Who Reads Blog Comments?

Noah from Okdork.com asks: Why do people leave comments?

Makes me wonder who actually reads them… Is it only the blog owner and fellow commenters or does a wider audience read the comments?

I read blogs in an RSS reader and therefore never see comments. Is this representative for 10% of the readers? 80%?

The worst comments are the “great post dude”, “very insightful” and others that do not add any value. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I don’t read comments. Added value is too sparse.

In fact I get aggravated by pointless comments because I feel like someone is wasting my time. Same goes for the IE blog where there is usually a 2 line introduction of who writes the given post. I often find myself thinking “get out of my way and give me the content”. Feed reading is about sucking up as much information as possible in the most efficient way to me. Maybe because I’m subscribed to about 100 feeds.

So how does this fit in with “My readers are smarter than me”? (Picked up via Scoble but originally from Dan Gillmor I think.) Well, it probably doesn’t. But I don’t feel like I’m missing out too much. Or do I? Some bloggers update their posts with hints to insightful comments or even include quotes. This is much appreciated!

[Update] I was first writing this post in Noah’s comments. I think it adds more value to the conversation as a standalone entity. I made it its own blog entry where it becomes referable. The conversation (the essence of blogging) can happen on 2 levels: Within the comments on one blog or spanning multiple blogs and posts. Both come with a lot of noise but I prefer the second one.