My commenting strategy - what's yours?

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I see the Century Club thread started already. I am always impressed with those folks, and I hope to be one soon - at least several times over by the end. I figured I'd go ahead and start this commenting strategies thread - one like it usually pops up sooner or later.
I just went back and checked my FAWM comments-given total - 352. That's a personal best! I was commenting into April to make it happen. I'm pretty sure I hit 300 last 50/90, but I probably stopped commenting a couple weeks after it was over.
It occurred to me the other day that if I do just 5 comments a day, I will have given 450 - a 50/90 personal best - by the end. Maybe I can hit 500 by hanging around another couple weeks. (I know, I know - there are people who double that amount, and I'm grateful for them!)
At a 5-a-day pace, that means 65 by today - which I just hit, and it's not even noon, and it's my day off work (well, sort of - no real full days off with what I do).
As for how I distribute comments - right now it's reciprocating those who comment on my songs (I think I've caught up), skirmish songs for those I participate in, checking in with folks I know from previous 50/90s, and then making new friends (need to pay more attention to that one).
Also, I try to make each comment I give meaningful - specific references to what I like, and maybe a personal connection. Usually more than one sentence.
How about you?

Yes. Wink

OK, let me elaborate a bit.

For me, if anyone may not realize, -- am a firm advocate of meaningful comment-feedback since, if received as intended (typically good... only what I've observed), it can, may, will lead to "other" in ones music.

Also, analyzing others work, will teach you more about you, then anything else, -- comments are typcially a roadmap to the commenters mind, more than "your" work if you observe well, -- not a bad thing to observe in who's listening to your stuff and why.

One thing, hard to communicate is, -- eh, I never comment hoping for a comment back, or even any other contact. But, how can one "say" that? Well, I can now Smile I'd really really really hate to get a comment because I commented on someones work that "moved" me in some way. I'd rather only get, -- what gets to you, in mine, and I am fine with over explanations and comparisons and etc. -- All good information, imo/ime. Feel free to write, not "tweet", be non-PC... I speak to many countries with many cultures of many languages, and well, after several languages, spoken and coded... well, "onlineguage" is my language now Smile So, no rules or fear "here".

So, derUgo! Wink Smile yeah... for proactive useful, well explained comments to total strangers from total strangers who have nothing to gain (?) or loose for providing them! How valuable is that!

i listen to at leasr one song by every oneexcept skirmishes and comment only when i have something t say in response to the song, when i like a song, i make note of the artist and contiue to listen to as many of their songs as possible. i usually go ;ight on the ambient instrumentals, anything usng virtual instruments, and lyric only posts. last year a went over 1000 comments and i am at 280 at the moment. i respond to every comment i receive with either a cmment in or a thank you in return. i will leave extensive comments when i have more to say and will usually answer any questions that are asked.

I really enjoy reading and listening to the work of others, so I try to do at least 5 a day. I do listen to and comment on any skirmish I participate in. I also check in every few days on the people on my watch list to see if they have something new. If I really like someone's work, I will dive in and listen to everything they do. It's not so much a strategy and I don't comment to get comments. I just love music and am always interested in how people interpret their work, others work. I also try to find someone new (a person I have yet to comment on something) and check out their work. I don't think anyone should worry about how many comments they give or get. This is a "do it at your pace" kind of thing. In the words of my 20 something just do you boo Biggrin

I try to put a lot of thought into my comments, so often end up giving up and not leaving one at all. I take the same approach with birthday messages on Facebook.

My own failings aside, I'm in two minds about commenting, and still haven't managed to reconcile the two after over a decade of this:

I think people should be able to engage with a song or lyric and be unafraid to leave whatever comment comes to heart (provided it is kind, in good faith, and there is nothing on the singer's profile requesting 'no unsolicited tips for improvement' etc).

I also think going over every song with a blanket 'great job,thanks for sharing!' doesn't have a lot of value for the songwriter - and can be a death sentence if it's a zong by someone who doesn't appear on many watchlists.

At the very least, I think there's an acid test that if you could read a comment, and find nothing to indicate the person who left the comment has actually heard/read the song, then they should probably have made an effort to acknowledge some aspect of it.

It's not even enough to say 'well, it showed that they took the time and effort to seek you out and comment'. No, it doesn't. People comment for all sorts of reasons, including, but not limited to, padding your own comment count and a sense of obligation to leave no zong unbusted. Sort by new and limber up the Ctrl and V keys. People can leave comments in this manner and not even bother to look at who the artist is. They certainly won't (necessarily) be returning for more.

I try and listen to as much as i can. I dont give everyone the same kind of feedback. The more i know the person the more i try and provide more meaningful feedback. Sometimes the comments are very general but i try and pick on some more detailed observations. I have a fair amount of free time so do a lot and listen a lot. I sway away from detailed critical appraisal as i don't feel qualified to do that unless i know the person really well and understand what they are trying to achieve with each song. But I love hearing what others are doing and try my best to provide some appreciation and at least post something meaningful where possible.

Generally in this order: Return comments, skirmishes, my watchlist, people who have donated to keep the site running, and other people that I haven't commented on yet this 5090. I listen to (or read 'lyrics only') at least few songs a day because I learn and get inspiration from others. I strive to be generally supportive knowing that this challenge is demanding and has severe time limitations. Where possible I comment on an aspect of the song that works for me and hopefully has not been touched on. The type of comment I leave depends on how well I know, and prior interactions with, the songwriter. My only motivation for a comment count is to give more than I receive because I am grateful for every comment that I do receive and am paying it forward from the thousands of supportive comments I have received in my now eight years here and in FAWM.

I won't necessarily return comments (although sometimes someone who comments on my song will be my starting point) and I don't see the point of leaving a "thank you" on the soundboard, so I'll only respond to any specific points or comments on soundboards. I will, however, pick a song, then pick, say, 3rd commenter on that song and pick a song of theirs, etc, etc. I don't comment if I have nothing to say. I have no ill feelings if people don't comment on my songs if I comment on theirs. I would like everyone to comment on some songs, because I think that's part of what makes the FAWM/5090 community, but honestly, if people don't want to, or don't have time, I can live with that too.

I have no hard and fast rules, but I try to give more comments than I receive. I don't necessarily do 1:1 reciprocation, just use the number received as a minimum. And I give some consideration to fawmlings and zongs.

If I listen to a song, I comment. I'd say that's 99% true. In any 50/90 there might be less than 5 times that I don't leave a comment. The only reason I won't leave a comment is if I can't make sense of what I'm hearing. I always leave a comment because I know what it's like to feel like no one's listening. Some song hosting platforms don't do metrics so the only way to know is if someone comments. Sure, some of my comments are pretty short, but you never know when just a little encouragement makes someone's day.

I try to always return the favor. That can get kind of messy after a while though. You end up wondering if you're returning someone's comment or they're returning yours. It's nice though. Over the years it means I've developed a really cool circle of interesting musicians who mutually support each other for 3 full months. My actual friends don't support my music writing like that. And I really like listening to their music, so it works out well.

Other strategies I use when I want to branch out... I listen to zongs a lot (like I said... I know what it's like), and I use the tag cloud. I'll look for tags that are interesting to me. I look for titles that jump out. I look for participants who I've never heard before. I will comment on lyrics only. I will comment on instrumentals. Comments... even constructive criticism... are encouragement. And that's part of the reason we're here. Now I'm about to reach the century club, so I'm going to listen to a few more songs before I really start my day.

I think one reason a thread like this is important, though I have said my "strategy", is that it does reveal the challenge, the conflict even and motivations -- for comments. It is a perennial topic if not bi-annual and always a week or two prior to a "project" for some reason.

I've gleened so far,
- to obligatory reply;
- comment count (I've heard some interesting strategies for that Smile hahhh, and "wow" -- it's kinda why I tend to avoid the comment count thread;
- to help (hopefully wanted?) (really don't want comment or listens?, really? -- OK!);
- to make online relationships;
- to self learn via analysis of anothers work, etc. (a great self-teaching method)

However the perennial issue that seems to come up at some point is "do you want comment-feedback". Yes!
-- Well, the answer is alway yes, but the framing, the qualifiers may say different.

This, well to avoid topic it seems but is not, is what I've observed as a damaging element as has been discussed; well, discussed enough to leave it there in some instances. However, while the wonderful part of FAWM_5090 is annual *renewal where the "old" can be left behind, it is that it's not left behind, and the -- "new" folks have no idea what's going on, -- as with me when "new", then waiting a solid two years as in real life to see what's what and who's who, and etc. is etc. Smile

So, speaking for me, -- it would be easy to have taken on any "strategy" to get hugs and kisses and etc., it's a personal choice indeed. But, for everyone who feels they'd rather not "comment" since may not know "how to" at this point, or some point, there are folks who as well drop out. My "to follow" page is huge, and nearly all since being here, are not anymore, -- effect. But folks who stay find a reason, -- me, I live in my "own world" as many can observe, and I feel and see for example the progress I've made in the last five years, (and as someone "in" music since 6yo driving mom'n dad nuts). We never do seem to stop growing if in the "arts" for art sake, passion and self-fulfilled. Outside of work-work, music it essentially the only other thing I do, so to speak, in some form or another. And, ironic?, no one in my family cares about music of any kind and never did. If their "radio" is on in the car, it's some talk radio or news loop, traffic report, etc. It's freeing actually. (They get confused, "so you got the band back together" Smile hahhh... uh, no, it's all "me", but they don't understand and never will.)

However, as with many things the "1% effects the rest" more than the 99% driving forward. A sad but true life-ism it seems.

So, I've never seen anyone say, "hey, your song sucks, and you should take up another hobby", -- ever, and even on "other" places on the internet. Where is that place? (How many here engage the dark or gray web? really? Smile ) I do see, however, "wow, love your stuff, really effected me, pulled in, but, fyi..." -- that's an unwanted comment?, OK Smile I stop listening, now, -- effect for me in real time.

And as far as the defense it's bad, I don't see that as -- anyone seeking to get a writing credit with that "great" work (?)... Now, the Coursera .com courses were entirely useless in the early days, (some may know/remember), and got some kind of control over useless comments and really bad idea of "peer" grading based entirely on "like" or Troll Heaven krappe. But, within a somewhat sincere songwriting board, group, I've never seen anyone take 5 mins of their day to "destroy" someones work, or seek to overshadow, or collaborate with them, take credit for their work.
-- This whole Project(s), FAWM-5090 is a collaboration. Wink

The Thesis of it's creation(s) was to study (for the prize of a PhD), "how this all works", -- go read his Graduate Findings, Papers on it.

Yet, all do seem to find their "niche", love squad and proceed.

I offered on year when many were complaining about this topic on the three sides of it Smile -- if you get ~5 authentic comments +- per song you've got your "Market Share" (a sudo collation I made that worked out mathmatically for me Smile ). How many do you really need? I am seeing this year folks qualifying, "well, I get that 5-15 due to the obligatory skirmish response, or game..." or similar. It's good to "have a grip" Wink So, reality does have a hold Smile I *respect all comments, feedback or attemts at it. "New" folks need to comment the most, if even to "validate" what they learned. So, who else to do that with? A very experienced person, -- for "real". I saw on one board a person say, "yeah, I been doing this now for 5 years... so... -- so what? Smile ) Fortunately "experience" is not time either. As we used to say in LEO world, yeah, he's got 1 year of experience, repeated 20x - 30x's Wink While some do pack 20 into 5... but that's another story, or song Smile

So, bottom line, the even one good comment that I get that forwards my workproduct if even by a later on explained "sounds good like it" comment (sometimes offline out of "fear" of non-compliance to the nice-clause Smile o m g heard mentality of "today") ... I'm good. Most of this for me is just convient comfort, with the circa 5 or so, really quality folks who may not even know how much, how highly I think of them are "here". ("Convenient", -- think about it, computer, Inet connection what would have cost what if possible 10 - 15, 20 years ago?) I've never seen an ashehole "here" not eventually checked, or, wonderfully *appologise for the mis-communication issues that legit do occur... only ever saw that here really and I've been online since pre-'95. There are those who are never wrong, but that is just IRL, which is now OL Smile

It's ironic with the level of "educated" folks of all kinds, with decades of online experience, one would think that the ESL issues and all the rest, country cultural differences... ... ..., would be ancient history. Nope, not.

What comes to mind as I close this is, I comment on songs that I feel pulled into or have merit and may not be "liked", -- to do so. I'm not a fan of many genres, but I know good work when I see it on all levels of "this" (just starting out, to long time exp). I guess I'll never understand the folks who get over the top angry with statements like this, when I do see them, to squash "this" level of opportunity to collaborate in a collaboration community of artists as in any Guild (art guild?) that partner to facilitate growth in this abstraction. It's not, about hugs and kisses, which usually leads to tradegy in the music world 100% of the time.

We can never get enough "hugs and kisses", or *growth which seems to remain exclusive to the other, in "music". -- Maybe Smile mainstream anyway; not in my world.

My strategy is to use the word "bonza" every now and then.

I'm with you, @katpiercemusic - I comment on just about everything I listen to and read.
And I'll listen to any genre, too. And I can always find something encouraging and positive to write in a comment, although usually I'm quite blunt in my daily face-to-face interactions.

As far as the constructive criticism vs encouragement conversation... I know we've had that conversation before. Personally, I'm good either way. I neither need, nor am I offended by constructive criticism. I have a pretty good idea of where I need to go as a songwriter, and usually when someone gives me a critique, I've already thought the same exact thing about the song.

That's not to say that I have nothing to learn. It's why I like listening to other song writers... especially those that use similar instrumentation. I listen to find out how they use their instrument differently. I listen for how they structure their songs differently. When I find a good songwriter here I listen, just like I do to my favorite artists for the things I struggle with and how they "do" them. I also like reading the forums. That's a great place to learn and get suggestions and get insight into other songwriters' processes.

I've never been upset or offended by any comments I've gotten, so people should feel free to say whatever is on their mind about my music. However, I think 50/90 is more the marathon. It's not often that you're running a marathon and someone on the side line or even one of the other runners starts giving you pointers on your form or pacing. It is just nice to know that someone is listening, whether they liked it or not.

I am a firm believer in being up front about your needs though. If you really want constructive criticism... or you really don't want it... say so in your liner notes. If I see a note about wanting help or suggestions... I'll give suggestions.

I'd describe my commenting strategy as well-intentioned, but fitful :P I get behind in the actual songwriting and feel like that's the priority, but that's foolish because listening to others is motivating and instructive. Usually aim for more comments given than received. I try to reciprocate comments, then target watchlist, zongs/newbies, a few randoms. I do try to pay attention to those who are supportive of the community, whether via rock hands or whom I see commenting thoughtfully themselves.

I'm here for the relentless positivity, to be honest Wink I criticise myself enough and generally on finishing a song it's not a NAILED IT feeling but more of "well that was awful, but it's 3am so I'll just put it out there". If I've got something I want particular feedback on, I'll ask for it in the liner notes, or ask people privately. I feel like 50/90 is for pumping out first drafts, there is room for critique and editing in the months to follow.

So I'm also here to give back relentless positivity. It's been really educational listening to all sorts of genres I normally wouldn't, and finding things to pick out that I appreciate. I like to give and receive comments that are specific about details, whether it be a line, a groove, an emotion. Generic "good job" comments are a bit bland to me.