Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Blog Comments are NOT Muda

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Bold Lentil: Lean Blogging: Comments as Muda?

The blog I've linked to above posed a theory that you could apply “Lean Manufacturing” to the practice of blogging. I'd have to think about that. I do try to “level load” my posts so they appear on a roughly daily schedule, so readers don't sort through 5 posts that appear randomly across two days and then find nothing for four days. I've gotten feedback that level loading is best…. agree?

“Bold Lentil” has a theory that allowing comments on blogs is “muda,” or waste. Bold Lentil claims that it's waste for the blogger to have to deal with the problems that come from comments — spam, insults, and general crap.

Maybe I'm lucky, but the comments on the Lean Blog are pretty problem free. If I do get an occasional spam comment, I delete it. If I'm getting too many, I'll turn on “comment moderation” for a few days (which means I have to approve any comment before it appears), and that often gets the spammers to go away. The Google Blogger platform has a new feature that allows me to moderate comments on posts older than “X” days, since it's the old posts that tend to attract the most random spam comments.

Readers are mainly involved in interaction and discussion about the most recent posts. And I don't want that conversation to end. The reader comments here are very “value added” to me. This blog was never just a one-way communication street. I learn a lot from my blog commenters and I enjoy the interaction. I hope you do, too.

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Could I be “more Lean” in the way I blog? Maybe. But I wouldn't consider turning off comments as a “Lean” move. At least not for this blog.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

5 Comments
  1. bold lentil says

    Thanks for the link and extra discussion.

    When I was actively monitoring comments I tended to find it as another thing that I did before I got to posting.

    Depending on the comments (this was either really fun or every so often not so fun) but in the end it was like checking the analytics or rankings – useful and educational but if your goal is to write or blog it does take time.

    Certainly I think if you’ve got a good conversation going (I like that image), then certainly keep that. For early blogger though it might be worth considering the art of conversation as something you build on the content.

    Nice blog – I’ll have to look around now that I here. Best,

    bl

  2. Mark Graban says

    Thanks, BL. I’m not sure what your readership is, but I’m lucky that I’m not big enough to attract too many bad comments. My experience with online communities is that they break down once they get too popular or too big… then you get all sorts of crackpots. But not here, thankfully.

    Please have a look around, especially if you’re interested in Lean.

  3. tonyj says

    You might want to check out an interesting article about blogging by Andrew Sullivan, senior editor at the Atlantic, a staid old monthly magazine. Why I Blog Some factors that distinguish blogs from older newspaper and magazine media are the diversity of your audience and the immediacy of feedback that blogging provides. Avoiding comments does seems to be old-school. On the other hand, some comment screening is probably needed as one of the things that turns me off as a reader are spams and nonsense (ads) in a blog. Good article, worth the read.

  4. Anonymous says

    Mark, I thought all us “lean” guys were “crackpots”……at least in the minds of the concrete heads!

  5. Anonymous says

    The application of lean to blogging is one of the most misguided things I’ve seen. You’re perfectly right – it seems like Bold Lentil’s view is that is doesn’t want to encourage comment. Its like saying we’ll have a debate but with no questions, as that’s a waste. It misses the point of blogs and the internet entirely, and misses the point of waste. For a start – what waste does a comment have for the delivery of the blog / post. None. Better CMS and things should drive down waste in blogging. Comments are often part of the viewers requirement’s, and increase traffic to the site, not part of the blog producer’s process which needs kaizen!

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