I also want to use this post to do a little housekeeping and let everyone know I’m going to try my hardest to post more frequently in 2012 (one of my resolutions, in fact). But given my horrendous schedule lately (which shows no signs of letting up anytime soon), the only way I can post more regularly is to devote way less time to dealing with comments.
When I first started this blog six or seven years ago (June 2005, I think), I had almost no comments. Before I kicked it off, I read a few niche blogs about the whole concept of blogging. Many of those bloggers had readers asking about how to get more comments. Some were asking if it were kosher to write comments under fake names so it would look like the blogger had a greater readership. I don’t think I got a comment on the first bunch of blog posts I wrote, so I was wondering about that myself.
Then comments started trickling in. I was so ecstatic that I would often write responses to those comments that were longer than the comments themselves. I made it a practice to respond to practically every comment. Once people started noticing this, I began to get medical questions submitted as comments. The medico-legal situation is such that licensed physicians can’t really be providing medical advice online to patients they haven’t established a physician-patient relationship with. It’s strange, but someone with absolutely no medical knowledge can give all kinds of medical advice without ever having to worry about legal consequences whereas a licensed physician can get in a world of legal and medical board hot water doing the same thing. Even if the advice is spot on. So I had to be careful in what I answered. I usually simply told those commenters that I couldn’t give medical advice over the internet.
Not only did the medical questions start coming in more frequently but the comments in general began arriving in torrents. Since I had been replying to practically every comment, people writing the comments structured them more as questions than comments. Before I knew it, each post I wrote was generating dozens of comments (now it’s in the hundreds), and I was spending more time dealing with the comments than I was writing the posts.
But I soldiered on trying my best to keep up. Finally it reached the point at which I simply didn’t have the time to do it. I would respond to comments here and there that didn’t require long answers or that asked questions that I thought the answers to would be of interest to everyone. Softhearted guy that I am, though, I would always worry that someone who didn’t get a question answered would think, Why did he answer so and so’s question but not mine?
And the biggest problem of all is that sometimes I would come across a comment/question that I really wanted to answer but didn’t have the time when the comment came in. As I was waiting to answer the question, a load of other comments would come in. Since the comments are posted chronologically based upon when they came in (not when I answered them), if I simply posted the comments that came in after the one I was waiting to answer, then when I finally answered that one, it would be buried way above all the others I had already posted. Consequently, I would hold all in moderation until I got around to answering the one. But over the last few years, the comments pile up so quickly that before I knew it there would be literally a hundred or so comments stacked up. As I scanned through them, I would find several others I wanted to respond to, but couldn’t until I responded to the first one. Finally, I would do a marathon of comment answering and get them all posted. Then people would start writing back with comments and questions on the comments I had written, and in short order there would be fifty more comments awaiting moderation.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post and ended up with over 300 comments in moderation. I almost couldn’t bring myself to look at my own blog because of all the comments stacking up. I had a few free days over the holidays (and had almost 400 comments by then), so I resolved to get them all posted. Which I did. I answered a few here and there, but for the most part I simply approved them without comment.
I am resolved now to spend more time in posting and less time in dealing with comments. I will occasionally answer a question if I can do it in a short answer, but I simply don’t have the time for long explicit answers and engaging in back and forth arguments. So if you submit a question and don’t get an answer, don’t get your feelings hurt.
And please, please, please don’t ask specific medical questions because you absolutely won’t get those answered. Don’t feel bad if you see me answering what appears to you to be a medical question and not answering one you might submit. There is a fine line between what constitutes giving medical advice and what is simply an answer to a medical question. I’ve been around long enough to know what that fine line is, so rest assured that if you see what appears to you as my answering a medical question, it really isn’t.
One last thing about the comments. In the not too distant past I would scrounge through all the spam in the spam folder looking for legit comments that got disposed of there. Now I can’t do that because I get about 1000 spam hits per day (just checked and there were 1738). If you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up, it may have been gobbled up by my spam catcher, so resubmit. If you have a lot of links included in your comment, it increases the odds the spam filter will get it, so if it doesn’t show, resend without so many links or make it into two or three comments.
Finally, there have been a ton of questions about specific products (and their availability) that I have approved in my last great mass approval. Here is the current status of those products.
We have no supplies of Protexid at this time. I hope to have some made and available within the next month or so. Keep checking the website for availability or I may stick up a quick post.
Metabosol is now available in the products section. Thanks to everyone for their feedback on it.
Pentabosol is no longer being made. We have replaced it with Metabosol, which is made of the same active ingredients but with a natural sweetener instead of an artificial one.
Thanks to all of you who have hung in there with me despite all my absences. I’m going to work hard to not be AWOL again.
And once again, a Happy New Year to all.
Vintage Happy New Year card above from Daisy Fairbanks.
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