3 July 2018

Commenting about Blog Comments and other such stuff. Tuesday Talk with Helen Hollick

Those of us who are authors, especially indie authors, spend as much of our time talking, Blogging Facebooking, Tweeting and OtherMediaSites-ing about our novels as we do in writing the things in the first place - actually, probably more time! But without the talking, blogging etc there would be very little marketing and marketing is essential because otherwise there would be no sales, which makes the writing a tad pointless doesn't it? I favour Blogger for most of the stuff I waffle on about. Wordpress is more adaptable, but I find it too technical to use, Blogger is simpler. Both have their good and bad points, both have their quirks and foibles. Sometimes, very annoying ones.

Marketing for an author can be a double-edged sword, however. Get it right you get a good following of nice, friendly, enthusiastic readers. Get it wrong and you get... well, zilch or the nastier troll-type people. (See my previous post about spamming.)

GDPR has been another thorny issue. Yes the intention is for our Data Protection, so it is a good thing - but I was at screaming point with all the 'please re-subscribe to my newsletter' emails that flooded in.  I did my GDPR alert in a different and more convenient, less annoying, way: I mailed everyone on my Newsletter mailing list (heavy hint: subscribe by clicking here...)  informing  that I am well aware of GDPR regulations and that 'beyond email addresses for my own contact use, I do not collect, store or share any personal details' and that nothing had to be done  unless they wished to UNsubscribe. What took the biscuit, though, was the author who sent me three 'please re-subscribe' emails reminding me that 'you haven't re-subscribed - last chance to do so.'  Repeated pestering is called spamming mate!

I enjoy blogging, both writing my own articles and hosting guest posts by a variety of interesting people. Usually authors, yes, but not always articles on history or historical fiction / nautical adventure. The thing is, apart from glancing at the Stats (which I confess I'm not very good at interpreting) or keeping an eye on the Page View counter, I have no real way of knowing whether anyone else finds these articles interesting. Maybe my blog is a mirror of me at home, merrily chattering away unaware that no one else is listening...

So, I'm going to give a hefty nudge. Not just for this blog but for all blogs, for all your favourite authors and blogging friends. Do, please, when and where you can 

leave a...

... or at least tick the 'like' box if there is one!

It's a small thing, but it means a lot to have that interaction.

'Ah', I hear you say, 'I do try but Blogger/Wordpress won't post my comments, or the captcha validation thingy won't work,' (or a variety of other known-only-to-Blogger and Wordpress reasons.)

Hmm tricky one. I have found that people who do not use a Googlemail email address often have difficulty for Blogger. Very annoying, but I have this as my 'Please leave a comment' message:

Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear immediately, but Blogger sometimes chucks its teddies out of the cot and has a tantrum (especially if you are a Wordpress person.) If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post it for you. Sometimes a post will appear as 'anonymous' instead of your name or avatar - I draw attention to this being a Blogger Blooper and not of MY doing... However ...SPAMMERS or distasteful rudeness will be stamped on, squashed, composted and very possibly cursed - if you spam my blog, next time something nasty happens to you just remember that I DID warn you...

Spammers take note of that last bit.

And that's another puzzling Blogger thing: 'Anonymous'. Many bloggers do not allow unnamed posts because many of these are spammers - I do allow 'anonymous'  because I'm aware that some people wish to keep their identity private. But it is annoying for the person writing the comment when their name doesn't come up but is marked as 'Anonymous' instead. This, I must stress is not MY fault, it is a Blogger quirk not a Hollick quirk.

A way to get round this particular annoyance is whenever you wish to leave a comment ... add your name at the end of the text! Hey presto, Blogger's weird quirks neatly sidestepped.

I mention this issue for a reason. A persistent spammer recently emailed me to ask why I'd 'censored' his comments on a post on my blog. Leaving aside the fact that he was referring to a post dated 2017, I had no idea what he was on about. Upon investigation it turned out that his name wasn't there, but 'anonymous' was - and he was accusing me of deliberately doing the alteration and thereby censoring his comment.

 Eh? (I think the official term is #WTF?) 

I'm intrigued. I have no idea how to alter comments left on blogger. Can you alter submitted comments? Anyone know? If something is obviously spam I delete it. If something is rude or defamatory, or completely irrelevant, ditto, delete. But why on earth would I bother to delete a name from a comment posted well over a year ago and put 'anonymous' there instead?

Blimey, I wish I had enough spare time to even think about doing such trivial nit-picky waste-of-my-valuable-time things!

On the other hand... I was stuck for a theme for today's article, so something about 'please do consider leaving a comment on a blog article you've enjoyed' fitted the bill nicely, but  the quirks of Blogger (and WordPress) are baffling. Sending senseless emails which are nothing more than  bullying, even more so. 

If anyone wants to attempt to leave a comment below, please do so. 
With or without your name.

images via Pixabay


  1. I have come to understand the need for authors to blog, blog hop or guest blog, so it is a shame that few people who read the posts refrain from commenting - feedback whether good or bad is vitally important and the more so if the commentor is a 'man on the Clapham Omnibus' as opposed to part of the bloggers circle of fellow authors etc. But I confess to being guilty of reading and moving on in a lot of cases; if I feel I have something to say, then I will comment or if I found the blog interesting/informative from a personal point of view rather than a general one. One thing I do have to say: I posted a comment on another blog on the 29th July this year and it is still awaiting moderation! I understand that bloggers may well wish to vet any new comments, but 5 days? Logging in - or should it be Blogging in?- can be a bit harrowing sometimes, but most platforms 'remember you' once you have made an initial comment. I usually highlight and copy my comment if I think I might have difficulty getting my wisdom published on the site ....

  2. It's a minefield, isn't it? Richard, I may be able to shed some light on one thing though: for the past few weeks, Blogger has stopped notifying people that there are comments awaiting moderation, or even that comments have been posted. I used to get email notifications about all comments, but now I have to remember to check the blog itself and try to remember if the number of comments on each post has changed since last time I looked. They promise they will sort it out - 'soon'. An Helen, no, it's not possible to change someone's comment. Delete, yes, but alter, no :-)

    1. Annie - on this occasion, I kept the blog open in my browser, refreshing on occasions but no change. The blog said there were 2 comments (presumably one was mine?) but neither appeared ....I closed it down last night

  3. Well that's three comments that have passed 'Blog Muster' and I have one to add from someone who did as I suggested & mailed me (see below)
    Annie - I noticed that same annoyance last week when I discovered a pile of comments that I didn't know were there because I hadn't been notified (confess, I can't remember which of my blog sites it was - might have been #DDRevs) I changed the email address where comments had to be sent to - and bingo problem fixed. I also don't have moderation turned on except for posts over 60 days old. Most spammers are caught 'by the system' if they aren't (assuming notifications are working!) they pop up and I delete. No big deal. I DO turn moderation on if I'm away though. As for altering comments - thanks for confirming that I'm not fibbing about this! (Said annoying person demanded that I prove it wasn't my doing. I deleted him. I don't play silly waste-of-my-time games - where does he get the time? Obviously his business can't be doing very well...)

  4. Comment forwarded to me by 'Sympatico' : "I’m one of those people that Blogger refuses to post for (still giggling over the image of cots and teddies). Maybe it knows how annoying I think it is. It should because I curse it constantly. All this ramble to say that I’m usually guilty of this because of Blogger. But I do enjoy the posts. " ...
    Well there you go you see, you've obviously offended Big Blogger at Google so he doesn't want to play with you! *laugh*

    Hah... we've outwitted him though!

  5. Helen, I can't speak for Blogs, but on Amazon, for instance, if a reviewer (or someone of a nasty ilk) changes his review for a pair of nose hair scissors to "Anonymous," all of his prior reviews for everything will change to that name.

    1. That's interesting Inge - something I didn't know!


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon, but Blogger sometimes chucks its teddies out of the cot and has a tantrum. My apologies if you leave a comment and I do not respond - blame it on Blogger Bloopers. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post it for you. Sometimes a post will appear as anonymous instead of your name or avatar - I draw attention to this being another Blogger Blooper and NOT of MY doing... That said ...SPAMMERS or distasteful rudeness will be stamped on, squashed, composted and very possibly cursed - if you spam my blog, next time something nasty happens to you just remember that I DID warn you...