Friday, September 13, 2013

Comments Tally

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?


  1. This is a good post but again, I think we ignore the fact that communication inevitably ends up as a mindless flame war. I still feel this (myself included) is why so few comment.

  2. Or maybe I'm just out of my depth.

  3. Definitely agreeing with the fact of the system being poorly set up. With other places like Facebook/Twitter/Deviantart etc you get a notification when someone replies to you, so you can go back and continue a discussion. With blogs you never know if the author replied, and the only way to find out is to go back and check it yourself.

  4. Emerson, you are right but, at least on my end, you can check the "email follow-up comments to (email)".

    a few reasons I still use blogger is because I can keep track of other blogs that I watch easily. I don't like using FB for that reason, as it isn't something that I generally share on FB.

    I'll stay on Blogger until the people I watch leave. then I'll go where most of them go.

    great post, Sam. Thanks for the effort you put in to this, it was interesting!

  5. I totally agree with Kyle.I don´t like sharing my stuff on FB but I don´t like FB in general. Blogger is, beside sharing my stuff, for me a good way to follow my favorite artist. also it isn´t like cghub where you post only your very best pieces, on blogger the people share their daily sketches, workflows, or whatever which is very cool I think. yeah the social system in blogger with sharing liking and comments isn't almost as good as on other platforms but it doesn't bother me.
    If there are still some good artists out there on blogger, I will keep using it.

  6. Well, On FB I've many issues with image quality, so I've there only normal profile with links to deviantart. About tumblr I know almost nothing, but You can find there "fashion on the street of foreign countries" it can be useful if You don't travel a lot and want to make an interesting clothes design for a character. By the way why if someone want to write a comment or see a comments it moves You to new link with only comments? Don't know how other people but I prefer to stay at same site and see comments under the post.
    I also think that some people dont like "word verification", so maybe a few people don't leave comments because of this. Anyway interesting post, thanks for sharing. Have a good day

  7. I've been wondering about the blogosphere as well, so thank you for having this survey.

    I've stretched out a little with a tumblr and Deviantart, but I've found that the easy sharing and socialness of them isn't my style--I feel like blogs work better as a home base. (Not to mention, the format is pretty pidgeonholed. Multiple pictures with text inbetween is difficult or impossible.)

    In the end I think blogs are still the best platform for people with original content, like recipes or DIY's or writers/storytellers & artists.

  8. I think facebook or tumblr is worse on commenting, it'd be good if blogger would change the comment system for the better but I still believe bloggers system is working much better than fb or tumblr, still fb/tumblr might be more popular than blogger I have no idea about that

  9. Commenting on blogger for me has become a hassle. I like to meet the artist at conventions and talk about their work in person. But seeing as how I also post work to very little responses I can see where your blog entry has come from.

    I don't want to fall in the 91% of non communicators so I'll be more active on all blog sites I follow. I think the work you post and your break downs are extremely helpful and useful. (Wonderful work with light btw)

  10. A "like" in a social website is like to have a follower or a visitor in a blog. It means (to me) the same. People like what you do. If not, they won't read your posts or be a follower in Facebook... What finally matters is what you have to say or show (obviously, it's my opinion only)

  11. First time I came across your blog I think, but this post struck me so I'm going to do something rare and comment.

    I too belong to the 57% that doesn't comment because I feel I can't add something useful. Usually when I do comment it's either ignored or evokes more of a negative response from others (if that's due to me being an ass I don't know, I don't think so but hey, you never know).

    I personally don't feel like tumblr is such a bad place to be, mainly because I usually skip reading comments on blogs anyway. There's so much to see and keep up with on the internet that I keep searching for quality - and let's face it, the largest part of comments people leave aren't much of an addition to our lives, especially if an artist has only posted his or her latest sketch or artwork and the comments consist of "oh my god!" and "amazing!" and "I wish I were like you!". It's only with posts like the one you just made that I read through some of the comments.

    In my opinion, if you really want a platform for discussion, you can go to a big forum where people are actually there to talk and have a discussion (there will probably be a bigger initial reach as well, compared to trying to carve out your own little spot on the vast internet). If you need a homebase, make a portfolio website. And for quick sharing, I think tumblr is a great medium because the likes and reblogs, to me, say just as much as "oh my god" (especially since most rebloggers add things like that in the tags on tumblr). Plus, comments are an option on tumblr in the form of "answers". I don't have much experience at all with blogger, but I rather follow those blogs with my rss feed than actually making an account.

  12. Joe Person: I haven't really experienced flame wars in the comments on my blog yet, so maybe the blogger system is really just meant to discourage that. :)

    Emerson: I agree, and the system e-mailing you about comments doesn't quite seem like the ideal solution.

    Kyle: Thanks for the participation and thoughts!

    Rolf: There is something nice about how informal a blog is, and that posts only drop off the page when there are other posts (instead of being pushed down by inane self-love/loathing updates from assorted people on Facebook).

    Marek: You can upload high-res images to facebook now, but I think there's an option you have to check for it to work. I like tumblr for stuff like world fashion, and Pinterest is great for that also. Thanks for the comment!

    Heather: I tend to agree, which is why I feel a little sad at the dropping popularity of blogs. Maybe there will be a resurgence, or tumblr will change formatting or something.

    BurcagYıldırım: I agree about fb/tumblr not being great for communication either. Although it is nice that facebook sends notices whenever someone posts to a conversation you've participated in.

    Tawd: Thanks for the comment! Like I said, for me the comment thing is more about assessing the health of blogger in general. I don't think getting comments is necessary for a blog to be valuable.

    Thanks Walter for the thoughts!

    Rengin: Forums really are the best place for conversation. I don't know that any gallery/blog site will ever match that (and I don't think it could without fundamentally changing the experience). I would be fine with just increasing conversation to asking what people think about something and getting some responses. But I'm definitely considering Tumblr after reading through the responses here and in the other post. Thanks for contributing!

  13. There is also sometimes people who do want comment has had someone already said what was intended to say. Like me numerous times.

  14. Imo, I don't believe that blogs are dying.

    I'm from Sweden, and blogs are INSANELY big around here. The most popular bloggers actually blog for a living and get sponsored by big companies etc etc etc.
    From what I've seen, those bloggers are really good at provocing their readers, and create debates which generates tons of comments. They are good at manipulating the readers, read about a lot of personal stuff and leaves them with cliffhangers, so that people want to return and ask what's going on.
    It's just like a TV show.

    It feels like blogs today, need that extra personal/storytelling spice to make readers participate more. Something that most of us artists don't really do the same way(we write "Hi I drew this today, bye" and that's it. There's no room to comment much on that, other than "ah nice work!")

    Facebook, Tumblr and insta works nicely for promoting and marketing your work, since you can put it out there and make it spread faster.

    I still prefer artists blogs. I love scrolling through rough sketches and read insightful thoughts written by other artists, but I also follow "regular people". just because the way they manage to entertain the reader.

    And you're very admitted in the industry, and evidently you recieve tons of comments anyway. Hope you keep blogging because I think you're blog has that interesting mix, even though I seldom manage to say anything useful here.

  15. I'll leave my two cents here, which isn't the only reason I don't comment often, but I'm sure it contributes to it:
    Lately I've heard from many artists how they've set up their blogs/streams/profiles to cater towards employers and clients, which is a great idea in itself because it allows people to see if an artist is active and possibly free for new assignments. Self-promotion is extremely important for a healthy career, I get that. But this idea coupled with the fact that some bloggers simply don't respond to comments, gives some blogs this corporate front feeling, like it's just a means to an end, where discussion and actual socializing doesn't belong. Some blogs have even turned off the ability to comment at all which reinforces that idea further.
    I came across a stream the other day where the artist basically said out loud the stream and blog was for promotion, nothing else. That sends out wrong signals to the people who are actually participating in their social spheres.
    Not saying all blogs are like this, certainly not this one, but it's something I've started to notice in many corners of the web.

  16. (sorry guys, my english is not to good)
    IN fact..
    The bloggers are dying...
    This is the true
    Many friends are said me to create a facebook page. And I did it because is easiest to get notification when someone like or see the comments.
    BUT.... I´ll still keep posting my works on my blog until it dies forever
    AND... I still keep seeing many blogs of artist as your Sam and others hundred great artists.
    TO me facebook has a big problem. It´s look like a cghub. You don´t get to work because all day there are many people sharing great works and you lose time seeing them and forget to make your work :(

  17. I don't know if I'd go as far as to move to a site like FB or Tumblr for my gallery content. Facebook has some pretty scary terms of service. As a big supporter of intellectual property, I try to avoid posting on sites that retroactively claim ownership of everything posted on them.

    Tumblr is a nice service, but responses are a bit different. They often appear in the form of "re-blogs". You have to install commenting modules on your site to get regular commenting capabilities back. Not a show-stopper, just harder to get set up properly.

  18. I didn't even think of the fact Blogspot doesn't have a means of simply "liking" a post, but I do wish they would implement something like that. It seems like it would appeal to a lot of people from the other social media sites. Or even if Blogspot would get an updated version of the "Are you Human?" bit, we'd be in good shape I think!

    Tumblr is a scary place because of the reblogging and loss of credit that seems to run rampant; and now Facebook seems to have updated their ToS to basically have the right to use all images without compensation. Scary stuff.

    Nice job compiling this post - very interesting stuff! I'm glad people took the initiative to comment for you!

  19. Joshua: Yes, that happens to me a lot.

    Andrea: Thanks for the great comment, it gives me hope to hear that (as I also still prefer blogger to the other options).

    Johan: Interesting, I hadn't heard of that. It makes sense, though.

    Vinicius: Thanks for the feedback! I do hope you are wrong though, because Facebook is a terrible place for keeping an online gallery.

    Thanks Nathan, good to know!

    Kysten: I totally agree. Thanks for the thoughts!

  20. SAm... me too (hope to be wrong)
    I like blogs
    I spend time everyday seeing so many of them :D

  21. I've always been really bad at leaving comments, mostly because I don't have much more to say than "That looks great!" However, I really like blogs as a way to show pictures and videos, along with the thought processes behind them. Blogs are treated more like little articles than something like Tumblr or Facebook, which feels more like a portfolio. I like to read artist's descriptions of what they worked on and how they did it, not just see the picture. Of course, I still like seeing the picture, even if it's the only thing posted!

  22. i feel that the like/reblog culture is expanding faster and faster.. especially through younger kids who do everything with their phones. to me, blogger will always have it's space - and because of that, there's that much more room for other platforms to continue to blow up and attract attention and capitalize off of how we're able to interact with the internet and each other..

    also, since this is conversation related - even if you still rock that old school blogger format (which i still do,) you can still add a reply functionality to the comments section. here's a link with a quick step-by-step for whatever it's worth:

  23. I just think commenting and blogs are such an important element of social media and interaction. When I come across blogs that don't allow comments, it seems kind of soulless, I don't know why!

  24. Thanks Josh!

    Kevin: Thanks for the tip! I do think you're right that smartphones have a lot to do with the comment trend. I tend to hardly ever comment if I'm checking things out on my phone.

    Photobook Girl: I agree. While I totally respect people's feelings, I feel a little sad when I can't leave a comment on something I like.

  25. Very interesting topic.

    I rarely leave comments because there is so little hope for any sort of reply. I feel the same about Facebook though. I have left so many comments for artists all along the amateur-professional range and received nothing in return. At the end of the day, it's a little frustrating as well as disheartening.

    1. Thanks for the response! I feel bad that it's disheartening for people to not get responses, but sometimes we just get busy and forget to catch up. For me it's different between sites though---I'm more likely to respond here, less likely on facebook, and least likely of all on deviantart.

  26. Anonymous3:23 PM

    I don't think a real community exists in places where there isn't an active discussion and natively supported ways to share things.

    Tumblr has it's issues (art reposts instead of reblogs/recent Yahoo acquisition/lots of noise), but the site makes it very easy to communicate and track/respond to communication. The dashboard is easy to naviate and shows you activity on your posts as well as the posts of people you follow. It's quite convenient.

    I used to use Blogger, but I just feel like it's very...quiet, to put it nicely. Even though my tumblr is as unknown as my old Blogger site, at least there are people who interact with my work often enough and can share it by just clicking the reblog button.

    There are a lot of ways to communicate on tumblr without having to actually say anything. I think a lot of people are content to let the work of their favorite artists/writer/etc speak for itself.

    If an artist I follow on Tumblr changed to Blogger, I don't imagine I would really keep up with what they're doing anymore.

    1. Interesting. I looked into tumblr and didn't like my first venture into it, but I'm willing to look a little deeper if you like it so much.

  27. When I was a kid, my mother was ecstatic that one of the letters she wrote to a magazine editor made it into print. I wonder how many people still write to magazines?

    Liking something and knowing that people see you liking it, even if just friends and family, is a very validating experience for an enormously crowded, yet incredibly lonely species. Social media has this pinned down so well that personally, I only use blogs to consume information. It's is rare that, unlike in this moment, I stop to consider the social value of them. This must be unfortunate for the blog owner, as I'm sure the validation one gains from comments is a great motivator, and the inverse is most likely true as well.

  28. With Facebook, people are visiting everyday, and its "sharing" function is so integrated its very easy for your work to get seen by new audiences. Before you know it, artists have audiences well into the ten's of thousands. Also it has a deep analytic feature which allows you to see who sees your posts and so on. I recommend getting a page! Even Cory Loftis has one :)

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. The only thing holding me back from trying it is laziness, but once I get over that I'm definitely trying it out.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Google should read this thoroughly. As a designer, the pool and analysis made me instigated. Needs Loomis's comment was brilliant, and I completely agree with him.

    I, for one, avoid commenting on articles if I haven't got information or an educated opinion to add. Mainly, I think, because many experienced artists usually dislike users that just say "Nice job" to almost every post they encounter.

    As for Blogger's system, I indeed dislike the options users have to keep up to date. Tumblr has the advantage of a home page for the user, where every followed blogpost is displayed. That makes things fast and easy. On blogger, I rely on Feedly, where I subscribe to the RSS of many sites and blogs around.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts. It's as is google has given up on blogs already (which makes me wonder if it's just a google+ thing, or just that it slid off their radar).

  31. Id never thought of this before you brought it up. I guess it depends what you want your blog for? I originally set mine up when I started more 'seriously' to avoid the fact that Id spend an age on an image only for it to flounder in a folder on my hard drive. This would feel massively anticlimactic. My blog is an online sketchbook place to log my personal work. And my website is where I put my best work. Its nice if people visit and better still comment on my blog but its secondary for me. I also have a facebook group and the other usual avenues for exposure.

    A big issue on the blog comment thing is that I will not know if you respond to this unless I check back, but I will invariably forget to do so!

    1. Thank you Jason, I think tumblr makes more sense as a quick online sketchbook display. Since I use my blog more for education and finished pieces, neither of which are great for Tumblr, then I'm not sure where my stuff fits best anymore.

      I hate the lack of community connectedness with the comments on blogger, that following a thread is such a pain. Case in point: I have to remember to come back to this post myself to follow-up on the comments here, and I made it. Ridiculous!

  32. I didn't participate in this because I am busy and to be honest the whole thing happened in between visits for me.

    Whatever you do though, Don't stop blogging. Your blog is awesome. to be honest I don't comment on this or the avalanche blog because It can feel like I am butting in on a conversation between artists I admire and they really don't know me. Like you are a bunch of artists that know each other real well and my comments wouldn't be welcome. That and there seems to be ongoing conversations that I am not completely aware of.

    But I think that most people coming to this blog, Me included, don't come to comment I come to learn from the master.

  33. Well.. I never do this, but here we go... I don't leave comments because I always thought "what is the point? I can't have a feedback... I noticed the only way to follow up would be coming back to the same page and I would simply forget... way too many things in a day..... Love your blog but just got to know about it a few minutes ago and this was because a friend shared the link to the newer post on FB. I came here, started reading everything and then I looked for how to follow you with FB. I personally think blogs are not very friendly.. this windows is just too small and on the bottom of the post after all the older comments for example . I think FB is a lot easier and you should give a try. Your blog is precious and I would love to follow you closer and easier and I am sure other people would love to.

  34. Hi! Just found your blog, your work is really nice!
    (sorry in advance for my bad english)
    Personnly I have been on blogspot since 2009. At this time I was only 13 years old and I was a lot into little comic strip and manga stuff. I posted really often, like once or twice a week and received a lot of comments. But with time I improved my drawing skills and spent more and more time for one sketch, drawing or animation, that resulted into less post and less comments. I realize that now I post quite rarely and get really few comments. And I's the same for the blogger I used to admire when I started drawing, "The french blogosphere" was really famous several years ago but it seems that it has been lost into all the international tumblrs and instagram stuff.
    In the meanwhile I created a tumblr and a facebook page and the activity of the audience on these platforms is so much more dynamic (for the same number of article posted)! It is easier to be informed on these platform, to like and to share. I think blogspot need a homepage/feed where you can see the news of other blogs and be informed when you get a comment or a response on someone else blog. without that I think blogspot will slowly die and I don't really know how to stop this from happening :(

    Keep posting, keep drawing, I just added you into my feedly :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.