Photo courtesy of morgueFile
There was much gnashing of teeth and vows of resistance among non-Blogger garden bloggers last week. (See my post and readers’ comments.) Dismayed to find that the comment fields on our favorite Blogger blogs had been altered by the powers-that-be (Google/Blogger)—our beloved “Other” option had disappeared, and we were suddenly unable to leave a link back to our own sites—we felt shut out and ignored. To comment but not be able to leave a trail back to my own blog seemed to me the death knell of my participation in the garden-blogging community, and I took it very hard indeed.
Sure, I could still comment on Blogger blogs. But unless I got a Blogger account, I could only comment anonymously or, under the “Nickname” option, without a link back to my own site. “As regular commenters know,” I wrote, “the blogging dynamic depends on those links, so that the person whose blog you comment on, or other comment readers, can come visit your blog if they wish. Without the link, you’ve left a dead trail.”
Also feeling left out in the cold were other bloggers who host their own sites or who, like me, have their WordPress or other blogs hosted elsewhere. Some told me they’d be less likely to comment if they had to get an account with Blogger to do so. A few sympathetic Blogger bloggers told me they disliked the exclusivity of the change and worried about losing unhappy would-be commenters.
A week later, I’m happy to report that a couple of decent options do exist for those of us who want to leave a link when we comment on a Blogger blog. In their wisdom, of course, Blogger could alter the settings tomorrow to eliminate these loopholes, but I hope they’ll see the value in letting all commenters link, even those without Blogger accounts. Linking is essential to creating and maintaining a community on the Internet.
Use HTML code to insert your link into the body of the comment. This is actually quite simple, and I keep the text handy to cut and paste it when I comment. What I can’t figure out is how to show you the code without the computer turning it into a link. Until then, I refer you to Entangled, who, I just learned, posted about this subject on December 2.
As a side note, I prefer commenting under “Nickname” and using my embedded link at the top of my comment. I never use the annoyingly sly option of “Anonymous.”
If you give in to the dark side, as I did before discovering option #1, you can set up your own Blogger blog in about 5 minutes (it truly is easy), with the sole purpose of putting in a link to your real blog. The upside of this option is that Blogger blogs “recognize” you when you go to comment and will do all the work of putting in the link, though of course the link will be to your forwarding-address blog, as I like to think of it. I titled my forwarding-address blog Take Me to “Digging”.
The downside of this option is that the reader must click three times to get to your true blog—once more than for Blogger bloggers, but twice more than the old option of leaving a link under “Other.” A reader must first click on the link that’s automatically inserted with your comment. That takes them to a Blogger profile page with a link to your Blogger blog. When they click on that link (as they’d do for any other Blogger blogger), they get delivered to your forwarding-address blog, and from there you give them a link to your real blog. Whew. It’s not terrible, but the first option is far less work for the reader, and it doesn’t require you to get a Blogger account.
If you’d like to see the two different options in practice, and if Carol doesn’t mind the extra traffic (ha!), visit May Dreams Gardens’ December 2nd post, and scroll through the many comments until you find two by Pam/Digging. For the first comment I used Option #1 ; for the second, Option #2.
It can be hard to change a familiar routine, but at least we non-Bloggers and self-hosters can rejoin the conversation. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming—gardens and plants!
P.S. My thanks to Ki at Mucknmire and Carol at May Dreams Gardens for digging for information at Google/Blogger and to MSS at Zanthan Gardens and Bill at Prairie Point for thinking outside the box on how to leave a link and trialing those methods. Thanks also to anyone who took the trouble to—and could figure out how to—complain to Blogger about the unfriendly change.