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Understanding the Value of Constructive Discussion in the Design Community

Constructive and engaging discussion is crucial in reinvigorating the heartbeat of any community. The design community in particular has often been lauded for its highly discursive and interactive nature; several design websites have now taken the concerted effort to tailor their content in ways which encourage debate and discussion, ingredients which are absolutely vital in stimulating collaboration and learning. The earnest now lies on readers to actively participate in these “online dialogues,” with passion and purposefulness.

You may also want to check out the following Smashing Magazine articles:

In this article, I explore the possible ways in which we, as members (and readers) of the design fraternity, can make a significant contribution towards improving the quality of online discussion on design.

Even “Lists” Deserve More than Two-Worded Comments Link


The “list” has been a time-honored tradition for many design resources websites. Compilations of nifty web applications, roundups of promising tutorials and showcases of well designed websites, are some of the many ‘lists’ on offer. The disappointing aspect of ‘lists’ for me however, does not lie in their content but in the quality of comments these posts attract.

More often than not, most readers seem contented to leave brief ‘thank you’ messages without taking the time to provide their own valued opinions on the subject matter at hand. If there is a particular item on the list that catches your attention, then take a stand and express your own opinions.

For example, if a site showcases a list of useful web applications for freelancers, then it would be more constructive if readers wrote about their own experiences with these applications or introduced alternative web apps that were not included in the post. While, “thank you” messages are definitely important, it is of my opinion that readers should take the added initiative to engage with the content rather than simply acknowledge the effort taken to compile these lists.

When Retweeting an Article, Make Sure You’ve Read what was Originally Posted Link


About a week ago, a colleague of mine (who also happens to be a designer) made a startling confession. He admitted that most of the articles he retweets are usually posts which he has never read. The RT function of Twitter, for him at least, was a tool to garner more followers and increase the likelihood of return-favors from other members in the industry. While there is absolutely nothing glaringly wrong with his interpretation of social media networking, it does beg the question if social platforms like Twitter are being utilized
to its fullest potential, in terms of information sharing and collaboration. I am however certain that my work mate falls into a minority category of Twitter users.

This point might seem like a no-brainer but it would be a generally good practice to read or browse through a particular article first before re-posting it on your twitter feed or on any other platform. Apart from this being beneficial to you in terms of knowledge gain, it would also position you in a better stead to engage actively in any ongoing discussion about the article/topic in question. The RT functionality is a perfect way to spread awareness of good online content but it is also imperative that we use it to keep ourselves abreast of the latest opinions and news in circulation.

Shed that Inferiority Complex – Ask Questions Link


I have realized, from my conversations with fellow designers, that a considerable number of readers are often hesitant to post a comment on a topic outside their scope of knowledge in fear of coming across as “ignorant.” As the aphorism goes,

“It is better to not know and learn than not know at all.”

If the topic covered is not exactly within your area of expertise (if for example you are unfamiliar with the latest potentialities of CSS3) and you’ve found it hard to follow certain aspects of the discussion, don the hat of modesty, be bold, and ask questions! The learning process is a two-way street. The more you ask the higher chance you would emerge as an all-rounded and hence ‘complete’ designer. I’ve found that engaging in open discussion is one of the most productive ways to learn.

Be Analytical in your Comments Link

Yes Man

When commenting on an article, look at it from an analytical perspective. Rather than accept the arguments made at face value, think about them in a way that opens up new questions and raises other possible frontiers for discussion. An article on minimalism for example can perhaps provoke ideas on the historicity of minimalist philosophy and how it applies to design in the contemporary era. Never be discouraged to veer into other related areas of discussion. As designers and creative individuals, it is important that we see how various design/aesthetic
elements are interconnected. Such an approach will
enable us to obtain a thorough grasp of the field.

A “Disclaimer” Link

In this article, I’ve stated a few ways in which readers can contribute more effectively to ongoing discussion. It is important to note however that there are occasions (however rare they might be) when a reader might not have anything additional/constructive to say. Under such circumstances, it would be completely understandable if he/she adopts a neutral/non-committal stand. The bottom line is: community discussion and commenting should never be a ‘chore’ but an intellectually enriching experience.

What are your pointers towards sustaining a thriving and engaging design community? Link

Note:Stock photos courtesy of Pixmac4.

Footnotes Link

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Josh is an academic researcher, specializing in online media and visual design culture. He is currently doing a PhD on youth engagement with new media.

  1. 1

    You really do bring up some great points Michelle.

    After I finish reading an article, I usually head down to the comments and read them. When I see a comment that adds to the discussion where the comment author honestly states his views and opinions, then I usually click through and check out his/her website. I’m always interested in those who show interest.

    “A comment and opinion can be just as strong and lasting as the actual blog post itself.”

    That’s a very true statement. When a post gets popular, it may get visited for days, months, and even the years to come. If your comment is clever, smart, or it adds to the discussion, more than likely, it will be something that people will read as well and it will definitely give you some credibility and some exposure as well. Thank you for giving us your input Michelle. It’s very much appreciated by myself and I’m sure that Josh appreciates it as well.

  2. 2

    I can realize a “Josh” post from a mile away. :)

    He definitely does have a unique writing style that perfectly conveys the matter at hand.

    “Opinions and suggestions are a driving force to produce better content and articles.”

    Well said, Rich. I’m always looking for constructive comments that will make me better as a blogger and designer. Also, about asking a question at the end of posts, if you will notice, I try to do that at the end of every post. The sad thing is some people don’t even read the post so they wouldn’t even notice it. :)

  3. 3

    I love the sense of humor Mike. I agree with you. I have done the same as well, but I do try to make it a point to leave a valuable comment when I have the time.

    What I can suggest is save the article, and then when you have time, leave a constructive comment. I usually do that to posts that I enjoyed but didn’t feel like leaving a comment at that particular time.

    • 4

      Thanks for stopping by again Sü.

      Yes, that method works perfectly for me. It’s something that I have been doing for quite some time now and I will keep doing it until I find a better method :)

      Also, about the Twitter thing, I agree. I tend to tweet too much as well. It definitely can get addicting. ;)

  4. 5

    You’re welcome. :D

  5. 6

    I think RT (Retweet) for Twitter is becoming trend for most people, we can’t dictate some people doing this to gained more followers and their tweets. It is the reality that most people browse the web and don’t have time reading even it is the relevant one including Terms & Agreement, Policy, etc.

    The responsibility and task of every web designers and developers to enhance and improve their pages to adapt on every needs and wants of client or their visitors I think, is the essential part on success of a working web site. Even sometimes, there’s always a debate being developer or designer is better, the issue here is the end results of the project one is building. I believe, web should not have rules it must depend on the needs of the client and usability and functionality.

    We should thank if anyone leaves a comment or not whether its short or long, a sentence or a paragraph, the point here is if someone posted a blog and somebody is visiting your site and if there’s a chance he/she leave a message, then it works. If anyone wants a bunch of discussion or reply’s, I think it’s time to add a Forum on your site.

    • 7

      I agree with Anthony with this one. A forum is not necessary in my opinion, and that’s why I installed threaded comments on this blog. (It took me a while to figure it out but it was worth it.)

      Also, I don’t think that Josh was saying that he wasn’t thankful for one or two word comments on the blog. I think what he was trying to explain is that it would be nice to hear your point of view or your own spin on the article.

      Personally, when I started blogging, all the comments were great. I loved every comment that I received. Those “thanks” and “I like this post” comments were motivating. But after a while, that just gets tiring. It almost seems like you see the same people leave the same comments without ever really taking the time to add value to their comments. It almost becomes a ritual to some people to just right “thanks” after each post. As a writer/blogger, that can get discouraging after a while, when you have put out your heart on a post, only to get no comments, or vague comments.

      Anyway, thank you for taking some of your time and giving us your take on this subject. :D

      • 8

        Wonderfully said Jad! There is so much of good design content on the Internet that does not receive the quality responses it should be attracting – either because the site in question is starting out or most people haven’t visited it before. Usually when I chance upon websites like these I usually leave a long comment and sometimes I even send an email to the author showing my appreciation.

  6. 9

    Thanks for the post. I’ve often wondered (and in my mind questioned) whether some of the high-volume RTers– who are otherwise very nice, genuine, engaging individuals– actually HAVE the time to read every post that they’ve RT’ed. I’ve always erred both on the side of quality vs. quantity, and prefer to be able to “vouch” for the material I RT.

    Thanks again, and have a nice new Year’s.

    • 10

      I completely agree with you Rafael. There are so many people who are just retweeting everything without reading that they lose their credibility and their retweets simply don’t mean anything anymore.

      I personally follow some people on Twitter who don’t post that often, but I guarantee you, every time they post a link to an article, I always click through because I know that it won’t be a waste of my time.

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  8. 13

    Very good article and very useful indeed! I love what you said about the Retweet buttons, that are very popular, they make it incredibly easy to retweet articles (guilty), but I have seen many blog post with a ton of retweets and and little or no comments. Self promotion in the realm of blogging and social media is getting easier, but we need to support those great articles we are retweeting with our comments, it is actually very encouraging for the authors. :)

    • 14

      You’ve said it beautifully! There is nothing more satisfying for an author than an engaging comment that provides an independent perspective.

      • 15

        There is nothing more satisfying for an author than an engaging comment that provides an independent perspective.

        Bingo! If for any other reason, we should leave meaningful comments because of that. If we found the post useful, it’s always good to show our appreciation in a thoughtful, descriptive way.

  9. 16

    The Retweet part of this post reminded me of when I had just started my blog. A well known blogger retweeted one of my posts and I was pumped, after all he had over 5000 followers. I was shocked when I looked at my site stats and didn’t see much of a bump from that tweet and the retweets of it. I stopped retweeting after that, unless a link or some content is really really good I don’t share it. I want people to see my face and thing “GREAT content” not just content.

    • 17

      Thanks for leaving a comment Brad. I’m a big fan of your illustrations. Hopefully, you can do one for Design Informer in the future. :)

      It’s very funny how nowadays, lots of people use the RT feature of Twitter as a way to gain followers instead of a way to share valuable content. It’s a proven fact that when you retweet someone’s article and @mention them, then half the time, they will follow you back. It’s not wrong, but I think that the RT function is better served to share great content.

    • 18

      I totally agree with what you’ve stated. The RT button has to be utilised with discretion. Or if you’re going to Re-Tweet an article then at least have a quick browse through of the content…or if you really can’t afford that, then just do a check to make sure it’s not a dead link!…haha.

  10. 19

    Thanks for all the great comments.

    I think I might have to clarify my position here.

    Short comments are perfectly fine in circumstances where the reader might not have the time to post a detailed comment or in cases where the post in question does not requisite much of a discussion. However, I have noticed (rather sadly) that the general discursive quality of comments posted within the design community has always been at a minimal. Websites like Design Informer and Drawar however seem to be the exception, with most readers willing to really engage with the material posted.

    • 20

      Thanks for clarifying Josh. I agree that there will be times where we can’t leave a detailed comment and there are other times where we can’t really add anything because of the nature of the post. In these case, I do believe that a “Thank you” can suffice. But all of our comments shouldn’t just consist of that.

  11. 21

    Hi Anthony! Nice to see you participating in this discussion! Always enjoyed your insights.

    I do agree that a good comment does wonders in injecting an article with a sense of discursive vibrancy. It adds another dimension to the website’s content.

    A linkback in the comments system (or link-love) should be seen as an incentive but not the main rationale behind visitor comments.

    Great response!

  12. 22

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the response. Yup, I agree, sometimes readers just want to leave a quick note of thanks. That is completely fine by all means. But even in such circumstances, a brief reference to a point brought up in the article would add so much more substance to the comment. The best comments are sometimes the ones that are succinct.

  13. 23

    Haha cheers for the compliment. Didn’t know I had a trademark writing style. lol

    You have made an excellent point. There is no community without discussion. Posts which conclude with open ended questions are really a fantastic way to urge reader responses. At the end of the day, it’s all about taking an independent stand and being bold enough to state it publically. :)

  14. 24

    I have to admit, I don’t read ALL of the articles that I retweet. However, I’m glad I read this one. When I first started using Twitter I saw the RT function as a way to spread info. Typically, I scan the article then RT it, but I have to find the title and opener really enganging in order for me to read all of it and then supply a meaningful comment.

    I’m glad Josh is popping up everywhere. It can be hard to get out there as a web designer. Good for you! ^_^

    • 25

      Just to add:

      It’s about time there was a blog post on this. I often find annoyance with irrelavant comments among the comments! Hopefully, this prompts more in the design community to actually read blogs/articles and offer meaningful opinions.

      • 26

        Thanks for the kind words Danielle. (I love the design of your website by the way!)

        It can be hard to read every article that one re-tweets. A quick browse through to check if there is good content will suffice, for those without the time to actually indulge in a full reading of the article. It is true that the title and opening paragraph of an article is crucially important in attracting reader attention. To facilitate this, I often try to summarise the whole article in the first two paragraphs to give readers an overview of what they will be reading. It also allows readers then to RT the article without having read it fully.

      • 27

        Danielle, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the subject matter.

        I’m guilty of not reading every article that I retweet as well, especially list posts. :(

        by the way, I’m really glad that Josh wrote on this topic. It’s a definite eye-opener for the readers and bloggers of the design community. Hopefully, we can all analyze the way we respond to the content that we read and re-tweet.

        Also, I look forward to seeing the launch of your site. Send me an email or an “@” reply when it’s ready. I’ll make sure to read and retweet it. :D

      • 28

        Thanks guys! I’m hoping to have a .com soon instead of that I’m working on having a site that shows my talents in web design much more than what I have up now. Josh’s site and this one have been really helpful to me in terms of learning more about web design and the design community as a whole. Thanks for all the help! :)

        I plan on summarizing my articles and blog posts within the first two paragraphs as well. Smart idea.

  15. 29

    This was a great, thought provoking article and I liked it so much that I RTed it right after reading it…. and that’s all I did. I took an excellent article that was about discussion and I retweeted it without even a comment (thanks to Tweetie 2 following the Twitter RT to the T). So, why did I do it? Because it was easy.

    Thankfully, @designinformer called me out on that. Ok, there is one final reason and that is that I was in the drive-thru at Taco Bell, about 4 deep while I read it, but that’s a whole different issue that I need to deal with.

    Seeing a list of “45+ Incredible jQuery Plugins” and saying thank you is quick and easy. Diving into one of the 45 and coming up with interesting commentary about it takes time and investment. So, I took the easy way out on dinner and my investment in the community tonight.

    I used to “quick glance” RT all the time. I clicked the link and if it looked like I “would” read it, I RTed it. That and my original moniker are probably the reasons that I gained so many followers in a short time with no real popular work. However, it wasn’t real and I realized that I shouldn’t send off stuff unless I really took the time to read it and make sure it isn’t mostly comprised of duplicate content and has real value. That is why I retweeted this article tonight. Is that enough, though?

    So, my question is: Where do you draw the line?

    Of course, ideally we would all access articles when we have ample time to read, reread and chime in on content. But, what if we don’t? Is it hypocritical to share it without participating? If we all keep doing it, do we keep adding to the mess?

    Or, is it vital to share the information first and try to make the effort to go back and chime in like I am doing now?

    • 30

      Thanks for the very insightful response.

      I do agree that The RT functionality provides an easy avenue to “show your appreciation or interest” in a particular article.

      There is nothing wrong with not leaving a comment. After all, writing is an activity that is usually done at the spur of the moment- it is that split-second moment of inspiration which gears you to write a comment that is heart-felt and thoughtful.

      Certain posts however do not really require a reader’s response; it might acknowledge a facet of design (or any topic for that matter) that is noteworthy but not thought-provoking. Under such circumstances, it is obviously understandable if readers hesitate to leave a comment.

      So to answer your question, commenting is dependent on ones subjective interpretation of the topic at hand and of course their own personal circumstances (e.g. if a reader is at work, then he/she may not be able to leave a comment).

      Thanks again for the comment!

      • 31

        Hey Dan, thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment.

        I’m glad I asked for your opinion. You have brought up some interesting and thought-provoking statements to the discussion.

        “I was in the drive-thru at Taco Bell, about 4 deep while I read it, but that’s a whole different issue that I need to deal with.”

        That really cracked me up. Reading a blog post while at the drive-thru? Wow!

        Anyway, I’m thrilled that this post has been an eye-opener for you because it has had the same effect on me as well. BTW, keep up the fantastic job that you have been doing with FUEL! :)

      • 32

        Thank you for the reply as well!

        I know I kind of took it off the path and into a RT conversation, but I knew you wouldn’t mind. RTs are the “nice post” comment equivalent on Twitter, so it seemed viable.

        I really enjoy articles like this and I think there is great room for improvement in the way that we share and communicate with online content. This was another eye-opening article for me, as I am continually trying to improve my “social networking” and the way that I contribute to the community.

  16. 33

    HI Lam.

    Yes I can certainly relate to your conundrum. Sometimes, a reader may not have an opinion, or may prefer to adopt a non-committal stand. However, I guess the bottom line is, if we really put our minds to it, most of us here would be able to garner a half-decent comment that at least extends beyond one or two words of praise.

    It is true that reader comments are hard to come by, especially on the Internet when most people are looking for a quick browsing experience, rather than a full read.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

    • 34

      “if we really put our minds to it, most of us here would be able to garner a half-decent comment that at least extends beyond one or two words of praise.”

      Excellent statement Josh!

  17. 35

    Thanks for the response Tomas.

    Yes, it’s definitely a good practice to re-tweet articles which you have enjoyed. Re-tweeting a select group of articles written by friends and popular bloggers is a good way to enhance the quality of your RT’s and comments.

    However the opposite is also true. I often find myself re-tweeting articles from lesser known blogs. These are “rare finds” which I feel deserve more attention from the community.

    • 36

      I’m the same way Josh. I try to retweet articles that I found useful, but at the same time, I try to retweet these “hidden gems,” which are posts that don’t get a lot of exposure, but are wonderfully written and offer great insight and thoughts.

      Now that I have over 1,000 followers, it’s a good way for me to give back to those small blogs by retweeting their hard work. ;)

  18. 37

    Great post! very useful!


  19. 40

    Great article, Josh.

    There is the other side of the coin. Bloggers and authors are often in a position to encourage discussions by replying to readers’ comments and questions, but in many cases they miss that opportunity. Ideally, each comment should have a reply. Even if readers leave short comments such as “great article”, a simple “thank you all for commenting” should be enough.

    • 41

      Thanks Janko. I absolutely try my best to respond to every comment on Design Informer. It’s hard and time-consuming but I do believe that it’s worth it.

      I guess with bigger blogs like Web Designer Depot and Smashing Magazine, it can be really hard to do so. I had a blog post on Smashing Magazine that has 190 commments to date and it has been very hard to keep up with all the comments. :)

      Anyway, I completely agree with you. I think the reason why we get so many comments here at Design Informer is because we really encourage discussions by replying to readers’ comments and questions.

      Thanks for commenting Janko and I love your tutorials on your blog. Looking forward to your posts in 2010.

      • 42

        Josh, Jad, you give a good example of how discussions can be encouraged. I was looking through your older posts and I am amazed with the quality (and quantity as well) of responses on Design informer.

        But I agree that in case of blogs like SmashingMagazine it would be impossible to answer each comment.

        Have a nice holidays!

    • 43

      Thanks for the compliment Janko.

      I completely agree with the notion that bloggers must interact with their readers/commenters.

      It is important to establish a solid relationship with your readers if you want a loyal readership base. So yes, good discussion definitely stems from authors and bloggers, who must first set the example.

  20. 44

    “A linkback in the comments system (or link-love) should be seen as an incentive but not the main rationale behind visitor comments.”

    I really agree with this, but too often, this has become the primary objective of a lot of commenters.

  21. 45

    I definitely want the same thing Luis.

    You bring up some interesting thoughts that hasn’t been discussed in any of the comments thus far.

    “They agree so much with it that they think anything they add will be repetitive and that discourage the readers to comment and to be active on discussions.”

    That’s very true. I think that is one of the factor that plays into all of this. I think that we need to get rid of that mentality as readers. One more person agreeing with the article won’t hurt. :)

    Thanks Luis!

    • 46

      Some brilliant viewpoints Luis and Jad.

      When I wrote this article, I never expected it to receive these many comments. In a way, this post is clear testament to the fact that the design community is thriving and buzzing with a delectable array of opinions.

      I agree with your point Luis that many commenters are discouraged from responding in fear that they will sound repetitive, but the truth is, no opinion is completely the same. As authors, we cherish all kinds of responses (although a simple “you rock” msg can be a little disconcerting especially when you have explicitly asked for opinions in your post).

      I am loving the discussion here. This is awesome!

  22. 47

    I appreciate the comment Otto.

    I’m an avid fan of using < -blockquotes-> when commenting. Quoting the author gives you something to talk about in your comments. :)

  23. 48

    Hey everyone, Josh just wrote a thought-provoking article on his blog that complements this post.

    Here is the direct link.

    A “Bystander’s Perspective” on the Design Community

    Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

    “Contained in these notes, are specific observations and idiosyncrasies of the design community together with proposed ways in which we as its loyal members, can further enhance its status as an effervescent and creative hub. Today, I’ve decided to share some of them publicly on this space.”

    It’s definitely a good follow-up read after this article. Please leave a comment on his blog as well and contribute to the discussion. It’s good for the community. :D

  24. 50

    I love how Jad and Josh took the time to respond to almost every comment here. Not only are they spurring on discussion in their article, but they’re also encouraging it in the comments by responding to their reader’s points and questions.

    The thing that impressed me most about this article wasn’t even in the article :-)

    • 51

      Thanks for the compliments Kevin. It is definitely a pleasure to read the comments and respond to all of them.

      The way I see it: If the reader will take time to leave a comment on Design Informer, then the least I can do is reply to their comment. :)

      • 52

        I share the same sentiments with Jad. It is a pleasure to respond to these comments. It is really enjoyable when people actually take note of your arguments and publish their own opinions. Writing this article has been a true learning experience for me.

  25. 53

    They want a link.

    We all know that is the main reason for those quick one or two-liner comments.

    I completely agree with you Ryan. It does make a lot more sense to leave meaningful comments. There are plenty of benefits in doing so:

    It adds value to the discussion.

    It motivates the writer to see that someone has carefully read his article and has offered valuable feedback.

    The commenter gets noticed by other visitors because of his thought-out commentary on the article.

    In my opinion, why wouldn’t you want that? It’s a win-win situation. The only negative is that it takes a lot more time to write an insightful response.

    • 54

      I couldn’t agree more. A well structured and thoughtful comment is beneficial for the whole community.

      However, there are a select few who might have interesting points to add but because English isn’t their first language they have difficulty in responding. This is something difficult to address but as bloggers, we should write as simply as possible (something which I am trying to do) so that it caters for a wide audience.

  26. 55

    Thanks for the response Michelle! I do certainly agree that comments can be as memorable as blog posts. Certain blogs are well-known for the high quality comments/discussion their articles receive. Only through discussion, will a community thrive.

  27. 56

    Some excellent points made here. I’ve noticed that with blogs and twitter, the craze is to just comment on and/or tweet as many articles as possible, just for the sheer purpose of getting your name or URL out there. Sure, that can get you hits for your site, but the result is an overflow of users only concerned with the quantity of comments/tweets, not the quality.

    One solution might be to have a minimum character amount that blog comments would have to meet. It could weed out the insignificant comments from the constructive ones. I suppose that could backfire and prevent users from commenting. Who knows? :)

    • 57

      One solution might be to have a minimum character amount that blog comments would have to meet. It could weed out the insignificant comments from the constructive ones.

      that sounds like a good idea at first, but then I think it would really discourage so many people from commenting. If only it were that easy! :)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Luke. I clicked through your website and I’m really lovin’ that logo with the Photoshop guides. ;)

      • 58

        Thanks for the response Luke. The direct result of “viral-networking” is that more blog editors simply want to put their link out there with minimal hassle. The fast-paced world of the Internet just got even faster as technologies such as Tweeter evolve making it easier to RT and promote links.

        Setting a character limit is a good idea but I guess there is a high risk element involved as some people would be under “pressured” to meeting that minimum standard, which may discourage comments. Thanks again.

      • 59

        Lol, yes, if ONLY it were that easy. Oh well…

        Also, thanks for taking the time to check my site. I’m really digging the articles you are putting out. Keep it up! :)

  28. 60

    Great Article. The retweet machines really drive me crazy. I can get the same value out of any ‘ol RSS feed. It doesn’t bother me anymore because I’ve sorted out those people into their own list which I don’t peek into often.

    I think insightful or thoughtful comments on any blog post are relative to the quality of content and engagement of the site owners. I don’t think there’s a magic idea about it. Write great things that make people think. Give the opportunity to answer your point of view and join in your own discussion started.

    A list article with just pictures doesn’t lend itself to insightful comments unless the visitor is actually breaking down what’s shown. Add some detail, break it down with the list with comments and that’s quality. Anybody can put photos together. Few go the extra mile to even add a constructive critique like, “this typography inspires me with it’s use of motion coupled with depth and perspective, etc” that can inspire some feedback.

    Thanks for the great blog again. I enjoy your hard work and the bloggers you’ve brought in like Josh here.

    • 61

      Thanks for your thoughts Joe. I’m always glad to see your comments because they always have value.

      I for one hate those retweet robots that retweet every article that’s being written. I sometimes check out Tweetmeme to see who has retweeted my articles and more often than not, I will see that once my article gets tweeted by Smashing Magazine or a big design blog, you will see that it automatically gets retweeted by multiple twitter robots. I don’t even know why they have those. I would never follow a robot twitter account. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

      Give the opportunity to answer your point of view and join in your own discussion started.

      I think a lot of blog owners are missing out on this opportunity. They like to see comments on their blog but they themselves don’t participate in the discussions. I believe that it’s only right for me to join in on a discussion in my blog about an article that I published.

      Oh, and you’re welcome. Josh is a great writer and thinker and I’m glad to have him contribute to Design Informer. :)

      • 62

        Haha..thanks for the compliments. But the reason this article has received considerable success is because Jad has built a thriving and vibrant community here at Design Informer. The quality of opinions voiced here is amazing.

        I really like blog editors who interact with their readers. It speaks volumes about the website’s primary objectives as a community-based entity.

        And yes…if we do our job, then the fault is not ours. Beautiful statement!

      • 63

        I can say I retweet many stuff but it happens because I found many interesting stuff tweeted by my following list. For example, I follow SmashingMagazine, DesignInformer, all the +tuts sites, GraphicRiver, SkyNews, CssAwards, an the list continues.

        All this tweeps tweet very interesting articles and, after I read it (of course), I like to retweet it. I don’t think it’s fair just to put the link and present it. I think it’s necessary to put the name of the person who “showed” me that article or list or whatever it is.

        I also don’t like RT robots. A few weeks ago I was following about 10 of this Robots but I get tired of seeing the real publishers tweeting something, and less than 20 seconds after, the RT was already on my screen!
        How is this possible? Who read an article in less than 20 seconds??

        And thank you for the


    • 64

      I must agree with what Joe Howard said,

      “Anybody can put photos together. Few go the extra mile to even add a constructive critique…”

      It’s hard to create a great resource article without putting yourself into it.

      It’s necessary to comment your work, add some notes to give people the chance to discuss their opinions and Ideas.

      However there’s a problem, but that’s not writer’s fault. It’s reader’s fault. Mostly, readers when viewing an article like “25 Creative Blog Header Designs” they are actually “Viewing” it instead of “Reading” it. Readers, generally, just scroll down to see the images and they miss the text or notes you work so hard to create.

      And once again you verify the “awesome, you rock” type comments… Unfortunatelly we, as writters, can’t change everything. But that’s not an excuse to be lazy on article creation!! If we do our job correctly the fault is never ours :)

      Keep that in mind.

      • 65

        If we do our job correctly the fault is never ours.

        That’s right! We can only control what’s within our reach, but articles like this definitely help out in stirring a movement within the design community. I hope that more people get to read this article and the wonderful comments as well.

  29. 66

    I disagree with #2 “Even “Lists” Deserve More than Two-Worded Comments.” As a writer, I like any comments even “thank you” or “awesome” is welcome. Yes, a longer comment is awesome (there I go) but I don’t think your attitude should be: “leave a longer comment or get out.”

    Then there’s the issue of the “List” post which you singled out especially in #2. Too many times a list post is just that — no review, no comment. For example, a list post of the top x number of web apps (I see this all the time). On such a post, there are 3 different apps listed that, based on the title of the app and the one line description, seem to do the same thing. Why should I the reader of this post leave a long comment when the writer couldn’t bother explaining the differences?

    I agree with #3 “Shed that Inferiority Complex – Ask Questions” but I feel it should also say “Blog Writer, Answer Questions.” I think the writer of the post has an obligation to answer (reasonable) questions left in the comments. Why should I the reader leave a question when I know the writer never answers them?

    • 67

      Hi Yael,

      You have brought up an excellent point. Short comments are welcome but as an author of a blog myself, I’m always looking for ways to encourage discussion even in circumstances where the blogger might not have taken the time and effort to publish a substantial article.

      Yes, the earnest is certainly on bloggers to address the queries of readers and to generally keep the discussion alive. It is definitely a “two-way” process.

      Thanks for the wonderful comment!

    • 68

      That’s a valid argument there Yael. I probably wouldn’t leave a comment at all on those type of posts unless I found one of the resources/sites listed to be useful.

      But about list posts, I think there are still some positives that you can drag out of them and mention in the comments, and likewise, you can also point out what you didnt’ like about the list in a nice and kind way.

      Thanks for adding your comments! Hope to read more from you here on Design Informer.

  30. 69

    Hi EyePlayDesign.

    Thanks for responding. Yes its great isn’t it, how everyone has contributed their own opinions. It really shows strong community-spirit.

    • 70

      A big thanks to you Josh for writing this article and sparking a very intelligent discussion.

  31. 71

    Hi Fenson

    Thanks so much for the comment and kind words!

    Lists are good references and they should have their place in the community. But it would be better if bloggers elaborated on these lists with clear and concise explanations, something that Jad has always been doing right from the start.

    Keeping articles bookmarked is a fantastic way to keep abreast of the latest articles. I do it myself.

    Thanks again for your posting your views!

  32. 72

    Some great discussions here to prove a point.

    • 73

      I agree. Really great discussions by members of the design community. It’s really amazing in my opinion how many people actually took the time and leave their comments.

  33. 74

    I’m with you guys as well. When I’m on Twitter, I usually go through all the links in the AM when I wake up and I add to my favorites under a separate folder. I then come back in the evening after I get off work and retweet and comment those articles/posts/resources that I liked or that I found useful.

  34. 75

    Thank you Scrivs. It’s better late than never.

    I was told that I was so spot on that there is almost no reason to comment.

    This might be true, but I do believe that there’s always some thought or intelligent comment that you can leave on a blog post. By the way, you are an expert at generating discussions with your posts and it is very evident on Drawar.

    Also, that looks like a good idea to do something similar to the Facebook app where you can just vote that you liked the post. It’s something that I will look into.

    Comments are for discussion, not self-promotion.

    I agree with that, but it’s also nice to be able to know more about the commenter. That’s why I’m glad that you are looking at implementing user profiles in the future.

    Thanks for leaving your opinion. I know that we shouldn’t put the blame on the community as we all should look at ourselves. I think that this post and discussion really helped me to look at the way I use social media, and the way I interact within the design community.

    I appreciate your insight and keep up the great work on DRAWAR. :)

  35. 76

    Dr. Eduardo,I’m glad you decided to join in on the discussion. (WOW, a doctor!)

    this post could be expanded beyond the specific area of design and experience in digital social network.

    This is very true. I think this should not only happen in the design community, but it should also be done in other different industries and niches. Discussion is not only important for us designers, but it’s good to have in whatever field of work you are involved with. :)

  36. 77

    This is one great article and it’s so true that we usually keep on retweeting without getting into the depth of an article.

    I am in total agreement that we need to shed our inferiority complexes and ask questions.
    On the thought of questions, when is your next article due? :)

    • 78

      I appreciate it Suhela. It’s definitely a well-written post by Josh.

      On the thought of questions, when is your next article due?

      My next post is Thursday, Dec. 30th. ;)

      I try to post on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Wallpaper of the Week on Saturday or Sunday. There are some weeks however where I post almost daily, but 4 times a week is the usual. Thanks for inquiring.

  37. 79

    Dr. Eduardo Braga

    December 30, 2009 10:55 pm

    Hello, Josh Star. His ideas expressed in this post could be expanded beyond the specific area of design and experience in digital social network. I think there is NOT a break between the functioning of our mind from day to day and in science. The discussion, namely the introduction of differences is fundamental to the development of science, as pointed out for Thomas Kuhn in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. More than that, the discussion not only enriches the object, but the subjects involved in it. Strengthen the autonomy of thought and complex communicative work of seeking the common areas and differences. However, sometimes it is necessary to destroy, “break everything”, then to build something stronger and better. This case would be to build not destroy it?

    • 80

      Dr. Eduardo Braga

      December 31, 2009 8:27 am

      Dear Josh,
      Very good. Anomaly and difference are key concepts to keep the discussion. As Khun, which does not fit the puzzle.
      However, there are two positions with respect to the discussion in the scientific, philosophical and everyday life. The position supports the need for discussion to infinity. For example, Richard Rorty, who takes Khun (anomaly) and propose to talk to infinity. And one other position, more classical, coming of political philosophy which advocates the need for certain areas of consensus, which are territoriality for exchange in common. Which of the two positions you advocate?

  38. 81

    So Beautiful post :)

    Just my opinion : the user comments must be ‘honest’ about the article they read. Don’t just comments with “Awesome” Great” “Rock” “R&B” !. Because that just make good article, but not build the good :)

    Thanks :)
    my tweeet : @hexacreative

    • 82

      yeah of course.

      this is my first time i join the designer discussion. Because i just 14yrsold from Indonesia :D

      If i wrong i’m sorry…

    • 83

      I love your answer Josh. Honesty is definitely the best policy! :)

  39. 84


  40. 85

    First and foremost, thanks for this post. It’s been an eye-opener indeed. I have to admit that I have been part of the minority of designers you’re talking about, the ones that don’t read the posts they re-tweet. Re-tweeting and commenting shouldn’t be about getting the most followers, but learning the most yourself and getting others to do the same. :)

    • 86

      It’s definitely easy to get sidetracked into leaving comments just to promote your blog. But like you mentioned, discussion is an enjoyable part of the design community, especially if you really get involved in it.

  41. 87

    Great point Dany. I think I will say that I do the same. There are times when I’m just too busy to read an entire post, but I know that it will have good content, I don’t see a problem in tweeting about it and reading it later.

    For example, the 24 Ways website always has fantastic content. I remember tweeting about their articles and then reading it later. I think the main point is that while it’s acceptable to do that once in a while, it should not be a habit. :)

  42. 88

    A post about discussions in the design community filled with valuable and interesting comments, how great and amazing is that?

    I personally have two points of view: As a reader of posts I don’t really appreciate “Thanks, great post!” comments because they just clutter the space between actual, valuable comments.
    As a writer I actually do appreciate them because they show me people enjoyed what I created (and it’s more personal than so and so many retweets).

    I think we have to live with short comments that don’t really express a opinion (besides the fact that the article is liked and appreciated), but should try to leave valuable and constructive comments and feedback whenever we can – that’s the only way for the design community to grow and evolve as well as for individuals to get to know each other.

    • 89

      A post about discussions in the design community filled with valuable and interesting comments, how great and amazing is that?”

      It’s very amazing! :)

      We should definitely look at it in both views. One as a reader, and the other as a writer. You’re right, It’s a great way to learn more about people with the comments that they make. I have met many wonderful people by contacting them after reading their comments.

  43. 90

    Couldn’t agree with you more. While I prefer to leave well thought out comments, often times I would like to give my praise to the author even if I am having a busy day and not the time to post a good comment.

    Also I might point out that there is danger is posting too long of feedback in comments on design blogs. If you keep as busy as I do, sometimes reading a 3 paragraph comment will just get skimmed over.

  44. 91

    WOW! Thanks for the brilliant response to the article Ken. It was very insightful and valuable to this discussion.

    “I’ve stopped sweating out the apparent “noise” and perceived superficiality that we all experience and have finally let go of worrying about the gazillion marketers that follow me today and abandon me tomorrow because I didn’t immediately jump on their wagon.”

    This is true. I think we should just ignore the mass amount of marketers out there and just focus our attention on those who are genuine and sincere, like you are. ;) Thanks Ken!

  45. 92

    Thanks for the comment James. It is definitely a great thing to read amazing discussions by designers in the community. ;)

  46. 93

    Melody, I’m with you on the controversial topics issue. I think that with these issues, they are probably the best way to get comments from people because people are really willing to defend their views if they think that the article being written goes against what they believe. With that said, I think there should still be some good discussion even though the post isn’t controversial. We can still leave smart and insightful comments even if we completely agree with an article. :)

  47. 94

    Thank you for the details that you given in this article, it’s a kind of some inspirational things for me :)

  48. 95

    Quality over quantity. You made an article that should be on every website as a sort of “disclaimer”. Too bad that most people will just retweet/share without making any serious effort to actually read anything but title and maybe headings.

  49. 96

    I completely agree with you. Personally, I have to be extremely focused on the topic at hand and be engaged in the controversial subject to want to voice my opinion. I think this is because a lot of articles I ‘read’ I am mostly skimming- so I don’t take away as much.

    However, I joined the forrst community and that has greatly changed how I view blogs (at least my favorite ones). I go to forrst specifically to offer my own advice and opinions and have learned so much from engaging in conversations.

    A person who would like to fully utilize the power of the community, should question and/or add valuable insight when possible. And don’t be afraid that you are wrong or not knowledgeable enough- there are so many perspectives to so many topics, and thats why I love this field. The “right” solution is never the same for a given problem. We can learn from each other rather than having to learn everything from our own experience. And if fear is what keeps you from commenting, just understand no one is out to personally attack you. Deep down, we all just want to learn from each other!


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