I wanted to say a couple (hundred) words about commenting in this post because I suspect some of you may not be doing so for two reasons. How to do so may be confusing you; or you may be concerned your information will be abused.
While the commenting system WordPress uses is not especially intuitive, it’s not that complicated either if you want to comment but just aren’t sure how. For example, if you click on that Leave a comment link at the top of this post, you should be taken to the spot where you’re invited to leave a reply. Start typing a reply and still more boxes appear that give you some choices.
You can click on one of the icons for WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or Google to log in to those sites and use information you may have shared with them. I don’t see any advantage to doing that, but there may be. If someone can think of a reason, let me know.
Alternatively, you can fill in an e-mail address and a name. The website box is optional and does not need to be filled in. After that you just click on the Post Comment button. You should then see the message you’ve written along with a comment that your message is awaiting moderation.
That just means your comment is waiting for me to approve it. I try to approve them the same day if possible, usually with a response from me. But it may take a bit longer on some occasions.
There have only been a very few occasions where I have not approved a comment. The most recent was when someone tried to use the comments to link to some right-wing wacko bird video that would have explained to you how Calvin Coolidge was really a better President than Franklin D. Roosevelt, among other things.
As I told the fellow, this is my site and I’m not prepared to let it become part of the right-wing propaganda machine that’s damaged American so greatly. Having said that, you can count on one hand the number of people whose comments have not been approved by me.
Like Holden, I’m easy 🙂
Now that I’ve explained the process, let me add a few other words. Some of you may not be commenting because you’re concerned (as you should be) about divulging information on the internet. Here’s what I can tell you I know about that.
As for me, I don’t collect any personal information about you if you post a comment. If you provide an e-mail address, I won’t sell it to anyone or use it to spam you with tons of e-mails and your e-mail address will NOT be published as part of your comment.
I will probably add you to my mailing list if I remember (unless you ask me not to or later decide you’d prefer not to be on it and ask to be removed, which I will gladly but sadly do). But I only use that list to announce new stories so I haven’t been bombarding people with lots of e-mails.
I can’t be absolutely certain whether WordPress is collecting information on you and what they might do with it if they are. If that concerns you, you can provide a fake e-mail address as far as I’m concerned. Just be aware that I won’t be able to be in touch with you in that case.
From my point of view, you can also provide a fake name (and I would encourage you to only provide a first name in any event).
I would prefer that you not use Anonymous as a fake name because multiple people could use that, which would complicate things; whereas using something unique like Joe69 helps me to know that you may have posted before using that same nym.
Get your freaking mind out of the gutter, Kit; that’s Joe 690 you pervert 🙂
Finally, and most important of all, I really like getting comments, even critical ones. That’s assuming they’re not malicious and I did have one person commenting at one time who was being malicious. But that’s one out of hundreds who’ve commented.
Comments help me understand what you’re thinking. If you think the story is moving too slowly or that I’ve contradicted myself or whatever, let me know. I may or may not agree, but hopefully we’re all adults and can have an adult conversation about things.
The other point I would make is that I love my characters, at least most of them. Your comments help me understand how they’re coming across to you and that’s important for a writer.
Finally, as I’ve said before, I can’t get better as a writer without people talking to me. Commenting is one way of doing that. E-mailing me is another way.
I’m happy with whatever works best for you and I know I’ve made some good friends this way. I’d like you to become one too.