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Why You’re Never Too Late To Comment Here

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? (Dr Seuss)

Internet time is like that.  It flashes past in a blink of an eye.  Posts, comments, links, and tweets come, and then go.

Come back after some time away in the ‘real’ world and you can be left feeling left behind.  Like you’re permanently late at the party.

Read a post a day after it’s been written and it can feel like you’re too late to add your thoughts to the (scores of) comments that are already there.  The smart people have already moved on to discussing the next day’s fare anyway.  Better to go away again and leave without saying anything, in the hope they don’t notice you didn’t turn up on time.


Commenting isn’t all about proving you’ve got time to get there on time, is it?

I appreciate the comments here because I like getting to know you, I learn from the ideas and information you share, I stretch from the feedback you give me, I get new ideas for posts from the questions you ask.

It doesn’t matter to me when you leave them.  Two weeks after the day of posting, two months, seven months, it doesn’t make any difference to me.  They still pop up as the most recent comment in my dashboard, and they’re still the top of my pile to answer with the same care and attention that I give to them all.  The Better Comment Manager plug in helps me to keep track of all incoming comments (and there’s no warning flag on it that says ‘ignore that one, she’s left it far too late’).

I don’t switch commenting off on old posts (except for a couple that mention the word ‘link’ in the title and attract a lot of comment spam).  If it’s relevant to you, now, it’s not really ‘old’ anyway, is it?

Posts might come back to the surface because they’re featured in the sidebar - like the old friend How To Plan A Month’s Worth of Posts in 30 Minutes Flat.

You might arrive at a post from a search for something specific.  There was a comment just the other day from someone who was thinking about making the move from Typepad to WordPress. If you’re in that boat you don’t really care that the post wasn’t written yesterday.  You just want to talk about how it might help you now.

They might come to your attention in a round up piece, like the birthday tribute I wrote for a friend the other week.  I got some lovely comments and track backs on pieces like How To Become a Fire Breathing Writing Dragon.  I enjoyed knowing you were still getting something from reading them.  And I enjoyed re-reading the pieces that had got kind of buried in my own archives.

Maybe you’re popping over here once a week, after reading a weekly digest and picking a headline that ‘speaks’ to you.  Maybe you’re coming over once a month, to keep in touch, and see if there’s anything that will help to give you the confidence boost you’re looking for, now.  That’s great.  You’re very welcome.  You’re not too late.  You’re still in just the right time.

So if you get here and you find something you want to comment on… comment away.

I will both value your feedback and reply to your comment.

Just one thing: don’t spend unnecessary time apologising for being late.

How about you: did the feeling of ‘being late’ ever get in the way of you leaving a comment, here, or elsewhere?  How do you manage responses to comments on posts that are buried in your archives?

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  1. wilson says:

    Well, Joanna. As long as we’re speaking out from our heart, then it’s never too late to have a comment at confident writing, isn’t it?

    By the way, am I the number one commentator for this post? lol

    wilsons last blog post..Slimming Down Your Body With Healthy Ways!

  2. pelf says:

    Sometimes I feel that is too late to comment on some posts, and I will not leave a comment if a post already has some 20 comments. I don’t know why, that’s just me :D

    I find that I am more willing and ready to leave a comment when a post doesn’t have any yet, perhaps because I know that the author will appreciate the comment more, compared to being the 51st commentator.

  3. Ulla Hennig
    Twitter: ullahe

    I think it depends whether you get a reaction on your comment or not. There are blogs where I don’t leave a comment if a post has so and so many comments. But usually those are blogs where I don’t see the reactions of the author. But here on confident writing it is totally different for me, because I really have the feeling that there is somebody on the other side, that there is really a discussion going on. Thanks a lot for creating that welcoming atmosphere, Joanna!

    Ulla Hennigs last blog post..The cell phone that wasn’t turned off

  4. Ralph says:

    Oh yes, Joanna, how right you are! Sometimes I feel that real life is using up my Internet blogging time, and then blogs seem to be like a story from a different world. Good to know that it isn´t so in many cases. I use bogs to let people take a glimpse of my real life, which applies especially to Twitter. But then sometimes I get the idea that life has passed on much too fast. Then again, I try to keep to Mahatma Ghandi´s words: “There are moe important things in life than constantly increasing its speed”.

    Ralphs last blog post..Why does the German school system not work effectively?

  5. Robyn McMaster says:

    Joanna, I just have the feeling that you care about comments and listen to your readers. I have the impression that some bloggers are more about getting clicks and high traffic counts, but here on Confident Writing, I have the impression you care about readers. That helps build a little confidence in your readers.

    Robyn McMasters last blog post..As a Writer - I Can

  6. Robert Hruzek says:

    I have to admit to being one who rarely comments if I’m late to the party. But, like Ulla’s comment above, it feels more like the conversation never stops here at Confident Writing.

    Maybe that’s why we hit it off so well? All I know is, it’s comfortable here anytime - no matter how long it takes to get here!

    Robert Hruzeks last blog post..Just When They Think You’re Smart

  7. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    wilson, I agree - if that’s where the comment comes from it will never, ever be too late. Yes, you’re the number one for this post, and generally my number one commenter! Thank you :-)

    Pelf, hi, it’s good to see you! I’m a bit like that too when there are lots of comments - not so much that I think the author won’t appreciate them but I can’t face wading through all the other comments that other people have already written. Sometimes popular sites can just be too much. It’s hard to get the right balance isn’t it?

    Ulla, thank you for the feedback. Creating a welcoming atmosphere is one of the things I have tried the hardest to do. And yes, there really is a person on the other side here!

  8. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Ralph - those are very wise words you’ve quoted. It’s good to be reminded to slow down a little, and keep on breathing in and out!

    Robyn, thank you for that feedback. I do care, very much, and try to pay attention to what you’re all up to and what’s important to you. I think you pay the same attention to your readers at Brain Based Biz, which is why I’m such a regular commenter there.

    Robert, I’m glad you feel it’s comfortable here. The feeling of ‘place’ is important to me on blogs I visit… which is of course one of the reasons I enjoy hanging out at the Zone

  9. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim

    Joanna, your blog is one of the most welcoming places on the internet. This post is yet another demonstration of what makes you a model hostess. We all get overwhelmed and fall behind and may feel that we’ve arrived “too late.” This is such a timely reminder that it’s never too late and whenever we come, we are welcomed. Thank you Joanna for always leaving a light on. I sometimes straggle too but I’m glad to know that there’s always a seat for me. :-)

    Karen Swims last blog post..5 Great Blogs You May Not Be Reading

  10. Brad Shorr says:

    Joanna, Better late than never! That’s why it’s a good idea for readers to subscribe to comments for posts that promise lively discussion. I’ve got a few of those that are six or seven months old and still percolating.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..Waiting for Goodbye

  11. Bo says:

    Lots of interesting thoughts in this post.

    #1 I always leave a comment if I have something to say, no matter if I’m first or 30th. But I won’t leave a comment that doesn’t say anything - a “good job” or “nice photo.” I want to contribute, and while those sentiments are nice, they really aren’t too helpful.

    #2 You’ve reminded me about responding to comments. When I received fewer comments, I did respond personally to each comment. Then it got a bit overwhelming. I do respond to anything specific - especially questions. I always try to answer questions. But maybe I should try to be more responsive to all people who take the time to leave comments. Does anyone feel that if you leave a comment on the blogs of your commenters, you don’t necessarily have to respond in your own blog’s comments?

    Joanna, you are spectacular in your ability to respond to each comment, and I’m sure people are always coming back to see what you’ve said. I know I do.

    #3 As far as late. Bah, never too late. I always love to get comments.

    Bos last blog post..Mysterious Scandinavian Carvings

  12. Bo says:

    Almost forgot…the beginning quote is one of my very favorite quotes of all time on time. I have a real thing about all of Dr. Seuss’s books. So wise, So very wise and a creative soul for sure.

    Bos last blog post..Mysterious Scandinavian Carvings

  13. Carla says:

    I too sometimes feel it’s too late to add my two cents. Some bloggers get a whole page of comments within the same day as their post and it’s easy to feel intimidated. Who will read my comment now? Will I say what’s already been said? I love it when a blog has a feature where you can sign up to receive emails when new comments come in (like yours)because I love to read the comments as much as the blob post itself.

  14. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Karen, what a lovely thing for you to say, thank you. I love the image of leaving a light on. I always will.

    Brad, that’s a good point. I also subscribe to some posts that are still generating some good conversation many months after the event.

    Bo, thanks for sharing the way that you leave comments. In relation to your point and about when, where and how to respond to comments there was a lively discussion about that and other points in relation to this post:

    Dear Blog Owner, Why Do You Ask For My Comments?

    One of the points that came up was that some bloggers respond quietly - maybe by visiting the commenters blog, or by sending them an e-mail. That certainly creates a powerful connection with that person - but the downside is that other people who are visiting don’t know that’s what you do, and it might put them off commenting. I think in essence it comes down to the kind of blog you’re building and the kind of community you want round about it. I suppose part of what I’m trying to do is coach and encourage through the comment box conversations, so paying a lot of attention to what people say is important to me - not least as it helps me to learn, a lot.

    Carla, I know what you mean - if there are a lot of comments it’s likely that other commenters won’t read your words, but hopefully the blogger always will. (Of course I know that doesn’t apply in all cases). Interesting point about enjoying the conversations by e-mail - it’s true, often people are more open in the comment boxes, and that’s where you get some of the most interesting interactions.

  15. Barbara Swafford says:

    Hi Joanna - You’ve been on my mind and like magic you showed up on my blog today.

    Like you, I don’t feel a comment is ever too late. Even if I visit a blog and the post is older and has a ton of comments, I’ll still leave my two cents just to let the blog author know I was there.

    You mentioned the Better Comment Manager plugin. I haven’t heard of that one, but plan on checking it out, as I’m always afraid I will miss answering a comment on an older post.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Be Careful What You Wish For

  16. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Barbara, good to see you. You prompted a great conversation about the challenges of blogging yesterday - thanks. I also loved the way you replied to all the comments. I know it takes a ton of work to do that, but picking up and reflecting on the reflections that have come back to you is a way to make each reader feel extremely valued.

    I love the plug in - it gives me a good overview of what’s going on. I think there are other features you can use with it but watching it for comments whenever they come in is the main one I use it for.


  17. Debbie Yost says:

    Although I’m always happy to get comments on my posts, no matter how old, I often choose not to comment on someone else’s old post. It think the main reason is because everyone else has moved on. I also choose not to comment if I’m far down on the list to comment. I don’t know why. It’s silly really and you raise some very good points. Yet again, I’ll be thinking of you everytime I write a “late” comment somewhere. I guess it’s shouldn’t matter if I’m late for the party in the blogosphere, because I’m rarely on time for parties in real life!

    Have a great day.


    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Our Family’s Introduction to Epilepsy

  18. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Debbie, I bet people are always glad to see you at their parties, however late you might be :-)

  19. Miguel Wickert says:


    It’s always a delight to visit your blog. I love your concern for readers, comments and your willingness to learn from others.

    You said, “I appreciate the comments here because I like getting to know you, I learn from the ideas and information you share, I stretch from the feedback you give me, I get new ideas for posts from the questions you ask.”

    Wow, how might the blogosphere be different if this was the intention of bloggers.

    Miguel Wickerts last blog post..Pimp Your Blogging Experience With Thesis

  20. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Thank you so much Miguel! I guess I try and hang out in the part of the blogosphere where people share similar intentions - which is why I enjoy it so much.

  21. Ariane says:

    I”m so busted! I’m one of those who reads posts late and then figures it’s too late too comment, or apologizes. It really does feel like being late to the party! Well no more! You are so right. I’ll comment whenever I get time. : )

    Arianes last blog post..25 Ways I Save Money - 2008

  22. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hey Ariane, I’m glad, because it’s *always* good to hear from you. And at least I don’t have any catchpa here ;-)

  23. Ariane says:

    SO TRUE! What a eureka moment for when I finally realized that i needed to use my Google REader to Organizing blogs by how easy they are to comment on! It’s going to change everything. category 1 - Super easy…like yours. Category 2, no captcha, but you still have to fill a lot of info out, category 3…nightmares with captcha. LOL So now I’m forewarned if I’m even gonna think about commenting I know which are gonna be timesuckers ahead of time. What a lot of frustration that will avoid.

    Arianes last blog post..25 Ways I Save Money - 2008

  24. Roger C. Parker says:

    Dear Joanna:
    Congratulations on your encouraging comments on older blog posts. Good information never goes out of date. During a recent interview with Guy Kawasaki, he mentioned to me that “30 days is the life span of a blog post,” but I definitely disagree.

    Your blog posts and writing style is clear and helpful.

    Best wishes on your continued success.

    Roger C. Parkers last blog post..How Gordon Graham approaches the challenge of selling high-priced copywriting services online

  25. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Roger, I agree with you, good content doesn’t go out of date, and people are always welcome here whenever they might arrive.

    Thanks for your good wishes


  26. [...] one worth thinking about.  In my view, you’re never too late to comment, but some people prefer people not to allow comments on old posts.  This might be particularly [...]