Blog Comments: to respond or not respond

December 2, 2014
social-media-ppl

social-media-ppl

One thing I have learnt about blogging over the last 2+ years that I’ve been doing it is that there is a thing called ‘blogging etiquette’.   Blogging etiquette is something you pick up on very quickly once you immerse yourself in the blogosphere, and as a blogger it is important that you do because otherwise you could get yourself in a pickle, people might get the wrong impression of you, and you could end up getting a reputation you hadn’t bargained on!

If you want to make sure you’re up to speed on some blogging etiquette rules, here’s a great post that Robyn from ‘Mrs. D plus 3’ wrote in September: Bloggers Etiquette. 10 unspoken rules

I might be opening a can of worms here (and I’m feeling a bit nervous!), but one thing I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is any ‘rules’ about responding to comments on your own blog posts.

Blog-comments

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have no one specific in mind as I write this post so I’m not talking about YOU ok! 😉 This post is based purely on general observations over the last couple of years and my own curiosity!

I have my own personal rule with regards to comments on my blog. Comments on my posts make me happy! Any blogger would know that quite a lot of time and thought goes into writing blog posts, selecting an image to go with them and all the little bits of work behind the scenes before you finally hit publish. It makes all that effort worthwhile knowing that your post is being read and someone has taken the time to engage and comment. I also want to make sure that anyone who comments on any of my blog posts know that I have read and appreciated his or her comment. So, I made a vow to myself way back when I first started blogging that I would always respond to each and every comment on my blog and for 2+ years I have kept that promise and will continue to do so. In the unlikely event that I suddenly become famous and find myself getting hundreds or thousands of comments on my posts then I may have to reevaluate!!

I must also say that I do like it when I comment on someone else’s blog post and they take the time to respond to my comment. Firstly, it validates that they have seen and read my comment. Secondly, it makes me feel that they appreciated the time and effort I took to read and comment on their post. And quite importantly for me, it creates engagement and conversation which all helps to build relationships and networks and find like-minded people.  I like it!  I do find that if I comment on someone’s blog and they continually don’t respond to my comments, I am less likely to comment there again because I feel unseen, unheard, and I start to feel that my comment wasn’t appreciated.  In saying that, I am not always aware that my comment hasn’t been responded to.  It’s the comments where I feel that I have invested time, thought and emotional energy into that matter the most to me I think.  I might go back to those to see if there is a response and it can be disappointing if there is none.

blog comments

But there are no hard and fast rules that I have seen documented anywhere on this subject, so I have been wondering what others might be thinking.

What are some comment responding behaviours I’ve noticed around the blogs and when do I think it might it be acceptable to not respond to comments on your blog posts?

  • The majority of bloggers seem to respond to all comments on their blog posts! 🙂
  • If you’re one of the ‘big’ bloggers and are getting hundreds (or thousands!) of comments on each of your blog posts then yes – I think it would be incredibly difficult to respond to each and every comment (and keep your sanity) so for some of them it’s likely a time management decision has been made to not respond to any.
  • I must mention here that I have also seen some ‘big’ bloggers that DO still respond to all their comments and I take my hat off to them. They are amazing!!
  • Some bloggers (big, medium and small) respond to ‘some’ but not all. But then how do you choose who are the lucky ones and not feel bad for not responding to the others?
  • Some bloggers who are not one of those who get hundreds or thousands of comments on each blog post (so small or medium) are not responding to comments. I’m thinking that in these circumstances it’s likely to be a time management choice. Time is precious and you have to make personal choices on how you spend it. Perhaps their time is spent more on commenting on other people’s blogs and less on responding to comments on their own blog posts or perhaps they do their engaging on their blog’s Facebook page?  For me – if someone engages with me on my blog’s Facebook page – I nearly fall off my chair!!  😉

Blogging is a time-consuming gig so I’m not judging here (I wouldn’t be silly enough to follow up THIS POST with a judgy post). I’m intrigued though at what the blogging community and anyone reading who is not a blogger might think. So let’s find out. Here’s some hard-hitting questions to ponder and I’d love to hear your thoughts! 😉

Do you think it is ok to not respond to comments on your blog posts? Are there some situations where it is ok and others where it is not?  Do you think it is a personal choice for each and every blogger and completely separate to any general blogging etiquette rules or is there an unspoken blogging etiquette rule around this subject? Does it bother you if your comment on a blog post is not responded to? What are your thoughts generally on this subject?

Ciao for now,

Min-Signature

*Linked up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT
*All images used in this post are hyperlinked to their original source.

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50 Comments

  • Reply Caitlin December 2, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I think it’s nice for bloggers to respond to comments. Having said that I sometimes miss responding to people, or there is a delayed response. I find it difficult to find the time to write a blog post to begin with, (5 kids, including young triplets will do that) and finding time to respond to comments is in the same category, although I really do try hard because I want to engage with and develop the community at my blog. I’m not particularly bothered whether people respond to my comments on their blogs or not. I comment because I know it’s encouraging to the blogger, and don’t feel it’s necessary for them to respond, I will rarely go back and check if they have responded anyway, and normally only notice if Disqus sends me an email with their response. What I do think is rude is when people run linkys and never bother to respond in the comments to those who support their linkys and take the time to visit their site and post there. I know linkys are helpful to the bloggers, but particularly if you have a relatively small linky it would be good to post there. There are some Aussie fashion bloggers, (not mentioning any names), who I have posted on their linkys frequently and never even hear from the host. I don’t expect them to respond every time, but hey, I support their small little endeavour, it would just be polite to acknowledge and not be snobbish. Having said that, I still post on their linkys because it gives me good traffic, and they have an audience who comments, so it’s not all a lost cause. Essentially Jess is the absolute best for commenting on others blogs and her linky – especially by forming a team IBOT to help her out. That is what I call a generous blogger. (Hmmm, long comment, I’ve got on my hobby horse today!)

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Wow with 5 kids including triplets I am amazed you find time to blog at all let alone respond to comments on your posts!! I had twins and three kids under 3 so know how busy life is with little kids. Yes I think that Team IBOT is a brilliant idea because it is so important to make sure that everyone who links up with #IBOT gets a comment and feels appreciated for linking up. I do think that if you run a linky you have a responsibility to all of those that take the time to link up. It’s just good manners. 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ HandbagMafia December 2, 2014 at 7:03 am

    I try to respond to most comments. Sometimes a few days later, but I get there! At first I was a bit lazy with it, but like you, I appreciate a response to my comments on blogs so try to do the same.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 10:06 am

      I don’t think it is necessary to reply straight away. Sometimes I reply soon after (if I’m still online), sometimes later in the day and sometimes the next day or so. The main thing is that it’s my intention to eventually respond to all comments. 🙂

  • Reply Lisa @ Mummy's Undeserved Blessings December 2, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I respond to almost all of my comment. Sometime I get a little behind when things get busy. I love responding but I often wonder whether anyone actually sees the response. I hardly ever check back in when I write a comment and I rarely get notifications that someone has responded. I wonder whether the same happens with those who comment on my blog. I try not to feel guilty about it. I prefer to communicate with my followers over social media anyway.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

      You’re right in that sometimes people never know that their comment on a post was responded to. I like it when I get an email notification telling me that there has been a response to a comment I have left on a blog post. Sometimes I intentionally go back to a post to see if the blogger has responded because I might be interested in hearing what they say. I understand busy though – so I guess we all have to make our own decisions about how we prioritise how and what we do around our blogging life and all that it entails! 🙂

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life December 2, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Being a new blogger I don’t get that many comments. So I am grateful for the comments I do get and think that it is only courteous if someone has taken, not only the time to read my post but also the time to comment about it, then I should reply to them to. I love reading and commenting on other peoples blog posts also.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

      I don’t get that many comments either Ingrid and I’m 2+ years down the line. If I didn’t link up with blog links I would get far less and probably often – none! So I too am very grateful for any comments I get. Blogging can be a lonely thing and those comments are what keep me going. 🙂

  • Reply Michelle@myslowlivingadventure December 2, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I think that everyone who reads a post should have to make a comment!!! Imagine that. You can’t leave my website unless you at least tell me what you thought. Good, bad or otherwise!!

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Haha – what a great idea! I would have SO many comments! There are many that read and flee aren’t there. I guess I have been guilty of that, as have most of us! 😉

  • Reply Josefa @always Josefa December 2, 2014 at 10:43 am

    First and foremost, if it is your blog – then the rules on how to do anything on that blog and exclusively your rules. I once never replied to blog comments – and now I do – if feels better when I do. Weird but it does. However, when it comes to giveaways I feel like perhaps I shouldn’t?! I don’t know, haven’t quite figured that one out….

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

      That’s true Josefa. Our blog is our own and how we run it is our own choice. I do believe that also. I know what you mean about giveaways. I have always felt uncomfortable responding to comments on those posts as I don’t want to appear to show any favoritism etc. Next time I think I will make a statement within the post that I will not be responding to comments on the post for that reason 😉

  • Reply Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me December 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    So my take on this has changed. Up until 8 months ago I used to reply to every single comment, that was usually about 30 to 40 for EVERY blog post. But now instead of doing that, unless it’s a burning question someone wants answered, I head over to that person’s blog to pay my respect and thanks that way. It’s a better use of my time and I’m sure they appreciate it, unless of course it’s something I feel compelled to reply to!

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Oh Em you’re one of the most generous bloggers I know of! To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed that you had stopped responding to comments on your posts as you comment on just about every one of my blog posts so you’re a constant presence in my blogging life and yes I do appreciate your visits and comments on my blog! I understand your choice – especially if you’re getting 30-40+ comments per post (lucky you!!), juggling kids and working from home. I do both – respond to comments on my blog posts and then return the favour by visiting the commenter’s blog and making a comment on their post – BUT – I’m not getting all that many comments so I can manage it. I also no longer have small children, and I don’t always get it right. I can sometimes overlook returning the favour back to the another blog. If ever I were to start getting lots of comments, then I would probably find myself in a situation where I would have to make some choices to make the best use of my time too. xo

  • Reply iSophie December 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Well this post makes me feel all kinds of guilty! 😉 I have 5 boys, youngest is 7 months and I do not respond to comments. Usually it is just too hard as lately I have not even been able to blog. I also mainly blog for my family/friends to keep up to date. So I think you are doing an awesome job! I hope to get back into blogging more soon, as last year we renovated (basically added a whole extra house on) whilst living in the space and then I was pregnant aswell, it kinda put a dampener on blogging (and builders…). #teamIBOT

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Oh no Sophie – don’t feel guilty! Us mothers lay enough guilt on ourselves as it is. Wow – you have been busy!! I really don’t know how you find time to blog at all with 5 boys and the youngest being 7 months. Renovating whilst living in the house, being pregnant, and with four boys must have been a whole lot of fun! lol Bet it’s worth it now with all the extra space! 🙂

  • Reply Cam @ Gen-Y Mum December 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Only really trying to build my blog’s community the past year or so, I respond to comments on my blog more like a stalker … as instantly as I’ve read it. I don’t get many commenters and doing my homework around building a community engagement is key. I like how it encourages conversation and able to gain more insight into the blogger as they respond to your comment – I like it. The action of commenting and replying has also made me a more confident person. I find I’m more comfortable to talk to random people or ask difficult or stupid questions.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      It’s hard work building up our own little blog community so good on you for efforts! I like to get a bit of a conversation happening on my blog and I like to make everyone who comments on my blog feel valued for taking the time to do so. I really do appreciate it! We all have our own ways of doing things, and a lot of how we decide to do these things depends on our circumstances. My circumstances for example would be very different to yours! It’s wonderful that blogging has helped make you feel a more confident person. How fabulous is that! 🙂 x

  • Reply Janet aka Middle Aged Mama December 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I’m with Em from HALOM – used to respond to all – but it got too time-consuming. And often, there’s not a lot I can say in response, I can only say “Yes!” and “LOL ;-)” so many times. (Hubster used to read it and thought it was wierd how I replied to everybody!). So I respond when I feel prompted to or I have something to add to the conversation. I do try to visit and comment on my commenter’s blogs though!

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      It’s all time consuming – this blogging thing – which is why you have to love it to do it! 🙂 My thinking is that based on our own individual circumstances, we each need to weigh up and decide how we best use our time and what is most important to us.

  • Reply Janet aka Middle Aged Mama December 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    PS having said that, I can think of one blogger in particular that rarely/if ever responds to my comments which over time has meant that I’ve gone off their blog a bit! Feel like I’m not in the in crowd or something!

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I have had a similar scenario. A couple of well known bloggers who I admire that never acknowledge or respond to my comments and often my comments have required deep thought and have been heart felt. I still read there, still admire them, but I don’t bother commenting anymore.

  • Reply Carla from My Yellow Heart December 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I think it’s important to comment, particularly when I’ve really enjoyed reading a post. The annoyance for me is that I often read blogs on my phone which makes commenting hard at times. So I try to only read blogs on my computer. But time is an issue too! x

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Commenting on a blog is always a nice thing to do but how do you feel about responding to comments on your own blog posts and/or having others respond to your comments on their blog posts? 😉 x

  • Reply Toni @ Finding Myself Young December 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I try to make an effort to respond to all comments on my blog, unless they’ve just made a stock standard comment like great post or nice pic. I do occasionally miss some if I get comments on old posts, purely because I miss the notification and don’t know that there’s a comment. I usually also go and visit the persons blog. I know sometimes I’ve gone back to blogs to see if my comment has had a response and I’ve gotten very deflated when they haven’t, especially when I’ve asked a question. I’m not sure if people even come back to my blog to check if I respond, but I’d like to think at least some of them do and thats why I always respond.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      I can so tell if someone has given my post a quick scan and not really read it! lol I still reply to those stock standard comments like ‘great post’ or ‘nice pic’ but I return the effort with a brief ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks’. I don’t go back to every comment I make on blog posts – but I do for those ones where the post has particularly touched me, or where I have invested time and emotional energy in wording a heart felt comment and wonder if it helped or touched the person for whom it was written, or where I have asked a question and am wondering what the answer might be.

  • Reply Lisa December 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    That is one of the reasons I put the plugin Comment luv on my blog so that people would get a return message that I answered their comment. I do get slack on replying to comments but get there eventually. I have been trying harder the last few months to lift my game. I personally think we should reply to our comments but I don’t have 40-50 comments to answer daily either hehe

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      When this new blog was put together for me, i asked that the commenting system be one that notified people when I responded to their comments. I’m not sure if it does? If it does – can you let me know? I’d love some confirmation on whether it does because if it doesn’t then I would like to rectify that. I like getting emails that show me the response to comments I have made on other blogs!

  • Reply Hugzilla December 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I reply to everyone. Blog comments seem to be a dying art (in lieu of social media comments these days), so I like to make a point of acknowledging every one who leaves a message for me.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Good for you! I feel the same! I do understand that every blogger has different circumstances and some get way more comments than others. I completely respect that each individual has a right to make their own decisions on what they do on their own blog but for me – right now my decisions are based on what I like or expect for myself. You know that age old saying “do unto others as you would have done unto you”? So, I aim to make every person who comments on my blog – seen, heard and appreciated for the time they took to read my post and comment, and I return the favour on their blog (if they have one).

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages December 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I definitely try to respond to every comment on my blog and I try to visit their blog (if they have one) to respond in kind. It can be hard sometimes when people just write a quick superficial comment like ‘great post’ to find something unique to respond with. It sort of makes me feel like they didn’t really read my post, but it is nice that they left a comment at all just to say that they were there. And yes, I feel a bit ignored when I don’t get replied to when I take the time to comment on posts. I think this is all just common bloggy ettiquette – the unwritten rules I suppose.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      If I get those ‘great post’ or ‘nice pic’ comments I reply with the same amount of effort – a brief ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks’ 😉 I like to respond to all comments on my blog so that each commenter feels appreciated for their effort and plus I also like to engage and get to know people! 🙂

  • Reply EssentiallyJess December 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I really try to reply as much as possible. Some weeks it doesn’t happen. Or I get halfway through the IBOT ones, and never get to the rest. I do love comments though and do value them so much so I want to say something back.
    Having said that, there are often times when there’s not a lot you can say.

    • Reply Min December 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      You do a fab job Jess – especially considering how many (HEAPS) of comments you get. I also think the Team #IBOT idea of yours was brilliant. It’s wonderful that everyone who links with #IBOT will at least get that one comment from Team #IBOT. Brilliant! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Zita December 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    This is something I know that I struggle with and have pangs of guilt about. I try to respond as much as possible but it is often a few days later so I go with the “better late than never” approach.
    I do find it difficult to respond to some comments though as they are sometimes general statements, so respond with a “thanks” and hope that’s enough.
    I too have stopped reading certain blogs due to lack of engagement from the writer. I used to read a blog written by someone doing the 12wbt at the same time I was and I would constantly comment on their posts asking them questions and never getting responses. Made me feel ignored and put me off wanting to engage with that person. I certainly hope I have never made anyone feel like that.

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 7:37 am

      I did the 12wbt in 2011 Zita. I lost quite a bit of weight but the amount of exercise required was a bit much for me to cope with! I still eat 12wbt Mish recipes to this day though! I don’t always respond on the same day to comments. If my life is really busy or I’m away it can sometimes be several days before I reply … but I always do reply eventually – unless I miss one by accident. I don’t think we should carry guilt about our blogging. I think we make a decision on how we want to run things and what feels comfortable for us and then we just go with it 😉 x

  • Reply Deb@ inner compass designs December 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I was like you and set myself the goal of replying to every comment. I have mostly done so over the years. Have missed some due to either crazy times for me or comments on old posts. I used to reply same day but these days I tend to need days to get back to reply as this is just the fastest busiest year ever. Xxx

    Btw your cement system does send us notification if you tick the box asking for follow up comments.

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Deb – I’m the same. I sometimes reply on the same day, sometimes the next day, sometimes days later. It depends on how busy I am and what is going on in my life etc. Thank you for letting me know about my own comment system LOL!! I hadn’t even noticed that box there. I guess it’s coz you don’t generally comment on your own posts – just reply to others comments 🙂

  • Reply Renee Wilson December 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Min, I’m the same as you. I respond to every single comment on my blog. If I ever miss any it’s by accident. My belief is that if people have taken the time to read my blog and respond then I am going to acknowledge that. I also write for the connection with people. I am interested in people’s opinions on certain things and I like to have mini discussions with them. One problem with my blog though is that people aren’t notified when I respond to their comment. I really need to rectify that in the near future. Great post. I’ve enjoyed reading through everyone’s comments.

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 7:50 am

      The commenting system on my last blog was like yours – didn’t let people know when I responded to their comment, so I knew with this new blog that having the capacity for commenters to be notified of my response was something I wanted. I do like to reply to all comments on my blog. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t. I’m not sure what decisions I would make if all of a sudden I was getting say 50+ comments per post. I would have to be in that position to know for sure. It’s been quite nerve-wracking to raise this subject by pressing publish on this post but I think it is good to get a sense of how everyone feels about it and to gain an understanding of all the different circumstances that everyone operates under etc 🙂

  • Reply Grace December 3, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Personally, I don’t think there are any hard, fast rules. You do what works best for you and your followers and readers will usually respect that. I don’t have much time to respond to comments on my blog but I will ALWAYS endeavour to go and visit said commenter’s site. That to me is more thoughtful and considerate.

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      No, certainly no hard and fast rules and nor should there be I don’t think. I believe each person has a right to do what feels right and works for them. It seems from the comments that choice will differ from blogger to blogger. The various opinions I’ve read here have been eye opening and helpful to understand the many variations of ways that bloggers deal with their blog comments and why. I think reading all the different points of view will be helpful to bloggers all round – which is why I decided to go with my curiosity and do this post – as nerve-wracking as it has been! 😉

  • Reply Jess December 3, 2014 at 11:25 am

    As a new blogger, I certainly take the time to reply to people’s messages-but I have the luxury of time to do that (and only a few comments per post if that). I definitely see that some of the medium-bigger blogs would struggle. But I do know that when I have made several comments to a blog and never gotten a response, I tend to stop commenting and even stop reading in some cases. Thanks for the thought-provoking post 🙂

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      The decisions made would definately be impacted by the number of comments you get. I don’t get that many usually (though I’ve had a few for this post!! LOL) so I can usually manage to respond to all and return the favour by commenting on their blog etc. Thank you for the thank you!! It has been a difficult post for me as I am not sure that is has won me any fans and I do have concerns that the intention of this post is not quite understood. The intention was for an open dialogue of thoughts and perspectives so that we better understand each others choices and why etc – certainly not to be judgemental or induce guilt! Moving on now …. 😉

      • Reply Jess December 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        I think the way you wrote it was quite neutral and inclusive to different opinions 🙂

        • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

          Thank you Jess – that was what I was trying to do! 😉 x

  • Reply Jess - Peachy Keen Mumma December 3, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Glad you brought this up – Pip who runs Blog school talks about this in her course. I think the same thing. Someone went out of their way to read your blog, and not only that – they also left you a comment. Surely that’s worth a response. I get that it’s not always possible to reply to every comment, sometimes I don’t even know what to reply back. HA! I’ve commented on another’s blog several times. They can be kind of witty so that’s a draw card to come back but I don’t think she’s ever responded to me, and she has certainly never visited my blog and left a comment back. That’s the next best thing – when that blogger begins a sort-of relationship with you by doing the next best thing and visiting your blog. It’s like when you like another bloggers FB page and you say “hello” and they don’t give you a like back- COME on!! Let’s share the love. ha! Overall I find this blogging community quite positive though.

    • Reply Min December 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks Jess! Great to hear that Pip talks about this in her Blog School! I have never seen or heard it discussed anywhere in the 2+ years I’ve been blogging! It was a hard post to hit publish on but I decided to brave it. I may have inadvertently pissed off a few people which was SO not my intention – but I think it was worthwhile regardless – coz lots of us all got to read and share the opinions and thought process behind the various decisions being made with regards to blog comments. It provides a clearer understanding of each other all round I think. I’m exhausted now by the nervous tension of it all though and I don’t think I’ll be posting anything like this again for quite some time! LOL

  • Reply ann December 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    100% guilty of not replying. I try to comment with a reply via the persons blog or twitter etc when I am doing the blog reading rounds. I just don’t have time to squeeze it all in. I do appreciate every comment, every single one.

    • Reply Min December 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      We all have our different ways that work for us. Reading through the comments of this post can attest to that! We are all in different situations – eg time available to us, volume of comments, preferred social media habits etc. I think every blogger appreciates all their comments regardless of whether they reply or not 😉

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