Snippets

Blogging nuts and bolts

A few updates on some of the ‘nuts and bolts’ behind the Confident Writing blog.

1. Comments

Comments are the lifeblood of a good blog and I love receiving your comments.  Please feel free to chip in with comments even if it’s on a post I wrote a little while ago (it’s fresh to you after all and there’s no time limit on having something interesting to say).

But my business blog angel Claire did get me thinking the other day about how to handle more troublesome or malicious comments.  I haven’t yet got as far as a fully formed comments policy but the basic rule of thumb is:

  • Comments are welcome - please join in!
  • The idea is to add, constructively, to the debate by making a point or asking a question
  • I reserve the right to weed out comments that are likely to cause offense or distress to my readers or myself; that are simply promoting a product; that are totally off beam and not linked to the original content in any way
  • I don’t moderate comments just now (that is, I don’t check them before they appear on the site) but will turn this option on if it should be needed

I’m still very new to this so please chip in with any tips and pointers from your own experience of managing comments.

2. Links opening in a new window/tab

Phew!  I asked a question about this at Problogger and precipitated an animated debate!  The question was around how to set up links to other people’s sites - should they open a new window so that your reader doesn’t get lost and can find where they started from; or should they open in the same window so your reader moves on with the link if that’s where they want to go (bearing in mind you can choose to ‘right click’ yourself if you want to open the window in a new tab).

I’m not going to bore you with the ins and outs of it all here - you can follow the >100 comments there if you’re interested - nor to I pretend to understand all the detail, nor the netiquette in question.  The strongest feeling seemed to be that it was ‘best practice’ to let your readers move on through the links rather than trying to ‘hold’ them on your site.  So that’s what I’m going to do from now on (subject to feedback, further advice and suggestions of course). [UPDATE: Sorry I should have made it clear I'm not going to go back and change all the links I've already published, it really will be from now on.  That includes the blogroll till I have time to refresh it.]

Again, any comments on your own experience of managing links would be greatly appreciated.  (I didn’t realise what a minefield this was when I asked the original question!)

3. No blogging about my cat

Not a cast iron rule, but I don’t intend to write about my cat (amazing though he is).  But after all that tecchy stuff I thought this cartoon might make you smile.

Good Quality Pet Blogging

It’s from bLaugh - the (un)official comic of the blogosphere.

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5 Responses to “Blogging nuts and bolts”

  1. On June 27, 2007 at 3:20 pm Lillie Ammann responded with... #

    I have a comments policy similar to yours, based on suggestions from Lorelle on Word Press. I also state that I reserve the right to edit the comment without changing the meaning. Sometimes commenters make a typo, which I fix for them. Once I removed the link to a commenter’s Web site because I considered the site offensive. However, I left the comment because it did contribute to the conversation.

    I do moderate comments the first time someone posts, then once a comment has been approved, future comments from that person are not moderated. Akismet is good at catching spam, but a few spam comments slip through every day or so, and I prefer to moderate than to have to back and delete. I’m not sure what readers think of that, though.

    I also read all the comments at Problogger on the new window question. Personally, I prefer to have links open in new windows automatically - otherwise I’m apt to click through several links and lose track of where I was or close a page when I finish it then can’t get back to the original site. So I still follow the practice of external links opening in a new window and internal links opening in the same window. I’ll be interested in hearing if you get any feedback or see any results from changing to opening all links in the same window. I’m considering it based on all the comments at Problogger, but I find it hard to do something that I find inconvenient as a reader. :-) But, of course, it’s not what I think but what my readers prefer.

    ReplyReply
  2. On June 28, 2007 at 12:15 am Laura responded with... #

    The comment policy is a good one. I typically only edit someone’s comment if they ask me to change it (usually due to a bad link). That has happened less than five times. I definitely endorse Akismet if you don’t already use it. Still, there are a few spam comments that slip through and I delete those.

    Good post!

    ReplyReply
  3. On June 28, 2007 at 12:20 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Lillie, thanks so much for these helpful comments. It’s great to be able to learn from other people’s experience. The additional points you have in your commenting policy sound very sensible. As a reader/commenter I’m quite happy with moderated sites (and well understand the reasons for them) - unless people take an age to clear them.

    The links thing is very tricky. Like you I was working on what works for me as a reader (this is a good rule of thumb to use in writing too, don’t you find?) - I really hadn’t been aware until I asked the question at Problogger that there were some readers who would have such different views (and strongly held ones at that)

    I’ll see how the change goes anyway. It is at least less work for me(from the Typepad end anyway where you have to change each link manually)

    Joanna

    ReplyReply
  4. On June 28, 2007 at 12:23 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Hi Laura, thanks for the comments. I am starting to feel my lack of technical expertise. Is Akismet something similar to the Catchpa that asks you for a mix of letters and numbers in the comment box here - or something else again that I haven’t yet heard of?

    So much to learn - I’m glad there are kind souls around who are so willing to help :)

    Joanna

    ReplyReply

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  1. The value of asking questions: the ‘link opening new window debate’ continues | Confident Writing - August 5, 2008

    [...] reflection I decided to change to reflect that practice and links from this and the Coaching Wizardry site now open in the same [...]

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