Why a Blog?
My first reaction is–well if there were no comments, it wouldn’t be a blog, now would it. Technically that isn’t true: blog is a description of how the website is arranged for viewing. Yet, to me, a blog doesn’t feel like a blog without a commenting system. Part of the allure of having a blog instead of a resource website is the interaction I get to have with other WoW players. I could just post my advice out in the ether and watch people stumble across or bookmark goodies, but with a blog, people get to tell me how they feel about what I’m saying. Do they think it’s good information? Did I have an error that needs correction? You don’t get that when you have a standard website.
What It Adds
Commenting makes the writing experience seem more like a conversation, and less like a deposition. People are more likely to make personal connections, and to feel like they know the author because they can respond and get a response in return. Forums give the same kind of advantage, but it’s not your own space. You must fit your ideas, discussions, and questions into these little boxes. If it doesn’t fit in the box, or doesn’t add to that particular community, its got no place to go! That doesn’t mean you don’t want to share: you’ve got screenshots of your latest skill, an awesome boss kill strategy, an idea for collecting that cool hunter pet.
Even better, because people gain a certain connectivity with you, oftentimes, you’ll get a comment or e-mail from a reader asking for help with a particular problem or question. This is the best–you as a writer can’t know everything that a reader may want to read about, but are more than willing to provide helpful information. Starting a community, whether it be 10, 50, or 500 readers who regularly come by to read your stuff and comment or ask questions is all to the good, and a great reason to start a blog or to contribute as a reader.
There are some inherent risks to opening your viewpoint to commentators. Ignoring general spam looking to drag your readers into icky content, there is still the off-chance that you’ll gain nay-sayers. While nay-sayers are not inherently bad, they can affect your psychology as a writer. Its hard to feel enthusiastic about a project when you feel like you’re defending the fort from invaders. Good nay-sayers improve your content, and require you to improve, awful nay-sayers make you want to shut down the whole she-bang and send them off for the hills.
Even “good” comments and questions can change your outlook…. if you let them. You have to decide whether you are writing for yourself or your readers. Most authors will tell you non-chalantly, “Oh, I write because I love it and I wanted a place to express myself.” Suuuuure. Wait 6 months and see how they feel about it.
All in all, if there weren’t comments, I wouldn’t be doing it. Despite the impression I give here, I don’t really like to hear myself talk that much that I wouldn’t feel fulfilled throwing out information and not getting any feedback whatsoever. The fun part, to me, is the talks I get to have with other people who visit. I’m generally not too attached to my projects past the inital dizzying “ooo shiney” syndrome, but when I feel invested in other people it becomes a different story. Ya, so you’re just a bunch of pixels and words… but I know there are other people on the other side of the screen who have options: to spend their time playing the game, reading a comic, or other sites, but who choose to come by here because, well, I don’t know why, but they find something! Knowing that, I wouldn’t feel right about shutting up shop, at least so long as I’m playing the game… and maybe even when I switch to a new one–you never know!
No comments wouldn’t make me a better blogger… It would make me a non-existant one!