DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm not sure whether to reply to comments on my blog.
On the one hand, ignoring reader comments entirely makes the blog look one-sided and discourages people from expressing their opinions.
But on the other, for me to post a subsequent comment to those who agree with me -- like "Thanks, you're swell, too" -- seems self-serving; for me to post a subsequent comment to those who disagree -- like "I disagree; let me have the last word why" -- is still more self-serving.
I reply to those I know via private email, but many people don't give contact info, since an email address on a website is an invitation for spam. What do you suggest?
GENTLE READER: Too often the purpose of maintaining a blog appears to be to have the last word, so Miss Manners appreciates your modesty. But if your purpose is to foster dialogue, it seems only logical to allow dialogue. Replying politely to those who disagree with you will further your purpose more than thanking everyone who agrees with you.