and don't say anything. but most of the time it's because im still confused and too embarrassed to admit it :) ooooor i'm tired of saying "awesome, lol

    I appreciate your efforts, Sam. Thanks

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  58. Its mostly E: I love reading your blog. It leaves me inspired and I don't know what to comment except saying thank you and appreciating the work!

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  59. I would say A, B, E and G : because english is not my native language and it often discourages me when I realize I'm not able to say properly what I have in mind u_u
    But I mostly think E is the biggest point, altogether with the fact that blog comments are not a suited place for discussing (hence the B point). I also think we'we got a bigger blog feed than some years ago with all the social networks, so we can't have time to comment everywhere.

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  60. C. But that doesn't mean I don't still love the work of all the amazing artist blogs out there.

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  61. I think the combination of new social media outlets and the era of flame wars\trolls has killed comments. It is not worth the effort to sift through the trash to find one golden egg

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  62. I usually read most of the stuff but see no reason to comment on your art, especially when its that great and I feel like I can't add anything to that, also never thought communication with the blog is efficient, sure its quite easy for you to read but getting involved with other people is pretty much impossible this way, and bit useless aswell, I'm sure most people feel something like this and they are happy to be involved with your art just by reading your stuff and seeing your paintings/drawings rather than writing comments.

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  63. A + C + G for me.

    A's pretty much self explanatory.

    C: The last time I posted a comment on your blog I made the mistake of inserting a link, so it ended up looking like some random spam bot. Ignored. And I feel like it's really rare for a comment to lead to anything anyway. Not impossible, but extremely rare to have it actually open a real dialog.

    G: Basically like E, except that it seems like "Good job" is all I can post anyway, because what else could I say? I can't really give criticism because I see nothing in your work to criticize. I can't give suggestions or advice because for the same reason, you're awesome the way you are, but also even if I did have a suggestion it's pretty moot because you're a professional and I'm nowhere near in the same league. And I've learned that asking questions or making requests doesn't end well so I really don't even see the point in commenting other than to say "hey cool work, I like it" which is the same as a thumbs up button or five star button.

    But really I love your work and I hope that you continue to share with us.

    I guess my question is, would an abundance of comments encourage you to continue to share things on your blog?

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  64. a bit of C, E, and G. Even though I'll often comment on Facebook or deviantArt or other sites, I feel like blogs just have a different culture. They're rarely about cultivating a conversation. It feels more distant, like each blog is an isolated personal showcase, rather than a part of a blogging community. It feels more like it's about just sitting back and watching.

    Also-- Since blogger (at least, on my account? maybe I changed my settings) doesn't give any kind of notification when someone comments, I figure it can often be days or even weeks before a person even notices my comment is there. So the idea of trying to generate a dialogue doesn't feel reasonable. So I don't!

    I'll usually just comment on a blog the first time I find it. "Wow, I really like your work! I look forward to seeing more!" I don't expect a response, I just say it to let them know that they've inspired someone and I plan on sticking around.

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  65. Odd, I was thinking that I didn't have the word verification on, but that's only true at strange times. Maybe I should turn it off.

    Annie: Thanks! I am on Facebook, but I don't have an art-specific page yet.

    Welsey: Thanks for the feedback!

    Nasan: I think it's interesting how C comes in conflict with A for artists---at least for me. I'm not commenting because I can't expect a reaction, and I'm not giving reactions because I don't have that much time unless I cut out some of the blogs I frequent. It's a vicious cycle. I totally hear you on not wanting to comment too often. You still want your comment to be special and mean something, even if you like every post someone does.

    Luis: Thanks for going through the trouble anyway! That's the thing I hate most about blogger's comment format.

    MarcelaHb: All of the above, or just those two?

    Kyle: I don't have an opinion about what people should say. "I like it" is just as valid a comment as "You should move the left eye a little" in my view. But I know not everyone feels the same. Ultimately though, this post isn't trying to find out how to get more comments, but instead about figuring out how people think and looking to the future of social interaction between artists.

    Hemali: Thanks!

    Shane: Thank you!

    Jack Pot: I didn't include a language option but I really should have. I can categorize that under F---not because the typing is hard, but because the translation is.

    Christine: Thanks for the feedback.

    Joe Person: That's what turned me off from forums long ago. Remember when forums were a great place to discuss things and share art?

    BurcagYıldırım: Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, lots of people feel this way!

    Xenozip: I'm really sorry I missed your comment. I'm guessing it might have been part the inserted link, and part that I often don't get around to responding until I'm sure that nobody is watching any more. It's sort of the reverse effect of C. It's also a problem because a lot of time I'll respond on the person's blog, so there's no record of which ones I've already given answers to.
    As for your question, no, I would keep posting even if there were no comments. Because I won't be satisfied unless I'm sharing stuff with people. But I do like having interaction, so it would be cool to find a format, site, or way of doing things that was able to scratch all itches, of you'll excuse the phrase. :)

    Lindsey: Great points, thanks for the feedback! You can still change the settings on your blog to notify you of new comments. I totally do the first-time comment thing also.

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  66. Interesting question. To be honest, I just came across your blog two days ago when I was doing a google search for information regarding chaos theory and art. I am a 9th grade art teacher and my students are exploring chaos vs. order in art. You had written some stuff a few years ago. I read through several of the posts and really enjoyed what you had to say, but I didn't comment because the posts were from a couple years ago. I did subscribe to your feed though. Generally, I don't faithfully read a blog these days unless it is a friend's, but I felt you had a lot of interesting information!

    Maybe the longer you have a blog and the more entries you have, the more people access your blog through searches and they don't leave a comment because the blog entry is no longer current? That was the reason in my case.

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  67. Anonymous6:58 PM

    A and E. I don't always have something to say, and even when I do it takes me a long while to be able to actually write it down. Also, I generally skim through old stuff in Blogger. It feels kinda like a book to me (while deviantart or tumblr feel more comment friendly)

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  68. Anonymous7:37 PM

    You are lucky!!
    I never had a single comment on my blogger blog.
    As many said, I like your art but it seems pointless to me to say "wow, I like it"...
    Maybe there should be some kind of ratings so at least you know when you hit sweet spot.
    Anyways, keep it up!

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  69. I notice I get most of my reader interaction on Twitter/Facebook/Google+/deviantART these days. RSS was never really that widespread (and with the death of Google Reader probably even less so now), and people just don't check homepages or blogs manually anymore. I'd imagine it's much the same way for everyone else.

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  70. Anonymous11:58 PM

    A + E + G

    I enjoy your blog Sam, but surfing your site is generally at first glance.

    This blog sits in my RSS feed under the Art tag and your posts are generally taken as art inspiration. Seeing as my background is Design, and my drawing/painting skillset is terrible in comparison to yours, I'm just not willing to engage in the comments section.

    I find it easier to interact with reddit comment thread due to the realtime feedback, than blogger posts. Maybe I'm just impatient.

    hope this helps

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  71. A or G (laziness). I usually only comment when I know the author personally, because that's the only time I think they'll care about hearing from me. And even then if anything goes wrong (WV too hard to see, comment disappears) I'm out.

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  72. Nettielouise:I think I'll classify that under D when I make my tally.
    I think you're right that the search (as well as links from other sources) are a big factor in the casual viewer to interested commenter ratio. Thanks for the feedback!

    Anonymous: That's interesting, because I've never felt that Tumblr was comment friendly since it's all lost in this sea of reblogging. But it's good to know that other people like that.

    Anonymous (2): Log in when you make comments, that's the first way to get people traffic to your blog. Comments I can't promise of course, as you see from the discussion. :)

    Niko Geyer: Cool, I'll tally your response under B.

    Anonymous: Thanks for the feedback!

    Marilyn: I guess I'm lucky to know you personally then. :)

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  73. Marilyn: Also, I'm going to categorize laziness under A. "Too long: didn't read" doesn't necessarily mean someone is too busy, it just means that you aren't invested enough to engage and instead move on to other things. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's how we sort through the many demands of life.

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  74. E. Most of the time if I am going to comment, then what I want to say has probably already been said before. Other times, often on this blog, I have no comment and I just like to see your pictures and progress shots.

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  75. I would probably say for me it's the "No Point." Option. I mean I LOVE your work and find it inspirational, but at the end of the day I'm not sure what I would say about it that would add much in the way of value or constructive criticism, although admittedly I am much more likely to comment on a site like deviantart (Where I also watch you)where I am mostly looking for/at art stuff than on blogspot where I am skimming other blogs while on my way to update my own.

    I guess that's about it. If I feel I have something of value to say on a subject I add it other wise I just lurk and admire all the pretty pretty art.

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  76. Being too busy is partly the same reason I rarely post on my own blog. Instagram has made it way easy to upload quickly to Tumblr. Blogger is not set up well enough to have threads of conversations and therefor it's usually just mindless 'good work' comments (which are great and needed)but are also used mostly to say, 'hey, I'm here, please please please I hope you check out my blog'. It's not a forum for giving/receiving criticism either.

    PS, great work on all the Disney Infinity designs. No criticisms ;)

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  77. It's usually because of "E". That goes for every site or blog I visit. If I have something specific to ask or comment on, I usually do.

    Love your blog, BTW!

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  78. For the record, I'd also like to second what Claire said (all the way near the top).

    When leaving my first comment, I noticed what a PITA it is to actually leave said comment.

    Capcha>sign-in>post = "jeez, c'mon already..."

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  79. I tend to follow via Feedly (and formerly Google Reader), which makes it difficult to make comments.

    But also E.

    I'm sorry if B is true, since I like blogs, and I really enjoy yours.

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  80. I guess mostly E, although often I'm lazy and miffed that I have to "sign up" to post something.
    I really enjoy your work, though! I follow you via RSS feed :)
    I loved & agreed with Andy's reply!

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  81. I guess mine's a mix of C, B and E. It's the whole mentality of "if he doesn't know me in person, he probably has no reason to respond". Also, in other communities it seems like the chances of getting responses are higher.

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  82. I think G and E.. Tom Scholes basically said exactly what I was thinking. Blogger needs to be more conversation friendly.

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  83. A, bit of C, and E. Love your blog btw. I have found it not just inspiring, but also useful.

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  84. G for me.
    I seem to have lost the habit of commenting. Half the time, it's because the previous comment is already saying what I was going to say.

    Another reason is I haven't made /posted anything new in ages myself, so I feel like I should stay quiet, in case they decide to hop over to my blog... I don't know. It's silly, but I don't feel comfortable with not making art anymore at the moment...

    That said, Facebook and Blogger are the only 2 platforms I leave comments on. I wouldn't even bother with tumblr or deviantart. I don't like the fact that, because it's so quick, the comments are usually all quite same-y, and very unpersonal...

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  85. I'm going to go with G. I rarely feel compelled to comment unless I feel like I have some insight that has yet to be addressed in the comments. I guess that A might apply a bit as well, since I usually don't comment unless I've read all the other comments, and while I'm always eager to read what Charlie writes, my eyes start to glaze over after a few pages of accolades, no matter how well deserved.

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  86. Anonymous1:10 PM

    E + G; I don't want to leave a useless and gushy praise comment, and a lot of blogs won't let me post anonymously, anyway, which is the only way I'm willing to do it.

    But I love your art. Thanks for sharing it here: a new post on this blog always makes me happy.

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  87. Angela: Good thoughts, thanks!

    Craig: Interesting, I've heard other reasons for commenting on deviantart over blogs, but that's a new one. Strangely, I mostly avoid responding to comments on Deviantart, because there are so many more of them and it would take me a lot of time each day to respond to all the "DOOD WOW" type comments. I do usually respond to questions though (maybe better than I do here).

    Tooninator: Thanks man! I honestly don't mind the "Please check out my blog" comments, since it was commenting on other blogs that got mine some attention early on. I don't mind returning the favor. :)

    Jason: Thank you for the good thoughts!

    Josh: Feedly does seem harder to go through than reader for comments. And reader wasn't great. I agree about blogs---even Tumbler riffing off that idea doesn't seem as pure and personal as the blog does, but I'm pretty sure I'm outnumbered.

    Oros: That seems to be a common sentiment. Thanks!

    Emerson: Yeah, blogger isn't great for encouraging response. If you comment on an older post you can almost count on never getting a response from the author, sadly.

    Alyssa: Thanks for the feedback!

    Thanks Anonymous and Pekta!

    Sputch: Thank you very much!

    SHOo: I think it's mostly habit now for me too, but it wasn't always that way. I totally understand the thought that they can follow the link to your blog---anytime I leave a comment I go back to make sure I didn't last post something really stupid. I agree about the comments on Tumblr and Deviantart. It's easier so you get more, but there's something about the commitment of these other sites that makes the comments more meaningful.

    Huan: I get that way with my deviantart gallery comments. It's nice that people are so effusive, but after a while it's numbing and almost meaningless.

    Anonymous: I'm glad you commented, thanks!

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  88. Hmm I guess C. Most blogs don't really feel like a conversation the way say a forum does.

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  89. E+G

    It doesn't really seem like the right place to have a conversation. I'd just as soon have an e-mail or other social media conversation with someone whose work I enjoy on the internet.

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  90. E+G.

    I actually still consider Tumblr to be a blog... depending on how you use it. Most of the time you just want to say you think something's great so the Tumblr "Like" button fills that need pretty well.

    I usually only comment on a blog if I have something potentially useful to say, or if I'm really, truly blown away by something.

    Oh, and there's that stupid "Prove your not a robot test"

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  91. Anonymous10:57 PM

    For me, mostly E

    But I also get pretty anxious about writing anything, so it can take me a long time to figure out how exactly I want to word one sentence, so I usually just prefer to say nothing XD;; So would that be F? Or does that refer to finding it physically difficult to type?

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  92. For me I lean towards E. Most of my comments seem to be a variance of, "Great job! Love how you did XYZ and ABC. Keep it up, can't wait to see more!"

    Plus a lot of blogs have the silly "Are you human?" widget, which is fine if you could only actually read the letters it's telling you to type. Uhg.

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  93. Well, if you were looking for comments, you sure got it! This is a great question to ask, thanks for doing it. I've noticed the same trend. I thought the answer for most would be "A", which would be my answer. Seems I'm wrong. I do think that Blogger is not good at "interaction". I like Deviant art and Facebook because you can leave a comment and receive notification if it was answered very easily. Its already set up for that. I'm sure there are ways to get notified of an answer to a comment on Blogger, but I don't know how. Therefore, I leave comments here and they die to me, unless I go back to that Post and check to see if it was answered. Keep it up Sam!

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  94. Anonymous10:45 AM

    B: I don't use Blogger anymore, so all my comments would be anonymous anyways
    E: I don't usually have anything of importance to say.

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  95. A and to a lesser extent E. I appreciate that as the creator you would like to engage with your audience more, but suspect that most people think that visits to a page/blog is an indicator of popularity.

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  96. Gavku: Thanks for the feedback!

    Bob Shelline: Interesting, thanks! I think I prefer the public nature of comments to e-mail, but I can totally see why others feel differently.

    Scott: I definitely see Tumblr as a blog still, but the comment system is definitely not the same. And from what I've heard creating content on it is very different as well. Nobody seems to like proving that they are a robot. Thanks for the comment!

    Thanks Klid!

    Anonymous: I totally understand. Sometimes I'll agonize for minutes over a short comment. I think I've spent more than an hour and a half responding to all the comments in this thread.

    Thanks Kyrsten, great feedback!

    Tom: Yeah, blogger is definitely not ideal for interaction. I don't necessarily love the others sites a lot better though. The best thing I've seen for conversation is a forum, but forums come with a host of their own problems.

    Thanks Anonymous 2!

    Isaac: I'm seeking to understand more about the psychology of commenting than I am trying to get more comments. I think that conversation between artists can be really useful and important, much more so than any kind of measure of popularity.
    Thanks for the comment!

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  97. Sam: You replied! It makes me glad to know that you actually read my comment.

    I completely understand missing the community feeling. Art sites have changed a lot over the past several years, and so have places like FB, YouTube, etc. Personally, I have noticed even these "communities" to become more and more isolated.

    Granted, Blogger should have some way to allow people to reply to other comments, so you can check back to the main page without having to read through everything. But I've noticed that a lot of people just do what you did... reply to people Twitter-style, using the person's name.

    I suppose it's up to those of us who actually care to make sure we respond to people's comments, right?

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  98. Nathan: It would be nice to just have a page that displays the comment threads, forum-style. So the latest threads replied to stay near the top.

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  99. It's funny that you wrote this because I've been seeing the same sort of thing on my blog. Guessing I would have to say that leaving a message is kind of a pain and I'll bet that's the biggest reason. On facebook there's no form to fill out - you just hit enter - so I'll bet that accounts for a large percentage of the silence.

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  100. Will: Yeah, and the spammers are ruining things for the rest of us---you're asking for trouble it you allow anonymous comments and don't have word verification on, which is the only way it becomes equivalent to facebook.

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  101. Speaking of which, I turned off word verification because of this thread, and I've had to delete between 10-20 extra spam posts every day ever since.

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