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The Clearing Space 'not worth commenting on'

August 11th, 2007 · 12 Comments

I received a huge slap in the face when I logged on this morning! So much so that I needed to go and do some stuff away from the computer and let my blood pressure go back down again.

Simon’s Money Notes conducted an exercise to work out which blogs were “worth commenting on“:

The exercise is pretty straight forward, I have to select 5 blogs in a particular niche that I think would be good to comment on and then write a detailed post explaining my reasons for picking those specific blogs. I can handle most of this, but there is one small snag, the niche has to be gardening. Without meaning any offence to possible readers that might be gardeners, who knows anything about gardening?

So, number 5 on his list of 5 gardening blogs, he wrote this:

5. TheClearingSpace – This blog comes at the end for obvious reasons, I don’t think it has anything really going for it as far as commenting potential goes. It does have a PR of 4 but with a limited amount of posts on the front page and apparent lack of existing comments, I think I’ll pass on this one.

Are gardening blogs about gardening? You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Hmmm… any of my regular readers consider the clearing space a gardening blog?

Nope, me either… do you think he knows that gardening is about, um, gardens?

Unless it’s gardening of the human spirit. After all, yesterday I did use a gardening metaphor… A spot of gardening – Erasing Catastrophe and Chaos.

I refuse to get into a slanging match with this guy. But I have a couple of questions for you – my wonderful readers.

  • Do you care about the commenting ‘potential’? Do you pick which blogs to leave a comment on, based on whether or not you might get more traffic to your blog? [am I just totally naive, or do people really do this?]
  • Do you find the limited amount of posts on the front page (which is a feature of the design) a turn off from reading The Clearing Space? (If you read through a feed reader, obviously this is totally irrelevant).
  • Do you care whether thousands of people are not commenting here? Does it make my writing any less attractive to you?
  • Do you care about page rank? Should I ?

Tags: Getting on My Soapbox

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Simon // Aug 11, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I apologize for the derogatory comments, it was late and I don’t normally write that way. I’ve taken those out and I’ve removed your blog completely.


  • 2 Angela Esnouf // Aug 11, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Oh boy. I visit this blog regularly for some R & R, and always come away feeling refreshed, thankful for a new perspective and a little better for having visited… until today.
    I feel outraged, and compelled to leap to your defence, Karen. I would have thought it takes more than a topic caption to make a “gardening” blog and anyone taking the time to read the blog properly would have realised that quickly. One of the things I love about this blog is its serene nature, so a restriction number of front page posts is a plus. I always read the posts, sometimes comment on them and enjoy the valuable contributions of others, when they have something valuable to add. Keep up the great work, Karen.
    Ahh, feeling a little better now, as always.

  • 3 Rosa Say // Aug 12, 2007 at 3:12 am

    At first I read this in my reader Karen, and when I clicked in I was grateful to see that Simon had corrected his error and apologized. However the posting never should have happened to you or anyone else. I think this is an unfortunate example – and you are one of the least deserving people on the planet to have suffered from it! – of how there is a “gaming” aspect to blogging that can seriously detract from its dignity.

    For instance, I had just read this in Wired Magazine’s “second annual Wired guide to DIY culture, featuring the essential skills you need in a digital world – at work, at play, and everywhere else.” One entry is titled, “Get a Boost in the Blogosphere; Nothing gives you a quick psychic lift like seeing your post or comment on a social content site voted to the top of the thread. Dazzle the masses: Heed these tips and get modded up on Slashdot or enthusiastically Dugg.” Their so-called tips made me cringe: “Be first: Your odds of getting props plunge in direct proportion to how late you enter the conversation … Humor is an effective weapon. ‘Being a smart-ass will get you further than being smart,’ says Slashdot founder Rob ‘CmdrTaco’ Malda, with perhaps a trace of sadness … Everyone appreciates a commenter who can point out the foibles of the mainstream media.” and more dribble – the advice is not worthy of the paper it’s printed on.

    I think this does point out why bloggers band together in certain communities; as the saying goes, you are the company you keep. And Karen, I love being in your company.

  • 4 Anne Maybus // Aug 12, 2007 at 7:10 am

    Thankfully he has apologised. I guess we all have errors in judgement at some stage, but where does the gardening come in? Word plants? Idea flowers?

    I love the look and layout of your blog. It suits the title and is laid out this way for a reason. Your blog is calming and serene but always involving. You should be proud of it.

  • 5 Simon // Aug 12, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Guys, while I did apologize for any misunderstanding, I would encourage you to go and read my full post.

    In the post I’m talking from a purely marketing perspective, and I do go on to say that these shouldn’t be the reasons why you would post comments. While I might like the layout of your blog (and I do), from a marketing perspective, my comments wouldn’t get much exposure for long since the post would quickly get pushed off, but I did not mean to come across as not liking the layout, which, from a non-marketing perspective, I think is original and refreshing.

    So while my apology still stands, please can we lay this to rest. I get an email every time someone comments here, so I’ve also had my fair share of slander for today.


  • 6 Simon // Aug 12, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Here’s the important part of the post:

    “I don’t really think there is a right or wrong blog to comment on, if you like the blog, post, and author, then I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t leave a comment or two. In the end, if you’re just blogging and commenting for ulterior motives then you’re not going to be very successful, blogging is a people business and they can tell when you’re just doing it for yourself, so just be natural and have fun.”

    Thats the essence of my post.


  • 7 karen // Aug 12, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Angela – thanks for the vote of confidence! I enjoy your company here so much.

    Rosa – I really appreciate your thoughts – you are so right, things like this should never happen to anyone. I really do take care, at all times, to keep this blog positive and uplifting. Which is why I was so puzzled by this. I thought long and hard before publishing this post, but needed to know how my readers felt. I guess it was a slight crisis of confidence for me – and every now and again we need to go back to the people who mean the world to us, the people who visit, read and comment, and ask them if this is what want… which was the point of my post.

    Anne – thank you from the bottom of my heart. I treasure your company, and your kind, affirming words. Thank you for letting me know I’m still on the right track with The Clearing Space.

  • 8 karen // Aug 12, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Simon, thank you for your apology.

  • 9 Leah Maclean // Aug 13, 2007 at 9:14 am

    @Simon – why should we “lay this to rest” as you asked. Just because you don’t want to receive any more emails with people who are telling you

  • 10 Leah Maclean // Aug 13, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Ooops I managed to loose the second half of my post. So here goes again ..

    @Simon – even though you may not want to hear the feedback about your post I think it needs to be said. I agree with your comment that “In the end, if you’re just blogging and commenting for ulterior motives then you’re not going to be very successful” but am curious about your blogging motives. I’m also curious about your comment that “blogging is a people business” and yet you have nothing on your about page that let’s me engage with you or understand more about who you are and where you are coming from. The proof of which blog might be more interesting/useful to comment on is probably evident in the number of comments received on this post of Karen’s vs your original post at Simon’s Money Notes.

    @Everyone – there is a lesson in this for us all about useful and appropriate commenting. It is a wise tip to first understand more about the blog, blogger and that blogs community before jumping in with a comment or linking to a post with an opinion that may be completely off base or even need to be rescinded. Also be wary of posting what you type late at night when you are tired; you may regret it later.

    @Karen – I am glad to see the great amount of support that you have from your readers. This is what you need to focus on. Unfortunately the virtual world, just like the physical world, has people who don’t put their brain into gear before they engage their mouth (or in this case fingers). Your blog always deserves a good read and is always engaging in the comments and conversation it engenders.

  • 11 Chris // Aug 13, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    As I’ve read all these comments I’ve started to settle down.
    But my first reaction was that of the lioness wanting to protect my friend and colleague whose words are like balm to my soul. (read: beat the living crap out of someone who would not provide informative well-researched critique but instead slag off at another blog as a quick fix to a need to write a post for himself.)
    Simon regained a bit of cred when he apologised and withdrew. However his plea that we all stop sounded like a petulant child yelling out that he didn’t want to face the consequences of his actions.
    I’ve been over and read his post including the replacement and equally underwhelming critique of another blog as well as his about page.
    What i see is someone whose values are very different from yours karen or your readers!
    What i saw between the lines was:
    Instant gratification focus
    Valuing Superficial relationships
    A What’s in it for me? (WIIFM) perspective
    Poor understanding of the principles of effective communication.
    Perhaps this is a case of inter-generational difference in perspectives. Unfortunately Simon needs to learn that effective blogging needs more than technical IT knowledge.
    But I would remind you Karen that Simon is so far from your target market that even though the slap stings, I doubt its’ going to reverberate through your life!
    His writing style has clearly not won him any more readers here so that’s another consequence for him.

  • 12 Joanna Young // Aug 15, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Karen, I guess we all have different reasons to comment – just as we have different reasons to write, to blog, to work, to earn money.

    I can tell from what I’ve seen here so far that you have positive intentions behind your writing, and the comments that you leave for other people (thank you :-) )

    Not everyone writes for the same reason though. If there’s one thing in Simon’s favour at least he was being honest about his!

    As for me, well I’m afraid I don’t think about my profile or whether my comment will show up or the page rank of the blog.

    I think – does this sound like a writer I want to encourage? does this sound like an interesting conversation I want to take part in? does this sound like someone I’d like to say hello to, and start to get to know?

    So – hello :-)


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