June 7

Odds and ends

21  comments

The time has finally arrived at which I can no longer respond to all, or even most, of the comments I’m getting on this blog. I was in Dallas on Tuesday involved in a bunch of activities with the grandkids, then had to leave for the airport. During it all I somehow managed to put up the last post on ketones, but I couldn’t get to all the comments. I got home late Tuesday night after a, thankfully, uneventful flight (on American this time), and went through the mail and did all the stuff everyone does when returning home from a week’s absence. I intended to post yesterday, but I spent every minute that I didn’t have something else going dealing with comments. I felt like Sisyphus because every time I would respond to a comment and hit the button that posted it, there would be one or two more. I finally went to bed last night with 10 or so requiring more than just a few lines left unresponded to.
I got up this morning, came to the computer at a little after 7 AM, went through an abbreviated version of my morning’s read, and started dealing with comments. It was again a Sisyphean task because they came in faster than could process them. It’s now 11:30 and except for about 45 minutes on a conference call, I’ve spent my entire morning dealing with comments and there are still 14 sitting in the moderation queue (there were 9 when I started this post).
When I started this blog I assumed it was going to be something that would take an hour or so a day to do. I spend tons of time reading the medical literature (and all kinds of other things, too, for that matter), and I figured it would be an easy thing to crank out my take on an article or two in the space of an hour or so and create an interesting blog. I figured I wasted at least an hour a day doing unproductive activities, so the blog would be a good use of time. It took forever before I got even the first comment, and when I did, I responded to it. As time progressed, so did the number of comments. I got in the habit of responding, and in the process set the expectation that I was going to respond. Then I felt bad if someone took the time to write a comment and I didn’t respond to it when I was responding to everyone else. I figured that whoever wrote the comment would wonder why he/she was singled out for simply being posted without a response. So I tried to at least write a short sentence. But now the comments are coming in at a furious rate and I can’t keep up and do anything else.
I then posted once before that I was going to start putting up the comments that didn’t require a response without one. But most of the comments that came in seemed to require a response, so I found myself in the same spot: worried about those whose comments I merely posted as they came in.
Now, I’ve reached the point at which I spend at least three or four hours every day dealing with the comments and the posts. I can’t devote that much time to this blog or I’ll never get anything else done. My agent is badgering me for another book, and I haven’t had the time to even write the proposal, much less write another book. So, I’ve got to start limiting my time on the blog somewhat. My reading of the medical literature has dropped off, and now I find myself learning about new papers from the news instead of digging them out on my own. Which means that I don’t turn up the ones – generally low-carb favorable – that the press ignores.
I would love to have people continue to comment and I encourage it. I’ve noticed that certain posts engender a lot of comments seeking clarification (the one on how and why the liver makes ketones, for instance, for which I still have 4 or 5 comments unanswered because they require longer responses) and when I get these comments I’ll write a post addressing all these questions. I’ve run into a couple of people lately who are readers of this blog, and both asked me questions about different subjects that I had dealt with in the comments section. I asked them both if they hadn’t read what I wrote in the comments, and they both responded that they never read the comments. And it dawned on me that I almost never read the comments on blogs that I read. So I realized that much of the effort I spend writing these long responses is not even seen by the large number of readers of the blog posts only. I assume these readers have the same questions as do the people who actually take the time to comment, so they will benefit if I answer common questions with a post on the subject instead of via responses to individual commenters.
I’ve got a bunch of posts I’m rearing to write that I’m sure everyone will be interested in, but it will be a while if I have to keep getting swamped with comments. I’m pretty sure on the whole that people would rather read the posts than than the responses to comments.
So, I’m going to post the comments without response except in rare cases. Although it may take me a couple of more days, I’ll go ahead and answer the ones queued up right now because they came in before this pronouncement. But I’m simply going to post the ones after as they come in.
One other thing…I’m chomping at the bit to post on political subjects here and there. But, it became pretty clear to me, based on the barrage of comments the last time I brought this up, that most people read this blog for nutritional information, not for my political views. This has left me feeling ill used since, afterall, it is my blog, and the tag line does say “a critical look at nutritional science and anything else that strikes my fancy.” And politics along the lines of what my particular view of the world is and my particular ideas on fixing what’s wrong fall under the large category of ‘anything that strikes my fancy’ I’m going to return to posting on such things from time to time. But with a new rule that I hope will make everyone happy: I’ll post on a political topic only if I post on at least one nutritional topic the same day. I’ll be happy to post any comment that comes in attacking my viewpoint, but I absolutely WILL NOT spend time in political debate. I’ll stake out my opinion in the post; others can stake out theirs in the comments. But – I hope – I won’t be provoked into responding. Oh, and by the way, a political-nutritional topic counts as one, though. So if write on a political situation involving Big Pharma or nutrition in some way, that counts as a twofer.
I hope everyone understands my situation. My life has been immensely enriched by the comments and I don’t want to see them end. I read every single one and will continue to do so, so please keep them coming and I’ll try to answer as many via posts as I can.
Thanks for listening to me whine.


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  1. I feel guilty posting a comment to the blog entry that says you’re overwhelmed but…
    Just wanted to say I love your blog ever so much. I generally don’t share your political views but read them nonetheless.
    I think most of these blog sites have the option to turn off comments and perhaps when you’re getting overwhelmed, it would be much better to turn them off rather than lose your wonderful postings!
    Now… if we could just clone you a couple of times. Maybe even enough times to replace most of the poorly trained doctors out there.
    Thanks for your kind words and thanks for your understanding.  Geez, I just can’t quit. 

  2. Totally understand. You have to set your priorities.
    Meanwhile, I do enjoy your political posts and your rants against certain airlines and will continue to read them with interest.
    Thanks for everything you’ve done. Your blog is a public service, imho.
    Thanks for your understanding. 

  3. Sounds like a good plan. I, for one, look forward to the occasional political observation.
    For that matter, feel free to comment on favorite authors, music, philosophers, etc!
    As you said, it’s your blog – and a terrific one it is.
    No response required.

  4. You go above and beyond the call of duty in responding to readers’ posts. As far as your political (and other) posts, I agree with you, it’s your damn blog. Express your thoughts on whatever strikes your fancy.
    No response necessary. :O)
    I can’t resist.  I noticed your last name in your email address.  It’s my mother’s maiden name.  Perhaps we’re related.  You didn’t come from the Missouri Ozarks did you? 

  5. I read your blog via bloglines so I only ever see the contents of your RSS feed (the posts) and not the comments. There are at least 26 other people subscribed via bloglines and who knows how many more reading your site via other RSS aggregation programs. They probably don’t see the comments either unless they bother to open the post in their browsers.
    Thanks and take care.

  6. I understand your position but will have to say that the people that don’t read the comments are missing out on the richest part of the blog so far. You have been incredibly helpful in your responses on IF, the questions I asked about “Thin So Fast”, the questions on “where do the extra calories go”, etc.
    I think you are getting overwhelmed because this is the only place to get the low carb questions answered directly from horse’s mouth, so to speak. Otherwise, those of us who hunger for the science behind low carb are stuck using the various forums out there. Unfortunately, they are very hit and miss.
    Perhaps the questions asked here can trigger a blog entry, if you are so moved, rather than a comment?
    Thanks Ryan–
    That’s my plan.  If people write asking good questions, I’ll use them for blog entry fodder. 

  7. “I absolutely WILL NOT spend time in political debate.”
    HAH! This is very, very hard to do. Especially when you know you’re right.
    I think scanning the comments for future post ideas/clarifications is sufficient.
    Now, I’m off to post a comment on one of your previous posts.
    I trust that you won’t respond.
    I won’t

  8. Mike–I too don’t want to overwhelm you with comments, but it’s a compliment to you that your blog has grown so much. I’ve been reading since the “early days,” and you are doing a great public service by making so much great nutritional info available for free. I lean towards libertarianism so keep the political comments coming too.

  9. I think what would make more sense, from both practical and legal perspective, would be for you to not moderate the posts at all, but to include a “report offensive” link, or “report spam” link, or whatever it is that you’re trying to prevent with the moderation.
    This reduces your liability, as you are right now taking responsibility for each post you approve, which is treated by our insane courts as being worse than not screening at all.
    It also changes your burden from approving each (which is, it sounds going to be significant even without composing comments) to only dealing with actual problems, as reported by the users (who then take some of the effort off of your shoulders).
    You would reduce your moderation time to nearly zero, leaving you do either interact with the grandkids, or spend at least that much time-saved, posting replies.

  10. What a gross act of selfishness.
    I simply canny believe that you’d be so self serving.
    This is simply atrocious behaviour !
    Joking aside ‘Don’t sweat it sunbeam’.
    You also perhaps need to embrace a more abrasive metaphor..think less Hippocratic and more GenghisKhanic..that should likely do it
    More GenghisKhanic it is.

  11. No response expected, natch.
    I look forward to your blog posts, of course, but I also very much enjoy reading the comments. In fact, I have found some other great blogs from your commenter’s links.
    Sure, I tune into your blog for the nutrition & science, but I don’t mind if you have a political rant now and then. It’s your perogitive.
    Cheers,
    Anna in San Diego

  12. Mike,
    would rather read your posts, than comments to your posts. Keep up the good work.
    Adam
    PS NO REPLY NECESSARY

  13. You have my 100% support….I saw it coming and you hung in there much longer than I expected. I was calculating in my head how much effort and time you were expending and I sat here saying to myself: Where does he find the time? LOL
    I’ll keep reading your blog and agree with Thomas above when he wrote:

    “As far as your political (and other) posts, I agree with you, it’s your damn blog. Express your thoughts on whatever strikes your fancy.”

  14. Doctor Mike,
    How interesting your mother and I share the same last name. I’ve found it to be a fairly uncommon name, so perhaps we are related. Actually I hail from America’s breadbasket, South Dakota. Land of corn, wheat, and other non-paleolithic staples.
    Oh, and, please try not to respond. ;O)
    I can’t resist.  As far as I know no one in my branch has a South Dakota connection.  But we are remotely related to the president with the same name.  How about you?

  15. Dr. Mike, I just want to add a huge “ME TOO” to all the other comments. I absolutely love your blog, I also love all the comments that people write in response. It’s YOUR blog for crying out loud, you write whatever you want and we will read. Personally, as a Canadian, I love American politics (because ours are so boring) and I always enjoy reading your views on various things that strike your fancy. Politics is a very large and important part of life. We can’t all agree and it’s nice to see that some people have the intestinal fortitude to say what they truly think and not be stifled by political correctness. Thank you so much for everything.

  16. He did it! He approved all our comments without commenting!
    Hurrah!
    Boo!
    I’m ambivalent.
    Believe me, I’m ambivialent too.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  17. I agree you should post whatever you feel like on the Blog and I also find the comments to be invaluable. A few suggestions that might help (Not to be taken as criticisms at all!):
    If there are a lot of comments about a particular topic, why not post them together with a response to all of them, or a cut-and-past comment like “Thanks, these will be dealt with in a future blog.”
    Try to combine posts on the same topic or ‘storyline.’ In just the first ‘page’ alone, there are 4 posts about passport issues, with a combined 47 comments. I’m sure a lot of those comments are ‘me too’ type commiserating.
    Encourage people to make greater use of the discussion forums! In fact, are there any moderators there who can help out with some of these comments, too?
    Again, just some ideas! Thanks as always!
    Hi Bob–
    Good ideas all.  I’ll try to act on them.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  18. Bravo!!!
    And I *love* your political rants, I read them as often if not more often than the nutritional posts (which were what got me here first). I love your radical snarky view on American politics and so glad you will begin posting more.
    Cynthia
    Seattle
    Radical…snarky?!?!?!  I though my views were mainstream.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  19. First of I love your blog and can’t wait for your next book, whatever the topic. I’d like to see something on PCOS…or a compilation of your posts and responses to comments, expanding on the subjects as needed. You will keep us informed I trust!!
    As for the comments, I do always read yours. I skim them mostly, but I look for the responses to questions asked too….so taking questions and making them posts may save us some time too!! 🙂 I’ve gotten involved in too many blogs myself, reading that is, and have cut back…but always at least check yours and Regina Wilshire’s daily.
    I love your political posts, whether I agree or not. Please do continue to post them….many are topics I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.
    I also enjoy the few posts about your family, friends, and travels.
    Shut off comments, or stop moderating, or stop responding, but please don’t stop posting!! I’ve learned so much on your site and have referenced your posts many times.
    One suggestion on an upcoming post…In the area of recent “discoveries” and media attention to Vit D, K, fish oil, calcium, etc, could you post on the current recommendations and your take on them?
    Of course, no response is necessary.
    Thanks for your support, Cindy–
    I’ll try to incorporate some of your suggestions.
    Best–
    MRE 

  20. Years ago I heard one of my uncles mention that we were remotely related to that president, but I have no confirmation. My 13 year old son has become interested in researching our family geneology, so if he turns up anything, I’ll certainly let you know!
    Keep me posted.
    Thanks–
    MRE 

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