I want more people to comment on Tamebay

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It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been involved in online communities. Over the years they’ve called it many things. Web 2.0, social media, chat rooms…

And I am proud that on Tamebay we’ve always kept the rules lax and encouraged comment. We don’t call for registration or verification and when it’s going good we get such high quality contributions and queries that I know that approach works.

We saw it last week on a post about templates and the like.

I raised a question, made a few points and then we got loads of good ideas. This was classic Tamebay: a genuine exchange of ideas. It was a good day. And I fear a bit rare.

Recently what I’m not mad about is how some people behave on Tamebay in comments. We have a small cadre of male, dull, whinging, repetitive commenters who are neither conversational in their comments or indeed welcoming to differing points of views.

They are also never friendly to newcomers.

Indeed, I’d go further. This gang just rattle off some old complaints, don’t back their statements up with facts or examples and show very little politeness or grace at all.

So it’s time for a discussion. A real one.

Is it time on Tamebay to require more stringent registration in order to make a comment? Should we require email verification or a link to an ecommerce concern?

How do we get more women to join in the discussions? We have lots of female readers and hardly any comment from them. That’s a worry. I personally think the dullard male dominance is to blame there.

We could remove comments altogether? But I do think them useful. Or we could moderate every one and require a useful contribution in each comment. (That would be a dull job for Chris and I.)

We could give precedence to those commenters who have a track record. I am quite open minded.

For me, comments and discussion are totally what we do. The tips and advice provided are invaluable. I know I learn a lot from the good stuff. I’m just concerned the good stuff is being squeezed by the dull whingers. Do you agree?

We want more more people talking on Tamebay. Full. Stop. How do we do it?

Which is why I ask the question. And I’d like you to comment on how we should deal with comments. Don’t be shy. Be brave and tell us how we make the crowd the better part of Tamebay.

55 Responses

  1. I don’t comment nearly as much here as I used to. And I really hate to say this but the main reason is Dan. I’m not sure what it is but the way you reply to people including myself on this blog has always rubbed me the wrong way. I know you think it is justified and maybe it actually is. It isn’t my blog so I can’t really say. And maybe I’m the only one that feels that way. But I would suggest if you are going to fix the problems with comments start with yourself first. Your articles are fine by the way and usually a good read.

  2. Its not a problem that is exclusive to Tamebay unfortunately and any good forum (or whatever you like to call it) usually ends up the same. It reminds me recently of what the eBay power seller forums used to be like when I left them in 2005 approx. That was a shame as like Tamebay there was some great info hidden away amongst the nonsense.

    Moderating or removing is one option but maybe try something like relocating certain posts first? EG I am sure there are stories you have posted about the big eBay gripes and perhaps repeated posts about the same issue just be shunted away there so that they don’t dominate the ‘home’ page?

    I am one of the silent ones who certainly finds the repeated moaning about the same issues very boring and makes me move on swiftly.

    Bryn

  3. It’s true that some “replies” are just an off the cuff comment with no attempt being made to interact or add to the discussion BUT I regret that I feel your problem, and it’s a valid concern, is endemic throughout the Web . . . all that supposed “freedom” has gone to the heads of many individuals who aren’t too hot on language and social skills . . . and they bask in the supposed power that they think six or seven words on a screen give them.

    I use YouTube almost every other day, it’s a huge resource not just for entertainment but also guidance and help, now and then something moves me to desire to comment and I start reading those already there, inevitably the dross, the banal comments, the bigotry and usually just foul language put me off and I walk away. My experiences on YouTube give me NO desire to want to use Face Book, Twitter or whatever “app” is this weeks hit. Life is too short and my thoughts often return to just one . . . “when are these people going to get a REAL life?”.

    If you censor, edit or “mark-down” silly comments then you’ll have found another job to do and you’ll find it a sink-hole, you might also put off a contributor making a truly great contribution just because they may be worried it could be viewed as contentious.

    Funny thing is pretty well all the rubbish remarks on YouTube are from males . . . maybe it’s a fault with the male mind and the girls have no need to make the same mistakes.

  4. How about some kind of “was this useful” / vote rating system. Giving visitors the chance to mark somebodies comment as useful highlighting it for others to read.

    Sometimes people don’t want to read every comment, and if other users can highlight the most useful/interesting ones it may encourage more to read those comments, potentially spurring them to also reply.

    This could also add points to that user/email they used when posting a comment so that for future posts they’re recognised for usually writing something useful, giving them a little more credit in what they’re saying.

  5. yes its called a community with different opinions if dan only wants what he agrees with , he should not invite comments at all

  6. Opinions and constructive criticism is one thing, constant whining and griping at everyone who comments or posts is unhelpful and does stop people posting.

    While I think it’s a good thing to remain anonymous should you choose, registration is usually the norm on other forums and I personally wouldn’t object to that.

  7. Dan, Chris,

    I’m an avid reader of the site and relish the morning updates in my inbox to give me updates each morning on my way to the office. There are often times I read an article and want to comment, but when I scroll down, I see others have commented that very thought, idea, gripe or whatever it may be, so I don’t bother.

    I agree with the points about some folks making comments without backing things up and being a little argumentative. I don’t want to comment for them to start coming back at me; I have better things to do with my time that argue with an anon on a comment thread!

    Keep up the good work guys!

  8. Hi, I don’t comment on blogs because I simply find commenting on *anything* almost always a waste of time. Why? Because no matter what you say/suggest somebody comes along with a “you don’t want to do it like that, you wanna do it like this” mentality and basically stamps over what you said.

    People don’t really want to know what it is you’re saying, and disagreement is rife. For example I don’t agree with the promotion of a certain way of life. I have no issue with that way of life BUT I believe promotion of it is wrong because it’s something so intrinsically important to “being human” that it should be a “journey of self discovery”, but does anyone go “yeah I see what you mean”? No, they don’t, they just slag me off so I don’t bother any more.

    Whilst this isn’t specifically with regards to Tamebay I find myself posting on blogs in general less and less these days and I think these points are valid with regards to any blog.

    By the same token you never post on my blog :p

  9. do you remember Biddy’s button? She had it on her website, it was similar to a like button, but it meant “I read what you say, I sympathise but I don’t know what to say.”

    And an Unlike button. Facebook is missing out with no unlike button.

    I often have a comment but don’t feel it will add anything to the conversation. A lot of the Tamebay posts I read are informational, so don’t necessarily need any comment, so one of the above would be useful in helping you to know that the post has been read and appreciated.

    btw. I almost never get comments on any of my blog posts. I really don’t fuss about it, it isn’t a forum, it is just a blog.

  10. A like button would be handy… a thumbs down button would also be handy. forced registration I do not think is a good idea.

    I do not post on here all the time, however I do lurk and do read posts.
    If it gets too moderated, I will post/visit less. There is more whinging because there is more to whinge about. And 90% of the time the posters have a valid point.

    But times change its one of those things.

  11. I think things are okay as they are. My perception of tamebay at this time is that has become a news blog rather than a help/community blog.

  12. I don’t comment as much as I used too as I am part of the ‘solution provider’ party who are often demonised by moaners.

    I read though. Pretty much everyday and choose to tweet n comment if I feel the need to voice an opinion.

  13. Nothing original to add just to reinforce what’s been suggested – let’s have a thumbs up or down button so the best comments will be rewarded. This will have the bonus effect of showing permanently negative commentators that their views are not shared by the majority. This is more powerful than moderation imposed.
    Do t trawl through and remove moaning posts as a) that’s not free speech and b) it’s very time consuming and I appreciate the standard tamebay emails too much to want them diluted by admin!
    And thanks guys really enjoy the news and opinions ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. This is my 2nd attempt as posting as my first effort was lost in transit so appologies if this time it’s a little more to the point.

    1. Research your audience who read your posts and leave their comments. What medium do they use? What are their experiences? What are their positives and negatives to using their medium of choice? As an example I read Tamebay’s posts via my RSS app on my iPad and never via Tamebay’s URL and browser. Any comments I leave anywhere I type via my notepad app then copy and paste them over. Why? The main reason is I don’t have to worry about my RSS app unexpectedly quitting and me losing most of my comment (see 2nd attempt above) also because I am dyslexic and very conscious about my spelling. I find the iPads native spell check to be heaps better than most apps spell check so that in turn gives me more confidence to comment. Last but not least (on Tamebay at least) the message/comment box font is so small I am unable to read what I’ve written unless I spend ages pinching the screen to enlarge and then pinching again to reduce.

    2. Research other high traffic sites to see their comment setups. Make notes of anything you like or dislike. Do they use a 3rd party to handle their comments or maybe a plugin or a clear font or threaded comments. Do they show x amount of comments per page or are their comments in ascending or descending order. To decided the best course of action you need to know what you like or dislike and what is available to you.

    3. One of my big no-no’s and a major turn off for commenting is having to scroll down through all the comments to find the leave a comment box! If it happens to be a particularly popular post I could be scrolling through hundreds of replies and will give up before I’ve even reach the box to comment in. Having the leave a comment box at the top or in a drop down section or even floating is so much preferred.

    I hope I’ve added to this debate and apologies as I didn’t mean to ramble on as much as I have.

    I look forward to the outcome.

    Kate

  15. I’m female (although I have been accused of enjoying football, the odd dirty joke and being far too efficient with a spanner by my man, but I don’t turn into a pizza at midnight apparently, so obviously not the perfect woman…). I read daily and try to contribute if I have something that I feel would help someone else out, often from personal experience or mispent youth as a lawyer (not something I generally publicly admit to), rather than taking advantage of others’ generally useful advice or experience and not giving anything back.

    I have found, however, that I comment less and less these days, as whatever is said – not just by me – is either immediately rejected without though or argument, or, and I have one particular occasion in mind, accused of trolling when the OP clearly had no idea what they were talking about, refusing to refund postage charges when their listing “clearly stated that postage charges would not be refunded…” Not everyone likes what everyone else has to say, but everyone has their own view and the right to have it respected. There are enough politics on eBay with out having to worry about them here too. Sadly if people can’t respect that, then I now find myself wondering if it is better to say nothing at all – I left the playground far too long ago…

  16. I have commented in the past, however I don’t bother these days as sometimes people’s comments get lost in a sea of a group or couple of people basically talking to / arguing with eachother. Either that or comments are picked apart etc.
    Who wants either of those things and how can a blog owner stop a minority from putting of the majority?

    I have no idea. I have come to accept what this arena is and know it’s “read only”.

    Sorry guys.

  17. Hi everyone
    I have commented a few times on here & on occasion have asked for advice regarding Ebay issues (yes im female).
    In all honesty what puts me off is commenting more are the some of the regular “contributors” who in fairness appear only to want to argue or shoot down other peoples opinions and who appear to believe that the only opinion worth listening to is their own (i would add however that some on here do offer some invaluable advice which is what makes this site great).
    I do read the site on a regular basis but find i then leave once an interesting topic has turned into something of a war of words…I want to read helpful and useful comments not the overbearing words of keyboard warriors!

  18. I enjoy reading TB everyday and value it as a news provider.

    However I would welcome more help, advice, solutions to problems and general discussion and a gentler and less cliquey response to posts as I am a bit intimidated by the tone of some posts.

  19. I haven’t been as frequent a visitor lately, hence lack of comments from me. Partly because I only sell through my own site now, rather than ebay or Amazon.

    In the past, I have found it a bit irritating that certain contributors seem to trot out the same lines / hobby horses on every subject, whether relevant or not.

    I don’t know how feasible it would be to have an ‘ignore’ button, more usual in forum software. That might go a long way towards solving those particular issues…

  20. I think the idea about readers being able to up-vote/down-vote comments was a really good one. If you look at a site such as reddit.com it works really well on there and the comments that get ‘disliked’ are ‘collapsed’ but you can still read them if you really want to, and the good ones stay at the top

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