Should You Trust Comments In Blogs

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Should You Trust Comments In Blogs - image for trust lettersThe 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:

should you trust comments in blogsm- example of a comment

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:

should you trust comments in blogsm- arrows showing edit buttons for comments

 

So, I can edit the text, see how it looks like when I go to the option Edit:

 

should you trust comments in blogsm- editing a comment


Should You Trust Comments In Blogs - image for follow your heartObviously 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.


Thinker’s idea

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.

Should You Trust Comments In Blogs - my character thinkerCan 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:

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.

 

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12 comments

  1. Speaking as a blog owner myself, I would never edit any comment to make it materially different. I think that would be a very short term strategy and not likely to produce good results going forward.

    The only exception was one occasion when someone had posted a very worthwhile comment, which was quite vociferously opposed to the point of view I had posted, but they had included some profanity.

    I certainly don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but I didn’t want the language on my blog – so I edited the expletive out. I did think quite hard about it, but in the end, I didn’t change the meaning, I just changed the tone of one sentence only – and made it more “family friendly”.

    However, profanity in otherwise good comments aside, I would never edit a comment – and that includes comments with views different to my own. Sometimes an exchange of views in the comments section can be as interesting as the original blog post after all!

    1. Hi Jim, I totally agree with you. It is disappointing to see some so-called gurus who actually suggest editing comment. My motivation for writing this text were such statements that I have seen. Glad to see that you share the same views like me. All the best.

  2. Hi Jovo, as I read your article on should you trust comments on blogs, I thought that I was reading a satire. I appreciate your sense of humour. You made a valid point. I bookmarked your site to come back and learn a few tips about key tail end words. It takes a long time to build one’s site when working full time.
    Shawn

    1. Hi Shawn, thank you for dropping by. It was a kind of satire as you rightly noticed, but all based on facts. This is reality. Best luck and do not rely too much on what you read in comments.

  3. Hi Jovo,

    Maybe my comment won’t be as useless.

    Really a lot of thoughts in my head after reading your post. You know, I wouldn’t even try to hide the fact that I am a member of WA and stumbled upon your blog in an attempt to find something interesting to comment on and get a comment on my blog post in return (now, let’s see if this will be mercilessly edited by the almighty Admin 🙂 )

    On a serious note, though, the habit of editing comments that give your posts a negative criticism is a bad one. In fact, I would LOVE to see a single negative comment on even one of my pages/posts, because, that will mean there is a real visitor who came through my site, who is NOT a spammer, who doesn’t really want anything in return from me, and yet he or she cared enough to spend invaluable time and write a few words about my creation. Personally, I never edit comments, however few they might be, and I don’t plan to do that in the future. OK, there was one genuine comment in three months which I disapproved. It was not spam – it was a “useless” comment and quite a positive one. The reason I disapproved it is, well, the author didn’t even care to read and understand what I was writing about. Most of the “useless” comments’ authors have at least a general idea of what I am writing about and that one has none of it. I just didn’t want to look stupid by commenting back.

    All right I think I am beginning to rant here, so why do I think it is bad to edit comments? The reason is simple: because editing is LYING and nothing good ever comes from lies. Ever. It may not be instantly obvious, but in the long run, lying always ruins everything. Our lives are so full of lies in every possible area nowadays, that it is surprising how so many people willingly allow themselves to be caught in those lies. One day all these lies will collapse and something tells me the consequences will be catastrophic. To avoid that we need to stop lying and try to shape our future with truth.

    Gosh, I sound so naive, but I actually feel so good now that I’ve written all this and just shared my thoughts with someone I’ve met for the first time – on the Internet, lol.

    Thank you for this opportunity, Jovo – you really surprised me with your post and I sincerely wish you all the best.

    Take care.

    Dmitriy

    1. Hi Dmitriy, you cannot imagine how much I like your thoughts here. And no worry, nothing is touched, all is as you put it there. I can sign every word you write. If one starts lying (i.e., by editing comments) in such small things, where does it end? You know, big lies start like that, from small ones, snow-ball effect. In the end it becomes a big lie whatever you see around. I do not want to be a part of it, just like you do not want.

      And no, you do not sound naive, you sound like a decent human being. You made my day. I can only deeply and sincerely thank you for your thoughts. All the best. Jovo

      1. Thank you for your kind reply, Jovo! And thank you for keeping my comment in its original state 🙂

        It just warms my heart to know I am not alone in the World with these thoughts. I can only hope one day everyone will understand how really important such things are.

  4. Good read, definitely sets me thinking about bloggers worldwide. However, should the blog-owner edit the comment and the consumer know about it, can he/she actually do something about that? Like sending complaint or some sort of function to improve the online community? It may be a little harsh but I do believe its necessary if it acts as a good deterrence against such behavior.

    1. Hi Absalom, thank you for the comment. As I see the situation, a consumer cannot do anything. There is no central authority to complain about your edited comment. What you suggest is not harsh but the problem is you have no address to complain, only the site owner. So the purpose of my text is to make people know and be aware of what might be happening. Thank you again.

  5. Comments are very good for both sides. Good for the post itself and good for me if I added a link to my website at a highly ranked page.
    But, quality controls everything. The high quality posts with high quality and relevant comments are of very high values to the reader and writer.
    I get glad when I see a real unique comment at my posts and a great post that need a good comment.

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