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 post is correct, well-written information that needs no follow-up commentary. There's nothing more to say except "Yeah, what he said."
- The post is complete and utter nonsense, and no one wants to waste the energy or bandwidth to even point this out.
- No one read the post, for whatever reason.
- No one understood the post, but won't ask for clarification, for whatever reason.
- 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.
"He got Warnocked." He posted a question but nobody replied.
"Warnock applies." Warns one not to draw conclusions based on the lack of response.