Sometime yesterday, this email message arrived in my inbox:
(Click it to zoom.)
It is a blog comment from someone named Steve to Joanna Penn, who had previously written a post opining why writers should embrace technology. As you scroll down that blog post, you will see I added the second comment. Par for the course when I visit blogs and add comments, if I am provided an option to subscribe to follow-up comments, I opt because I like to know if the author or another reader replies to me. If I didn’t subscribe to comments, I’d never know if there were replies.
Shortly after migrating this blog from Blogger to WordPress in the fall of 2008, I installed a plugin called Subscribe to Comments which enables you, when adding a comment, to tick an optional checkbox to receive follow-up comments by email. Joanna also employed this, or a similar plugin, which led to my receiving the above email that Steve posted a follow-up comment.
Like Joanna, many bloggers also use this WordPress plugin. A fair number don’t, and if I have an option of commenting on one blog that does and one that doesn’t, I go for the one that does. What’s the point of adding a comment if I can’t see follow-up comments? was my mantra.
Was it a bad mantra? Is there a better way of receiving comments? Perhaps…
After reading a guest post on Ben Lang’s blog by Stacey Cavanagh on boosting web traffic, I posted a comment — despite not being asked to subscribe to comments. I didn’t ask. I was inspired to write something, and I did.
When Stacy replied to my comment, the following email appeared in my inbox:
Emailing with Ben, I learned he uses a customizable plugin called ReplyMe, which works in cahoots with nested replies, so if you reply directly to me, I will receive an email showing my original comment and your comment. I won’t receive other comments by other people, unless they are replying to me.
It’s an intriguing idea and something I am toying with installing here. But it’s silly to have both commenting accessory plugins installed. Which would you prefer? Would you rather subscribe to every comment that follows yours, or only those comments in response to yours?
Let me know your thoughts.