Comments. They are part of the magic sauce of Ontario Extend that knits participants together.

Leaving comments is not that difficult to do — you type words in a box and click a button. But in the rush of all the activities, modules, tweeting, commenting sometimes gets lost in the rush.

Constructive comments are valuable because they are like the gift of conversation.

What is a Constructive Comment?

It should be more than “Nice work” or “I agree”. A good comment is maybe a few sentences, and includes useful feedback or suggestion for improvement.

You can explain why you like what was written or agree. Or explain why you disagree. You can offer relevant contexts or links. Or offer additional resources or links that might benefit the writer. For every bit of opinion you might start writing, think of including an “and…” statement.

One approach for giving criticism is to put it inside a sandwich- open with aspects you praise or agree with, offer critical statements, and close with a positive.

Perhaps the best advice is to comment in the style and mood that you would like to receive.

When you comment, show that you are listening. Respond to specific parts of what the author wrote. As a form of acknowledgement, when someone replies specifically to a point, it means they are listening. Do not be the commenter who just uses it as a means to talk about their own stuff.

Where to Look for Posts to Comment On?

This site provides the main flow of new posts on the front page under “From the Ontario Extend Network”, but you may want to narrow your scope to blogs within your cohort, e.g. just posts from the West, East, or North cohort bloggers.

If you want to just spin a wheel, we have a link that will send you to a random post from anyone in the Ontario Extend network, or again, a random post from the West, East, or North cohort.

Comments as Conversation

And when you get comments on your site, by all means reply… if it merits a response. Think of the exchange as a conversation; one sided conversations are not interesting, right?

And it’s give and take- you should also be providing constructive comment to others. This is also an opportunity to explore how other people blog. Things you might look for include

  • What you saw interesting or maybe influential in blogs comment on. Did you get ideas you could use by looking at someone else’s post? How did your work compare or differ from theirs?
  • A summary of the feedback you got – what was useful? Would it change your thinking? What was helpful?

As new comments come into your blog, you will sometimes need to approve them so they will show up on your site. You should be getting emails whenever a new comment is submitted and/or needs approval. Please moderate these comments! The conversation can’t happen if it is never published!

Like many things, you get in proportion to what you give.

More About Commenting

For some more advice, see:

Featured Image: an old design 02 flickr photo by hecpara shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license