To the commentators

“In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”

Source: “90-9-1” Rule for Participation Inequality: Lurker vs. Contributors in Internet Communities

With that in mind, this post is for the 10%.

You’ve taught me a huge amount by sharing your experiences of design, of the Internet, of life. You’ve kept me motivated. You’ve made me feel less like I’m sat at my desk working alone. In fact, I reckon there’s a good chance I’d have quit publishing blog posts if it wasn’t for your perspectives, suggestions, feedback, questions, answers. Quitting wouldn’t have helped keep me in self-employment.

Some blogs don’t have comment threads. Seth’s blog and the johnson banks thought for the week to name just two. Others turn comments on and off depending on the post. I can understand why.

Blog comment count

I started blog publishing in 2006. At the time of writing, there are 20,193 comments across 589 posts on this blog, 11,108 across 361 posts on Logo Design Love, and 877 on 85 Identity Designed posts. A total of 32,178, and an average of 18 “approved” comments every day for five years. In addition to moderating, reading, and thinking about every comment that’s submitted, I feel the urge to offer everyone a response, but I like to think you understand when I don’t always have time.

So for all you’ve given me, and for all you’ve given countless others who continue to learn from the insights you’ve shared, here’s to you, the 10%, the commentators.

Thank you.

A few interesting posts elsewhere about blog comments:

Commented Out, by Khoi Vinh
Why I don’t have comments, by Seth Godin
All these comments will be lost in time, like tears in rain, by Daniel Gray
Kill Blog Comments? by Oliver Reichenstein

29 responses

  1. Very interesting to see the number of comments you’ve picked up. More subjective but interesting would be trying to estimate the number of ‘valuable’ comments verses trolling and spammy efforts?

    I guess the good no. of comments comes down to providing worthwhile and commentable content, without which everyone would be quiet!

  2. David,

    thanks to you for authoring one of most consistent design blogs around…and for not using words like awesome, rad, amazing and mad skillz in your posts. Literate and articulate content is hard to come by these days.

  3. I’m definitely stricter these days when it comes to deleting spam comments, Kieran, and there’s no doubt I receive a ton. I also take some flak behind-the-scenes for deleting overly negative comments, but I’ve learned to take that as part of the game.

    Thanks very much, Andrea, once again.

  4. Thank you David for providing me with a regular insight into the graphics world. You give thanks to us as commenters, for which I am grateful, however, if the posts weren’t interesting or good enough we would not be here! So the thanks goes to you!

    I, even though I am a graphic designer for a small medical company, lose touch with what it means to be a design professional all too often. Especially when most of my work relies on my colleagues assuming that I am I.T. support! haha

    Your posts help me remember my roots!

  5. David–I’ll echo what Luke and Andrea said–thanks again for writing a blog with insight, coherent thought and consistent quality. It really is inspiring to read and has taught me valuable lessons, both nuanced and not so much. (For instance, your post(s) for design students and the consequent round-up helped me come to terms with the fear of going back to school, something I had been thinking about for far too long without action.)

    I’ve been a lurker for two years now–having rarely felt that I had something valuable to add to the conversation(s), I kept my mouth shut… err, fingers off the keyboard. Recently I’ve been feeling the need to participate as I am getting ready to launch a blog of my own, and I realize I need to practice my public speaking voice. However, the reasons go deeper than that. I value what you contribute to the design community and want to honor that contribution by joining the discussion. Along the lines you stated, I have felt for too long like I am working alone, plodding away at my desk struggling to find inspiration, only to realize (better late than never) that my participation–digital or analog–would help me design better, think harder and become the designer I’ve always wanted to be. As I have always seen design as a collaborative process, you, your readers, have been a principal, albeit virtual, part of that for me.

    Thus, I came to the same conclusion you did; contributing to online blogs and forums, creating a blog of my own would make me feel like I wasn’t at my desk alone. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the role you and your site has played in my creative life… just know that I do.

    Kudos David. Keep it up.

  6. Thank you David, as the other commentators have stated, for a regular and insightful blog. I look forward to your posts whenever they come in and I consider myself part of that 9%. I like to comment when I have something to say, but that isn’t terribly often. I know how great it is to get comments, as with my blog I get very few at this point, but each of those is wonderful to see.
    Hope you keep at it for a long time yet.

  7. I am subscribed to David Airey, Logo Design Love and few other blogs, but I get excited the most when I see an email update from one of your blogs David. Why? Andrea and Luke have said it: well written, consistent, and interesting content. So big thanks goes to to you! :)

    Even though I rarely comment, I still read all of your posts and always make mental notes in my mind. I know that doesn’t really help the discussion but I will be working on my time management so I can start contributing more in the new year!

    Keep it up David!

  8. This was a very sweet post. And I have very little experience in seeing bloggers actually thanking their commentators for making them feel wanted, like their posts actually mean something.
    I may be new to this site, but everything I have seen here since my discovery of it has been fantastic.
    You have taught me a lot in this short time, as I read your posts and they take me to other stuff and I learn about things in the Graphic Design area I did not know about ro even think about.
    So thank you for all that, and we all are unfairly busy in our lives, the fact that you take the time out to reply at all says something great!

  9. Thank you, David, for providing a great resource for graphic design inspiration… and for allowing me a look into your design process, it has been very insightful.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. and thanks goes to David for maintaining this source of reference, inspiration, encouragement, education, and discussion. How you make time is beyond me.

  11. Thanks for all the great posts David. I’ve been a quiet-reader with not much commenting lately due to workload, but I’m looking forward to how your blogs will progress in 2012 :)

  12. I’ll be honest that I’m part of the 90% mostly because you never know if your words mean something to the people who contribute so much. It’s almost like the Oprah syndrome of “what could I possibly say to Oprah that she doesn’t already know?”

    You have been a silent hero of mine for years just because of who you are, the work you do, the philosophies you share and the wisdom you give. I was a student when I first started reading your posts and referencing your work and now I’m an owner and founder of my own consulting business and I look back and just think how much I’ve grown and you being a part of that. It’s important to hear back from our audience, and I never realized how important it was until I had that lonely feeling at my desk wondering if it was worth it. It’s posts like these that let me (and others) know that we aren’t alone, and that it IS worth it.

    Thanks for your work and your presence in the design community. I will start posting more, and continuing to see the world the best way I can’t thanks for being an inspiration and I hope to collab with you in the future. :-)

  13. I feel like there’s an “Occupy” joke in here somewhere. First post ever, by the way. Joining the ranks of the 10%.

  14. David,

    Thank you so much for all you do to make our designer lives easier and better. Thank you for a generous heart that offers so much to us strangers out here in cyberland. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. It is not just the useful stuff that makes me return….it is the undefinable something that you give away that makes us want to come back. It’s like visiting a friend. Your blog makes one feel welcome when we visit. And you are missed when things get so hectic that the next visit has to be delayed.

    Catherine, thank you also for sharing David with us. :-)

  15. I’ll join the others in thanking you, David, for authoring one of the few blogs I look forward to reading.

    Best wishes to you and your family for the holidays and I wish you even greater success in 2012 – you thoroughly deserve it.

  16. David I’m glad you didn’t decide to quit blogging. You’ve given everyone a place to learn from each other, a discipline and an art form that can’t be learned the same way anywhere else, a place to be immersed in logo design passion and history, and a place for everyone to share their hard work with the world.

    With a crazy school, work, and family schedule to juggle, I apologize for not visiting your blog as much as I should have been but I am now on break from college for the holidays so I will be joining in on the discussions shortly. Oh I do have one question, have you ever thought about making a book of all of the posts from this blog?

  17. Been there, Luke, where colleagues come to you with IT problems because you work on a computer. Very happy to offer some content of interest to you. Cheers.

    Matt, best of luck with your own blog launch. In case you’ve not seen it, here’s an older post that mentions a few of the early blogging mistakes I made.

    Seven blog mistakes to avoid

    Jamie, I’m sure I’ll use some of the content here when it comes to my next book, and the aim is to sign a new contract with my publisher as soon as the details are finalised (within a few weeks).

    Thanks so much, everyone. I greatly appreciate your comments.

  18. Thanks David.
    Yet another reason I love reading the comments on this blog (I almost never read comments anywhere else)–your personal responses.

    Anyway, I appreciate the information, will be sure to read it. I know one thing I am definitely doing though: responding as much and as often to any comments I get on my blog.

  19. Thank you so much, David! I look forward to your posts and sometimes, just after a very busy period of time, I long for nothing more than to sit down and read all that I missed. That’s what I’m doing today. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  20. David, thanks very much for this post. I just love, when people show appreciation for each other. It is so essential, to be grateful.
    I’ve been a lurker to your blog for a while now and so far I wouldn’t dare to contribute, mainly because I’m not coming from the design community. However your way of writing is very human, so it’s easily accessible to those of us without any background in design. Thank you for that.
    Least but not last, you have a lovely sense of humor as it shows on your twitter :-)

  21. You too, Susan. Hope it’s a great one across the water.

    It’s a pleasure, Romana. Regardless of professional background, always good getting first-time messages from readers. Thanks for following me on Twitter, too.

  22. I love your blog and your work David. I must say that being in the company of you and many other talented designers has made me intimidated of posting my own comment.

    I am relatively new to design and don’t want to muddy the intelligent waters here with uninformed ideas. As I learn more through your blog and the comments, I would like to join the discussion here.

    Thanks for your hard work and devotion!

  23. Hello from a long-time member of the %90. I think a lot of new/young design students like myself have found your blog to be a hub of information and inspiration in our own fledgling studies. You’re a fantastic digital teacher and a refreshing departure from the sort of cavalier, sportsman attitude of many design oriented sites on the internet. Your eloquence and elegance is exactly what defines, to me, what the character of a true designer should be. It’s something I can only aspire to be someday! Thank you for all of your hard work and diligence, we all appreciate it. Keep it up.

  24. Hello David, and thank YOU! I’m a sometimes observer (or lurker) but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. I have to say the same, that you’ve taught me much by sharing your design experience and expertise, which has helped to keep me motivated while I sat at my computer, working alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *