The question of should you trust comments in blogs or not, discussed in the present text, is directed only to ordinary visitors of millions of sites on the Internet.
Those are consumers who are not involved in any site-building activity, and who are not familiar with the mechanism of receiving comments on sites.
[ John Playford – Bobbing Joe from The English Dancing Master (1651). ]
Those who run sites of any kind, and receive comments on their texts, know the truth only too well. And the truth is simple: take everything with a bit of salt, as the old Latin proverb tells us – cum grano salis. Here, I shall try to explain why this is so.
I have written another text within this site, on post comments and how they work. But that text is aimed only at bloggers. In the present text, the issue of post comments is discussed from user’s perspective. This is not supposed to be a long post because the issue is simple:
- Comments are completely under control of the site administrator!
It is as simple as that. But you then understand what this implies: they can model comments as they want, reshape, retype, remove if they do not like them (but this is waste of resources, see later).
An example of a post comment
See what I am talking about. Here is a raw version of a comment that just arrived to my site while I was typing this text:
The comment is in this color before it is approved. So this is a genuine comment from somebody who has read my text, she likes the text, and she also asks a question. But you can imagine that this could have been something totally different, saying something like ‘man this is a nonsense, what are you talking about’ etc.
See next picture, this is the same comment, but now I have made visible some options that are always available in WordPress editor which I am using:
So, I can edit the text, see how it looks like when I go to the option Edit:
Obviously I can reshape this text as much as I want, there is nothing that can prevent me, except some ethics and morality (if I have them).
Most importantly, remember, if this would be your own comment, you could do nothing about changes I make in it! Once you have submitted it, the comment is in my hands.
If you have made a critics of a text, this is then your bad mistake – a blogger will not allow something like this on his(her) site; in fact from such a negative opinion he/she can make the best positive review of his text.
Now back to the original question: Should you really trust post comments? Should you trust my own comments which you see in some of my posts?
I cannot answer this in your name. I leave it to you. Your answer will probably depend on how much trust you have in humans in general.
Do I trust comments when I read them? Well, I have been in this business for some time, I have seen and read a lot of stuff related to this.
Can you believe this: one day there was a ‘great idea’ by somebody (I shall call him Thinker, here is his picture on the right), related to ‘useless comments’ and ‘spam comments’.
But let me explain terminology first. Useless are comments of the type ‘hay there, great post, well done, keep up’, and something along that line. Spam comments, I guess everybody knows what those are.
Now, Thinker’s idea’ was: ‘Hey, why to waste useless comments, they contain addresses and names of real people. Why not retyping them as we want, and then have them in the list as genuine?”
Then there was a continuation in the similar tone about spam comments. You know, we receive hundreds of them, right now I have more than 800 blocked by Akismet plugin.
The ‘great idea’ was: just ‘approve’ them, they appear in the list of comments and then ‘edit’ them as Thinker wants. It may take him some time to do this, but with this his posts can grow to enormous proportions and this can bring his site to top positions in ranking in Google.
I have no idea what Thinker has done about it. I do not want to know. But I do want you to know what is really possible to do with comments.
Here is yet another example. One day somebody at Wealthy Affiliate came with another great question: “Why should I not write a comment myself and submit it to my site, you know, to initiate discussion and such things?” His only concern was if Google could find out about it or not.
It is hard to believe that people are ready to do such things. But from these two examples you realize what the situation is.
Bear this in mind next time when you are undecided about something after reading some sweet words convincing you to ‘take action now’. And then you scroll down the page to ‘see a bit what other people think, just in case’.
Are you sure you are really reading what real people think?
But thank you for reading this page. Please leave some comment below. It shall not be edited. Well, can you be sure? No, you cannot. Perhaps you can come later to check. And then what? What if it is edited? What can you do about it? A general advice: if you have criticized the text better do not check!
You can also get in touch with me through my profile page at Wealthy Affiliate if you have any questions. I shall be happy to answer.
Oh, I almost forgot. At this point I am supposed to add a ‘call to action’, this is a business site after all. So here it is:
- If you have desire you may want to read how I built my first site, or learn about online business. You do not have to bother with reading comments there.
Not interested? Pity. Let me then try this:
- Would you like to see a perfect gift for somebody who drinks coffee? Ah, now I have your attention. See this, you will not resist it.