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Why every blogger should have subscribe to comments checked by default

Why every blogger should have subscribe to comments checked by default

Ok, so this might come across as a bit of a rant, but i gotta say it.

I said it here, but I want to elaborate a little, so please indulge me for a minute ot two.

Subscribe To Comments

Allows readers to recieve notifications of new comments that are posted after their own. By Jennifer – Scriptygoddess.

This plugin is very useful. If your readers drop comments on your blog, then its a good thing to give them an option to respond. By using this plugin they can be notified when someone follows up a comment of theirs. I’ve changed the default to auto subscribe people to comments they’ve made, they can always deselect the subscribe me box should they so wish, most don’t which stands to reason. I figure that if people engage in a conversation then it follows that they’d like to be kept informed. You should too.

If you are a blogger and are inviting people to comment on your posts then the  first thing you should do is install a subscribe to comments option type plugin thing.

Once you’ve done that then you should change the default checkbox setting to checked.

IOW, if people commenting on your blog and DO NOT wish to subscribe to your comments and receive emails to their comments then they can uncheck the box! Let them action it, let them make the positive choice to unsubscribe from a thread that they felt motivated to respond to, my guess is most will not.

If you are thinking hang on a feckin minute I don’t want to get a stream of poxy emails every two seconds to some random comment I made on some random blog somewhere then I have to ask you, why?

WTF are you even bothering to engage in the 1st place? What is the point in commenting on a thread that a person or group of people are engaged in and talking about? Are you some kind of rude, I know I’ll just butt in say what I like then feck off out of it kinda dude? Don’t you want to respond to what people might say subsequently? Wouldn’t you like to be assisted in remembering?

Or do you remember every little blog post and place you commented on?

 I doubt it too, hell, I cant recall what blogs I’ve commented on 20 minutes ago! In fact if I see a blog that has the subscribe to comments checkbox checked I kinda smile internally, cos I know that I won’t have to worry about remembering where I commented. I just say my piece and forget about it, knowing that if someone should comment, I’ll get a little mail response with a piece of text showing me what they said. If I don’t like it, or get bored with it all, I can unsubscribe instantly takes me just two seconds. I don’t care if  I get 30 emails to a comment, it takes me  seconds to delete them or ignore them even. If I’m really bothered I can log in to my email account once a day and deal with them en masse even.

Do yourself and your commenters a favour, add the subscribe to comments plug in and edit the default checkbox setting.

End of sermon.

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

28 thoughts on “Why every blogger should have subscribe to comments checked by default

  1. SEO blog

    Actually, I freaking hate it when people have that option selected automatically. If I want it the extra interaction, I’ll ask for it. If not, leave me alone.

    My $0.02

  2. robwatts Post author

    Hmmn well ok, your choice and all, but…it takes but a click to deselect it…bigger things in the world to get all hatey about perhaps?

    See, part of my point is that you might be interested in my response to what you just said, or you might not. If you aren’t then, well, why even engage in a conversation medium in the 1st place? Isn’t that what blog mediums are about?

    Sure isolated make a point type comments have a place too I hear that view, but are most blog pieces supposed to encourage debate and conversation?

    All Im saying is, that in this busy busy blogosphere world of ours where we go to a zillion and one places and say our bit and interact, then for me – it just makes sense that I’d want to know of any follow ups, I really don’t mind being helped with a little prompter – it just makes sense.

    But hey, its a free world and we are all different too I guess.

  3. robwatts Post author

    Hi snoskred, thanks for your comment – you could try feedburner, I think they have a little piece of code that allows you to get give your readers an option to subscribe to post comments, but no, Im not aware of any like the ones available to WP users. Maybe you should consider migrating to WP? You get a whole lot more options and choices.

    Hmmn maybe that’ll be the topic of another rant “Why blogspot is giving its users such a shitty deal” 😀

  4. Hawaii SEO

    Yeah… I also hate it. (Thanks for the warning)

    You can check my profile at SEOmoz. I’ve left well over 100 comments on that blog. However… They did some sort of redesign and I would get a stupid email every time someone leaves a comment on a post that I’ve commented on unless I unchecked it. (My commenting went way down)

    Then… They removed the option to un-check and you get email after email until you unsubscribe. (Arrg)

    So… I have almost completely stopped commenting. It’s too much trouble. I’ve almost stopped visiting as well.

    On the other hand… It might just be me… They seem to have a thriving community of people who comment over there.

    I usually won’t remember to un-check a box like that because it’s not usually the default setting.

    It’s a pain in the ass to unsubscribe.

    It’s an unwanted interruption in my day.

    I do like the option Un-Checked. Sometimes I want to have a conversation and and it saves me time so I don’t need to revisit the blog all the time to see if someone replied to my comment or not like right now. (I will be leaving the box checked because I want to read your reaction to my opinion)

  5. robwatts Post author

    Hawaii SEO, thanks for those thoughts.

    I think its clear to say that there are certainly issues. The way you related your seomoz story sounds like a royal PITA, so yeah I have a lot of sympathy with those types of scenarios.

    I think this is a little different though, as the subscribe option only applies to individual posts of course.

    You make some very good points that are very valid. I get unwelcome interruptions to my day practically every hour or so and its a big PITA (telemarketers)

    Ive decided to add a line above my comments box that advises people that they are auto subscribed and that they should uncheck the box if they do not want to receive follow ups.

    I might even hack the theme to set a cookie and give people an option so that their choice is remembered too.

    Thanks for the feedback

  6. Hawaii SEO

    Maybe you could change the position of the check-box as well. I wouldn’t normally notice it down there, possibly below the visible area if you haven’t scrolled all the way down.

    Maybe if you placed it between the Spam Protection field and the Submit Comment button so you can’t miss it and it might become a part of the list of things to do as you post a comment.

    Add the numbers
    Check or un-check the subscribe to comment box
    Submit the comment

  7. Andy Beard

    The worst thing about the SEOmoz subsciption is that the emails aren’t even useful, you have to click through to see what a person said.

    I have been building up to a “5 Things Why I Hate SEOmoz” post

    I appreciate why you do this Rob, and it is convenient for me.

    The reason I don’t do it is that it is a good indication if a spammer leaves a question, whether they subscribe to comments. If they do, it might be a genuine short comment, if they don’t it is quite possible their link will be deleted.

    I certainly don’t want to drive readers away, especially if they are top diggers like Skitzzo 🙂 – but then a lot of my content is not Digg suitable

  8. robwatts Post author

    Me neither,I want them to come back much as any other blogger intent on building a little audience.

    Some ideas need to be sold, its all in the packaging.

    Surprised at the spammer reasoning though Andy.The only spammers Ive had to put up with here thus far are those silly automated feckers who think I’d leave a link to their phentermine nonsense :S

  9. David Airey :: Creative Design ::

    I think we might’ve discussed this briefly in the past.

    ‘Blog Paul’ was disappointed when he had received follow-up comments without actually checking the box himself, so I expressed my apologies and removed the automatic check.

    I prefer to allow an opt-in, rather than an opt-out. For me, I don’t want to be presumptious. I can see your point though. Had I not had an unhappy commenter I might have it checked by default now.

  10. SEO blog

    I didn’t mean to come across “hatey” but it drives me nuts. Maybe I’m unusual but I only comment on a few blogs and only then when the topic motivates me to. I usually have pretty strong feelings about whatever I comment about so I go back and check the replies to my comments pretty often. Basically I’m saying I don’t need the email but remembering to uncheck the box is annoying. Also, depending on whether or not they have captcha’s or math questions I don’t always scroll that far down to notice it.

    I mean think about it, how many times have you had to uncheck subscription boxes that want to send you promotional emails or sign you up to receive “special offers from our partners” etc?

    Basically, it makes it seem like you’re trying to get away with something. Maybe I’m the only one that sees it that way but it can damage my opinion of a site. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like this site anymore or think you’re all a bunch of spammers, but if I come across a new site that I’ve never been to before and they use the option, it definitely factors into my opinion.

  11. robwatts Post author

    Skitzzo, damn I’m with you on a lot of that email stuff and all that crap that comes with it. I get around 1000 pieces of the crap per day, so know exactly where you are coming from there.

    Its funny how the idea of spamming my commenters didn’t even occur to me and I totally missed any issue that there may well be around trust.

    Its an interesting part of the whole email and subscription based thing that we are all so paranoid about ending up with a tub full of spam, just because we were silly enough to entrust some random site with our so called digital mailboxes.

    You’ve given me some food for thought, and I’m certainly gonna look at a cookied option too.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, I hope I haven’t pissed you off! And for the record, I didn’t think you were being ‘hatey’ either 😀

    David, yes it was in that other thread the other day I believe. Thats the thing with people and complaints. 99 people could be happy with a thing and one not so happy. Does the not so happy person change it for everyone else, or does the status quo remain?

    Ive improved how I handle the options on this blog at least, maybe they fly maybe they don’t. The last thing I want to do as Ive said is upset people!

  12. SEO blog

    Rob, you’ve not pissed me off and my opinions certainly are not always those of the majority. A cookied option might very well be the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t have to remember to turn it off each time I comment but it could still be on by default. That’s not a bad idea although the trust/appearance issue would still be there for visitors etc. Also, the right option is probably different for each blog and each audience but considering counter points is always a good thing.

    I was once told “Beliefs that have not been tested or questioned are simply superstitions.”

  13. robwatts Post author

    Absolutely agree on the counterpoint thing, it’s what healthy debate is about after all .

    This has been one of those threads that has got me chewing on my teeth and oohing and ahhing and erring. Always good in my book. 😀

  14. Mike

    I don’t have mine checked by default however I believe it’s one of the most important plugins to install when creating a new WordPress blog. I actually made a post on my blog the other day outlining nine plugins I always install right from the beginning and the subscribe to comments plugin was one of them.

    I’ve noticed that the majority of commenters on my sites do tend to choose to be notified of comments, which makes me very happy =)

  15. Seo Advice Post author

    As this thread is testament, we are all very different. You’ll see ive listened to the commenters here and made a few adjustments with more planned down the line too. A happy compromise if you ask me 🙂

  16. SEO Expert

    Great thoughts! everybody have ideas but mostly are confused about how to manipulate it. anyway i give a suggestion for it just keep your eyes on these types of comments, these can help you in better way………!!!!

    Robs note: URL removed.

    Thanks but I’d love to know more about what you mean exactly. Your comment in some ways resembles the type of comment I’m trying to deter, simply because it says very little.Do feel free to comment further and elaborate on your suggestions, there’s always the possiblity I misunderstood what you meant, thanks!

  17. Pingback: Top 5 essential WordPress Plugins :: David Airey :: Graphic and Logo Designer

  18. Stingray City

    I think the only time I would want to subscribe to comments is when I ask a question and am waiting for an answer from another comment. Then again, if I put a comment and someone else has a different agreement on it, maybe I would like to read that too.

  19. Pingback: Subscribe To Comments: Checked By Default Removed | More Than Scratch The Surface

  20. soloads

    Hey, Rob, it’s good that you’ve changed your mind and unchecked the Subscribe to comments.

    Here is one more reason for people who are not yet convinced that this is a good decision.

    The internet is full of people who are in a hurry, they leave a comment, don’t notice that Subscribe to comments is checked and then later on , when they receive an email from you … gues what? This type of person is the first who will not waste anymore his time but forward your message to a spammers blocklist. I know some very known blocklists that will very quickly blacklist your domain name and they will not notify you! Later, when you’ll notice that something is wrong, you’ll waste your time to see who is blacklisting you and then you’ll waste even more of your time to convince those people that you’re not a spammer …

  21. robwatts Post author

    Hey soloads

    I agree, people can be very fickle and short on this things.

    I’m happy with how it works now too, although my original why wouldn’t any sane individual want to receive replies to a thread they’d participated in point still applies 😀

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