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Ken Magill

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Why I Rarely Comment on my Own Site

7/9/13

By Ken Magill

A reader recently left a comment on the Magill Report I completely disagreed with. So I typed up a rebuttal, considered it for a while and then deleted it.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve done this. And it probably won’t be the last.

I come from the opinion-journalism school that says: “Don’t take on your readers. It’ll make you look like a bully. You’ll lose that reader and probably a bunch of others who hold the same opinion.”

Also, once I publish an opinion piece, I’ve already had my say.

Then I figure it’s time for me to step aside and let any reader who wants have their say. I also don’t feel the need to play comment cop. I’m confident readers will police one another.

But it recently occurred to me that some readers may think it rude that I don’t wade into the comments other than with an occasional clarification or to answer a direct question. It also occurred to me some readers may think I ignore comments on the Magill Report altogether

I don’t. I read them all. And I truly appreciate them, even the negative ones. For example, a couple folks recently complained that my coverage of anti-Spamhaus group Stophaus had become tiresome.

Though I found the story important because it involved Spamhaus—an organization that affects email marketers possibly more profoundly than any other—and fascinating because it had so many elements of sheer nuttiness, I took the complaints as a sign that a bunch of other readers probably had similar feelings.

So I cut the coverage, though I reserve the right to go back to it.

In my pre-Internet reporting days, I didn’t have the ability to gauge reader interest in such a way. I love the fact that I have that ability now.

The point is: Though I don’t often directly respond to reader comments, I read them, appreciate them and sometimes indirectly respond to them, just not necessarily all that visibly.

So it’s not that I’m being rude. It’s just that in this one area, I’m exercising reserve.

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Denny Hatch
Date: 2013-07-11 16:50:11
Subject: Commenting on Reader Comments

Ken, I absolutely agree with everything you say. One exception: I privately respond to all who comment (if I can get hold of their e-mail addresses). Some folks write me directly. If the comment is worth sharing with other readers, I urge it be posted. I love having a private dialog with my readers and have a e-address file running nearly 2,000 names. Keep up the good work. Cheers. Denny Hatch. dennyhatch@yahoo.com

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