comment_challenge_logo_2.pngIn case you were wondering, I haven’t given up on the comment challenge! I’ve just been rather involved in the comment storm that’s taking place on my blog right now.

I definitely didn’t do all of these activities “by the book” but my goal with this is really to be a better blog citizen and think more about my commenting than to win something. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m right on target.

Day 2: Comment on a Blog You’ve Never Commented on Before

I did this on Marianne Lenox’s blog, as her passion quilt post really touched a chord for me. I’m a big believer that we have a lot of control over how we feel and how things affect us, so I thought that would be a good post to comment on. Marianne is also taking part in this challenge and I’ve been wanting to get to know her better since she’s a Twitter friend (not that I’ve been on Twitter much lately).

Day 3: Sign up for a Comment Tracking Service

I signed up for coComment as this is where we were supposed to sign up when we’re taking part in the challenge. Since it’s the first comment tracking service I’ve ever used, I have nothing to compare it with, but I’m pretty happy with it. It makes it easy to keep track of where you’re commenting thanks to a nice Firefox extension that I installed on both my work and home computers. And it’s nice to be able to see in a single space where you commented and what comments have been posted to the blogs subsequently.

Day 4: Ask a Question in a Blog Comment

My friend Iris wrote an interesting post inspired by the comment challenge about how she rarely bothers to check if other people’s posts have generated a conversation in the comments. In my comment, I mentioned that some people subscribe to comment feeds (though I don’t) and then asked people who do to describe their experiences with them. I got some useful answers from several other bloggers, which made me realize that I didn’t have my own comment feed on my blog’s sidebar. It’s there now. I also think I’m going to subscribe to the comment feeds of a few of my favorite blogs. I’m sure I’m missing a lot by not doing that.

Day 5: Comment on a Blog Post You Don’t Agree With

Oh boy. This is an area I could use some improvement in. One blog that I have recently unsubscribed from, but read for about a year was the Brazen Careerist. She writes a lot of posts that get people up in arms, including me, which is why I decided finally to unsubscribe. My last act was a comment on her post last week. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I wrote what I did, but I found this post so horrendous that I couldn’t be polite about it. I really shouldn’t have written it, but it was the culmination of reading a lot of posts on her blog that I found offensive and/or misleading. I feel like someone who offers advice — who people listen and look up to — should be more responsible. But still, I regret the tone of what I wrote. And I will be more careful about this in the future.

The other place I’ve disagreed with people is on my own blog. I’ve been taking part in a debate about speakers and how they are treated at conferences, and I have disagreed with a number of the people who have commented. However, the entire tone of the discussion is different. We all are coming from a place of mutual respect, and it has led to an interesting and illuminating discussion rather than an angry and defensive discussion. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the better discussions I’ve taken part in through blog comments.

Day 6: Engage another Commenter in Discussion

I commented on a commenter at Stephen Francoeur’s Digital Reference blog who made the assertion that students now knowing that reference services exist isn’t a reason why people don’t utilize reference services. My comment is still awaiting moderation. I argued that students may not understand what reference means and what the librarians can do for them. I certainly didn’t when I was in school.

Oh, and I also poked fun at Steve Lawson on Iris’ blog, which I suppose could be seen as an attempt to start a discussion with him. ;)

Day 7: Reflect on What You’ve Learned so Far

I’m happy that I’ve done the commenting I’ve done this week. I read a lot of posts every week; too many to really focus on most of them. Feeling like I needed to comment has actually made me read some posts more closely than I would have otherwise. I haven’t found many posts this week that I felt strongly about (either positively or negatively), so I did feel a little challenged to find ways to fulfill the requirements. It’s funny, because other weeks I see tons of posts that I’d love to comment on but I feel too busy to make the time. Oh the irony!

I guess the most important realization I’ve made (which probably seems obvious) is that a blog debate where everyone is coming from a place of mutual respect is far more satisfying than a blog debate where people are coming from a place of anger. When I write an angry or snarky comment, I feel like an ass afterwards. When I take part in a conversation like the one happening on my blog right now, I feel positive and energized. I’ve vowed to unsubscribe to any blog that makes me angry. Life’s too short to waste on negative feelings for people you don’t even know.

I’m really enjoying this challenge so far! Can’t wait to see what comes next!