Soldiers: These are the commenters who enjoy being the first to comment, even if they have nothing to say. Soldiers comments are typically encouraging but lack substance. They include phrases such as, “great post,” “interesting,” and “nice work.” Soldiers are always polite. Their comments are short and serve more of an acknowledgment that they read the post or visited the blog rather than substantive or thought provoking. If your blog had a “like” button, they would probably just click it. Most bloggers, myself included, appreciate these comments. They are at least one form of feedback that people are reading our posts.
Contributors: These are the most sought after types of commenters by most bloggers. This group might not leave a lot of comments around the blogosphere but when they do, they are worth reading. Contributors comments push forward the conversation started by the blog post. They can be both positive and negative, but they add substance to the conversation. These people are most likely to also retweet or otherwise share the post with their online networks.
Link Baiters: Most similar to Soldiers, link baiters objective is to try and build their own site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by creating a new incoming link from your blog. They are selfish, thinking of their own interests before the blogger’s. Link baiters comments are short and often plug something that they’ve written on a similar topic. Many marketers try to behave as contributors but, especially when they start out, end up as link baiters instead.
Trolls: The Wikipedia definition works here: “a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”
Spammers: Most spammers are actually bots that post off-topic comments on a blog to promote a commercial site, typically a pharma or porn site. Again, I’ll reference Wikipedia for a pretty good definition: It is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services to blogs, wikis, guestbooks, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards. Any web application that accepts and displays hyperlinks submitted by visitors may be a target. Adding links that point to the spammer’s web site artificially increases the site’s search engine ranking. An increased ranking often results in the spammer’s commercial site being listed ahead of other sites for certain searches, increasing the number of potential visitors and paying customers.
I’d like to consider myself a Contributor, but I often end up as more of a Solider. I want my friends and other bloggers to know that I’ve stopped by to read their posts. However, I often feel short on time and end up just posting a quick sentence or two instead of something more substantive. I’m going to work on that in the next year.
What am I missing? Let’s expand this list. Also let us know what type of commenter you are and why.