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Blogging Pet Peeves

February 12, 2014

OK, so in lieu of a new Blogger Spotlight this week, I’ve got something else on my mind.  And, as usual, I’m gonna get to it the long way around.

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about blogging is the interaction with readers via comments, and sometimes through email.  I believe the real value and knowledge that comes from a site like The Hog Blog isn’t the information I share, but the discussions that ensue about that information.  I am definitely not a font of all knowledge, and I can pretty much guarantee that no other blogger out there is either (no matter how some may like to think they are).  I believe there’s something to learn from every dialog, and even a rank neophyte can bring a new and valuable perspective to the conversation.  I have stood corrected more times than I can recall over the past several years, and I lay good odds it’ll happen again.  While I prefer not to be wrong, I do appreciate being educated when I am.

I also appreciate comments because they can help me see what content is of interest to readers.  I get ideas for topics and gear to review.  I’m often surprised by the responses to posts that I thought would be fairly inconsequential, and by the lack of comments to posts that I expected to generate some heat.  It’s good to get a feel for that sort of thing (although I still can’t figure out the secret formula for consistently generating extended conversations).

Of course, I’ll add that getting comments on a post strokes the ego of the blogger.  Blogs are nothing if not vanity outlets… our own little soap boxes where we can publish whatever we think is worth saying.  We’re validated when our posts generate comments.  It’s nice to be heard, and even nicer to be appreciated for our efforts.

And I think that’s a two-way street.

I believe commenters also need a little validation and appreciation.  They have, after all, taken time out of their lives to respond to our blog posts.  In my opinion, they deserve some sort of response, even if it’s just a hasty, “thanks for the comment!”

And there’s my pet peeve… bloggers who don’t bother to respond to their readers’ comments.

I mean, I’m not perfect.  I know there are times when I just don’t get back to the comments.  Regardless of my excuse, I feel like I’ve let the reader down when that happens.  So I do try to consistently acknowledge feedback, whether positive, negative, or neutral.  I believe every blogger owes their readers the same level of respect.

Sometimes, my response is commensurate with the effort the commenter made.  So, for example, if I see a simple, “good post,” or (god forbid), “ditto,” I’m a little less inclined to respond at length.  But even then I feel like I should spend 10 seconds to write a thank-you.  If the comment is more substantial, my response generally is a bit more robust as well.  And as some folks know, I do love a debate.

I’m aware that many bloggers, like myself, have lives outside of the blog.  We have families and day jobs and obligations.  There aren’t many of us who make a living from WordPress or Blogspot, so sometimes this little corner of the Interweb gets shoved to a back burner.  I totally understand about conflicting priorities.

But I can’t understand how someone who can take the time to post a blog entry can’t take the time to read and reply to comments… at least most of the time.

At any rate, I know I’ve got a lot of blogger “friends” out there who have fallen into this habit and I don’t mean any of this to be taken personally, but really… tend to your comments.  Respond to your readers.  Let them know you appreciate that they’re taking the time to read what you’ve written.  Blogs are social media.  Be social.

 

 

 

Comments

12 Responses to “Blogging Pet Peeves”

  1. Holly Heyser on February 12th, 2014 11:28

    A while back, there was a very beautifully written new blog that I quickly stopped reading solely because my and other readers’ positive comments were utterly ignored, and I can’t be bothered to interact in any way with a blogger who’s too good to say “thank you.”

    I suppose I should check back some day to see if they’ve gotten over themselves.

  2. Bruce Cherry on February 12th, 2014 11:53

    Phillip:

    I was going to submit two followups. The first would say, “Good job.” The second would say, “ditto.” But I didn’t, because I am a refined gentleman of impeccable taste.

    Let me respond by getting a pet peeve off my mind, a nagging irritation that has driven me away from otherwise decent forums such as Jesse’s Hunting Forum. I once posted, on that forum, that I had been busted by a hog that looked up from feeding, saw me approaching from almost 200 yards away, locked onto me, and then whirled and ran off, the wind being in my face. I added that this had happened several times, the wind in my favor and the hog(s) seeing me from 150+ yards away. Immediately, the responses rolled in, each and every one of them touting the fact that pigs can’t see anything beyond 50 yards—if that—and that there is no way a pig can spot a hunter from a distance of 100 yards, let alone 200 yards. Therefore, they said in essence, I’m a liar. At that point in my life I had shot 20+ hogs [I’m now at 60 or 70 or so] and had some experience in the matter. I defended my position and the rebuttals became quite nasty. Finally a post came in from a highly experienced hog guide whom many of the posters knew of. He stated flatly that he had been busted many, many times from distances of 200+ yards and he felt that pigs had good eyesight. Well, these “armchair” hog hunters went after him. I got so sick and tired of this crap that I dropped out. A few of these “experts” hunted with guides perhaps once or twice a year and I doubt if the great majority had ever even seen a wild hog but they had no reservations about projecting their past-master status in such matters.

    Shortly afterward a person posted something about the best bullet for large hogs and several forum members posted very good suggestions, including old favorites like the Nosler Partition, Barnes X and newer models like A-Frame and others. Immediately, these same experts jumped in and each one had a favorite bullet and each individual position was that anyone who used anything else was an idiot. They got into a huge argument with one another and, if I recall, Jesse had to pull the thread.

    Then somebody posted the most controversial question of all when it comes to hog hunting forums. “What is the best all around cartridge for hog hunting?” Man, did the bristles fly on that one. The reality is that there are an infinite number of hog hunting scenarios—close range in heavy brush, long range on grassy mountainsides, hunting from a stand next to a feeder, shooting pigs while sitting in a recliner on your back porch [common here in Hawaii], using dogs where a long shot is 10 feet—the list goes on forever. What works for me in one specific situation may be ridiculous for you. And each of us has a favorite cartridge or two, ones we are comfortable with. Well, the experts got into a huge catfight and the very interesting common denominator in their arguments was that they felt that the only reasonable cartridge was a super-magnum with horrendous recoil that, I am sure, none of them could shoot with consistent accuracy. I stayed out of that one entirely.

    I have downsized the power of my arsenal dramatically over the past year or so, partly due to medical concerns [spine surgery in the neck] but also because I have learned that if you select a bullet that will stay together and penetrate, you can kill virtually any hog anywhere with a stout load from a .243. Plus, I can shoot a .243 with far greater accuracy than, say, a 300 Weatherby. My 300 Weatherby, by the way, is currently for sale on Gunbroker. Do a search for “300 WBY Customized NR” and you can see it.

    The Internet, unfortunately, provides a public forum for people who basically don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. It also allows these people to behave in a hostile, uncivil fashion without fear of being punched in the jaw by other people who become fed up with this type of behavior.

    That’s it, my rant for the day. I will never be an expert in the field of hunting hogs because I have so much yet to learn and I’m running out of time. But I do appreciate this forum because you can interact with civilized people and, in so doing, learn something in the process. So, to Phillip’s post I say:

    Good post!!

    Ditto!!

  3. Blogging Pet Peeves | AllHunt.com on February 12th, 2014 15:02

    […] Blogging Pet Peeves […]

  4. Phillip on February 12th, 2014 15:11

    Well, Bruce, damn your impeccability and refinement! I was just gonna respond with, “thanks,” but now I feel I owe you and Holly a little more.

    As far as the forums, I stopped participating for pretty much the same reasons. Too many “experts” and not enough expertise. And then there’s the belligerence and antagonism when you challenge the least little thing… especially if you choose to tip a sacred cow.

    There are a lot of good things about the Interwebz, but there are a lot of bad too. The opportunities for learning new stuff abound, but the signal-to-noise ratio is a little overwhelming. I try to manage that the best I can here.

    And Holly, there are a couple of sites I go to simply to read passively because the content is just so well written. One of them doesn’t even enable comments. At least that sets an honest expectation. But I’ve bailed out of several simply because the writers won’t take a minute to acknowledge comments.

  5. Holly Heyser on February 12th, 2014 17:28

    Phillip, I’m really disappointed that you didn’t deliberately ignore my comment. I’ve come to expect more needling from you. I’m hurt.

  6. Chad Love on February 12th, 2014 19:29

    You are absolutely right and I admit that I’m one of those bloggers who are horrible about responding to comments. It’s something I really need to work on improving, because it is a sort of a jerky thing to do to someone who took the time to comment.

    My problem isn’t that I’m an asshole, or that I’m ignoring people deliberately, it’s that I’m just not on the computer very much, and I’m very, very forgetful and absent-minded.

    I also think part of my problem is when I started my blog, I genuinely didn’t do it to attract readers. I was simply using it purely as a writing exercise, a way to get me to write something on a semi-regular basis purely for writing’s sake rather than an assignment, you know, just for enjoyment, which is something that a lot of D-list, hand-to-mouth freelancers who have to scramble for every dollar sometimes lose. And I was kinda shocked when a few people started reading it.

    But you’ve inspired me. That’s my new blog resolution, commenting to comments, along with updating the blog roll…

  7. Neil on February 12th, 2014 20:37

    I have to say I’ve been pretty pleased with how the few blogs I comment on are pretty responsive and engaged with their readers. But then, I guess I don’t get out much. I haven’t jumped into the forums. I’m a little intimidated, because of the things I learn there:

    If your rifle doesn’t group 1/2 inch at 100 yards, you cannot possibly hunt with it.

    You must have a cartridge that shoots 4000 feet per second and is loaded with at least 97 grains of powder. Animals are killed, hell, even cooked, by the shock wave as it passes. Anything else is crap.

    Unless it’s a .223. That can kill anything.

    600 yards is an acceptable, realistic shot. For them. 350 is a chip shot. They do it all the time. This is due to specific physical laws that exist on the internet.

    Obama is breeding wolves in secret labs.

    Whatever rifle I own is the best. Everything else is crap. Unless the rifle I own is crap, or my friend’s uncle’s cousin had a problem with it, then you’re an idiot if you like it. See rule one.

    It’s the Libtards. They want to put the deer on foodstamps and give them to illegal aliens. (I can get the opposite of this where I live, where anyone who’s ever voted Republican, or even knows one, is EVIL.)

    Public land is an unconstitutional, commie plot. They should sell it to the people. I can’t afford any, but somehow this will be better for me.

    But don’t feel like I’m singling out the hunting community, because they’re far better on average than any public forum for a general news outlet. Or facebook. People say astounding things on facebook. Anyway, thanks for my little circle of blogs and blog readers. It’s like a little oasis.

  8. Phillip on February 13th, 2014 08:26

    Holly, you just got me on one of my nice days. Sorry about that. I’m sure I’ll needle you again soon enough.

    Chad… ahh, Chad…

    I’m not gonna let you off the hook for your new resolution, but I will say that you’re hardly the worst offender on the list. I’ve kind of come to look at your blog as one of those sites where, when I find a new post or a response to a comment, it’s like finding the Cracker Jack prize. It’s a nice little bonus for my day. Of course I’d love to see more of those “bonuses”, but I have managed my expectations.

    By the way, I totally get what you’re saying about blogging, “purely as a writing exercise.” A lot of times, that’s all mine is too… a way to keep the chops in, more or less. My rationale is a little differently motivated though, because I blog for the opportunity to write non-technical and entertaining content…as an escape from my day job in which technical is all I write, day in and out. (When I dreamed of making a living as a writer, this really isn’t the dream I dreamed… but it pays the bills.)

    I think a lot of smaller blogs start out strong and then fade. Many of the blogs I visited regularly when I first got started were quite active. It was like a little community with conversations spurred by a post that then carried on for a bit until the next post came along. And I understand how the initiative to keep that up can sort of fade as the novelty wears down. For my own part, it’s an ongoing struggle. The funny thing is, the feedback loops and interaction is what keeps me going most of the time.

    But the ones that really get me are the folks who put up these sites that become self-promotional, and as the blogger gains success, interacting with the readers seem to become less important. The sites become less social and more pompous. Next to those are the bloggers who come across as great experts, but don’t acknowledge the audience to whom they’re preaching. If I want that, I’ll read a magazine or go to Wikipedia.

    Finally, Neil… A half-inch group at 100 is two inches at 400 (in a vacuum in a perfect world), and that’s just too much margin for error. If you can’t tighten that group to 1/4″, you need to get rid of that POS rifle and get something better.

    And it’s funny. I mentioned in the post that I never know what I’m gonna write that will generate responses. I honestly didn’t expect this one to generate so much as a peep.

  9. JAC on February 13th, 2014 09:27

    Since I’m always mortified by my posts, I’m delighted when they’re ignored. Where are these blogs where my idiocy will go unremarked?

  10. Holly Heyser on February 13th, 2014 10:16

    Chad, you’re not who I had in mind either when I piled on.

  11. Phillip on February 13th, 2014 12:26

    John, you’re a special case. Your comments are doomed to always generate responses.

  12. Chad Love on February 14th, 2014 05:33

    Oh, no, don’t get me wrong, guys, I didn’t think it was me you had in mind, but I was who I had in mind when I read it, if that makes sense. Instant recognition of personal failing, because it is something I need to improve upon.

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