01 February 2010

Budding Comments, Blooming Ideas, and those darn embedded comments.

The garden blogging community is made of awesome. I know I've mentioned that before, and I'll mention it again. The generosity of spirit with which so many of you left thoughtful comments, ideas, suggestions to my last post...well, a giant group hug to everyone.

Of course, the absolute irony of it all is that this week I'm run off my feet with work commitments, and have little time to write posts or visit many blogs or even reply to comments. It goes like that in my world, however, and one must make assignment hay while the editorial sun is shining, so to speak. For now, I'll put up this post, which I started last night before receiving so many intriguing comments. I will be doing a further post with some of the suggestions, ideas, etc, but it might not be for a couple of days more.

I especially tip my garden hat to those of you who have long been doing what you can to welcome, encourage and otherwise communicate with other bloggers. Like many of us have said, there is just NO way to keep up with all of them, as much as we may like to. I don't even make it to every post of every one of my regular reads, and I don't leave comments on every post either. I do try to get back to people who have left comments here, especially those who are new or new-to-my-eyes.

Because comments are the beautiful flowers that bloom when we plant seeds with our blogging thoughts. If you're new to blogging, here's a huge suggestion: read other blogs, and leave comments on them. That way, others can see you, see that you have a blog too, come back and visit and leave a comment for you. As many have mentioned, it's a real delight writing a post and getting feedback from it. Everyone handles comments in different ways, and sometimes that depends on what blogging platform they are using. Wordpress allows an option for bloggers to comment back directly to those who leave comments; probably Typepad does too, although you'd have to check with someone who uses Typepad. Blogger/Blogspot on the other hand, doesn't give us that.

What Blogger does give some of us, however, is huge headaches when it comes to leaving comments on sites that use embedded comments. Those are the comment boxes that appear at the end of a post. It can take three refreshes or even more to get a comment to go through, depending on how the blogger has their comment approval set up.
Here's an example of what happens when I go to most of those using embedded comments. I write the comment, hit 'post comment', and get this "please try again" from Blogger.

If you're reading and commenting from within Blotanical, these sorts of pages will also cause you to lose your spot in Blotanical, by taking you out to a fresh page of the blog. I have no idea why. But if you are reading eighteen different windows like I'm known to do (okay, I admit, I am a speed reader and multitasking maniac), you might write your comment, hit "Post Comment" and carry on to another window, coming back only to find your comment is still sitting there looking at you.

So we hit "Post Comment" again, and this time we get this funny word verification box. This is how some bloggers prevent spam comments, and the Captcha words can actually be very amusing. But sometimes they can also be hard to decipher. And wonder of wonders, if you don't get back to the window within a certain span of time, that word won't work and you'll get ANOTHER refresh. Then there's often some assorted colourful language out of the person trying to leave the comment. What? I didn't say I swear at my computer. Well, maybe once in a while.

But in this case, I was sitting waiting for this, so I put in the captcha word and hit "Post Comment" for the third time...(cue dramatic music of some sort)

Well, sloppy darn and shuck the chickens, it FINALLY worked! In this case, the comment gets published. In some cases, you'll get another note telling you "Your comment will be published upon blog owner's approval". So unless you come back the next day or sometime later to see if your comment went through, you don't really know. A lot of us have written comments only to have them go into the place where safety pins and odd socks go, never to be seen again.

To my mind, it's overkill to have both Captcha and blogger's approval on. I see every comment because they're emailed to me, and I approve the real ones and send the spammers off to the place where the safety pins and odd socks are hanging out. They deserve each other.

In Blogger, we have two other options for comment posting: the popout window, which is what I use, or a whole other page for comments. Either one is pretty painless in my experience, whether blog owners use Captcha or just verify them themselves. But the embedded comment option is exasperating for many people, so I decided to write a post explaining why, if you use this option and don't get many comments, your choice of comment style might be the problem.

Whew. I feel like I'm teaching a writing class, and we've just done a marathon of discussing the challenges of getting work published. I hope this is some help to others, because it's not meant as a criticism in any way. Take a tour around the blogosphere, and check out bloggers that have 20, 30, 40 or more comments. I'm willing to bet some of those odd socks that most of them don't use embedded comments. Anyway, that's enough out of me for today, and as a reward to all who slogged through this, here's a photo of that amazing orchid cactus bud, which opened on Saturday, much to my delight. There would be many more buds but for a certain very naughty little cat...


  1. Thank YOU Jodi! I too have gone thru all of this only to have the "your comment will be published after blog owner's approval" !!! I could have read another post and commented while waiting. If I had two computers going. I am so impressed with your puter savvy! Hopefully this will help. Kudos to you!! :>) Beautiful Christmas cactus photo btw! Carol

  2. I use typepad, and don't think I've looked at it regarding commenting directly on a comment - although I think it is possible. Otherwise, I hope there won't be a quiz here, or I fear that I will fail and then I'll have to stay after school and write sentences on the board and oh - oops! that was my life in second grade (and third grade and fourth grade and...). I've grown up! (yeah, right).

  3. Many, many thank you's for saying what we have all been thinking.

    I so dislike having to go to all the bother of word verification, only to see "your comment will be published after approval".

    So much that I am thinking that is a overwhelming pet peeve of mine.

    Great post, and wonderful advice that you have given.

    Oh BTW, I did link to you in my post tomorrow, I love the adopt a new blogger idea. And wanted to make sure everyone knows it originated with you.


  4. You raise a very good point! I tried to use the embedded comments a couple times and found that it was too problematic. There's an issue with many of the custom templates people use. Until recently I never used the Funny Letter Verification Thing. So many spam comments started coming through that I had to cave in and finally add it. I agree the bloggers that have both the spam verification and are probably overdoing it. I'd better go back and check I think I have both turned on for posts older than 30 days or so. I really hate spammers!

  5. Hmm, I'm not sure after reading this whether my blog has an embedded comment field or not. I would guess maybe so, but then again I do often get a lot of comments. If I do have this kind of comment form, I hope it's not causing you or anyone else problems, as I have no idea how to change it. :-)

  6. Oh, I'm going to be dead tired in the morning--should have gone to bed an hour ago but you know, I had to go read a few blogs...I really did. And leave comments.

    Quickly, to answer those who have already commented: Carol and Muddy, you're welcome (we'll see how much hell I catch for this post, though, because I worry someone will take offence).

    Pam/Microbial: No tests here, no worries about your being busy (per your other comment) because we who are faithful readers KNOW what you're up to and how busy you are.

    Andrea, I'm heading to your blog, I promise, I just ran out of hours. The reason the name in the highlighted blog is secret is so people will click through and go visit. If it's not a secret, they might not go as readily. I'm tricksy that way. (I just realized you wrote your second comment on the previous post, but I'll hope you pop in this one too.)

    Dave--I'm so with you on spammers. They should all be composted. Seriously.

    Pam/Digging this embedded irritation only occurs in Blogspot blogs, not in Typepad, Wordpress, etc. Your blog is never a problem to comment in, and you have the extra bonus of being able to answer directly after each comment. We can't do that.

  7. I'm going to go change my preferences on my blog right now. I've had people tell me they have problems leaving comments but I never knew it was because I had them embedded. Thank you!

    I keep approval on for posts over a certain number of days old ... just so I don't miss them when they come in, but otherwise I should be so lucky to have enough comments that I have to worry about spammers!

    Nice post! Thanks.

  8. Your experience with the embedded comments is exactly what I usually go through. I do laugh at some of those crazy words, but I think they could be shorter and more easy for older eyes to decipher! BTW I loved your last post on making new bloggers welcome. I wrote my first blog post ever in October, and I still remember the thrill of the first comment. Blogging can be time consuming, and it is so rewarding to know that someone else appreciates it. And Jodi, I very much appreciate you!

  9. wow, i have embedded comments and didn't know it was a big issue, although i just had captca and no extra approvals...but i just changed that to the pop up version so hopefully it will be less frustrating...thanks for pointing this out especially to us blogger users :)

  10. Good stuff, jodi, and thank you. I don't mind 'comment posted after approval' because I often get spam or sometimes 'strange' comments and prefer to check the person's site before I allow comments. On the other hand, I am often guilty of leaving a site too soon to see if comment was either accepted or waiting approval. Your red orchid cactus bud is quite handsome, perfect for Valentine's Day <3

  11. I posted my say about the comments thing in your previous post, but I did want to tell you I really like the idea of featuring a different, lesser-known blog each week and I believe I will do the same. Thanks, jodi.

  12. Dear Jodi, Just a very brief note to say, and I am sure that I speak for countless others, how much the time, untiring effort and thought you put into all of this is appreciated. Thank you so much.

  13. I guess we have all been waiting for someone 'else' to say this...great post!

  14. I have to check to see my comments aren't embedded. Thanks for the post.

    Ever grow qince trees or eat quince? I'm giving away a cookbook on my blog- Simply Quince, how to cook quince and also where to find quince jams and jellies and find quince plants for your garden! Hope you'll visit.


  15. Another useful post Jodi - much appreciated.

    Another pet peeve that I have is the fact that with some blogger blogs I cannot sign in with my name/url, but have to sign in as a google/blogger and have had to set up a blog with blogger to point the way to my real blog. Not a big thing, just an irritation and it is because my blog is self hosted (although on the wordpress platform)

    I love all the responses that you have had on the last post much food for thought.

  16. I have embedded (I think) but no spam verification because I have comment approval before it hits the blog .. I haven't had any notes about it being difficult so far .. and quite frankly, I think I would panic with that many comments because I do answer each individual comment .. I like a small group that I can talk to, but that is just me. I don't look for "numbers" it would be overwhelming to me.
    So I'm not sure if this is a problem for my regular visitors or not .. maybe I should do a post asking if there is a problem ?
    I like embedded because I can do a spell check .. some days I just can NOT spell .. brain refuses to check it internally ? LOL
    All of these points are such good information though .. this is helpful even to bloggers that have been at it for a few years !
    Thanks Jodi : )

  17. Jodi, what an angel you are. You have given a lot of time and effort to this quest, I hope that you do not receive any negative feedback this time. I always thought the reason I had so many problems with making comments was due to the fact I am on Wordpress, not Blogger. Sometimes, I would just give up, which was very annoying after spending time writing (what I thought was) a thoughtful and insightful comment.
    Hopefully, a lot of people will change there blog and make it easier for everyone.

  18. And here I thought I was the only one having trouble leaving posts on blogs using the embedded format.

    I find it enormously pleasurable to read the blogs of people around the country, around the world.

    You put a lot of work into this post. Thank you.


  19. First, I want to say to I love your red orchid cactus flower. It is drizzling rain here and the bright red made me smile:)
    Then I want to say thank you for explaining the difference in the way the comment boxes work. Since I am sharing my daughter's blog, I am not sure how it is set up, so I am going to send her a link to your blog. I have actually given up making a comment sometimes because it just won't go through.
    Next, thanks to the bloggers who have visited and left comments. I appreciate it.

  20. Great post Jodi, I've also had messages go missing or not go through. Since I right-click-and-open-in-new-tab everything, posts do get lost sometimes. If I write a longer message, I try to copy it before sumbitting, just in case. The right-click on blotanical is very frustration, since you can't have more than one tab open at a time (without it jumping around). I have not yet added word verification, to try and keep my blog more posting friendly, but that will change if I start getting spam. :)

  21. Hi Jodi, I just visited Nancy Bond's site and she mentioned featuring a new blogger every so often. Great idea.

    I hate word verification! After having some #$%@ spammer from a porn site target me, I had to begin using it. Had some negative feed back for comment moderation so word verification seemed to be the lesser of the evils. Overall, I've had little trouble with google's blogger. I do often have trouble with comments on WordPress freezing up.

  22. Jodi, you are such a teacher at heart and so encouraging.

    I do wish with Blogger that we could respond directly to each comment.

  23. It was really interesting reading all the comments on your previous post. I really agree with you about encouraging new bloggers to leave comments so we can find their blogs in return. I just added a couple of new blogs to my blogroll this morning, and I plan to keep doing so. I saw that Jen at Muddy Boots Dreams has a post up today encouraging bloggers to visit some new blogs on her blogroll today.
    Great ideas!

  24. Ah, I was going to leave the same comment, more or less, that Robin just left. I think this is good info for those who are new to blogging and use Blogger. Maybe they should hire you to write some of their documentation. :-)

  25. Hi Jodi~~ I see you use the pop up window which I much prefer over the entire page and I'll tell you why in two words: SHORT MEMORY. I can click on the "show original post," no problem. But in order to get the photos, I've got to leave this page and I lose my place in Blotanical, etc. Royal pain.

    If anyone reading this is using the whole page comment option, Please switch. :) I'll leave more thought-out comments. And I agree it would be nice if the Blogger people would upgrade the respond to comment feature. ...In a perfect world.

    Call me weird but I actually lean towards being entertained by the random Captchas. They're usually easy to read and when I screw up the first time, an alternate appears in short order. Not so for my bank and other secure sites. Those can often be anyone's guess.

    Your cactus blossom is a stunner. I can't imagine any of your delightful sidebar kitties being mischievous enough to eat those yummy buds. They look like perfect little angels to me.

  26. I totally agree with what you said about having comments moderated and having the word verification. I took off the verification ages and ages ago but still have to approve comments. This weeds out spammers as well and doesn't give the person commenting a headache trying to decipher the letters. I do tend to shy away leaving comments if the word verification is there.
    Great explanation of everything Jodi.

  27. Oh, my goodness! You sure know how to get things going in the blogosphere...I say that in a good way!
    It is meaningful to all of us of how we feel about posts, comments, etc. I have enjoyed your posts!
    Also, we used to have a cat that looked exactly like your tripod kitty. Every time I look at the photo I am reminded of Madison :)

  28. I had no idea what my setting for comments was on until you mentioned the differences. Even though I noticed some irritation my part of the captcha words and such.

    I changed mine to a pop-up window...hopefully it will be better for everyone. lol

  29. I have no idea if I have embedded comments... does wordpress do this? Nowhere in my admin page do I see the word "embedded." I guess I'll just have to figure it out somehow.

    I think the "word" verifications can be quite amusing sometimes, but then, I never got a window saying, in effect, DENIED. That would be so frustrating. :(

  30. Haha, you are getting a lot of comments to read again! As i read most of them, it looks like you will be reading replies from your students and how we realized or not our mistakes, as if that was our assignment. About my double comment in one post, that was because sometimes i dont remember which of my regularly followed blogs i already did. It also sometimes take a long wait to open one's blog, so upon opening yours again, might as well put more comments, not putting time to waste. That will be few seconds more from your time, it amused me, haha. naughty me!

    I know you are very busy, so thank you very much indeed when you have time to visit, but even no visit is okay too.

  31. Been away today longer than anticipated, due to an unfortunate issue with a tire on my car. Thankfully, I have roadside assistance. When I finally limped home on my spare donut tire, (refusing to buy a tire that didn't match my other 3 studded snow tires), I decided to take the evening off from everything. Toasted, that's me.
    Thank you to all of you for your comments and it's a relief to know I'm not the only one who mutters and grumbles. I love to leave comments for other people and to read what are left here, so I feel badly when one doesn't go through.
    For those who are on another platform beside Blogger/Blogspot--it's only in Blogger/Blogspot that these embedded type comments exist and are a problem. So the rest of you can relax as far as I know.

    I will catch up in the next few days, but tomorrow, I must catch up on work that didn't get done today because I was stuck in the city with a three wheeled car for hours...

    At least OUR groundhog day doesn't repeat itself. Or if it does, I plan to sleep through the rest of the days.

  32. Jodi, you are such a giving person. :) I remember the posts you did a couple of years back on ways to improve our blogs-I have tried to follow your suggestions and have been grateful for them. These latest posts, again, show your more than willingness to help fellow bloggers. Bravo! All of the suggestions and comments are interesting and I am going to try to welcome new bloggers with the same kindness you showed me when I was a newbie. And thank you for reminding me to do so.

  33. Jodi, I am so appreciative of this post! Thanks for writing it. Spammers have been so intrusive that I've been forced to add word verification~~which I dislike very much. It's an extra step and when time is short and one ought not to be typing (!)...it's a bother!
    Regarding word verification~ It is the default setting and unless you check it off it is on. Bloggers can't see word verification at their blogs so may be unaware that it's on. I stumbled upon this when I commented from Mr I's computer!


  34. Hi jodi thanks for following my blog and leaving a comment. I agree with you about the annoying hoops we have to jump through, sometimes, to leave comments on some people blogs. I've been blogging for 7 years now and I've had my share of horrible spam, although enabling a capcha code doesn't stop all spammers. You've inspired me to disable my capcha code. I will see how it goes.

  35. I have problems leaving comments on some blogs - and now this post explains why.

    I do use captcha as the majority of my readers are from across the pond and I'm sleeping when you're all reading my blog and commenting so I would have too many comments to aprove in the morning rush hour. I have to say that its so nice at breakfast time to open up the blog and see who has been visiting and has left a comment for me overnight.

    Sometimes those captcha word verifications are quite comical.

  36. Sorry, I'm a bit late to join the conversation, but did want to say thank you Jodi and everyone for even more useful pointers!
    It sounds like it wasn't such a bad thing to choose Wordpress for my blog! Now I need to go and look if it wants word verification for a comment. Wordpress seems to do a pretty good job of catching spam at any rate. So much to learn!
    Today's job is to find out about Blogrolls - I was chuffed to see my page appear on yours Jodi!

  37. Jodi - thanks for the tips for the new blogger. I'm three weeks in and feel like my brain has been turned on for the first time in 5 years (5 years ago, I had my 3rd baby, moved across the country, then had my 4th baby, all within a span of 10 months. Makes me tired all over again just to say it.) But you're right - it is so very gratifying when someone leaves a comment. Makes you feel like your effort is not in vain. Nice to know you! Kelly

  38. Hi Jodi, thanks so much for coming to visit my new blog. I am really appreciating all the support of the seasoned bloggers. This post here is super helpful! I'll see how it goes, but I do certainly want people to leave comments, so I'm going to make sure they can.

  39. I agree it's overkill to both have blogger approval and the word verification. I just have mine set up to approve older comments. I have been catching lots of spam to reject that way. If one gets through on current posts, I go ahead and delete it from the blog.

  40. Hi Jodi, Sue's strategy has been working for me as well. I don't use word verification, and have approval set up only for older posts. Those seem to be the most problematic ones for spam comments. The occasional spam comment on a newer post is promptly deleted from the link provided in the email notification from Blogger.

    I like the options available for blogrolls in blogger, and use the option to list the most recent post. I'd love it if Stuart added that to the Blotanical widget. I have two blogrolls - one's Blotanical faves, the other's Chicago-area/Illinois blogs.

    There are a number that haven't posted in several months. I debate (with myself) how long to leave them in the blogroll and in favorites at Blotanical.

  41. Thanks for your fine explanation to what was going wrong when I tried to leave comments. I do love to comment, the ideas fly into my head and it' fun to respond but by the time you're enabled, it no longer seems to matter!

    As a new blogger, no blog of my own yet, I appreciate guidelines such as this, and would love links to other 'educational' posts.

    The word verification is fine with me if it helps screen out creeps.


Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment! It might take me a bit, but I will return the compliment whenever possible.
Spammers--need not apply. Because I delete your comments and they will never make it here. Kthxbai!

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