Read the blog manual, dufus!


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I pride myself on being pretty cluey with technology. I’ve usually been able to work things out with a bit of trial and error. I don’t usually refer to a manual unless I get stuck, really stuck.

I thought I had the basics of blogging down pat; you know, the core basics – write a post, watermark the image, even, upload it, receive comments, give replies. Easy.

So you can imagine my horror, on the auspicious occasion of my 100th post where I talk about what I know about blogging and commenting, to discover that I know even less than I thought I did.

All the comments I received started the cogs turning in my head. Suddenly, I had a niggling worry. As I pondered the issue over the weekend, my worry became a fully tangible realisation and I was horrified.

Horrified…….that no one had ever received any of my replies to their comments……surely this couldn’t be true?

So I searched Google and support forums about the technical features of comment reply notification. I also checked with three lovely bloggy friends who regularly comment, Grace from Musings of Mama Grace, Maria from Bicultural Mama and Jess from Diary of a SAHM. Sadly, the answers were conclusive. It’s all true. True!

Oh, the embarrassment, the shame!

In an earlier post on bloggy love, I publicly stated that I always try to reply to every comment I receive because I personally feel it to be common courtesy. But if no one has ever received notification that I replied, for all intents and purposes, it will look like I never did. Talk about the appearance of inauthenticity!

I also felt frustrated.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to juggle my time commitment and priorities between blogging related activities and the rest of my life. One thing that has always taken a lot of time and thought are my replies to comments, partly because I value engagement, and partly because that’s how I roll. If someone has taken the time to comment, I want to be sure I return the favour by leaving considered replies.

My blog statistics say I’ve written 475 replies. That’s right 4-7-5 replies. None of these have gone to the intended reader. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.


So now that I know the sad fact, I’ve reached a point of resignation. I can’t undo the past. But I have a strategy to move forward and make sure email notifications on replies do go out from now on.

Through this whole contemplation, one thing that has surprised and humbled me is the fact that despite the appearance I’ve never replied to anyone’s comments (ie: couldn’t be bothered to engage with you), a core group of you keep coming back to visit my blog, read my posts and comment; again and again. I HAVE to say a HUGE thank you to all of you who do. I really appreciate it.

I value your input, your thoughts, your engagement on my blog, via comments and replies on your blogs, via Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Engagement was one of my key goals when I started my blog and you have helped me achieve that goal.

This weekend, I learnt a little lesson; read the manual, dufus!

I was also reminded how lovely bloggers can be.

Have you ever had one of “those” moments in life? How did you handle it?

Related Posts

Is bloggy love conditional?

Things I Know – After 100 Blog Posts


I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

I Blog on Tuesdays


55 thoughts on “Read the blog manual, dufus!

  1. I read your post last night and have been stressing about it all night! Every time I got up to breastfeed I was trying to look into whether people were getting emailed replies when I was replying to their comments.
    I also just assumed they were. So firstly, thanks for the sleepless night! And secondly, I know you comment on my blog, can you please let me know if you get my replies? I always do reply.

    • No need to worry, Anna. I’m sorry it caused you to have a sleepless night. I received replies from your posts to me via Intense Debate. I don’t have such a system installed but didn’t realise it wasn’t standard with the blogging platform. Anyway, I’ve rectified this in a slightly roundabout way by duplicate emails but it’s been smoother and not quite as time-consuming as I thought.

  2. I get every single one of your replies to me and to all the other commenters on your post. I love your replies – you are so conscientious. Maybe it’s because I always check the notify me of follow-up comments via email option. Perhaps you can change the default to checked and people can un-check if they don’t want a reply. But who wouldn’t want a reply back from you?!?!?

    • Thanks, Laney. I think it is because you check the notify of follow up comments. I didn’t realise comment reply notification wasn’t a standard feature of these platforms. In my opinion, it should be. It makes so much sense now why so many people then talked about other comment management systems such as Intense Debate, DISQUS, Livefyre and various widgets. I suspect I would have found this out earlier if I’d not skipped all the introductory information to blogging. Live and learn.

  3. Oh dear, all that time spent replying! Well you know now, but to be honest I wouldn’t worry about it in the slightest. In my experience there are more blogs that don’t have a working reply notification system than ones that do.
    I know that my reply system works well, the beauty of WordPress plugins, but my problem is finding the time to reply properly. I always try and respond if I get a question after more information, but other comments often slip through the cracks. I love Maxabella’s line she has above her comment box “I’m great at replying in my head”. I’m very much the same, it always makes me happy to get comments but it is so hard finding the time, when I struggle with finding the time to even blog. Big bloggy fail on my part I guess.

    • I know, Kate. I was SO disheartened when I first realised but what to do. I didn’t realise a comment reply notification wasn’t a standard feature on platforms. It looked like it did do what I thought but it really didn’t. I will be sure to look into it properly when I get round one day to self-hosting.

      I like Maxabella’s line too. It is hard to find time to comment, let alone reply but I guess it depends on what sits right with each individual. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. I think most people sense your authenticity in what you do and how you try to engage with others. For now, it’s something I want to do but if numbers grow or I need more time for other family or personal priorities, I guess it might slide. At least I know I try to connect with others as often as possible via other means too like Twitter and Instagram.

  4. Oh that must be so frustrating!!! I’m using a plugin called ReplyMe so that you get emailed a reply – have you found something similar?
    475 replies? WOWSERS! I think I would cry if I were you!

    • It’s all okay for me now, Sonia. I’ve figured out a workaround that involves an extra email but it’s much less onerous than I first imagined it might be. My mistake, other than not reading the beginner’s manual (!) was to assume comment reply notification was a standard feature of blogging platforms. I since learnt it wasn’t. Suddenly it explained a lot of things about why I don’t always receive replies from some people, why some prefer to reply within their own comment stream (which only helps if your commenter checks the box to receive all follow-up comments) or why many talk about commenting systems like Intense Debate and DISQUS or widgets like Reply Me. All this because my initial assumption was wrong! I can see you use DISQUS. If you want, you can reply to my WW comment to you and I can let you know if I get it. Returning the favour. 🙂

    • Thanks for letting me know, Kirri. Maybe it’s because you select the checkbox to get further comments? I think that’s the only way it would work. I realise, however, most people don’t bother to check that box and receive a flood of miscellaneous emails in their inbox.

  5. I’ve been wondering the same thing about my commenting system, Veronica! Do you receive my notifications? I was just about to email my technical back-up (because I’m NOT technically minded in the slightest – lucky you!) to ask them this exact thing.

    I don’t think many people do have the reply notification installed on their blogs, because I’m forever going back to blogs and reading replies. I just thought that was the way things were for many people – so I didn’t think to tell you! So don’t worry, I have over time gone back to your posts and read all your replies! Not all wasted! I’m sure other avid readers were doing the same. 🙂

    • You might be right, Deb. I don’t think it is standard on blogging platforms to do comment reply notification. That’s why so many people use DISQUS or Intense Debate or special Reply Me widgets. I am not sure I have received any of your replies before, now that you mention it. I just left you a message on your Tea Room page so feel free to reply and I’ll let you know if I get it or not, as the case may be. And thanks for being so conscientious to check back on my replies. At least not all fell on deaf ears, so to speak. 🙂

  6. Oh that would be frustrating! I decided not to bother with replying to comments, because it takes up so much time, and I am not technologically minded at all. Plus, I never read people’s replies to my comments, and I’ve noticed that not everyone (even the ‘big’ bloggers) does reply to comments. So I decided it wasn’t worth me stressing over. We all still love you and know you are a sweetheart even if you haven’t been replying to comments 🙂

    • It was frustrating, Robyn, but thanks for your kind words. I know replying seems to have some etiquette yet it’s also a very individual thing. In my experience, I’ve noticed some high profile bloggers (Seven Cherubs and Be A Fun Mum) still make attempts at replying or engaging on Twitter or Instagram, despite how busy they are, and I take my hat off to them. I struggle to do that and I’m on a much smaller scale.

  7. I have had so many of these moments, but for the life of me I can’t remember a single one right now!

    I love getting replies on Commetns, but that’s not why I comment. I comment because I want the reader to know I took the time to read their words, and respond. And I’ve never thought of you as rude (I just blamed WordPress 😉 ) You engage on my blog and other media, so not having you reply here, has never bothered me, because I know that you’re the sort of person who would if you could. 🙂

    But 475! Far out! I’d be annoyed too!

    • Thanks for your take on comments, Jess. I tend to comment not consciously expecting a reply but I know that getting one is nice. While commenting shows that you spent considered time on a blog, getting a reply back would show you they have appreciated your engagement. Despite that, I realise that commenting-replying still varies amongst individuals though I think most people seem to have a little of the “do unto others” approach.

  8. oh I hate the techy side of blogging 😦 how upsetting to loose all the replies.. at least you found out now that they werent getting through.. thats the only positive way to look at it I guess…

  9. That is so annoying. 475 replies! I’m pretty sure people get my replies now, only because Intense Debate sends them (I think). I generally comment on blog posts when I feel I have something to say – regardless of whether I get a reply or not. I think many people feel the same. Obviously your loyal commenters (e.g. Jess, Grace) don’t mind too much!

    • Julie, Intense Debate does send them so you’ve no need to worry there. I only now realise why there are so many discussions about the use, merits and otherwise of comment reply systems; because they are not standard to blogging platforms. I’m over the initial horror and despair of it all. You’re one of my fairly regular visitors too, and I appreciate it.

  10. Gosh, I didn’t even consider that people might not know I’d replied to them. I get a lot of replies to my comments on various blogs – honestly, I often forget when I’ve commented because I’m a tad inclined to distraction, so if I commented here and you replied and I didn’t get that reply, it’s no skin of my nose. Blogging is such a complex thing these days – all this complexity has the side effect of draining some of the fun out of it, I find. Sometimes I just write blog posts because I want to and I don’t really care if anyone reads them, some days I don’t want to think about it anymore, I just want to write.

    • I know, Sif, neither did I until my 100th post! I’ve since learnt the basic WP blogging platform, and possibly the Blogger one you are using, don’t do automatic comment reply notification. I agree blogging is rather complicated than it initially appears but I realise I can choose how complicated I let it be for me. As I read a lot around the traps, just “blog your own race”. In fact, “race” still implies competition with others, doesn’t it. Maybe it’s better said as “blog as your own pace.” I’ve left a reply to one of your recent posts if you want to test and see if I get notification of your reply back to me.

  11. Oh, that is so annoying, isn’t it ? Blogging can be like being in a dark room, trying to work your way around it. I used to not save posts and end up posting a rough draft accidentally. I would go NUTS !!! It’s hard because there’s no one to really share the frustration with you.
    But, onward !
    475 comments is a lot of thought and love that’s gone into cyberspace, but at least we know that you were thinking of us…literally !

    • I never understood why commenting systems were so stressful till I had my lightbulb moment, Deb! Now it all makes total sense. And there’s no need to worry. I do receive email notifications from you via Intense Debate.

  12. I hope you can resolve the issue! I’m on Blogger and I just downloaded Disqus so that I can at least reply to messages – however, not that I think of it I don’t know if anyone gets notified or if I’m just posting a reply and that’s it. The tech side of blogging can be frustrating. BTW, I never thought you were ignoring me even if I didn’t get any of your replies. Thanks for the mention, too!

    • Now resolved, Maria. I’ve figured out a workaround that involves an extra email but it’s much less onerous than I first imagined it might be. My mistake, other than not reading the beginner’s manual (!) was to assume comment reply notification was a standard feature of blogging platforms. Suddenly it explained why many talk about commenting systems like Intense Debate and DISQUS or widgets like Reply Me. Someone said DISQUS doesn’t auto reply either but I’m not sure how it gets set up. And no worries for the mention.

  13. Veronica, I’ve never even noticed that I wasn’t getting your replies – the level of engagement I have with you on my own posts and twitter means I ‘see’ you almost every day and that’s probably even more meaningful than a comment reply.

    Still, what a waste of effort for you. Bah!

    • Thanks, Jayne. Nice of you to say so. I realise connecting can be done through a variety of ways. Some people did return to read replies so my time wasn’t totally wasted. Regardless, I’ve got a work around to get replies out now so hopefully it will work every time.

  14. This is my 1st time leaving you a comment (I think!) so I can’t help you out however I’ll understand if I don’t receive a reply notification. I actually love the techie side of blogging!

    • Nice to hear from you, Michelle. I’ve got a workaround now so hopefully you will receive a reply! I do like techie stuff, which is why I tend to wing it, but being no expert, I guess it makes sense I night miss something. Hope to hear from you again.

  15. Oh no 😦 Im assuming people get my replies although I haven’t ever checked, big hugs! You are one of the biggest commenters on my blog, I hadn’t even noticed i hadn’t got any replies off your blog, you are an awesome blogger, the interaction thing I’ve never been good at, you manage to balance it all!

  16. Oh no… don’t worry I know i am guilty of technology glitches without even knowing it .. great to read your blog!! I love your photo challenges.. they are awesome!! ; )

    • Thanks, Jane. Nice to hear from you. I’ve got my techie workaround so you should get this reply from me. Appreciate your feedback on my photos. I’m about to start a new one for December. I know I’m not a professional but I do love trying my best.

  17. Oh that would have sucked realising that. Since I use bloggers comment system that is from the dark ages I usually email my replies direct to their registered email address. It’s a pain when they don’t have a registered email though…

    How have you sorted out your commenting dilemma?

    • I did suck but I’m over it now. No use crying over spilt milk, as the saying goes. My workaround is doing what you are doing. It takes a little longer but it’s not as onerous as I thought it’d be. If I’ve got it working right, you should be getting this reply in your email! Thanks for visiting, Amy.

  18. I am ordering one for Christmas, I have no idea what I am doing!! Your comments on my blog are fabulous and thoughtful and I love reading your blog. I don’t believe that replying to blog comments is always necessary. Something has got to go sometimes.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Lee. I find reading other blogs inspiring and thought provoking at times and that probably shows in some of my comments. I used to get that stimulation with friends at university, and occasionally at work, but not much now since I spend my days with an almost 9 month old. I know it’s time consuming but I try my best. At the end of the day, I don’t respond to every post I read but I do try to keep in contact with the group of bloggers that keep in contact with me too, such as yourself! When you install your new system, don’t forget to “read the manual”! 🙂

  19. Oh, I can’t wait to get my reply! 😉
    I’m still learning about this bloggy thing. I did a post on all my favourite plugins and one of them has been ReplyMe plugin. Although, I’ve now swapped to Comment Reply plugin, as it looks neater when I respond to someone.. I think! 🙂

    • Reply is on it’s way, Kel! Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll lock them away. I am still on free WP so can’t use the plugins but I have now learnt my lesson; if/when I do self-host, I will have to make sure I research the comment reply notification systems out there and install one.

  20. Awe Veronica! So thoughtful you are. I don’t check the notification box for follow up comments any more as my inbox was just getting too full, I do however take the time to pop back and see if a comment was left though.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

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