Friday, June 08, 2007

The electronic neighborhood....


I am still absorbing a lot of the things from last weekend (re: tagging, community and so on) and I noticed something significant.

And I absolutely loved it!

People were leaving comments and talking to each other! I'm a very interactive person and when we're all shooting the breeze together and exchanging ideas, I go to heaven for a while.

Part of the risk I take though is that someone might get upset with me and not say so. Unfortunately, due to some of the positions I took on those issues last weekend, it would appear that a few people have stopped coming here.

A month ago, that would have freaked me out. I would have felt that I'd done something wrong, that I drove them away, that it was my fault somehow. It would have gnawed at me.

I no longer feel that way. It bothers me, sure. It's sad and disappointing when someone chooses to cease communication because I spoke my mind. I am truly an easy person to talk to.. and a good listener, always willing to respectfully hear someone else's point of view. The truth is though that I can't be anyone other than who I am ~ and can only speak my truth as I see it. And those who choose to go, all I can do is wish them well.

It's worth mentioning, too, that I heard from three people involved with the post I cited as troubling. Each one of them was respectful, kind and reassuring that I'd misunderstood. There was no ill-intent. My respect for them has increased by a few orders of magnitude. That is graciousness, being willing to talk an issue out without getting angry or hateful.

I'm glad for that... and I'm glad we were able to talk about it.

I may be biased but I have the best commenters on the Internet. The graciousness, the kindness, the honesty... It's amazing really when you consider how easy it would be to disappear when a topic gets a bit touchy. I lucked out though to have a core group of people who are willing to accept me, warts and all. That's not to say that everyone always agrees with everything I have to say. There's no sycophant stuff going on here. Disagreement and correction are very welcome. Learning is important and I am teachable. In general, we all interact very honestly and with a lot of maturity, regardless of the topic.

Earlier today, I was blog-surfing and commenting on blogs. I'm trying to follow the blog world rules and comment on new blogs daily. Some of them were familiar and some not. Just for the heck of it, I started keeping track of what made me want to leave a comment for someone and when I felt more comfortable just clicking by.

There are a few questions I have based on the experience I had commenting today and I'd like to put it out for your consideration:

1) Do you prefer that I interact, reply to comments or does that really matter in the long run? (I enjoy doing it, by the way, so there is no sub-text to this. I'm just curious.)

2) What in general does it take for people to feel comfortable commenting to each other?

3) What if there were too many comments? Would it put you off?

I noticed as I was searching around that I looked for these three things a lot. I looked for the interaction between commenters, author responsiveness, and how they behaved toward each other. When people were hostile, obviously I didn't want to comment ~ but it was also hard when there were so many comments that I felt like it would be impossible to interact with the author at all. I found it intimidating then.

Just curious for your take on this.

And while I'm at it, I do want to thank everyone for the discussion last weekend ~ and every day. In case you hadn't gathered it, I appreciate and am grateful to each one of you. I don't think I acknowledge that often enough....

:)


Peace,


~Chani

29 comments:

slouching mom said...

Chani,

First of all, you had me at the title of this post. Great title, so clever!

Second, I'm curious to know how youknow that these people have stopped coming to your site because of last weekend's conversation as opposed to, say, that they are offline, or too busy, or ...?

Third, when you look for interaction among commenters, I wonder if you might too quickly make a judgment that a site isn't for you when that criterion isn't met.

It seems to me that even within a site, some posts inspire lots of comments and some don't. And, among those that generate comments, some create conversation and some don't.

The content of a post is relevant here, I think. Some posts are fiction/stories, for example, and commenters are constrained by that kind of content. Conversation among commenters is not too likely given posts like these.

Other posts beg for discussion and conversation. A post about a current event, politics, social injustice...

Just wondering if sometimes in your forays around the blogosphere you might be using a faulty measure and thus casting aside some blogs you might in fact have liked very much?

(Can you tell this topic floats my boat?)

Snoskred said...

As you probably know, I wrote an article on commenting just a few days ago. The link doesn't fit here so I've made it a tinyurl - http://tinyurl.com/2d5tyw - and so to see this post from you is quite exciting to me. ;) I have a million thoughts and comments on your post. I'll try to put them into some kind of reasonable order and then post them.

But before I do that, I think the one thing that jumped out, the one most important thing I wanted to say to you is about the people who stopped coming here and how you dealt with that. Well done! Seriously, I think this is a huge step for you. I'm hopeful that it means you realise that a *lot* of people value you and enjoy reading what you have to say, and that you are not just one lone voice out there in the blog-o-sphere - you have managed to bring together a bunch of people who care for you - and have started to care for each other - by the comments section of your blog. It's a huge achievement and such a lovely thing, and fairly rare in the scheme of things.

Me, I like forums sometimes because you get that discussion, you get that interaction with other people. It's lovely, but *oh so rare* to see it on a blog anywhere. Mainly because the comments section is a little difficult to track conversations on - if you go to a forum you can see the most recent posts.

QT said...

Chani - I am with snoskred - that is a huge step for you and I just wanted to acknowledge it somehow.

As for comments - I read a few blogs I don't comment on, like dooce. She wouldn't know if I was there or not, but I find her to be funny, so I enjoy just reading.

I do like it when there are responses to comments, as you an meno regularly do. But if you decided to stop doing that, I wouldn't stop coming here and commenting. I guess you could say I'll take it if I can get it.

On my own blog, I rarely respond to comments unless someone is asking for clarity. I couldn't tell you why - it just feels right to me.

What a great and thoughtful post for a Friday!

Christine said...

1) I love that you interact on the comments. I realize that not everyone can do this, and I don't do it often at all. But I love coming back for the "conversation."

2) Not sure. I think like any other friendship it requires a feeling of a trust i susppose. I think also a sense that the other person will be open to it.

3)No. I always leave a comment if I am inspired to, despite high numbers. i've been to a few sites where there are upwards of 50 comments! I figure I'll just jump in, what the heck!

Sober Briquette said...

1) Yes. I like replies. They strengthen the conversation. Not every post/comments require replies - at my own blog, it's usually pretty light and fluffy so there's not a lot to reply back to.

2) commenting to each other is tricky. It's a great sign of a "community" if the commenters feel comfortable addressing each other. Sometimes, however, I feel it can be discourteous to the blog owner, if it gets off track.

3) If I am late to a post and there are a lot of comments, I sometimes don't read them all, which would reduce the likelihood of engaging in a conversation, but I would still comment on the post itself.

GREAT POST. Wish I had more time but I have a screaming side kick, and I feel a bit bad ignoring him as it's his bday.

Tabba said...

Chani,

This is interesting because I've been contemplating what is (or isn't) going on over my way. I very rarely comment back in the comment section. Sometimes I do. If something strikes me. Otherwise, I like to leave it as an open forum for those who want to say what they want to say.
I also feel like I spend WAY too much time out here in blogland. With the two wee ones often paying the price, so if I sat here and responded to every comment (not that I get many, but still) then there would be great suffering on the part of my household.
However, that is not to say that I don't appreciate the fact that you and others interact on the comments. I think it's great. I look forward to going back and reading what you have to say in response to myself and others. I think this is all a part of your charm.

I'm not sure what the answer is to the second one, other than feeling safe and comfortable to do so.

And if I do feel inspired to comment, I do it. Even if there are 99 comments. I wish I knew what those kinds of bloggers do and how they do it. It's a great day for me if I get 10. I think the most I've ever had was somewhere in the 20's - and that's just because it was a heated post and things went crazy in the comments.

Interesting stuff, as always, Chani. Yours is one of the first places I visit in the morning. You get the neurons and synapses charged and ready for the rest of my day.

Tabba said...

And I wanted to thank you for your comment my way yesterday. I took great comfort in your words and your understanding.
I just wanted to let you know that.

Snoskred said...

Blogging is a risk full stop. One is putting one's self out there and anytime one does that there's a risk that people are going to reject one. Which is quite hurtful to most people, I think - to be rejected in any way at any time. One tends to develop a thick skin about it the more it happens.

As far as commenting goes, I was like you in the beginning - only commenting when I felt comfortable, clicking by when I wasn't sure. Then the NaBloPoMo thing hit. I think it was great for those who got their blogs on board in time to be a part of it, a whole new audience came to you as a surprise.

Of course, I missed out - I didn't hear of it before November and I was too late to sign up. I'd already missed a post by the time I did hear of it. So I decided to comment on the blogs instead. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It taught me so much about finding the common thread, being more tolerant to those whose views were not the same as mine, and just being more confident in my own skin.

That's because people loved it when I commented, they came back to my blog and commented in response, and some of them became regular readers. The commenting challenge took on a life of its own, it was like a snowball that I started rolling down a hill.

Now, I'll comment anywhere, anytime, providing I have the time. In fact I find that my biggest challenge now, not having time to say what I wanted to say. I'd comment on every blog in my google reader whenever they posted, if I had the time. Given that most days when I log in there, I see over 100 items to read, I simply don't have that kind of time. So I comment on what moves me. As I read if I have a thought or want to say something, I open the blog in a new tab. I do want to make an effort to go through once every 6 months or so and comment on all the blogs just to let them know I am still reading.

Your questions - 1. Either way is fine. 2. An environment where nobody jumps on them for saying what they want to say. 3. no, because my comment is *mine* and the author will appreciate each and every comment they get. They might not be able to respond to them all but they will read them all. I read all of mine - you read all of yours, so does everyone else who is a blogger. ;)

There are some pressures in the blogging world. I'm starting to feel some strange ones on my own blog these days - to not swear, to not offend, to censor things I want to say. I think I have to try and fight that as much as possible - its part of what makes me who I am. If I censor who I am then people will stop reading.

I got tagged today, btw. And this meme asks that you tag 6 other people. I'll do the meme but I'm not tagging anyone, I'll say why. ;)

slouching mom said...

BTW, Chani, I meant to write earlier that I find your voice to be stronger every day.

Could it be the blog redesign?

I kid, but also I don't.

Your writing, IMHO, is direct and confident in a way that is rare.

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, I have so much to say. I think maybe I need to respond on my own blog, we'll see as I start typing. LOL

This is a great topic. So interesting.

I have a lot of ideas. let me get back to this when I have more time later today.

Bob said...

The blogs I enjoy the most are the ones where there is interaction in the comments. That is why I respond to comments on mine. My nature is such that I like the give and take of conversation (I really liked the movie "My Dinner with Andre").

I do tend to avoid commenting where there are a lot of comments - too much to catch up on and I don't like to be the 10th person to say the same the same thing.

MsLittlePea said...

Ok this is another good post-I say that to myself everytime I come back here. Your blog is the first blog I ever commented on the first time I visited and if I remember correctly, the post was about a beautiful moment you had in a rainstorm in Thailand. I remember thinking to myself, My what a brave person! I wish I was courageous enough to share such a personal part of myself. I get my feelings hurt so easily so it's hard for me to feel comfortable enough but I'll get there. I usually read a new blog for a while before I comment just out of shyness. I don't always reply to my comments especially when my post is a silly one, which is most of the time. But if someone has asked me something or referred to something specific I usually do. I do want to make an effort to reply more because I like replies on the comments I leave. As for your questions: 1)I'd rather you reply if you want to. I enjoy your feedback as I'm sure everyone else here does but I wouldn't want you to do it because you felt obligated. 2)I don't know about anyone else but for me it's usually a common feeling or shared situation. I get over my shyness after reading a blog a while because I feel like I know that person a little more-this is odd because I am not shy at all in person. 3)I read often at a blog who regularly gets up to 70 comments and at first I was a little intimidated. I thought, what could I possibly add. But then I thought, this is such a good blog, I want to at least let the author know I appreciate it and began to feel like I do have something to add. So no lots of comments don't really put me off.

I want to add that I don't always leave comments if I don't know enough about the topic of post, including here. My grandma always told me to keep my mouth shut if I don't know what I'm talking about unless I want to look like an idiot. I listen to my grandma! :o)
So I want you to know that even if I don't leave a comment,I'm still reading.

Gwen said...

I feel compelled, on my own blog, to comment back to comments. It just seems polite TO ME, although I don't expect it AT ALL from other people. And I enjoy when people talk amongst themselves, too, but it's not a prerequisite for enjoying a blog. Finally, anything more than twenty or so comments, and I don't bother commenting myself, generally. Not just because it feels like it's going to get lost in the mix, but because there's also a sense of what else can I have to add? I don't want to comment to be a sycophant or just to play some commenting game, so I don't bother, generally, unless I'm particularly stricken, which happens seldom.

thailandchani said...

SM, I wish I could take credit for the title. Actually, that originated with Alan Berg, a talk show host in the 70s. He was referring to talk radio. :)

As for how I know... the same people are appearing elsewhere. The timing and that is what led me to conclude it.

They no longer show up on the sitemeter, either.. so they're not just lurking.

It is always possible that I will be missing a good blog ~ and I don't like that idea at all. Truthfully, I should go multiple times.

I like these kinds of topics, too. :)

~*

Snoskred, I agree that apparently I am gaining more confidence is what I'm doing here. Not certain why that is ~ and it isn't guaranteed to be forever... but, yeah, somehow I'm more at peace than I have been before.

I like email lists for interaction, too. It's more immediate and so on.

~*

QT, thanks. I can't imagine not responding to comments. Granted, some days I don't have the energy.

There are some blogs that get such good comments that I go back multiple times to see what people are saying about any particular topic.

I like it when the author responds.. but am not alienated if he or she doesn't.

~*
Next template
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thailandchani said...

Christine, one of the things I promised myself when I retired is that I would never forget what it's like to have all my time sucked up by a job.

And I stick to that. I'm grateful to have the time to reply to comments ~ and there's no way in the world I expect everyone else to do it.

We all do what we can... I figure that someone takes the time to write a post and they don't even have to do that... so generally I just sit down and shut up. :)

I don't know why.. but too many comments just leaves me wondering why I should bother to leave one at all.

Upwards of 50 would be too high for me.

And if I was getting 50, it would be too many for me to respond ~ simply because I'd lose energy.

~*

De, happy birthday to the kidlet. :)

Some of mine.. well, it's not worthwhile to go back and respond to each comment. Yesterday, as an example. It was just everyone expressing an opinion and we were all on the same page anyway.

Commenting to other commenters: I do like to do it if I can direct someone.. or bring up a point of view, etc.

One time I commented to another commenter on someone's blog and it made the author angry. I got a terse "send it in private email."

I never went back there again. What's the point in being so possessive?

~*

Tabba, I seem to get about 20 a day.. and that is comfortable for me. That way, I can interact with everyone as an individual and not get into the "thank you for sharing" stuff.. which I dislike. :)

I know I spend too much time on the Internet. This cable connection may have been the worse thing I've done, given that it's on ALL the time.. and it's just too easy to sit here and do other things, interacting with mailing lists and blogs all day.

Mostly what I have to show for it is a big fat ass! :)

Right now, I admit that I am watching Paris Hilton get hauled off to court by the cops.. and finding it disgustingly amusing!

:)

Glad you liked the comment yesterday. I just don't want to see you get caught up in some weird concept of a "dream" that will reduce yours, your husband's and your kids' quality of life.

Lies can do a lot of damage.. to very real people.

~*
next template - I'm losing track here. :)
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thailandchani said...

Snoskred, there are certain pressures. I feel it at time, too. Some of my views are unusual, to say the least. I live in a style that is very different than most of the people I interact with ~ and I edit out a lot of that. My life is not family-centered. I don't participate in the larger marketplace. My life is just very, very different.

I felt the pressure most when I was writing about my father. In order for that to make sense, I had to give the background.. and I was concerned that people would just resent me for it.

I grew up with that guilt though... and slowly, I'm getting over it.

Glad about the tagging. :) I've pretty well concluded that I'll just pick up any meme I want... Heck, I don't even have to snarf them from anyone's blog. There are a bunch of them on the Internet.. suggestions for them.

And that way, I can offer them to others without strings, too.

~*

SM, I don't know for certain. The redesign is certainly beautiful.. and I do like it but I'm not sure it's changed my voice.

I wish I'd known how to do it but I have *no* visual sense at all. You know, I can't imagine something that doesn't exist... so I would have been unable to design something like that.

~*

Julie, I will definitely look forward to what you have to say... at my site or yours. :)

~*

Bob, I liked that movie, too. Look for one called "Mind Walk". It's the same kind of thing.

I do like the interaction a lot. The exchange of ideas...

~*

MsPea, I think your observations are always good. I'd be reluctant to fall into the "I don't know anything" mindset. Your observations are just as valid as anyone else's.

~*

Gwen, I think I'm a lot like you that way. I enjoy the interaction.. so I do it. Commenting back is a luxury I can afford and it's pleasant to do.

Once someone has too many comments, I don't know.. it's really not "fair" but I'm more likely to not say anything unless I have a perspective that is *entirely* different than the other present, I just shut up. :)

~*

Thanks, all! :)


Peace,

~Chani, watching the "white bronco chase" in LA. (And people wonder why I no longer live there!)

Carla said...

Hi Chani, I'm back. You raise some interesting points. I personally enjoy the comments and interactions. There are some blogs where I have long conversations with individuals. I enjoy the exchange of ideas and while I may not always agree with everything everyone says, it opens me up to new perspectives and possibilities. It really does facilitate growth. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Snoskred said...

Thanks for mentioning the Paris thing, I've now spent at least an hour glued to the TV. Back to jail with you Paris!

thailandchani said...

S, I finally had to switch from CNN/Fox to Court TV. Now I'm watching the Mary Winkler sentencing.

I guess Paris is in court right now. Should be interesting to see what the outcome will be.

The judge is really pissed.

:)


Peace,

~Chani

thailandchani said...

Carla, I'm with you. I welcome the opportunity to change and grow. There are only certain viewpoints where I find my mind snapping closed with a loud thud. Even then, at least I can read it.. and understand a viewpoint other than my own a bit better. And it becomes less easy to demonize someone we like, even when they have a view we don't like.

:)


Peace,

~Chani

gingajoy said...

As you know, this is a question I've been thinking about lately--someone recently made a comment that she felt that if people don;t respond to comments in the thread, then that blogger is not reading the comments (tho I think she was referring to folks with masses of comments). This sent me a little reeling, as I have never tended to do this (but have started lately). 2 reasons why. a) no time and b) I figure people will not come back to see my response. I realize that might not be the case, so I've started doing it a little. I have tended, the past, to respond via email if I have something to say to a commenter.

I think conversations between commenters take place in very tight and densely networked communities. I think it's great to see these conversations emerge *but* I also think it can also highlight what *might* be perceived as a clique or "in group" This is not my perception (I always jump in there without concern) but I have seen this concern voiced in various places--about feeling outside of a group or conversation.

And lots of comments? I;d love them. BUT I prefer fewer more thoughtful comments than lots of "you rock" comments (but as SM says--it depends on the topic of the post..)
I am a comment junkie, though, have to admit it. Though I have had to shift in this, as my own reciprocation of comments has tailed off recently (v busy). I see a direct impact on my own comments.

flutter said...

Well, it's kinda like this...

sometimes I pour my heart out and get nothing, then I will post something that I think is frivolous and get a ton of response.

So I think, to myself, hmmm. Then I realize taht the people who are my regular readers are interminably concerned with me and my heart and I know that because they are there to listen. I love comments, I think we all do, but I love knowing that I could easily drop any one of the people who reads me an email and just say "I need to talk" and they would be there, just as I would be for them.

I generally tend to respond to comments via email rather than in my comment section, purely because I don't know if people come back to read responses to comments or not, you know?

meno said...

hi chani,

as you know, i try to respond to all my commenters. The reason is that i like to be acknowledged when i comment, and so i assume that others are the same. I also really enjoy the interaction. Interaction on my terms though.

I read a few blogs upon which i don't comment. This is because i commented a number of times and got no response. So i feel like my comments were not important. I will still comment occasionally, if i really have something to say.

I would like to leave longer comments, but i am a terrible typist and i make a lot of mistakes because my left hand is injured and i only use one finger on it for typing.

You rock, by the way. :)

jen said...

wow, this is a heck of a discussion.

you know, i like it when there are comments going back and forth but i don't always have the time to do it - and to be honest, i never thought people came back to read the comments again over my way like they do in other spots. i still read and re-read the comments and then don't always respond in writing. but i am working on that. it's just not how i envisioned it working (in my feeble brain)

this is a great post, and a great big happy feeling just coming here.

Caro said...

hi to all of you. You're right Chani, this is a great neighborhood. I'm with Meno on this, I looove it when you respond to the comments-mine and others. Remember the great dialogue you had with Atavist a while back?

Chani said...

Ginga, it's funny but it has never occurred to me that people don't read their comments. I suppose there are some though. It seems weird to me. You know, if you don't want comments, don't allow them at all.

As for the "in group" thing, I can definitely see where that would occur. That would keep me from leaving a comment.

As for it occurring here, it won't. While I am an open-minded person and would never delete a comment for opinion, I would delete a comment for that kind of thing. I'm rather strict on that. If someone left a comment, addressing another commenter (or even me) with a statement like "I'll call you in a few minutes" or "tee hee, I need to talk to you privately", I'd delete the comment. If someone is going to talk to someone privately, just do it. I see no need to put it in the comments section which is meant for feedback and discussion. It's a matter of discernment to a degree. Someone passing along a reference, as an example, obviously wouldn't be deleted. We're all adults.. and I suspect we can tell the difference between clubbishness and a friendly exchange of information.

I think clubbishness would make others feel inhibited or as though their thoughts aren't welcome.

I have left comments on other sites when it seems the clubbishness is a bit over the top, although generally I just click on. Usually, I just say something like "well, gee.. seems I stumbled into a private gathering" or "the furniture is nice in this private livingroom." Sarcastic, yes... but hopefully the author knows I am not being mean.. just trying to bring it to attention because there's a 99.99% chance he or she doesn't recognize it's coming across that way.

~*

Flutter, I will also answer privately if it's something that I really want to make sure the person sees. Generally though, I get to know who responds to comments and who doesn't.. and will go back to see if it's someone who customarily responds.

~*

Meno, I can definitely see your point of view. It depends so much on the circumstances. As I said earlier, I try to remember what it was like to work a full time job and never have the time or energy to spit, let alone respond to email or comments.

I definitely like that you do it.. and I enjoy doing it. At the same time, I realize that we're both fortunate to be able to do it. :)

~*

Jen, I think we get to know who responds so come back multiple times, based on that. Sometimes, too, we come back multiple times to see the comments on an interesting post. My sitemeter lets me know that people do come back here.. and I think it's because they've come to know I respond. I notice that with consistency.. and then sometimes I see people coming back and assume it's to read the other people's comments on a topic that is of interest.

Glad it feels good around here. I'm tryin'! :)
~*

Caro, I'm glad. Please just know that if I don't respond, it's often just that I've simply run out of energy in a day.

Yes, I remember that exchange with Atavist. He's a good debater! :)

~*

Peace,

~Chani

Her Bad Mother said...

You've sparked a lot of great discussion around her (and away from here, too, FYI).

Coupla things: I sometimes jump in on commentary discussions; sometimes not. Depends on a lot of things - I may go offline for a day, may just not want to interrupt the organic flow of a certain discussion, may just not have a response, may feel that no-one is going to come back and see my follow-up comments. Depends upon the post, and on the day, and my mood.

Second - so many people have said to me that they're less likely to comment on the posts of mine that have a gazillion comments. Because, among other things, they think that I'll never see those comments. Which - I read EVERY single comment that I receive, and value each. AND - comments are not always for the original poster: sometimes the best discussions that I've had or witnessed online have been between commenters exclusively - a post sparks a discussion, but the author of the original post becomes more or less irrelevant.

Every situation is unique. So long as we're in DIALOGUE, that's all that matters.

Loving your salon, lady.

thailandchani said...

HBM, thanks for the compliment. :) Glad you like what you see.

I think there's a tendency for a lot of us to figure if there are too many comments, we get lost in the crowd. If we're doing this to create community, it is too hard to establish any kind of relationship with the author of the blog. I try fairly hard to not leave "me, too" kinds of comments. I like to respond more thoroughly.

If I really want to dialogue ~ or need to dialogue ~ I usually write a private email. So far, I've never been ignored or turned away. It's a matter of having to stand out enough to get the question answered.. or the comment acknowledged... whatever it is I'm needing to do.

:)

I will be curious to know where else it is that I am generating dialogue. In fact, I'd like to be included.


Peace,

~chani

Susanne said...

Well, as there are 28 comments before me, I didn't read a single one of them. I like it when commenters react to each other's comments, but I'm reading that many blogs that I often don't have the patience to read more than 10 or 15 comments. Unless I find the post or the comments especially interesting.

When there are more than a certain number of posts I find it hard to write something interesting or new, and so I don't.

On the other hand I love when commenters really talk with each others. So maybe I should do what I would like readers of my blog to do ...