Don’t you just love it when your blog ranks #1 on relevant search queries? I do. Of course, the drawback here is that when a blog post becomes sticky in the number one spot, sometimes you tend to get too many visitors who are not too familiar with the format of your site being a blog. They turn the comment section into a question-and-answer forum.
Take for instance my post about Filipino economists dated four years back. It is, by far, one of my more best-read posts. It just consists of about four intelligible sentences. Thing is, that particular post has been getting dozens and dozens of inquiries from students asking for help with their assignment. It goes as far as these folks asking for the finished product itself!
I’ve actually updated the post to point prospective researchers to better resources, but many just ignore the note and ask ahead. Perhaps the presence of a comment thread and message box makes it seem as if it’s an online forum, which can be one good way of seeking feedback and posing questions online.
But what do you do when things get out of hand and people treat one particular blog post as a forum? Here are a few things I can think of.
- Close the comment thread. Things could get out of hand, and comments might tend to be off-topic anyway. So you an always disable feedback for this particular post. Or, you can run a plugin that closes comment threads when a post reaches a particular age.
- Participate in the conversation. This can be particularly useful if the post is about a hot topic, and if the discussions are still highly relevant even after dozens and hundreds of comments. Why not enjoy your post’s popularity?
- Update your post. If people are looking for information, and others contribute in the comment thread, then you can update your post to include these relevant information. You could then hope that readers will get the idea, but of course users who are too lazy to really read through an article will still keep on asking questions even if the answers are right in front of them.
On my posts that get this much attention, I usually try a combination of these. But of course, I still get a ton of comments in which the reader is asking for something that is already there.