Saturday, June 25, 2016

My thoughts on comments...

Update: After some serious thought, I've decided to answer questions and comments as best I can. Please click here to see some things you can do to make it more likely I'll be able to answer what you ask

As a note, as much as I love seeing your comments, I'm assessing whether or not I can continue to answer most of them individually in the near future. I've been keeping track of the amount of time I spend on the comments, and it's a lot. I mean a lot a lot!

I'm not kidding about how much time it takes to answer comments. I generally start writing around 11 am on Sunday, and I can take until 3 or 4 to answer comments. By then, I'm generally tired and need a break, then it's dinner, and my writing time is done for the week. This means no blog posts for the week. That's a big deal to me.

I do find it hard to get to your comments right away. I have a super busy life, and if you want an answer with more than a few lines, you generally have to wait until the weekend when I have more time and can be more thoughtful. This time is competing with time during which I could be writing blog posts and e-books, teaching, or doing more research. And in the end, maybe 5% of you come back to acknowledge that you've seen the comment, and even fewer return to share what happened to the recipes I helped you work out. It's a huge commitment of time for something it seems few people see or value.

I'll be monitoring the blog over the next month to see what I should do. If I choose not to answer comments individually, I will still answer unique or interesting ones or ones that could benefit the larger readership as a Weekend Wondering. The rest will go unanswered or they may be answered by a link to a place on the blog where you can find an answer, like the FAQ or newbie section. (I haven't really decided what I'll do because I'm hoping I don't have to make that decision...)

What can you do to keep me answering comments? Show me you're out there. Watch for me to answer by refreshing the page or by clicking the little box that sends you an e-mail when someone has posted in that thread. Say "hi" or "thanks" or "WTF, Swift?" or whatever to acknowledge that you've returned to the blog. When I say things like, "Let us know how it turned out!" come back and let us know how it turned out! Share a recipe you've made from the blog or share your modifications. In short, participate in the blog!

I get if you don't want to participate because you feel you don't have something to say. I'm sure you do, but I want to support my reticent and introverted readers by saying that you don't have to say anything if you're not comfortable doing so!

I'm part of a lot of Facebook groups and fora, and I see when you've posted here and there and the other place and that other site, so if I didn't answer your comment, it might be because you've had it answered in all those other places, and my opinion isn't required. Don't get me wrong: You don't need to post here and wait for me to answer. There are so many great sites, blogs, and groups where you can get information, and I encourage you to be part of all of them. Just don't get upset when I don't answer a question for which you've had half a dozen answers in other places. 


Maria said...

Completely understand. I run a blog as well, and I write fiction. Writing any kind of book is extremely time consuming, and it takes an inordinate amount of concentration. There's a lot of proof reading to do, lots of editing, lots of decisions--and that's after the book is written! It's very difficult to find time for it all. You've done an amazing job here, and there is a plethora of information. Don't feel bad if you can't keep up with it all; I'm pretty sure most of us understand.

Thrilled to have found this blog as a resource. I'll continue to visit and comment as long as it's here and I'm making my own products!!! Thanks!


LS said...

I totally understand. It all takes time. And I for one appreciate all that you do and share with us.

Christina said...

I always read the comments and your replies on particular posts. I learn a lot from the comment section. I do appreciate you taking the time to answer people. I understand the issue you have with it as well. Just know that even if the person who asked the question never responds again, that others are happy to learn from the information you provide to answer their question. I was just telling my husband what an amazing blog you have and your facial products ebook is my fave. So thank you, thank you for all you do!

Susan said...

I've often wondered how the heck you keep up with all the writing AND answering the comments. Your blog is such a wonderful resource, and is the primary one I reference. I don't always leave comments on everything 'cause I think it is just taking up your time reading through the plethora of comments you must receive. I do leave questions when I just can't find the info I am looking for or am perplexed by something, because I value YOUR opinion and want to know what YOU think. I take your suggestions to heart, learn from them, and have come up with some awesome products ... thanks to your suggestions, tweaks, etc. For example, I continue to have trouble deciding which preservative to use, or which emulsifying wax to use, so I often go back and read over comments and posts to help me decide which might be the best option for what I am making. It was suggested by a supplier that I use Optiphen Plus as an alternative to another preservative I was using. I was finding that for the first time, some of my lotions were failing. It was not until I posted a question about what might be failing my lotion, that you pointed out the preservative (which I hadn't even considered), all the while I was convinced it was my E-wax or stearic acid. It wasn't until your post that I learned about the issues about this preservative causing emulsion fails, and further reading made me decide that this preservative does not have a place in my formulations. I have narrowed my preservatives to LGP and Phenonip as they seem to have performed the best so far. That is just an example, but want you to know that your suggestions, input, and answers are always appreciated, even if we don't say it enough :). Thank you for all that you do for us, as well as giving back to the community through your youth programs and courses. Do what makes your heart sing!

Gina said...

I am guilty of not commenting in spite of reading ALL your articles with great joy.Sorry about that!

But should I ever have a question to which you should answer I`d have the decency to
respond and thank you for it!

Do what is best for you - I`m sure you`ll make the right decision.

sheila wood said...

I follow another blog that posts comments/questions for other readers to answer. And a whole lot of blogs post a FAQ section and readers are directed to go there first. :)

Joyce Bonner said...

Susan, I do so appreciate you and thank you for all the wisdom and knowledge you share with us. I consider your site the Holy Grail and although I visit other sites, I don't consider my search complete until I see what you have to say on the topic. I do appreciate the time you dedicate to keeping us informed and educated and would hate for any of this to change but at the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your household.Going forward if you choose to continue the blog, if I ask a question and you answer, I promise to respond to you. You don't have to respond to our questions/comments, the fact that you do does not go unappreciated. Thank you

glamaris said...

Too bad Blogger doesn't have a system where readers can +1 a comment/question so you'd have some idea of how much interest your readers have in getting an answer, so you could focus on just the most popular ones.

Personally, I read the comment sections, and often find answers to my questions in them. I've been torn over whether or not to comment and say "thanks, that's the info I was looking for!" because that's a comment that just takes up space and doesn't require a response and doesn't encourage dialogue, but I will start doing it so you know when there are life forms out there reading the responses! :)

Thanks again for all the hard work you put into this! I hope you are able to find a good balance, because as awesome a resource as this is for us amateurs, we don't want to be a burden on you!

Nicole Pakan said...

What about encouraging your readers to answer each other's questions? Then you could just keep an eye out to make sure someone isn't leading someone else astray or saying something that you disagree with? I bet that will help with a lot of the newbie questions. I know you have a lot of faithful readers and i bet they would be willing to step up and take on some of the repetitive stuff to free up your time for the pieces that need your expertise.

At any rate, thank you for all of the time and energy you have invested here and all of the help you provide to your readers.



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi everyone! Thank you for your thoughts. Keep them coming! I'm really struggling with this idea of not responding to comments, so I'm eager to hear any and all suggestions from you!

There is the ability to +1 a post, but not a comment, unfortunately.

Please make comments like "thanks, this was awesome" or "it didn't work for me" or anything to let me know you exist. Often it feels like I'm writing into a void with nobody there, and it's lovely to hear a voice calling back!

I thought I was encouraging people to answer other commenters' questions, but maybe I need to write that more obviously? I did post comments on the blog and invited readers to help, but no one ever did, which was disheartening, so I stopped bothering with that.

I have a large FAQ and encourage people regularly to read it in the tour of the blog, before they write to me, and when post links to it in posts and comments. Should I be more obvious with the suggestion to read the FAQ or the newbie section?

Valerie Tinga said...

Hi Susan,
I can't tell you how much I appreciate this blog and all the effort you put in to it.
I especially LOVE how entertaining you make it, with your witty writing style.
I have been guilty of not participating and when I see a question that someone has and I happen to
know the answer, i will step up and go ahead and answer them.
Although, most times, I think i know the answer and wait for your comment to see if I was right.
But with my confidence and knowledge building, I feel I should do more now.

I know its because of your huge heart that you feel torn by prioritizing your time but
with all you do; youth club, blog, writing, classes, work, keeping mom and hubby happy and lets not forget formulating, I am surprised you have time to eat and sleep.

Above all, take care of your health and your sanity.


Kath Collard said...

Thank you for outlining your thought processes in regard to comments and your schedule as a whole. It helps to have an alternate perspective on an issue that is an unknown quantity, that is, blog writing/administering a site. Thank you Susan.

Kath Collard said...

PS. I love your site, it's my "go to" place and I often recommend it to others; such a wealth of information and learning!

Again, thank you.

Remember though, self care is vital to enable care of others, particularly in this instance where you have given long term.


Joyce Bonner said...

Hey everyone, We all love Susan and all that she does to educate us, I make a challenge to you all going forward to show Susan how much she is appreciated. If she can take the time to share her knowledge with us with her posts, the least we an do is respond to her posts as she has asked. A simply comment to her posts to say "Thanks", "I enjoyed your post", "Can't wait to try it", all she is asking us to do is acknowledge her time and effort. So I challenge each and everyone of you to do that. If she can make the time, the least we can do is reciprocate.

JoeyL05 said...

This blog is practically my bible! I'm new to the world of DIY lotion/cosmetics/other crafting and my first step when i'm curious about something is this blog. I too read the comments after the post and enjoy them but have wondered how you were able to keep up with them. I know I posted a question one time (blatantly off topic) but after that post was no longer on the first page of posts I lost track of it. I tried to find it but couldn't and I apologize. Do whatever is best for you - I LOVE new content and maybe you could choose to respond to questions that fit criteria you have previously outlined - use a name, list your recipe in percentages and list the whole recipe, describe your process before asking "what went wrong?" and just don't respond to questions that rehash old arguments (beeswax is NOT an emulsifer!) Maybe we could take up some of the slack for you in answering oft asked questions. You could make a post about "how to ask questions in comments" and list what should be covered in order to get a response. Just some thoughts. I love everything you do and can't wait to see what you have in store!

Valerie Tinga said...

Joyce - I agree with you

JoeyL05 - I had the same problem with losing track of the posts. But I found this little box I can click that will make all comments be e-mailed to me for that post. Its great! Also, I use both search boxes. I use one midway down on right but i also use the one top left corner.


Mollie said...

I read and check on your blog at least a couple times a week. I am one of the guilty ones that rarely leaves a comment. I didn't want to be a pest. I doubt I would have continued on my formulating journey without your blog and ebooks. You are a wealth of information and the ability to look up product information so easily has been invaluable for me.

Mollie Hughes

Marcia said...

Valerie Tinga, thanks for the heads up on the box to click that has follow up comments emailed! Don't know why I didn't see that before. I rarely commented before because I thought it would just fill up the space and take up time if it wasn't that important. I also don't know where I would be without your knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge, Susan, so thank you!!

Valerie Jaquith said...

Happy 4th! I have a question and I was wondering where you would like me to post it? Thanks, Valerie

Valerie Tinga said...

Marcia, I didn't see that box for eons myself.
I also didn't comment for same reasons. But I think its great that like minded gals (or guys for that matter) get to discuss their formulating passion with each other!

Valerie Tinga said...

Valerie Jaquith,

I believe you can post your question anywhere. Susan will see all comments. She may copy it and repost it in a posting if she figures it will be helpful for others.

The Primrose Petal said...

Totally understand! I can only imagine how much time replying to comments can take!

Thea Ava Martinez said...

It would be a great satisfaction to read more about your article :)