The 31 Day Comment Challenge: Becoming a Better Blog Citizen
Comment Challenge Day 2: Comment on a New Blog

31 Day Comment Challenge Begins--Day One: Do a Comment Self Audit

Comment_challenge_logo It's here! Today is the first day of the 31 Day Commenting Challenge and we're inviting you to play along. The goal of the challenge is to encourage all of us to become both better blog commenters, as well as to help us create a great atmosphere for commenting on our own blogs. You can get all the background information and ideas on how to document your learning from Sue Waters, with whom I'm coordinating this project, along with  Kim Cofino and  Silvia Tolisano. And thanks to Christine Martell of VisualsSpeak for the awesome logo! 

Some Brief Instructions and an Overview
How you participate in the Challenge is up to you. We're planning a series of daily challenge activities that will be posted both here at The Bamboo Project, as well as on the Comment Challenge wiki we've set up for all the participants. You're welcome to use those activities or to come up with your own. Just like with the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog challenge, we want this to be a learning experience that works for you, so feel free to adapt the plan to meet your needs.

There will be a lot of teachers and several classes participating, but I'd like to expand this out into as many networks as possible, so nonprofits, business, whoever--we can all benefit from commenting and the cross fertilization of ideas. You can see all the participants at the wiki, where you can also sign up to participate. You'll need to do that if you want to be in the running for the prizes from our generous co-sponsors, Cocomment and  Edublogs. Kim’s Prizes & Awards post explains our reasons for using prizes.

The four categories will be:

  1. The most comments on a wide range of blogs (not just the “top” edubloggers)
  2. The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic
  3. The comments that provoke and promote the most learning
  4. Category for students only — to be decided

We are building the plane while we're flying it folks, so get ready for a great ride!

Day 1: Do a Commenting Self-Audit
One of the goals of the 31 Day Comment Challenge is for us to improve our commenting skills and draw more people into blog conversations. So to kick off the 31 days of activities we're going to start with a commenting self-audit. You can use this to get a better picture of your blog commenting skills and strategies.

For this activity, do the following:

1. Answer the following questions:

  • How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
  • Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?
  • Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?   

2. Now review Gina Trapani's Guide to Blog Comments and ask yourself how well you're doing in each of the different areas. Are there any specific areas where you think you need to do some work? What do you want to do to address these issues?

If you'd like, it would be great if you blogged about your comment audit to share what you've learned about yourself and your commenting behaviors. Be sure to tag your post with "comment08" so it will show up in the Comment Challenge Wiki.


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Nice task for Day One and one that I will comment more on in my blog. I do tend to comment to different blogs each week, but have not been systematic about it. One thing I do notice about myself is that comments begat comments, so I tend to track and comment with those who track and comment with me.

Thanks, Britt--what I've been noticing for myself is that now that I'm paying more attention to my commenting behaviors, I've been commenting more--another way that comments feed on themselves.

Gina Trapani's Guide to Blog Comments is a really good article. And it's made me think that it might be interesting in a few weeks to get everyone to write their top 5 tips when writing a comment.

Don't totally agree with "Know when to comment and when to e-mail" - I think this gets back to the type of blogger - sometimes if you know the person and you've noticed something it's okay to say hope you are okay? What are your thoughts?

Definitely fail this one "Be succinct" -- even with this comment. The trouble is I read lots of great posts that I want to comment on. The better etiquette if you want to write a long comment is to write a post but I don't always have the time. So whats the answer? No comment? Or long comment?

Another thought I had for an activity is for them to create their about pages since knowing more about who you are commenting to is important when writing comments.

I agree, Sue, that it's a great article. I definitely plan to include activities about what bloggers can do to make them and and their sites welcoming to commenters, and working on the about page is one of them. I think I'll be able to recycle a few of Darren's posts for comment challenge activities. :-)

I agree, Sue, that it's a great article. I definitely plan to include activities about what bloggers can do to make them and and their sites welcoming to commenters, and working on the about page is one of them. I think I'll be able to recycle a few of Darren's posts for comment challenge activities. :-)

I really began my blogging life at the NWP's Tech Matters 06 Institute in Chico,Ca. First I began with my blog and then added bloglines and interesting blogs. Kevin Hodgson found my blog and left a comment and I returned the favor and so began my blogging/commenting life.
Recently, I joined a blog challenge in March, the Slice of life Challenge where I posted writing every day and linked my blog to the main blog:
and that opened me to a blogging community and regular commenting.

I don't track.

I don't do this either and it would be cool to start this.
Bonnie K.

Dear Michele, I am fairly new to the blogging scene on the Web and I am very willing to work at improving my commenting technique. It’s a great idea to provide help for others too. I’m also one who will take on a challenge.

I have to admit that the aims put forward ”becoming a better blog citizen”, “(becoming a) better blog commenter” as well as “to help us create a great atmosphere for commenting on our own blogs” leave me wondering.

In the absence of objective guidelines, the comparatives ‘better’ and ‘greater’ are highly subjective. I can’t think of aims that would be more likely to foster homophily on the Web than those.

Three of your four categories also make me wonder.

1 - The most comments on a wide range of blogs.

What decides what qualifies as a comment? I frequently split my comments into paragraph for ease of reading and my comments tend to be a bit longer than others. If I make each paragraph a separate comment will each one count? Does that mean I will then have an advantage over others who only write a few lines in one comment? Who does the counting?

2 - The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic (do you mean highest, or the most high-quality?)

What are the criteria for quality? How is it decided if a comment initiates thoughtful reflection? How many mediocre comments are needed to be equivalent to one really good comment? What constitutes a really good comment anyway? Who judges how a comment thoughtfully reflects on the topic?

3 - The comments that provoke and promote the most learning.

Now this one is a real hum-dinger. “Provoke and promote the most learning”. Hmmm. You will have all the online pedagogues lurking on your blog in anticipation of the results from this one :-)

It sounds as if achievement based assessment would perhaps be the way to go. But first, have you thought of what's meant by learning? And how are you to measure its promotion, let alone when it occurs? Are you also going to provide a means for assessing these? I’d be interested to see the assessment items (if you intend having any).

Your previous arguments were about how the Web encourages homophily and by doing so makes you dumber. I believe that the challenge you propose here simply provides forums to foster practices that propagate the homophily you are worried about.

Hmmm, Ken--I love how you love to challenge me! :-)

I was actually invited into the challenge after many things (like the prizes) had been decided. I'm primarily working on the daily activities and through those we're most definitely trying to challenge homophily.

I'm hoping that most people who participate in the challenge do so because they want to learn and to try out some different activities that expand their horizons as commenters, as well as in how they might handle commenting. A few activities will also be about reflecting on different aspects of commenting. The prizes are there, but, if our experience from the first challenge we ran holds, most people don't care as much about the prizes--they are more interested in what they learn from the actual experience.

I think you're right that there are dangers here, but we're going to do our best to fight the tendencies toward homophily. Thanks for keeping us on track! :-)

Thank you so much for coordinating these activities Michele! They are already so much fun, so approachable and so well-organized! I can tell I'm going to be a much better commenter after going through all these activities!

Thanks, Kim--I'm enjoying pulling the activities together, although it's still early in the month so we'll see what happens when I get to day 29 and I can't think of another thing to do! :-)

A new challenge :) Sounds good :)

I shall endeavor to join in as soon as I can catch up with myself... :)

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