Monday, June 26, 2006

Bloggers yearning for comments should consider Warnock's Dilemma

I got hooked on getting comments when I was blogging Alborada. I had a stampede of new readers, and they were grateful to have my recaps, and they wrote to each other, voluminously, in the comment section. I was up to 2500 hits a day for a while. I don't miss the hits but I do miss the comments and I think that's why it's been hard for me to keep blogging - since Pratie Place sans the telenovela is a very quiet place.

Here, for others who might mope similarly, are comforting words from Wikipedia (via Cynical-C):

Warnock's Dilemma, named for its originator Bryan Warnock, points out that a lack of response to a posting on a mailing list, Usenet newsgroup, or Web forum does not necessarily imply that no one is interested in the topic. Quoting Warnock:

The problem with no response is that there are five possible interpretations:
  1. The post is correct, well-written information that needs no follow-up commentary. There's nothing more to say except "Yeah, what he said."

  2. The post is complete and utter nonsense, and no one wants to waste the energy or bandwidth to even point this out.

  3. No one read the post, for whatever reason.

  4. No one understood the post, but won't ask for clarification, for whatever reason.

  5. No one cares about the post, for whatever reason.

The expression ... has also been used by webloggers to describe the feeling one gets when no one comments on something they've posted.

There are other reasons one might not comment besides the ones Warnock enumerated. For example, perhaps writing a good reply would require doing research that the reader lacks the time to undertake. Perhaps one has a mild interest in the topic raised but doesn't feel qualified to comment. Or perhaps an overly insightful reply would commit one to additional work (common on software development lists, where the people who display the most knowledge about a feature often find themselves volunteered to implement it) but the reader doesn't want to get involved.

In popular use, "Warnock's Dilemma" has come to refer to all the reasons besides disinterest one might not respond to a posting, not just the five originally proposed.

Usages seen:

"He got Warnocked." He posted a question but nobody replied.

"Warnock applies." Warns one not to draw conclusions based on the lack of response.


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Ethan said...

Yeah, what he said. :-)

At 1:15 PM, Blogger novelera said...

Enjoyed the Warnock description. I read your blog nearly every day and would agree with Ethan above. It's mostly "yeah, what he said". I enjoy reading about your life in the East, your music, your Yiddish studies, and your relationships with your children. Especially your relationships with your children. I have one child, a son, and all is well now, but we had a long period of estrangement, his choice not mine, and the pain was terrific. He moved to California from Arizona last year with his wife, and we're spending much more time together now. Yesterday we went to a Concours de Elegance, classic car show, and it was SUCH fun to share a day with my son and his wife, gloating over the beautiful cars.

Keep blogging. I love your blog!

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous alma said...

Ditto. Started reading when my mom got me hooked on Alborada. Without an hour to spend everyday on the novela (work, 2 young kids, husband, house, etc. etc.) I needed a good recap. Found not only that but -- surprise!-- also insight, wit, good discussions, and even a sense of community. You have a wonderful writing style and I check in with your blog almost everyday. I usually have the same comment, which I guess I take for granted that you know, which is, "That was cool; Thanks!" I agree that your relationship with your kids is inspiring. I pray that I do well enough with my kids (ages 3 & 14) to stay close to them as they grow up.

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warnock #1. And your second one: "Perhaps one has a mild interest in the topic raised but doesn't feel qualified to comment."

Your blog is one of about ten that I check every day or two, because I usually find it interesting. And well written, by the way.

But this may be the first time I've commented on it.

At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Lin B said...

Ugh, I hate "anonymous." That was me, your neighbor to the north, in Danville.

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

I feel kind of bad. I read your blog every day; I began with the Alborada postings. Sometimes I start to leave a comment and then change my mind because I think maybe the comment sounds dumb, or perhaps redundant, or the "who cares what I think about it" sort of thing. Which is silly, because of course you invite comments. I'm going to try to be better about this in the future because I think you are the blog queen and you deserve to know who is out there listening to you.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous growabrain said...

hear hear

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Lizzie said...

I, too, love your blog, Jane, and it's one of the half-dozen that I read on a regular basis, but by far the most interesting, in terms of your varied interests and erudite opinions. Don't feel alone; we're all out here hanging on your coat tails and enjoying the view!

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Beverly said...

i was one of those Alborada fans..
i would come into your blog just to get the translation... i miss that soap and your great comments..
i could not get into the new novela they have now...but i do come back and visit you and enjoy reading your blog...keep up the good work... Beverly


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