The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Front porch changes to a sidewalk cafe

Sidewalk cafeI consider our blog to be like our front porch, which means it feels rude not to respond to comments folks leave on our posts.  After all, if you slogged through the mud to get here, the least I can do is to tell you how much I appreciate your feedback.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm going to have to change my worldview slightly.  While I love the new ideas bouncing around as a result of our increased traffic, lately I've been spending more time answering comments than writing my daily post.  I'm afraid it's starting to feel more like a mob of strangers shouting questions while trampling my asparagus than like a neighbor dropping by.

So I'm going to preserve my sanity by metaphorically moving the comments section to a sidewalk cafe just across a white picket fence from my front porch.  I'll enjoy listening to the community discussions drifting in my open window, but probably will only drop by occasionally to put in my two cents' worth.

Talking across fenceThat means I probably won't be responding to intriguing ideas folks toss out, although they will definitely be percolating through my mind and perhaps coming forth in the garden and in later blog posts.  Questions that are easily answered by typing your keywords in the search box on the sidebar will also get skipped, which will hopefully leave me time to respond to questions that aren't answered in previous posts.

I hope my new policy of answering fewer comments won't keep you from sharing your views, and I apologize in advance if you feel slighted by my lack of response.  It's not that we're getting too big for our britches; it's that the Walden Effect is out-growing our farm and turning into a community all its own.  Hopefully the new feature in which later comments get emailed to previous commenters will allow you all to churn up a vigorous discussion even if I'm hiding behind my metaphorical white picket fence.

Our chicken waterer keeps the hens talking up a storm as they lay plenty of eggs.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Of course, do whatever you need to in order to keep your own sanity and happiness! :) Having said that, I will admit that I will be far less likely to leave a comment, knowing that I won't be getting a response. One of the things I've always loved about your blog is that you do respond personally, so it's always felt like being part of a friendly and interesting conversation (rather than just leaving my two cents on some stranger's "front lawn", heh). So I guess that I'll be turning into that neighbor who is always peeking over the picket fence to see what you're up to, but keeps to herself as far as what she thinks about it. (Hmm, that sounds vaguely creepy, but I only meant that I will continue to read and enjoy your blog; I just won't be leaving comments. :) )
Comment by Ikwig Sat Oct 20 09:11:09 2012
I agree with ikwig that was what made it such a friendly place.
Comment by Olan Sat Oct 20 09:51:12 2012

I'm ok with that. This blog is just going to keep on growing.

P.S. This means Mark will have more posts right? ;)

Comment by Marco Sat Oct 20 09:52:02 2012

Change is good. After the flood of comments to your trailer post, I thought that it would be really cool if you had a discussion board. You get a lot more comments on your blog than I do, and it definitely has started to feel more like a place to come and discuss things. Maybe sometime in the future you can create a board with some of your most popular topics, so people can linger on old topics and discuss at their leisure. If your more active, trusted participants can serve as moderators, you won't have to do all the refereeing. Just a thought.

I've always been amazed to see you keep up so well, so I'm not at all surprised that you need to back off a bit.

Comment by Sara Sat Oct 20 10:59:39 2012

I am always surprised to get responses to my comments, although they ARE nice and appreciated. :D

Maybe the surprise is from my own day job where the authors only respond in the forums where we can keep the trolling down and the topic on topic.

That said, I love the ability to get future comments emailed to me, but am a bit ... erm, un-nerved... disconcerted... with the fact that I get to see everyone's IP address along with their comment. That is something I think of as private, as private as an email address if not more so. Don't know if you can remove that before sending out the replies. That would be awfully nice. :D

Comment by c. Sat Oct 20 15:04:32 2012

I appreciate everybody's thoughtful replies. You're all right --- like Ikwig, I tend to lurk instead of post in places where I don't get a reply, but like Marco, I understand that the blog is on a growing trend that's going to make it harder and harder to keep up with the comments. Hopefully we can all find a middle ground!

C, I hadn't even noticed the IP address being emailed to everyone. I'll point it out to my brother and see if I can get it fixed. Thanks!

Comment by anna Sun Oct 21 09:47:41 2012
Anna, I don't usually comment on blogs, but feel that I should on this occasion. I read many blogs, that the writer only answers occasional comments, or perhaps with one answer to several readers. I have also read many where the writer has had to stop answering comments like yourself because that takes them away from the job in hand. But yours is the only blog that I read that not only makes a daily post, but usually more than one. It has always amazed me that you find the time to post so many blog entries as you do. I am sure that your readers will understand.
Comment by Tracy Mon Oct 22 20:11:09 2012
I would read this blog even if you answered/published no comments at all. This is interesting to me, because my blog is quite young, and I'm very unsure of how to deal with comments (I've received two so far). And i regularly read a blog that takes no comments. Thank you for sharing all the awesome information on this site. Love the scion wood post. You are so positive, I'm sure you will find good boundaries in this area. Good luck, and I hope everyone is nice at the sidewalk cafe.
Comment by Paula B. Mon Oct 22 22:29:17 2012

oooh one more thing. or two or three ;)

In the past few months I've watched a number of favorite bloggers/writers cut their posting schedule down to one a week or two a week and I've left comments with them that I'd prefer to read one or two really good, thought provoking posts a week than to be buried with garbage. That's not to say that your writing is bad or theirs was bad, it's not, it's very high quality, thought provoking and thorough in a manner I've not seen in a long time (think college text books...)

It's just...

I only have so much time in my week and want to read a variety of blogs and really try to keep only the ones who make me think, who offer me something new, or who offer a community that I can learn from.

My day job is managing a news site and we have had our problems with comments etc. The best method we've found is to have forums where the community can discuss and then the authors respond to their articles in the specific section of the forums set aside for that topic and that topic only. Then the moderators can reduce the trolls (we're in that subject matter area that brings out trolls - paid for and otherwise - like nobody's business).

So you only have so much time in your week. We'll take whatever we can get from you. Taking time for your life is good and probably well thought of by most all readers!!

Comment by c. Tue Oct 23 10:59:03 2012

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.