an old design 02
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Comments. They are some of the magic sauce that knits participants together. Giving and getting feedback is what makes this different from just a self-paced online experience. We are in this together.

Commenting is not that difficult to do, but in the rush of all the activity, creativity, connectivity, it sometimes gets lost in the rush. Constructive comments are utterly valuable because they are like the gift of conversation with a good friend.

What is a constructive comment? It should be more than “Nice work” or “I agree”. It ought to be a few sentences, and include useful feedback or suggestion for improvement. You can explain why you like what was written or agree. Or explain why you disagree. You can offer relevant contexts or links. Or offer additional resources or links that might benefit the writer. For every bit of opinion you might start writing, think of including an “and…” statement.

One approach of giving criticism is to put it inside a sandwich. Open with aspects you praise or agree with, offer critical statements, and close with another positive.

Maybe the best advice is to comment in the style and mood that you would like to receive.

What do you think they are talking about?
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When you write a comment, show that you are listening. Respond to specific parts of what the author wrote. As a form of acknowledgement, when someone replies specifically to a point, it means they are listening. Do not be the commenter who just uses it as a means to talk about their own stuff.

For some more advice, see:

And when you get comments on your site, by all means reply if it merits a response. Think of this as a conversation; one side conversations are not interesting, right?

It is also worth posting reflections on the commenting you do and receive. Try blogging about

  • A summary of what you saw interesting or maybe influential in the blogs you looked at. Did you get ideas you could use by looking at someone else’s post? How did your work compare or differ from theirs?
  • A summary of the feedback you got – what was useful? Would it change your thinking? What was helpful?

As new comments come into your blog, you will sometimes need to approve them so they will show up on your site. You should be getting emails whenever a new comment is submitted and/or needs approval. Please moderate these comments! The conversation can’t happen if it is never published!

Like many things, what you get is in proportion to what you give.