How to comment

by humagaia

How to comment is not difficult. Most of us have commented at one time or another. But how to comment effectively, to the best advantage of all, is a little more involved.

Commenting is both an art and a science.

I hope to be able to explain both.

The art is in the construction of a crafted
response to that which one has read.

The science is in the contents:
where to place words and
what words to place there,
for the benefit of
the audience and
the author.

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The art and science of commenting.

Why should we think about ourselves? Why should we consider the audience? Why should we care about the author? 

Find out below............

The art of commenting

How to comment - the art

Let me start with the obvious - before we construct a comment, we must read the article, blog entry, other comment or whatever. Obvious, blindingly obvious, but oft times obviously not undertaken. Many a time one sees the spam comment - everything to do with promoting something that has, at best, little to do with what has been written, or of little content or benefit. As a writer you should always rid yourself of these anathemas.

Whilst reading, one must undertake what was taught you at school - comprehension. I write from a background of logical thinking, that I transformed into computer programs. I write formally. My style is not always the easiest to follow, because I tend to write long, complex sentences with analytical constructs. Your comprehension skills will be sorely tested when reading my missives. However, if you wish to comment successfully, you will need to comprehend all sorts of styles, across a myriad of platforms.

Once you have read and understood, you should extract one, just one, item to comment upon. It should be something, if possible, that reflects your knowledge-base, and once enumerated, shows you in good light with the audience you target personally. 

The comment you make should be in your voice. The one you utilise elsewhere on the net. It should be more than just succinct. The more you write, the more likely it is that the recipient knows that you have taken time out from your busy day to make an effort to extend the debate, conversation, comment thread. It must be relevant.

If you found more than one thing to comment upon, then leave the further item/s to subsequent comments. Why? So that threads do not show confused messages or thought processes. It is easier to process one thought at a time, than to process multiple streams of thought (unless, of course, you are female).

How to comment is not about just making a comment, it is about making a relevant comment. One  that will garner a response. If a response is fostered then it is most likely that your comment will not be consigned to the trash bin. All your hard work: finding a place you feel comfortable making a comment; finding something to comment about; constructing your comment, will then not have gone to waste. Take the time to ensure your comment sticks - and enhances your chances of having another chance to comment in the thread. Questions at the end of your comment are always a good way to push the button of the author, to respond.

You already have the artistry for constructing articles. Use those same skills in constructing your comments. In both cases you are answering a question. Take as much time, effort and thought building a good comment, as you would for your article or blog.

The science of commenting

How to comment - the science.

Constructing a comment is just like constructing an article or blog entry. Much of the on-page SEO should have already been done for you. One thing you should remember here is that your comment, although adding to the page you are on, is actually a chance for you to promote yourself, something of your written portfolio, and acts as anchor text to your on-line persona.

Use it in that scientific light and you will do yourself no harm. What you write is a window through which the recipient and their audience, see you. If they like what they see, they will seek you out elsewhere. The link to your on-line persona and the written word you wish them to view will be available and utilised.

Just think about it. Someone comments on what you have written, and it is comprehensive, helpful, useful, relevant. What do you do? You read the comments at the end of an article. It is comprehensive, helpful, useful, relevant and expands on the content. What do you do?

How do you make it comprehensive? Write a few lines, not just one sentence or a few words.

How do you make it helpful? Add some insight, facts, counter-facts, alternative viewpoints.

How do you make it useful? Think about what you would have liked to see in the missive.

How do you make it relevant? Mention the keyword, or similar, at least once in your comment.

All of which expands on the content!

What you will find you have done at the end of this process is a comment that helps you, the author and the audience. The triumvirate that all your comments should satisfy.

Why should we consider the audience?

Comments - Why should we consider the audience?

Everything we do when writing should consider the audience, whether it is ours per se, or that of another author. We are not trying to steal that audience: rather we are attempting to attract them to read us also. 

The best way to attract a readership to a new author is to write a resume and a condensed review of what an audience might expect from that author. Your profile is your resume. Your comment is an indication of your style and what can be expected as content, should the reader be interested. Expansion of your audience is what you require to satisfy whatever you desire from your on-line writing experience.

If we do not consider the audience, then our offerings will never achieve the audience it deserves (that is, what you think it deserves). Or rather it will achieve exactly what it deserves.

Why should we care about the author?

Comments - Why should we care about the author?

When we write a comment we should consider the author of the original content, that is the article, blog or previous comment. I have covered why we consider the written word carefully. Here, I am talking about paying for the chance to expand our audience. Every time an author attracts comments, they are allowing the world without to make a play for their audience. We should all be grateful, and make a payment in kind, for the chance. A thank you of kind.

How can we make a payment in kind? By including the targeted keyword, or at least an analogous keyword phrase, in our comment. Why? Because this will enhance their standing in search engine indexes for their analysed keyword. It will also enhance your standing for associated subject matter - but that is for the next chapter.

If we care about others. Share the search engine love about. Consider their needs and aspirations then our compassion will reap rewards by proxy, beyond that which we would otherwise attain.

Why should we think about ourselves?
Why should we think about ourselves?

Comments - Why should we think about ourselves?

Whatever we do, we always think about ourselves. Thinking is one thing. Doing something useful that will bring rewards is another!

What self promotion, when writing comments, can be included in those comments? The entire comment is really about ourself. The content is what we know or what we think. The structure is our voice. The thought about the audience and the author, is our compassion. The words are our self promotion.

Why should we think about ourselves? Sorry, you have no choice - the comment is you! Make sure it is the real you. Make sure you are not seen as fatuous, thoughtless, self-serving, curt, unfeeling, uneducated, too important to make a meaningful comment, a spammer. Make sure you are seen as a thoughtful, responsive, inclusive, comprehending, complex writer who will expand the thought processes of a reader and give the answers for which they seek.


Have I missed anything? What is your take on all this claptrap? Are you will to comment? Did you need to be told how to comment?

Other articles in this series

Why Tweet? There are many reasons to tweet, that is: to post text-based comments on Twitter. But the most important are: ....
Why retweet?: when that means you are promoting your competitors tweets. Retweeting is not a competition, it is a collaboration........
Why comment? - because it helps you, it helps them, and it helps us all! Comments are the lifeblood of the internet, no more so than on blog and article sites........
Google SERPs are archaic. Google knows there is a problem with their SERPs. Integrating Google+ etc. to address the issue is a start. But how can they change results to suit us?
Updated: 02/05/2021, humagaia
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humagaia on 06/18/2012

Useful is good!
It helps the writer to understand whether they have covered the subject fully, and in a way that is understandable.
It helps you, in that it shows understanding, and possibly a knowledge of the subject (thus increasing your kudos with search engines, audience, etc.).
Comments are also a way to 'pay' the author (by giving extra content free of charge).
Comments are the currency of information exchange.

humagaia on 02/03/2012

How tt comment is not that difficult. All you do is what you do every day of your life. Read, listen, think, understand, question, comment. That's it -easy eh!

humagaia on 02/01/2012

Thanks Ralpapajan (it is strange how an anagram can create a persona and a brand), or can I call you Robin for short? I am glad that you found it of use and worthy of further study. It is easy to comment but so much harder to do it successfully. If any thoughts come to mind as to how to improve on what has been written please let me know.

Ralpapajan on 02/01/2012

Thank you for this. It is the best article on the make up and reason for Commenting I have read. I have bookmarked it for further study to try to enhance my endeavours. Well written and concise, it encapsulates such a lot.

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