The Comment Challenge: 31 Days to Being a Better Blog Citizen

28 04 2008

Commenting has been on my mind lately, thanks to a fabulous post and some recent conversations with Sue Waters. After talking about some of my struggles with consistently commenting, and the need for spreading the comment love all around the blogosphere, we, along with Silvia Tolisano and Michele Martin, decided to start a commenting challenge! Similar to the 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge from last year, but focused on commenting (obviously).

Here’s what we’re thinking so far (and we’d love your feedback):

We would like to have a month of focused commenting for those of us that are interested in becoming better blog citizens (thanks to Martin Weller for the phrasing) by actively participating in conversations and sharing your learning, especially with those new to blogging.

We would like to challenge participants to be better blog citizens tracking who is the commenter with:

  • The most comments on a wide range of blogs (not just the “top” edubloggers)
  • The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic
  • The comments that provoke and promote the most learning

Sue has even managed to secure monetary prizes from coComment and other sponsors (more details on the prizes soon).

So, what do you think? Would you like to participate? What can we do to make this a better/more interesting challenge? Are there any other (or different) categories we should include?

Image from premasager

Tags: comment08, commenting, comment, challenge, blog citizen, cocomment, Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, Martin Weller,



58 responses to “The Comment Challenge: 31 Days to Being a Better Blog Citizen”

    28 04 2008
      edtechworkshop (21:59:27) :     

    Yes, I will participate. This inspires me to get back to work on my blog, too, as I am a new blogger and would really love to get some conversation going on my blog. This is a great idea. It is hard to break in to the conversation sometimes.
    As far as another “category” to include…what about doing a similar type of challenge for our student bloggers?

    28 04 2008
      howhat (22:07:15) :     

    I love the idea, especially since I just started blogging I now know the importance of this activity. I now take every chance I have to comment. Just this morning I had my first comment and it felt so good. Amazing how such a simple act can have such a powerful effect.

    28 04 2008
      Jane Lowe (22:24:46) :     

    I often read blog posts via twitter and other bloggers I meet online but I have to admit I don’t often leave comments because I feel that I don’t have a lot to offer as most blogs I read I written by bloggers with far more blogging and IT experience than me. I realise this is silly as I know the comments I receive on our class blog and the comments the students receive on their pages are valued not only by my class and I but by the other readers of our blog. Talking the 31 day challenge will make me read blog posts with more purpose and thought for the writers.

    28 04 2008
      msdahl (22:31:13) :     

    Hi Kim,
    Since I’m ill and home from school today I saw your twitter, then Sue Water’s on this challenge. I would like to join the comment challenge! Truth be told, I don’t comment much at all even though I love to read, and I’m not so great at updating on twitter either. Maybe it’s the introvert in some of us that keeps us silent? Anyway, I’m up for it and it may also help me with my reflections, as I am taking the K12Online course for graduate credit right now. Thanks to those of you who thought of this comment challenge!
    Chris Dahl
    Media specialist
    Centerpoint/Parkview Elementaries
    White Bear Lake MN

    28 04 2008
      diane (22:48:49) :     


    I think it’s a wonderful idea, with or without prizes! As a relatively new blogger myself (under a year), I know how encouraging and empowering comments can be to a noobie.

    I’m not sure how you will evaluate, but I think it will be a wonderful chance for all of us to explore and expand.


    28 04 2008
      Robin Ellis (23:23:03) :     

    Hi Kim, I would like to participate, I will definitely benefit from commenting and being a better blog citizen. It is a great idea.

    29 04 2008
      Sarah Hanawald (01:03:06) :     

    I’d love to participate. I’ve been following several blogs for so long that I feel like I *know* the writers, and yet they have no idea who I am or how they’ve influenced my thinking and practice in the classroom. I ended up starting my own blog because I felt like I had to express myself somewhere. Now I know the *joy* that is blogging, I am already starting to comment more on others, even if it is a “quickie,” although I’ll try to be more thoughtful.

    29 04 2008
      Christy Tucker (01:10:32) :     

    Hi Kim, I’d like to participate, even if coComment’s inability to run on my system excludes me from any prizes. (It usually works for 1 comment right after I install, then crashes for everything after that. I’ve given up on that extension and use co.mments now instead.) I’m interested in the learning experience more than the prizes.

    It might be a little off the purpose of this challenge, but you might do something along the lines of “best reflective blog post based on comments.” I’m not sure if that fits here though, because I know you’re really focusing on the act of comments. I see the blogs posts and comments as supporting each other though. You could do a specific daily challenge for supporting comments on your own blog or posting about the comment conversation on someone else’s blog.

    I think a prize for best comments from a newbie blogger would be good too; let’s recognize someone who’s been doing this for less than 6 months or even 3 months. Just define whatever limit you want for “newbie.”

    Whether it’s for a prize or just a single challenge, I would like to see something about comments that reply to other commenters and encourage conversation. Michele has talked about this before–it’s the idea of having commenters talk to each other and not just reply to the blog author.

    29 04 2008
      Andrea Hernandez (01:11:47) :     

    me again (edtechworkshop). I commented above with the wrong blog url. So I just wanted to comment again with the url for my teaching blog (as opposed to my “teacher” blog).

    29 04 2008
      Lisa-Gaye Williams (03:35:36) :     

    Hello Kim
    Count me in!! After the day I had yesterday – lots of banging my head against members of the colour-inside-the-lines party it would be great to converse with some buddies who want to take up the challenge of colouring everywhere else but inside the lines! :-)

    29 04 2008
      Ann Oro (04:37:17) :     

    I think it’s a great idea. I try to leave comments on many different blogs and if I could make it a more thoughtful process all the better. Sue has recently gotten me to use both co.comment and cocomment. It will give me more inspiration to keep up what I’ve been doing.

    29 04 2008
      Anne Mirtschin (04:55:16) :     

    I would like to be part of the challenge as I have been a firm promoter of commenting and replying to comments, for rich conversations to develop, meaningful reflections and powerful learning occur. The value for both myself and students is so obvious now.

    29 04 2008
      rellis (05:05:01) :     

    I will join you, I want to become a better blog citizen, count me in.

    29 04 2008
      Inpi (05:32:39) :     

    Hello Kim,
    I’ll try to participate in the best way I can. In this moment I’m creating blogs to my students and, at the same time, we are learning how to work in the moodle platform in our school. So, I find little time to write and I only read “the top edubloggers”, as you say. In order to prepare a change of mentality I went into your first commenter’s blog, I entered one of hers students ‘ brand new blog and I’ve posted a comment to the student. Feeling better now, I’ll try to take your challenge.

    29 04 2008
      Sarah Stewart (06:47:39) :     

    You can count me in as well, Kim. Michele Martin has challenged me about hom..o.. something or another (, so I feel I need to get out and about more.

    I did the 31 Day Blog challenge and found that to be really useful:

    cheers Sarah

    29 04 2008
      hshawjr (06:59:09) :     

    Hi Kim – I will join in-it should be a hoot and will remind me that I can do more than I have…still pretty new at this, but having fun still. :)

    29 04 2008
      Lisa Parisi (07:02:39) :     

    Can this count as my first comment? ;) Seriously, I would love to join in but hope for further instructions. Do I need to sign up for cocomment?

    29 04 2008
      Kirstin (07:23:52) :     

    Hi Kim
    Count me in. I’ve been feeling really inspired by both your post and Sue’s post on the importance of commenting. I certainly get a buzz out of receiving comments from others. I’d already challenged myself to comment with greater regularity, so this will add a whole new dimension to it.

    29 04 2008
      Scott McLeod (07:47:43) :     

    I like the idea. I’m not clear yet how to participate, but I like it.

    Also, if there’s any way this can be helpful, please feel free to use it:

    29 04 2008
      Britt (07:52:09) :     

    In an attempt to help the gender ratio, I’ll be happy to join in. Comments make my day, so I need to spread the love myself and do a better job commenting to others. This is also an opportunity to break out of the “they are all just like me edubloggers” group that I am currently following and check out some new blogs.

    Great of you ladies to start this initiative!

    29 04 2008
      Nedra (09:36:35) :     

    I would like to join the challenge! Maybe I’ll whittle away at the 1000+ posts in my rss feeder! Or, maybe I’ll mark them all as read and start over when this begins. Keep me posted.

    29 04 2008
      MsMichetti (11:35:15) :     

    Great idea! I’m in, even without the prizes … I haven’t got CoComment set up yet, though. I’m new-ish to blogging as a participant but have been a blog “lurker” for several years now, so this will give me cause to reflect and focus on what I’m contributing. I also like your first criterion, pushing us to get out of the “main” edublogging stream. There is really so much great blogging out there.

    When does it start?

    29 04 2008
      Jo McLeay (12:31:04) :     

    Hey Kim, that is a great idea. One thing I notice with comments is that if you haven’t blogged for a while and someone out of the blue writes a comment on a previous post it can often start up the enthusiasm for blogging again. So I love it.

    29 04 2008
      Julie Lindsay (14:01:02) :     

    Kim, I’m in! Just what I need to focus on over the next month. My commenting has really fallen in a heap (lack of time mainly) but my intentions are good!
    Let me know final details and I will blog about it as well. You know I have never used coComment..about time I investigated it!
    Thanks for your inspiration.

    29 04 2008
      Marie (15:24:32) :     

    Great idea, good learning experience for educators to pass on to students.

    29 04 2008
      Miss W. (16:25:57) :     

    I’m in for the challenge. But I think another criteria should be about commenting on students’ blogs. They are the future top bloggers and we should give them all the encouragement we can. I’ve now got co.mment as an RSS feed, what else will we need to do?

    29 04 2008
      suz01 (17:16:03) :     

    Sound sliek a great idea – I’m in! Greta timing for me, just trying to get rolling wiht my blogging and reading again.

    29 04 2008
      suz01 (17:17:08) :     

    Dammit, that was embarassing. That will teach me to comment when I’m tired and typing too fast – sorry for the extreme typos. *blush*

    29 04 2008
      Joyce (18:01:02) :     

    @Kim and @JoMcLeay This can also be great way to kickstart your own blog again, commenting by using Trackbacks. Count me in.

    29 04 2008
      Aaron Smith (19:33:55) :     

    This sounds worthwhile – I’m in. The power of blogging comes (in part) from the conversation. Without comments that’s kind of hard to do, yet most of us are content to just sit back and “lurk.”

    29 04 2008
      blk1 (20:20:59) :     

    Count me in Kim,
    As a regular Slicer, I have also become very interested in the art of commenting. I would love to focus on that subject and I love blogging challenges, especially as my Summer Institute gets closer and commenting is a critical part of tech literacy.

    29 04 2008
      Carolyn Foote (20:32:37) :     


    I think this is an excellent way to model what we would like our students to be able to do–engage in conversation. One of our teachers was telling me that he heard in a workshop that conversation was the main way students learn.

    (Probably the main way most of us really learn, or change our opinions and grow?)

    I’m concerned about the prize portion or “categories”–because I would think that taking the time to comment should bring its own intrinsic rewards. And it’d be difficult to evaluate ‘best”? because that is somewhat subjective?

    But maybe a blog badge or something might be good for those participating–sort of an honor system like a diet ;) or honor code?

    I also think that one interesting part of this could be discussions about comments themselves–what makes for good conversation? How do we learn from those? What online tools like co-comment would help facilitate the conversation? How could we invite more non-bloggers in?

    Just a few thoughts–

    29 04 2008
      paulh (21:39:46) :     

    Hey Kim, What a cool idea – yup let’s give it a go, it’ll be fun :-)

    29 04 2008
      Sue Waters (22:05:09) :     

    Thanks everyone Kim’s been the busy one writing the posts. so I decided to help out with the commenting. What a great way to start modeling how you can help with comments.

    @edtechworkshop (Andrea) We agree about the students and have added in a category for them. Still working on all the specific details.

    @howhat Well for someone starting out you have done an excellent job with the embeds and I’ve left a comment.

    @Jane Lots of people feel like this about commenting but honestly it’s amazing how the simplest suggestion from a reader who sees the problem from a different view can help learning.

    @Chris Dahl It’s amazing how much you gain and learn from commenting. It’s worth it and if the challenge helps people with this it’s good.

    @Diane Not sure either how the decisions will be made. When we did the 31 Days To Build a Better Blog the whole learning and what we gained were so more important that any prize. So the prizes went to the MiniLegends which is what we all wanted. We made the decision that being winners was more important to children and if that act inspired them in life that was the best reward we could ever have.

    @Robin You are the ultimate blog citizen because you provide such excellent support and mentoring to the community.

    @Sarah I actually comment more on other people’s blogs now than write posts because I gain so much from commenting.

    @Christy They’ve been upgrading cocomment a lot recently and there are less issues. Have you tried recently? Regardless the challenge doesn’t mean you have to use cocoment it will just make it easier to track as a group. Thanks for your thoughts on categories and we have added them to the wiki as we think they are great ideas.

    @Lisa Glad for you to be joining us.

    @Ann I’m so glad that I use the comment tracking tools because it means I can engage in the conversations.

    @rellis glad for you to join us

    @Inpi Welcome! You will enjoy.

    @Sarah Stewart Looks like everyone is blaming Michele Martin which is really good. You and I both know the value of this as a result of the 31 Day Challenge and the good news is you are already an excellent commenter.

    @hshawjr (Harold) well work hard and making it fun; especially promoting the community aspect.

    @Lisa nope not as your first comment. Instructions are slowly coming through. You don’t have to use cocomment but it will make it easier to track comments.

    @Kirstin Glad we have inspired you and buckle up your seat belt we are in for a fun ride.

    @Scott mere details. Like the idea of the badge and have added it to the wiki.

    @Britt Valid point we need more males! You’ve got me thinking wonder what is the ratio of males in females in my twitter account. There are so many great blogs out there Britt with people sharing some excellent information.

    @Nedra maybe I need to start sharing my tips for staying on top of my feed reader? Glad to have you join us.

    @MsMichetti Planning to start on May 1. Great news is I will be able to plan it while you are a day behind ready for you on May 1.

    @Jo it’s funny how you go through stages with blogging. Glad to have you join us.

    @Julie Fantastic. Cocomment is good I feed it into my Googel Reader.

    @Marie My whole motivation for initiating the challenge was the fact that we need to make educators aware that the commenting conversation process is where the learning happens.

    @Miss W We’ve added a category for students and it may be that the teachers are going to have to make decisions on who is allowed to interact with them. E.g. students from different countries or what?

    @suz01 glad to have you also join us. I do mistakes all the time.

    @Joyce yes maybe it’s been good for these two and glad you are joining us.

    @Aaron if it gets people to move from lurking to commenting it’s all been worth it. And we need this to happen so educators realise they need to encourage commenting with student blogs.

    @Bonnie Commenting is so much fun and Kim’s thinking she can get me to do this all the time. Welcome to the challenge.

    @Carolyn This was the reason I proposed the challenge and schemed to make it happen :) . Agreed there are pluses and minuses with having prizes and categories. We used it last year with the 31 Day Challenge for Blogging. It worked well to encourage people to want to participate and was good for the intial incentive. Over the duration of the project we all discovered that the prizes were totally irrelevant and wasn’t our greatest gain. Our learning and the community we built were. Both prizes went to the students — the miniLegends. I would hope that similar happened this time because winning and it’s impact can mean so much more for our children or to non-profit cause. Definitely the whole discussion on what makes good conversations will be part of it all. Michele Martin will be coordinatine the activities. Good point about the non-bloggers. TO be a commenter you don’t have to be a non-blogger which hopefully will bring them in (I must remember to write that in my post).

    @Paulh Glad to have you joining us.

    Now I’ve responded I hope to everyone.

    Yep and it would have been easier to write group comments :) but there was points that I need to explain more.

    30 04 2008
      Kate Foy (07:50:24) :     

    Here we go. Another 31 days of fantastic collaborative learning. Great stuff! I’m in.

    30 04 2008
      Andrew Torris (14:55:52) :     

    Wonderful challenge Kim! I am on it myself and will write to it this evening before I take off for a long weekend in Hong Kong.

    Let’s see where this all goes!!


    30 04 2008
      Steven Kimmi (22:59:42) :     

    This is an excellent idea! I would love to participate and will actively pursue others within my PLN to get involved as well.

    1 05 2008
      Colin Warren (06:48:56) :     

    Ok, here goes – I’m in too. Participant #60 on the list. Looking forward to learning something and ‘sharing the love’.

    Thanks to the organisers – I’m impressed with your energy!

    1 05 2008
      Cheryl Oakes (07:29:56) :     

    This is perfect, why? Because we all love feedback and conversations! When I began blogging, I started out commenting on other people’s blogs. I felt comfort in extending the conversation.Then I was addicted to see if there were comments to my comments, there were. Now when I blog, I feel I am making a statement and reflecting on my practice and profession. I do love to read comments from people who are reading and reflecting on my writing. I am not alone in this journey. Come along for the ride.
    Cheryl Oakes

    2 05 2008
      joseantoniook (07:59:56) :     

    What a wonderful idea. I will participate. I love feedback and conversations and that is what blogs are for. I always love to leave comments in my friends blogs. I totally agree that it is important to raise awareness that blogs are a space for conversation and it is really sad to see a post with no comments.
    I love reading comments and replying to them. It is really a great idea.

    Hugs from Brazil

    2 05 2008
      Barb (16:30:53) :     

    Sounds like a good idea for me to learn more about blogging. Thanks for the opportunity. Count me in. Been away on holidays. What do I do

    3 05 2008
      mscofino (06:27:56) :     

    Wow! What a response to this challenge! I am so excited to have so many people participating (and commenting and blogging about it!) And, thank you so much to @Sue for responding to the first *huge* round of comments here! I’m simply overwhelmed by the response (in the best way possible)!


    Glad to have you with us!


    Thanks so much for joining – you’re setting the standard for admin everywhere!


    Thanks for joining and promoting the challenge!


    Awesome! Thanks for jumping on board!


    Exactly! I also think commenting and conversation shows a respect for people’s ideas, which is so valuable. Thanks so much for joining!


    Thanks so much for joining the Challenge!


    Just head on over to the wiki, add your name, check the day’s activity and get started commenting!

    4 05 2008
      dogtrax (05:49:38) :     

    You have 43 (no, make that 44) responses here, so that shows a great interest, right?
    Thanks for you and the others for taking the lead.
    I know my own commenting practice could use a bit of a boost and this challenge is one way to connect with other bloggers in (hopefully) a deeper way in the coming days.

    7 05 2008
      elpollo (07:32:38) :     

    This sounds like a good challenge, I am in. Blogging is another avenue for citizen journalism.

    13 05 2008
      Lynn (12:05:21) :     

    Hi Kim and all,
    i am starting a little late, but I would like to participate. I’m going to try to catch up, or at least start right now. I have been kind of intimidated by the idea of commenting, and hav ejust recently begun to do it, so this is a good opportunity for me to grow in my own blogging experience. Thanks! Lynn

    14 05 2008
      mscofino (22:09:23) :     


    I’m amazed at how many people are participating! What a great experience! So glad to have you on board :)


    Excellent! Glad you’re participating!


    No problem! Add yourself to the wiki and start commenting!

    25 05 2008
      Gladys Baya (00:37:51) :     

    Might you repeat challenges like this in January or February? For us in the southern hemisphere, it might be a great time to join in!


    26 05 2008
      mscofino (11:04:45) :     


    I’m not sure we would run the challenge again (it’s a big task), but you are more than welcome to do the activities whenever you like. We do have quite a few participants in the southern hemisphere right now – check out the wiki!

    21 07 2008
      Frances Manning (07:04:57) :     

    I’m interest too in being involved. This sounds like such a great idea…thanks for thinking it up!

    31 08 2008
      mscofino (10:50:12) :     


    Great! Thanks for joining and leaving a comment :)


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