July 28, 2007

Smart Readers and Blog Comments

This is one of those weekend posts with no actual health information in it. If you're visiting Cranky Fitness for the first time, you may prefer something with a bit more substance. So feel free to grab some healthy and tasty antioxidants! Or you could go do some interval training or even just sit quietly and attempt to meditate. Or heck, visit Diet Pulpit where there a ton of resources for weight loss, or consult Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer who has lots of interesting medical information to share. Because Crabby just plans to yammer on for a few paragraphs about how wonderful her readers are and how grateful she is to have them.

Crabby has visited other blogs, bulletin boards, forums, and places where discussions happen on the web. And while some places are much like Cranky Fitness, many others are not!

Some High Traffic sites feature virtually no reader discussion at all. Theoretically, lots and lots of other people are visiting, but you don't know who they are or what they think. (As a side note, Crabby spent years visiting various blogs without ever commenting at all--she thinks reading without commenting is a very reasonable thing to do! She's just glad that so many of you here at Cranky Fitness are willing to take the time to do it). Places where no one comments sometimes feel a little lonely, at least to Crabby. It's like everyone else but her has something better to do than plop down into the comment section for a chat.

On the other hand, some sites get hundreds and hundreds of comments every day. One could spend hours reading all the comments on just one post--and for Crabby, that's too many! Crabby, both as a blogger and a reader, loves to feel like she "knows" the regulars. So Crabby loves that her readers provide a "just right" feeling of busy-ness to Cranky Fitness. Though she can't always reply to every comment (and she will likely get worse and worse about this as time goes on, sorry) she loves reading them all and knows other people out there lurking are enjoying them too.

Crabby has also noticed that some sites have really contentious comments with all kinds of personal attacks and flame wars and alliances of various sorts. There is much discussion of "trolls" or a common variant, "concern trolls." People are often warning other people "don't feed the trolls!"

No thank you! Crabby loves that you are all nice to each other. No one gives anyone else grief if they have a different opinion. Crabby's favorite thing of all, especially if it's a post she hasn't been able to tend to properly, is when you comment on each other's comments in a supportive way. It makes Crabby feel all warm and fuzzy. What a great community! What awesome readers!

Another nice thing about Cranky Fitness readers is that while they're all amiable and easy to get along with, they're all different. Some sites attract a very narrow age range, or income level, or geographic area, or special interest. Here, there's a nice variety--some of you are health freaks, some not so much; some of you are still in college while others are great-grand parents; etc, etc. It makes discussions so much more interesting than if we were all 23-27 years old; ate solely organic food, and were all eagerly training for our next Ultra Marathon.

And finally, what Crabby likes best about her Smart Reader's comments is their Quality. You folks are funny! And helpful. And thought-provoking. And poignant. Crabby always ends up learning something, and laughing, and thinking, and sometimes even changing her minds about things, which is a very hard thing for a Cranky Crab to do!

So thanks everyone!


  1. I am so jealous of your comments sections. From what I can tell I started my blog a couple weeks before you started this one and I don't think I have anywhere near as many readers or commenters. I suppose that's indicative of who is the more gooder writer. ;)

  2. Heck, my blog is more than a year old and I hardly ever get comments. :p (Of course, I'd probably get more if I wasn't such a meanie to Internet Explorer users. We haaates it, my precious.)

    All hail Crabby, the goodest, friendliest writer!

  3. Hi vanilla & chicken girl!
    Wish it was the writing, but actually I think its more my narcissistic need to have visitors. I think that part of the day where you guys go out and "have a life?" That's when I've been scuttling around the web trying to round up people and beg them to come visit Cranky Fitness. I'm spending less time doing that these days, so I may well see a drop off. But I hope I don't lose my favorite regulars!

  4. Aww... I got the warm fuzzies. Is it bad that I keep reading partly because you do reply to comments? Seriously. It's nice to know someone's paying attention. ^_^

  5. Awww! we love you too, Crabby!

    Don’t sell yourself short on this great community you are building. Your writing is part of it, but your comments let us know that you don’t deem yourself the only authority on a subject, and you care about our opinions, and your humor is great too! You talk about your life which makes you feel so human (especially for a crab!) not some scientist in a lab coat. Anyway, as I said the other day, I just love your blog!

  6. Lisa, that's really sweet! I will never abandon replying entirely, but some days it's looking like I just can't get to them all. But I'll try to keep people posted when it's likely that I'm going to wander away on a particular post. And I ALWAYS read them.

    Holly, thank you for such kind words! And one thing for sure, I'm no scientist in a lab coat--they'd never let me in a lab, for one, because I'd be knocking over beakers and mixing all the wrong stuff together.

    I like that you folks often know more than I do about this stuff, and since I'm often too lazy to research (i.e. google) every aspect of a topic it's great that you folks are so smart! And actual scientists among Crabby's readers are far better at analyzing the tricky studies than Crabby is.

  7. Crabby. I love your commentors. After visiting a bazillion "weighty" blogs, it's refreshing to come and see some different people. (Don't get me wrong, love the weighty crowd too! very kind, supportive people) And now and then, when I see one of your regulars somewhere else, I definitely get an attack of the warm fuzzies.

    What I especially love is when your regulars leave lots of personal experiences (which your posts seem to elicit); I just love that kinda stuff.

    And I'm was the same about blogs pre-blogging. I was a big reader but never left comments.

    (Oh, and concerning your response to yesterday's post. In our house, popcorn IS a vegetable.)

  8. Aww, Crabby doesn't sound quite so crabby now!

    Even though I'm fairly new... and sort of irregular around here, I like to think I count, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy too! I did notice that all of the commentors around here are all very different, and that does make for a much better discussion!

    I'm not sure how you did it Crabby, but good job. :)

    (It feels like a group hug moment)

  9. You do have some of the best comments. However, it's easy to comment on such interesting writing.


  10. Katieo,
    You have great commenters too. Isn't it fun to have such a wonderful group of people to hear from and get to know? I don't know about you, but I find myself quite invested in what's going on with folks, and love to hear how they're doing with their goals and frustrations and such. (But I love the jokes, too!)

    Hi Jessica,
    I have to confess I've got that group hug feeling about it all too. And it's funny, I guess you are recent, but you feel very much an established part of this blog "community" to me.

    Coming from you, one of the most entertaining bloggers (feline or human) that I've come across, that is quite a compliment!

  11. I know I'm a newbie compared to most, but I come to your blog not only for the posts, but also to read the comments. It's interesting to see everyone's angle on things, and refreshing to see different opinons expressed without backlash and fighting. I try to stop by everyday, and even if I don't comment myself I always read.

  12. Hi Crabby, I am only commenting today because you said such nice things. So I wanted to remind you that I am here and part of those who are, in your words:

    "And finally, what Crabby likes best about her Smart Reader's comments is their Quality. You folks are funny! And helpful. And thought-provoking. And poignant."

    I especially like being poignant. No one has ever called me that before. It's a trait I thought I needed to develop, but, thanks to you, I know I'm there.


  13. Comments are what make the blog go round :)

    Sorry haven't breezed by too much this week.

    Health and Happiness, Lady Rose

  14. You know what else it is though? The fact that you really do make an attempt to reply to our comments and that we know they are appreciated. The super blogs where hundreds comment often make you feel unheard and commenting seems pointless. It's fun to comment here because we know you care.

    Not to mention that basically ever since I've had home internet access (8ish years or so) I've gone through narious addictions to diffeent forums online which really did take my life away from me and the horrible argu,emts that could come about on any forum were awful. So it was a few months back i decided no more forums. Then I started reading news articles and blogs like crazy and come here because I can get a few minutes of internet socialization and be done with it.

    And of course because you are the most awesome crab who ever had a blog!

  15. I love your sassy approach to this subject and you make me think. I've "met" so many great people since beginning my blog...I include them in my conversations just as I would a neighbor or family friend. In fact, my blogger friends are closer...they're in my living room 24 hours a day...they're there at my beck and call...I just have to open up the laptop. Is it any wonder we love hearing from these friends? I await the comments of frequent visitors to my blog as much as I used to look for the postman and the possibility of a letter from a friend. And I appreciate being introduced to your acquaintances...so much fun seeing dogs cooling down after a hard romp...I smiled the rest of the day. It's good to get to "know" you!

  16. Hi Noah,
    Always love your comments and it's great to know you're 'here' regularly! I do think people's comments are the best thing about the blog, and the folks who just read the posts are missing most of the fun.

    You are clearly such a kind-hearted soul that empathy and poignancy naturally follow in your writing. So I'm officially calling you poignant and you can cross it off your list. And now the word "poignant" looks so weird and non-word like to me that I may never be able to use it again!

    Hi Lady Rose!
    You don't even need to breeze by for me to sense your Web Presence--you have very strong and good Blog Energy. I often do the same: stop by to see what you're up to but if I'm in a hurry I may not comment every time. And I know you have so many great blog relationships with hundreds of blogs, so there aren't enough hours in the day to comment on all of them. Then you'd never have time to write a post and there wouldn't be any Diet Pulpit left! And we need Diet Pulpit!

    Meg, thank you, that's so sweet! And I'm with you, the forums get so ugly sometimes. I know I keep saying this, but I love that all of you are so nice to each other! It really does make it so pleasant and fun to read the comments.

    And hi Kathy! So fun to meet you on Dawn's blog.

    And wow, I read your "Contentment" post last night and you are a great writer. Readers, go to Kathy's weight loss blog (and her others too) and check out some of her posts. Great stuff.

    And I'm with you on really valuing these blog relationships. Have you ever tried to explain it all to someone who doesn't read blogs though? I think my friends think I'm completely crazy.

  17. Well, all the 23-27 years olds who eat solely organic food, and who are eagerly training for their next Ultra Marathon just ran off crying.

    Poor lost kids.

    And yes you are very lucky to have such nice comments from nice people like me ;) Ok, and everyone else. I agree the comments alone are interesting here. At some point all you'll need to do is write, "amino acids - discuss" and still you'll have a nice popular blog. Actually that would be a really interesting blog experiment.

  18. There are so many things I wanted to pick up on in this post. It certainly gave me "warm fuzzies" reading it. There is such a feeling of friendliness, and Katieo's experience about when she spots a fellow "crabby commenter" somewhere else on the web is very similar to mine. I want to rush up and hug them and say "saw you at Crabby's yesterday". The web has the potential to make us part of one big family.

  19. Me too, me too, I want a hug too.

    Haven't been by here the last several days, and I should've because I've been all by myself--husband went off on a trip. But I did well, the blue meanies seem to be dissipating finally. The one bad thing that did happen, i.e. getting branded a "concern troll" on Crooks & Liars (one of my favorite sites! :-P ) just made me very very mad, and didn't knock me for a loop. Golly are they SENSITIVE over there!

    So when Scottiedog (my husband) was gone, my fitness routine consisted of exploring Eric Clapton videos on YouTube. (Ironically I found the first one on the Crooks & Liars site.) I'm a classical musician and don't often get to explore anything else because of press of work, but I appreciate good music in whatever genre, and I think in Clapton I have discovered the Rubinstein of Rock. I got hold of a great live video of "Cocaine" and spent hours dancing around the apartment to it all by myself. Great workout. (I'd never heard it before, and when the joke came up about it in Fahrenheit 911 it totally went over my head.)

    I found out something else, which relates back to a previous post by Crabby (bless her heart!!!!). That is, that while Scottiedog isn't fat, he does eat humongous amounts. He has a high metabolism rate or something. During the days when he was gone, and I don't think I've ever been without him for so long, I hardly ate anything at all. Didn't feel the need or urge.

    So I'm speculating that the "contagious obesity" thing has more to do with the eating habits of your companions than it does their actual weight. Though doubtless there would be some correlation, usually.

    Okay, I'm done. (And please excuse me if you're not similarly politically inclined, I just have to vent about this: Impeach. Thanks--my mental hygiene for the day.)

  20. Oh wait, I meant to say that your responding to the posts is so great, Crabby!!! I have a feeling that you might not be able to do it so meticulously for very long, though; I've been recommending your site to everybody I know, and no doubt your popularity is going to grow to the point where it would be impractical. I'm going to enjoy it while I can!!!

    Thanks immensely.

  21. Isn't trolling and online fighting the MOST insane wastes of time ever?!?! I have left many message boards because the discussions have gotten so personal and the attacks so vicious.

  22. I love you too Crabby! Thanks for your sweetness today.

  23. Hi Jennifer,
    So as a slacker, I'm definitely tempted by that "discuss" approach... though Amino Acids might be a bit challenging. (They're like, Important and Fundamental and Good, right? Sigh. There used to be a little place in my brain where all that info from college science classes was stored, but it all leaked out.) But I guess I don't need to know anything at all about about amino acids as long as my brilliant commenters do!

    Hi Dawn,
    Isn't it great? I think your blog has a wonderful cozy feeling, and I'm always thrilled to run across your "regulars" in other places too. We share some readers in common and I love that. (And I think we're both really lucky to have such a friendly, clever crowd, don't you?)

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for the wonderful comments! Definitely big hugs, if you don't find crustacean claws too crusty and creepy--will try not to pinch.

    I'm so glad the blue meanies are receding! Love to hear all about dancing to Eric Clapton (now I've got Cocaine going through my head--the song, not the substance). And sorry that your adorably-nicknamed husband is a chowhound who can get away with it. I mean, good for him, but that's hard for you.

    Thanks so much for talking up the blog amongst your friends! And also for wanting to impeach our evil idiot president. (Oops, did I say that out loud? Crabs are supposed to be more politically neutral, as this is a health blog. But sometimes it just slips out!)

    Hi goinggone99!
    Thank goodness this is such a nice group here. I'm always amazed to see how many forums of supposedly like-minded people end up degenerating into squabbles over the stupidest stuff. And thanks for stopping by again!

    And hi Christina,
    It is you all who are sweet! Crabby is getting awfully sentimental about her wonderful blog friends this evening, and will have to work hard to muster up the appropriate Crankiness tomorrow. (But don't worry, she'll manage somehow.)

  24. With the writing challenge I'm doing, my blog-visiting has become somewhat more sporadic, but please continue to consider me a regular in spirit, even if I don't get here every day! Your blog rocks, Crabby. :)

  25. We keep coming back because you have created and continue to foster a blog community that allows us to think and engage in a variety of different subjects in a friendly, non-threatening environment. (I don't know many who wouldn't like that!) It's awesome, thanks!

  26. Thomma Lyn,
    You were one of the first (and friendliest) people I met blogging, so I always feel like you're "here." Likewise, my blog visiting has been getting more sporadic (wish there was time for everything!) but always enjoy yours when I stop by. Good luck on the writing challenge!

    Hi Norabarnacle,
    Thanks, and I'm so grateful for all of you who create this "friendly, nonthreatening" environment! You guys are the best.

  27. I come to your site becuase it's always an interesting read and you put a fun spin on things.

    (and thanks for the plug!)

  28. Thanks Marijke,
    And also thanks for contributing so much to the discussions over here, as well has having so much great info over on your site!


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