Attention marketers: blog comments are not email

November 2, 2011

This is another one of those entries that I shouldn't have to write and that will never be read by the people who need to read it, but I'm going to tilt at windmills today. I am doing so because today, someone left a more or less marketing comment on a random entry here in an attempt to get in touch with me.

Let's skip the whole marketing side of this and go straight to the problem, which is that blog comments are not email. I don't mean that in just a direct sense, I mean that in that they have completely different purposes. Email is a private message to a single person. At least in theory, a blog comment is part of a public conversation that is related to the entry that it is attached to (it is a reaction, a comment, or so on).

(This distinction matters to me because I want other people who read the comments here to get something of value from doing so. That's really the point of having public comments instead of encouraging people to email me; the resulting conversation and notes are visible in public for other people.)

A comment that is not part of this public conversation is noise, not signal, and simply by existing it invites people to waste their time by reading it. Whether or not they realize it, people who leave 'comments as email' comments are adding noise to your blog; they are willing to inconvenience all of your readers in order to get your attention.

Well, they got my attention, but probably not in the way they wanted. I do not like having noise added to my blog. When it happens, I do not think well of the people behind it, especially when they could just as well have sent email instead.

(It is my personal opinion that all of this is intuitively obvious, even if people cannot necessarily immediately explain why c-o-e comments are bad.)

(And of course I remove the comment just like I remove other forms of noise, such as spam. Note that a c-o-e comment is not necessarily comment spam as such, unless you have a very broad definition of 'comment spam'. This doesn't make it non-spam either; much like a similar email, it depends on whether or not it was done in bulk. Mind you, I suspect that often it will be.)

Written on 02 November 2011.
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Last modified: Wed Nov 2 01:41:24 2011
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