How to run a blog…

I was having a discussion with Joe a few days ago, and he asked me what he should do when people make comments that ask questions.

My current approach is to look at the question and try to decide whether I should do a new posting on the topic, or whether I should just add a comment, but I realized that I don't know whether most people go back to the comments to look for answers or not.

If you have an opinion on what you think works well, feel free to comment about comments in the comments section of this post on commenting on comments.

Comments (22)

  1. Eric,

    What about writing a new post and adding a reference to the previous post? When I reference a post in another blog in a post in my blog, a trackback is created and both posts gets linked to each other. Do you know whether it does work or not when refering to posts on the same blog site? If so, I guess it would be a feasable option. What do you think about?


    Luciano Evaristo Guerche

    Jacarei, SP, Brazil

  2. Wow, I just noticed the huge time delay from your post to it finally being visible.

    Is this correct? sensoring, or slow?

    [I thought I would test the conclusion you come to for this post :)]

  3. Jim Bolla says:

    First comment!

    My personal opinion would be to see the response as a new post. I think this makes more sense when you consider RSS. Especially on this feed. By the time one were to answer the question, the original post has dropped off the main feed and so unless that person really really wanted an answer they will probably forget about it altoghter. I know I’ve done this a few times. Perhaps if there was an RSS feed where you could get posts that you have commented in…. For example: "RssFromComments.aspx?MyName=Jim%20Bolla"

  4. Jim Bolla says:

    Dang, 2 people commented in your post about comments while I was typing my comments about comments, making my "first comment" comment untrue.

  5. I read all these Microsoft blogs at, so old entries get rapidly pushed into the memory hole, and looking at comments is effectively impossible.

    So that’s a vote for "new entry for interesting stuff."

  6. moo says:

    The problem with blogs over RSS feeds is only the top level is notified as a change on the RSS client. IF a comment is changed we are not notified.

    So, only changes to the main topic list is bold.

  7. Wilco says:

    Right now it probably makes more sense to add a new post (and add a comment with a reference to it). At least that way you’ll be pretty sure that no-one missed it.

    However, when this site/tools would have some sort of support like "display the latest comments", or "order posts by postdate AND lastcommentdate", it would IMO make more sense to just add comments only.

  8. Sean says:

    Personally, I tend not to look at the comments very often.

  9. Scott says:

    In the near future, you will be able to email subscribe to a post. This way, when comments are made, you (the visitor) can receive the comment as an email.


  10. If I ask a question in the comments, I generally look for the answer to be responded to there. That’s where I answer questions in mine…or I would if there were any 😉

  11. I usually add a comment URL to my favourites (I have a folder for checkback) and visit them up to a day or two later.

    If it’s anything interesting, new post please.

  12. Tim says:

    I’ll second Mitchell. I go back to look for replies to something I post. Lately, though, I find I have fallen back in the USENET habit of including the comment I have a question on in the post.

    RSS readers are forbidden at work, and I don’t keep up with what I subscribe to at home. I’ll have to add Eric’s just to see what it does with feedback.

  13. Depends on whether you’re addressing the commenter, or all your readers. If you want all your readers to benefit from the answer to the question, then write a new post, and, as others have suggested, refer to it in a comment reply.

  14. Well, your feed has wfw:commentRss, which is supported by a few aggregators. I’ll check back on comments if I’m really interested in a response. I’d guess most people are the same, if they really want the question answered, they’ll look at the comments page again.

  15. Wes says:

    I like Scott’s solution, I was going to suggest such a feature, but I guess Scott is way ahead of the game. Go Scott.

  16. Eric TF Bat says:

    If you’re going to reply in comments, I suggest styling the comments differently (perhaps with a border, or a different background colour) to make it clear it’s you. For obvious reasons, I get confused when someone signs their comment "Eric"!

    Though I presume from the hard-to-read black-on-grey blandness of the web interface that you’re assuming most of your readers are using some kind of RSS app to view and make comments. I don’t know enough to say if my suggestion will work across apps.

  17. Louis Parks says:

    I prefer a new blog entry than a comment dialog. I read too many blogs to keep up with comment conversations too well.

    As for email subscriptions, no offense, but I’m wary of giving anyone my email address. A better option, IMO, is better support along the lines of the CommentRSS.

  18. Catatonic says:

    When I make a comment, I use "Lock Item" in SharpReader so I’ll remember to come back later. It doesn’t seem to notify me when there are new replies though.

  19. Derek Lakin says:

    I often hit this problem when commenting myself. It would be nice to have an ‘Email me when someone replies’ type checkbox when making a comment, but then we’re getting in to the functionality of a forum.

    So maybe the best solution is a forum associated with a blog. Each blog post becomes a new thread in a forum for the relevant category and a comments link at the bottom of the post takes you to that thread.

  20. Jack Mayhoff [MSFT] says:

    RSS Bandit doesnt notify me when there is a nested comment change, just the actual main RSS feed.

    Maybe they dont process the full RSS yet?

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