Why do people comment?

I was looking through some pics that a friend had uploaded on facebook. I was also looking at the comments that people had left in them. And looking through the comments, I thought apart from one sarcastic remark by me, none of the comments added any value.

So I wonder why people comment. On this blog (and its predecessor) I noticed that most people comment only if they have something specific to say, some value to add, some joke to crack. And this is the same policy that I follow too, while commenting – irrespective of where I’m commenting. Yes, once in a while I want to leave a comment just for the heck of it, but even then I take some time and compose something that I think would be interesting to the other people looking at the site, adding some marginal value.

However, when I look at comments people leave on each others’ photos on facebook, I notice that in most of them there is not even an attempt to add value. They are all of the “palli vas here” types. They are just marking attendance and letting the uploader know that the photos have been visited. That’s it.

Why am I cribbing about this? Because in the sea of useless comments the comments that I think add value get lost. Serious commentors (such as those who comment on my blogs) will get put off when they see a sea of senseless comments. And end up not commenting. And that much incremental value that this insightful comment would have been added to the page will be lost.

Dear Readers, so far you have been doing an excellent job on this blog. Most of the comments that you people leave are extremely insightful and I love reading and responding to them. Please keep the good work going. And for those of you who don’t comment regularly, if you think there is some value (however small) that you can add to the post, or the discussion, please do leave a comment. I’d love to know what you think about what I’m writing.

And you might notice that I’ve implemented Threaded Comments here on my blog. That was one feature that I’d really liked about LJ and realized that replying to comments using @ is too much of a pain. So far I see that not too many others reply to other comments (a practice that was widespread on LJ). So please do make use of this feature and contribute to the discussion. And as you might have noticed, anonymous comments are allowed so you can comment even if you don’t have a blog. Of course I ask for your email ID, so there is some handle that I have on you.

8 thoughts on “Why do people comment?”

  1. I vas here…

    Yea…have been reading your blog for long, never put commment, so chumma for the sake of a comment!

    BTW nice blog da…

      1. See…my comment actually adds value to this post because its an example, and that’s precisely why i put it!


        1. And actually, I put a fake email id because of spam concerns, and since you expect to have some idea about the commenter :

          I was a KQA and UTPT regular….was there at University Challenge, as audience though!

          Not sure if you’d recognize me at all….But I’m pretty sure we have lots of common friends from IITM and IIMB, though i never went there to study.

  2. I stumbled upon your blog, by accident sometime backand have been an on and off reader, since then…

    On such blogs, where I dont know the reader, I prefer to maintain an interaction purely through the blog.

    Ofcourse, I take care to avoid slander,amd personal attacks.

    So me not really comfy with this “hold” you have on me, with my email id !

    Surely, there should be other means you can come up with to do away with the unsolicited comments…

    1. i think this is the way it works in all wordpress-based standalone blogs – by taking teh email ID.

      and in the last 2 weeks (since i started this) it’s worked quite well so i guess i’ll let it stay.

      my biggest problem iwht anonymous comments on LJ was that I never knew who it was. absolutely no info. was irritating

  3. Right.

    I am not the ‘palli vas here’ types, either on blogs or on the last seat of a BTS bus.
    But thanks for dedication skooby šŸ˜‰

    Now the value-adding part:
    First, the ‘palli vas here’ comments could be left by people who want to show the blogger that they did infact read the blog, and were impressed just a tiny bit to say ‘i was here’. notice that no schmuck wud write that on a public toilet. Or it could be one of those bots that troll the net. I never quite figured out how that works.
    Secondly, we are discussing ‘comments’. not ‘opinions’. not ‘pro/con’. I guess there are a lot of ppl out there who just use the textbox in the comments section to type away. (I am bordering on that myself, i know). What I am trying to say is that instead of pointing the obvious, we make our own solution. the best solution i have seen so far is slashdot.org.

  4. Also being sarcastic online also depends on types of friends you’ve got. One can have max-fun playing on the friends on facebook, orkut or on blogs, if they too can understand sarcasms and try to value-add themselves. I guess the percentage of these sane types are more high in the IIMese and the IITese, and very few from top colleges in Karnataka and elsewhere.

    Americans on the other hand try to act if they are big shot celebrities posing in photos along with beer and other stuffs and the comments will be like some 0x0x0x that I don’t understand which is sadly copied by the Indians converting to firangs. I’m of opinion that Indians are most creative max in these commenting stuffs. But I could be wrong.

    If people can’t display humor then and now, they can be drab and boring. Hence it is an exercise in futility to put stuffs online in company of such people, me thinks.

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