New Feature: Like/Dislike

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It seems that the number of commenters on this blog has dropped significantly while unique visitors count has risen to slightly over 1,000 each weekday. I have installed a like/dislike feature at the end of every post as an alternative to commenting. You do not need to register or use any other service. Please participate by clicking on one or the other. This feedback helps me and also creates a more collaborative feeling. If you have mixed feelings about the post and cannot choose whether to like or dislike it, then feel free to leave a comment.

Let’s set a goal of 250 likes or dislikes on a non-roundup post (but you can like/dislike roundups also) and see if we can reach it. I know 25% participation is optimistic but you have to aim high.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

30 comments

  1. I regularly only read the blog through a Google Reader account. Thus, if I do not comment I will never see the like/dislike buttons – which I would otherwise use. I wonder how many of your readers fall into a similar boat.

  2. I’m in the same situation as Nate- I generally read through my NetNewsWire account, and only check the page when I want to read the comments.

    Also, don’t you think you’ll get frustrated about posts with lots of dislikes and few comments explaining why?

  3. Have you thought about a like/dislike for comments?

  4. I suppose part of the reason why your comments have ‘fallen’ off is because post on other blogs which have the same ‘stories’. These other blogs have an ‘anchor’ man who regularly replies to their comments. If comments are replied to they increase.

  5. I suppose part of the reason why your comments have ‘fallen’ off is because they prefer to post them on other blogs which have the same ‘stories’. These other blogs have an ‘anchor’ man who regularly replies to their comments. If comments are replied to they increase.

  6. “It seems that the number of commenters on this blog has dropped significantly while unique visitors count has risen to slightly over 1,000 each weekday.”

    I suspect it is because you don’t really have a way for people to comment anonymously anymore-an e-mail address is required.

  7. I, personally, have stopped commenting often because I dislike having to give you my email address each time, which potentially lets you know who I am.

  8. why not create an anonymous email account just for blogging?

  9. I read all your posts in Thunderbird and rarely ever comment. I don’t plan on voting like or dislike unless I feel very strongly one way or the other.

  10. Nonsense e-mail addresses like [email protected] work just fine. The system has no way of knowing it’s not a real address

  11. yes, you can use a fake email

    “commenters on this blog has dropped significantly”

    don’t try and fix what isn’t broken. maybe i’m wrong, but it seems that everytime you try a new format the comments shrink.
    seriously, why is the current format any better than the original one?

  12. Thanks for all your comments!

    I removed the requirement for an e-mail.

    The issue is not the number of comments but the number of commenters.

    Do RSS readers affect the hit and visitor counts? I don’t think so.

    emma: I don’t want commenters to feel like they will be rated. That takes a thick skin which they might not have.

  13. I’ve never seen a commenting system that was as friendly as haloscan. As far as I can see, commenting in the J-blogosophere dropped off considerably when the clean, intuitive and simple haloscan disappeared.

    Also, as Aaron said, the blogger needs to comment a lot to keep the comments going.

  14. Many previous posts of mine have been ignored. By that I mean just saying I am wrong with no reason given. Like the one I claim that all kesubos are posul or that with kedem grape juice the laws of stam apply.
    I imagine commmentators prefer debates, and not just to be told if one is wrong or right. I gave reasons with references for my position, I expected reasons back not just a ‘psak’.
    And to be told ‘everyone’ is doing it, is also not a valid reason.
    If you want comments and more commentators, you have to improve your response to them. Its not enough writing a post and expecting the public to ‘sort’ it out by themselves.
    The post ‘writer’ has to expect to reply to whatever a ‘comment’ throws at him.

  15. “I don’t want commenters to feel like they will be rated.”
    fair enough.

  16. I’ve stopped commenting because I’ve grown so tired of the many Hirhurim “regulars” who cast a pall on this blog. On the whole, I find them to be arrogant, self-righteous and too often scurrilous in their comments about any individual or institution to MO’s right. And when challenged they invariably take umbrage, dissembling in outbursts of feigned insult and innocence. And so, I simply no longer bother engaging the disagreeable curmudgeons who dominate Hirhurim. I can only wonder as to how many others, feeling the same way, have dropped out as readers and commenters.

    Let the lambasting begin. It’s what so many folks here do so well.

  17. Shua,
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion/perception as stated in the first paragraph. Might I inquire what the purpose of the second paragraph was ?
    KT

  18. Joel:

    “Let the lambasting begin. It’s what so many folks here do so well.”

    If this is the paragraph (statement) that you’re referring to, my purpose was as follows: in the era when I did (on occasion) venture forth with a contrarian (albeit, hopefully respectful) viewpoint, directed at another commenter, I was (on too many occasions) answered with personal insult, invective and questions about my _________ (fill-in-the-blank: intelligence, integrity, honesty etc.) So…I was just expressing my expectation that it would happen now, as well, and therefore perhaps prevent that very thing (reverse psychology?) 😉

  19. OK that seems reasonable but keep in mind that it also could be read as someone looking to give a “shtuch”. while I don’t know that I agree with your perception, I can certainly sympathize with your reaction based on that perception. I can only counsel that you consider keeping up the good fight.
    KT

  20. Your comment about “keeping up the good fight” got me to thinking. On typical Hirhurim comment threads — especially if the main post contains such key phrases as “Agudath Israel,” “R. Avi Shafran,” “da’as Torah,” or “post-Orthodoxy,” and the like (all of which are considered by some Hirhurim commenters to be “fighting words”) — things do appear to me to often degenerate into just that…nasty little “fights,” not the “GOOD” fight that you referred to.

    By way of contrast, I never fear to tread in any thread on, let’s say, Cross-Currents; with all due respect to Gil Student (whose writings I very much enjoy), I find the milieu for discourse/debate there much more…shall I say…invigorating (as opposed to denigrating). After reading some comments on Hirhurim, I actually feel “dirty” (in a sense that my neshama has been sullied). This is never my experience on Cross-Currents.

    It is the moderator who, ultimately, decides on the tenor of the blog. And so, I can only surmise that, for whatever are his reasons, R. Gil likes things to occasionally get “down and dirty.” But, I’m afraid that it’s just too much for me; I don’t think that many of the threads here represent the best of Torah discourse. And so, returning to the original question concerning the decline in Hirhurim participants, I am speculating that a percentage of ex-participants may be similarly turned off by the low-level of discourse on Hirhurim and stay away.

  21. That’s an especially sweet irony since I have gone off and on checking cross currents over the years for exactly the mirror image reason and it was actually what I was thinking about when I wrote about keeping up the good fight !

    KT

  22. It’s probably because you changed your blog and commenting template. I personally don’t like how its structured right now.

  23. Can you be more specific about what you don’t like?

  24. i didn’t get the comments here on this new blog for a while – i think you fixed whatever was going wrong for me on firefox (thanks). maybe some ppl got a bit out of the habit of commenting while comments weren’t showing for them (i know i did…)…(this only explains a group of ppl who had trouble w/ the commenting system initially, but maybe this is one factor)

  25. The commenting looks like a forum now. Which I hate. I agree with S. There was something to haloscan that made commenting simpler, easier on the eyes and for some odd reason, beckoned me to comment more. No gray blocks no nothing. Also you only have 23 comments, yet I feel like I have to scroll much more now than before. It just makes commenting a burden now (I know that sounds silly, but…you know). I also like having my comment window separated so I don’t have to scroll all the way back up to read the post.

  26. I hate when my comments get deleted for lacking the sophistication of posters whose vitriol is worse then mine, if not in form than in substance. Not everyone whent to college, Rabbi. Some of us just studied Jewish Practice, Jewish Customs, Jewish History, Bible, Miscellany, and Major Treatments on internet blogs. Please consider this.

  27. It gets to be so incredibly boring when you spend time discussing what
    brocho must be made over chewing gum–leaving aside all the vital current
    events in the Jewish world. And also–the utter snobbishness of all the
    abbreviations and acronyms, that are never explained for the unwashed masses. Yes–it is becoming boring–like cold cholemt.

  28. Gil,
    Maybe it is just me but… I have been feeling that the blog has become much more closely associated with your view of the world. Or your view has become more assured and less tentative. In any case, I find myself less and less in agreement with you (or your tone) about the topics you choose to write about.
    On the other hand, it is your blog and you are not rude to those who comment with opposing views.
    (I also have a sense that the comments are more likely to get hijacked by a few commenters. But I am not so sure about this observation.)
    I had made these personal observations before you shared the information about the drop in the number of commenters. But it is possible that there is a relationship.

  29. What matters more, the number of commenters, or the total amount of information in the comments? The recent Ramban thread may not have had too many separate commenters, but it Was certainly interesting to see David Berger and Jerry going up against one another.

  30. I dont like the new format of the blog and agree with S and Holy Hyrax about the format in the new comment section. Plus personally I have less time.

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