Thanks to everyone who commented about the things that make you decide whether to leave a comment. I had some feeling about why it was for most people, but I was surprised the result. So now that I got a hundred responses (a few via e-mail), I feel like the sample size is just large enough to draw a conclusion which probably doesn't mean anything. Especially since there were around 7000 people who viewed the poll since I posted it without commenting on it.
So, for your information and pleasure, here are the results:
Keep in mind that people could give more than one option, so these numbers wouldn't fit into a pie chart.
20% Said that they didn't have time to comment.
17% said that blogs are dying and they spend their time in places where it's easy to "like" posts
14% said signing into blogger and proving non-roboticness is too much of a pain
9% complained that blogger just isn't set up to communicate (due to other factors)
3% tried to avoid commenting outside of their native language.
29% didn't comment because they couldn't expect a response.
57% felt like there was no point in commenting because they felt like they had nothing useful to add.
A couple new categories popped up as I read the 20 votes for "other."
6% felt that leaving a comment to public scrutiny is frightening.
5% felt like they were butting into a conversation where they were not welcome.
And finally, only 2% said they followed a link here only and didn't care to comment. I'm pretty sure that's wrong; I'd wager that a good number of those 7000 other people are coming links on other sites.
So what does this all mean, if you have a blog?
It seems like people have a lot of problems with blogger's comment system. If you combine the related categories, then 69% don't comment in part because the system isn't set up to communicate in the way that they want. That's 69% who would forgo all the advantages of a connected community because it's a pain to interface with that community. That's significant.
However, if we combine the other categories, we get 91%. 91% of the responders said they don't comment because they don't have time, or that their comments aren't worth giving, or because of other insecurities. That's a pretty big overlap with the number who say they aren't commenting because they don't like blogger's system. That's not including any people in the 29% who don't comment because they don't expect responses---something that is made worse by blogger but not always caused by it.
So does this mean there's still hope for the blogger faithful? Or is it time for all of us to move our gallery updates to facebook or Tumblr?
Obviously, people don't keep blogs for the sake of comments, yet I get the feeling that the poor ratio of comments to views is an indicator of the health of the blog community as a whole. Are likes, favorites, or reblogs indicative of the good health in other online communities? What do you think?