Over on metafandom there's been of lot of links to posts on the etiquette of replying to comments lately. It's a discussion that tends to be rehashed periodically, but it always interests me; partly because it's an interesting insight into how net expectations are changing, and partly because I can't keep up with my own comments. I can't help myself, there's something so compelling about reading a whole heap of opinions that say I'm (in a generic sense) a snobbish, ungrateful person, and also a BNF, because of the number of friends and comments I have.
I'm left boggling and reeling and wondering, is it all truuuuuuue. It's like catnip!
Are the rest of you just as compelled to read posts which outline your fannish failures as I am?
Anyway, one aspect that particularly interested me this time around was raised in the (very interesting) post, It's all relative, by fabu. There was a fair bit of discussion in the comments about what is a "normal" amount of feedback, and why it varied (fandom being a big factor). It made me wonder if some people "track" how many comments other writers get. I mean, I just assumed most people would have a good idea of the comment trends in their own LJs, but some of the threads on fabu's post seemed to suggest there's comparisons going on, although no-one actually said so.
If that's the case, it really surprises me. I occasionally notice how many comments another story received. Usually after I've recced it on rec_room, as I sometimes go back a few days later to see if anyone has left a new comment. I like to feel I'm sharing the love.
Occasionally, I freak out after comparing someone else's comment tally to that on one of my own stories (so I try not to do it, and reading offline helps with that). On those occasions it's usually because I received more comments than they did; I will have just assumed their story was more popular than mine (and, yes, I know popularity and number of comments are not necessarily related). But more often than not, I'll not really notice. I might, passingly, think, Huh, that was a great story. I wonder why it only has one page of comments? It must be posted somewhere else too, and the comments divided, and then I forget about it again.
That said, I have an intense relationship with the comments on my own LJ--hence my guilt. I love them, but can't quite get a handle on them. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the number of comments, to the point I won't post for weeks. Other times, I'll feel insecure and wonder why I didn't get more comments on that story, or that essay.
I've often wondered how much traffic actually passes through my journal. Actually, I may have found a way to track that: LJ Toys seems like it might be the answer, although I only just installed it today, so it'll take a while for the stats to show anything interesting. So far, it just shows that I use my LJ a lot to find stuff :)
I'll let you know if anything interesting happens.
How do all of you cope with the shifting expectations of LJ etiquette? Does it bug you? Do you feel guilty? Are you zen?
And why do you think we beat ourselves up so much if we fail to meet the "standard"? I'm wondering if we unconsciously consider comments to be a kind of women's work, and that's why it's such a hot button.
ETA: I didn't have much time to read this back yesterday before I pressed the dreaded Post button. In hindsight, I realise I didn't make it clear enough that I was speaking about comments on both fiction and non-fiction posts. I think it is polite to reply to comments. I also think it's unrealistic, in my case, to be able to reply to all the comments I get, given the limited time I have online and the number of comments I'm lucky enough to receive. I don't know how to resolve that conflict. Hence my guilt.