Stephen Dubner (co-author with Steven Levitt of Freakonomics) ponders the question of who Comments on blog posts and why. Most readers don’t leave comments. In fact, “the ratio of readers to commenters is gigantic,” he notes. Then he riffs about this statistical conundrum:
“I realize there is a selection problem here: anyone who responds to my question about why commenters comment is, alas, a commenter. Which means that regular commenters will be overrepresented in the comments — unless, of course, a whole bunch of you who never comment decide to go ahead and log in and, in the comments section, tell us why you never comment. Or why other people do.” – Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics
And of course there’s the follow-up post that summarizes the 113 comments he got: Why you comment on blogs.
I love this point that Dubner makes:
“Some of you said that you tend to comment on blogs where the blogger writes back in the comments section — which we typically don’t. This is simply a function of time; I love blogging but I do not want it take over my life. I do read all the comments, and sometimes respond privately. Very often, I believe the comments on this blog are better than the blog postings themselves. This makes sense: there are only two of us, and a lot of you. If you believe even a tiny bit in the wisdom of crowds, you have to love this dynamic.” – SD
Great reading (Part 1 and Part 2). Also check out the Freakonomics Study Guide for students and instructors. Apparently the book is assigned reading in a variety of college courses. I loved it!
[via Judy Gombita]