The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Monday, July 2, 2012

8 Commenting Secrets Bloggers Won’t Tell You : Guest Hijacker Nicole Ayers

       Nicole Ayers from The Madlab Post has been a frequent guest at Tossing It Out so she's very comfortable with stepping in and just taking over my blog. In this current post she offers some excellent advice about one of our favorite topics:

8 Commenting Secrets Bloggers Won’t Tell You

Blog comments impact our online and offline activities in many ways. They can start or expand conversations on any given topic, build relationships between people who are miles away from each other, create job opportunities and make you feel like you are part of a community that is larger than yourself.

At the same time, certain habits and behavior that you display in the comment section of a blog can also cause some bloggers to either consider moderating comments -- which delays the time from when a comment actually gets posted, or worse, question whether they should continue to allow comments on their blog at all. That is one of the dirty little secrets that bloggers won’t tell you -- probably because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, nor offend and alienate their readers or be seen as a finicky blogger.

Want to know another secret? Sometimes, there are things that you do when leaving comments that make you AND your comment much less favorable to bloggers -- but they’re not going to tell you (at least, not directly) that you’re becoming a nuisance. Here are eight more commenting secrets that bloggers won’t tell you but will mention amongst fellow bloggers or even discuss with their more favorable readers.

1. Leaving anonymous blog comments will almost guarantee that you will NOT receive a reply to your comment. In a day and age where people have screen names like “babeygurl48” and “DMon$$” on their social networking profiles, bloggers are not going to make time to acknowledge your anonymous comment when you don’t even have enough decency to at least sign your comment with your name.

"Shhh!  You shouldn't be saying that!"
2. Instigating conflict or verbally attacking other blog commenters makes you look like a bully who wants to go to war rather than participate in a constructive debate or encouraging discussion. There is a difference between leaving a blog comment that says something like “I don’t care how famous Lady Gaga is, I’m not a fan of her music because it’s wack and she can’t sing” (regular disagreement, which could prompt open discussion) and posting a comment on a blog that says “You must be out of your mind. Only wack, gay people like Lady Gaga’s music. The world would be a much better place if people like you would stop promoting and enabling crappy celebrities!” (unnecessarily causing conflict and being offensive, which causes people to get defensive and starts silly arguments) on any blog.

3. Discussing irrelevant topics that are unrelated to the subject of the blog post that you are commenting on shows that you didn’t even read the post before putting your two cents into the comment bucket. Either that, or you did read the post but could not wait to make points about what you really wanted to discuss. If you are THAT interested in your own thoughts and what you have to say, then stop reading and start blogging -- that way, at least your written words will be on-topic instead of off-topic.

4. Placing several links in your blog comments makes it obvious that you are a spammer, or at the very least, a self-promotional jerk. Nothing says SPAM or self-centered reader more than leaving links to all four of your blogs, plus your commercial website, plus your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and Google+ profiles, plus the Etsy store that you just opened up 10 minutes ago -- especially if it’s accompanied by an irrelevant comment (see #3) and anonymous (see #1).

5. If your blog comment consists of one sentence that lacks substance, then why did you even bother commenting on this post in the first place?!! Let’s consider a hypothetical A to Z Challenge blog post about the sibject of Coffee for Letter C. A blog comment signed by someone named DMon$$ that says “Hi, I found you through the A to Z Challenge. Nice Blog” is flattering but less worthwhile for bloggers to read and respond to than babeygurl48’s comment, which says “I’d rather buy a coffee lover a gift that he or she can use such as a bean grinder than buying coffee beans because I don’t know what flavors the gift recipient would like and I don’t want to waste my money, you know LOL. It was nice to find your blog through the A to Z Challenge.”

6. The most loyal and engaging commenters are given precedence over any other blog visitor. You can call iit favoritism, you can call it selective blogging or whatever else you want to call it. The fact remains that blog comments frequently left by the same people over time will not only be taken more seriously but also handled with more care than one-off visitors and one-hit wonders. Repeat commenters get reciprocal visits (which oftentimes includes comments) to their blogs (if they have a blog), they are thought of first when blog changes are on the horizon and their opinions are weighed more heavily with regards to post topics and related blogging activities.
"But what if I don't want to visit your blog?"

7. Making blatant requests to visit your blog or read your blog, from within your comment, may reduce the likelihood of your wish being granted and could potentially even make bloggers weary of reading your blog in the future. It’s all about relevance, substance and context. A simple link to your blog inside the comment that you left will suffice. Bloggers will visit if they want to. There is no need to be loud, obnoxious and ask them to “come by and visit mine” or the like. Relevance is key -- also, no one likes a beggar!

8. Leaving the same comment on several blog posts will almost certainly get you noticed, but, for all the wrong reasons -- it means you’re annoying. You might also end up being blocked or blacklisted from leaving any comments on that blog in the future. There are only so many times a blogger will tolerate reading comments like “Great! I enjoyed this.” on more than one blog post.

Do YOU have any blogging secrets that YOU want to reveal? Have you ever implemented word verification on purpose -- even if temporary, just to deter some people from commenting on YOUR blog? What was the most offensive, annoying or just plain senseless comment that YOU ever received on your blog?

Bio: Nicole Ayers is a freelance writer and filmmaker who blogs at The Madlab Post. She is currently finishing a short screenplay to be produced this summer. In the meantime, she also contributes to the A to Z Blog on Fridays while hosting The Monday Movie Meme and can be found @MadlabPost on Twitter.
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  1. Hi Alree & Nicole
    This is really interesting to read yet another post from your guest.
    I was slightly afraid to comment on this post especially a subject dealing with commenters.
    Here is not exaggeration of flattering. To tell you the truth the points mentioned here is
    Worth following. I am sure if one follow these tips very religiously no doubt you can expect
    More response from your readers.
    I would like to point out one suggestion to my fellow bloggers, pl respond to your commenters as early as possible, if even if it’s a one word of thanks it doesn’t matter respond to the commenters thru the reply button. Also if someone is following and he or she is not posting any comment in any of the post go back to their page and reciprocate, and post a word of thanks to them too, it gives definitely a kind of encouragement to your readers. About word verification, it really irritates the commenters, whenever I post a comment and find a word verification I make it a point to mention about it to remove so that more people may come in
    This one should do when they find in their friends blog.
    Thanks Arlee and Nicole for this educative post
    Best Regard

  2. Eeeep! I'm guilty of number 5. Especially during a blogfest, or hop, there are just so many blogs to visit, that I'll sometimes leave one sentence *hangs head down* to at least let them know I was there. But I can tell you that I love all comments no matter how long., just not anonymous ones.

  3. Someone actually left me a very provocative comment once. I t was like being raped. Literally. I put who ever that was on my spam list. I was scared for a couple of weeks constantly looking over my shoulder to see if any one just happened to be following me.

    And my bad sometimes is is if I don't have the time to really comment I'll leave a message that says, "Hugs and happy dances to you." I work a crazy schedule.


  4. I quite agree with almost all of that and luckily I rarely have any problems with the people that leave comments on my own blog.

    But I love discussing irrelevant topics, and feel it is quite possible to discuss irrelevant topics that relate to the blog and show that you have read the post. For example I am British and dont drink coffee I much prefer tea, and I have never seen a tea grinder although I did know a tea blender(that bit is all true by the way. And interestingly tea bags have a blend of up to 18 different teas in.

    Finally I would just like to say PLEASE DONT VISIT MY BLOG EVERYONE I have enough problems responding to the comments I get now, thanks.

    Well done on the post by the way but sadly I think it will fall on deaf ears to those who commit such things

  5. This is pretty much a perfect guide Lee, I really do hate people who advertise themselves all over their comments because like you've said, it makes them sound like quite the jerk. I don't see anything too wrong with leaving a sentence or two as a comment so long as the comment shows that you've read it, something that's just two words such as "nice post," really irks me more than most things in this world.

  6. i agree with some of these points--but don't mind, sometimes a short sentence---enjoyed reading this today

  7. I agree with all except the one advising not to leave a short comment just to show you were there. I think it's quite relevant when someone leaves a comment such as "I agree," or "Nice Post." How long does it take to read such a comment? One second.

  8. Some excellent points made here,
    Thanks Lee for hosting Nicole.


  9. This was a really interesting subject for me as a fairly new blogger. I have rarely answered a comment because I didn't think people would return to read it. I shall make a point of thanking my faithful few from now on!
    I do have one follower who has often clearly not read and/or understood what I was saying, but he never misses a blog so I won't complain about him.

  10. Thanks for another great guest post, Nicole. I'm of a duality about the short comments and I can usually discern which ones are sincere and which are not. A "nice post" type comment from a blogger who comments regularly or from a someone who is visiting first time but I find to be a pretty legit blogger can be okay as a sort of comment equivalent of a smile or a pat on the back. If it's just a "look at me, check out my blog" sort of thing then I'm not impressed.

    I can usually tell the difference. Some bloggers just have a difficult time coming up with something to say. I know you're not like that, Nicole, and I'm the same as you in that I can usually come up with a few additional words to add more substance to my comment.

    As for the "anonymous" comments, usually they are spam, but there have been occasions when they come from someone who doesn't have a Blogger account and have found my post through an internet search or some other way. Often those comments have been from people who knew someone I was writing about or familiar with my topic and they want to weigh in on it. I always do a quick check of the content of the anon. comments and publish them if they are relevant.

    Overall though you are accurate on your points.

    Thanks for a great post, Nicole!


  11. This is a great reminder about my own posts. There seems to be a fine line between debate and being argumentative. I like a good debate, but believe I have aliented a blogger or two in the past. The written comment can be so easily interpreted for something it was not intended to be. I'm much more careful now.

  12. I have to own up that there are days I want to kiss the blogger who writes a short blog post that requires a little time to read and answer. I love more in depth posts as well, but ten in a row and I'm, like, glazing. That's why I try to spread my visits out. That way I can read more carefully and give more considered answers. I know how much time it takes to write a good blog post and I want to reply with something of substance. It's all about this TIME business!

    I enjoyed reading your Secrets. Now, of course, they aren't secret anymore and that's great.

  13. Great points on blogging. Yes, multiple links usually indicate spam. I don't like bullying on my blog. There are many followers that leave one line. It's the good lines that count though. Alex is king of this method. One of my posts ignited an irate person to leave a comment, but only because she ran a business that I constructively criticized. Of course, she didn't admit to being affiliated with said business.

  14. It's a pet peeve of mine when people comment with copy/paste phrases of "Hey, great post and nice blog! Follow me back at [link]!"

    Well, no. If you aren't going to contribute then why should I give you the time of day?

  15. Excellent tips! The folks who request commments in the comments always make me roll my eyes. They rarely contribute anything to the conversation!

  16. Phil,

    We've all probably done #5 at one time or another. There are many bloggers who do appreciate short and quick comments just so they know that someone did read their blog posts. I think there is a difference between leaving something that says "nice post" every now and then when trying to get through blogs during a blog fest...and leaving the same short comment all of the time. Yeah, anonymous comments are the worst, arent' they?!

    Good thing that you acted quickly with handling that comment by putting it on the spamming list. That is some unnerving stuff to have to deal with and hopefully, it was just an isolated event. Thank goodness for comment moderation features and such. Your short hugs and kisses message sounds cute. Since all bloggers are different, they can make people smile or laugh or like that it's all depends on how a blogger views the comment. At least it sounds better and a little more thoughtful than "nice blog" tho, lol.

    Some will pay attention. Some won't. Life goes on.

    May I first say I love your profile name?! :)

    Thanks for enjoying this blog post and yes, there is nothing more annoying than two-word comments. Actually, there is something more irritating....two-word anonymous comments, especially when they are accompanied by like eight different links.

    Lynn Proctor,
    I'm glad you liked reading this post. Short comments are easy for bloggers to get through and reply to, so that's understandable...especially on blogs with more than a dozen or so comments.

    Short comments have their place...such as on posts with survey questions or something like that. As you mentioned, relevance is key. If a blogger wrote about a domestic dispute and then asked people how they would handle the situation and received comments that said "nice post," then that kind of defeats the purpose of the blogger asking readers for their opinion on a situation. Now, if the same blogger asked a different way like "Would you do this or that," then short comments would be relevant in that respect.

    Thank you for reading and finding the points useful.

    Although responding to comments may be a gamble because you don't know if they return, it's a good way to show readers that you value their time and what they had to the event that they DO return to your blog :)

    Thank you for welcoming another guest post from me! You make an excellent point about the short comments and being able to tell the difference between the context of them. Maybe I can offer a guest post to help readers who have a hard time coming up with something to say in their comment. Yes, though, sometimes, there are those blog posts that we finish reading and are speechless or are thinking "Huh?" and are at a loss for words. In those circumstances, bloggers might be happy to receive at least a short quick "nice job" comment.

    Anonymous comments are a tricky animal to deal with because some of them, as you say, are genuine but my concern is that by allowing anonymous comments...even one, bloggers may set themselves up for future comments like that one because readers will assume that it's OK to leave comments like that.

    It's because of this that I do not post any of them, regardless of whether it is geuine or not...which isn't fun because when I was on Blogger and had moderation setup I've read some good comments that had interesting points about a subject in my post and I wanted to put them through but just couldn't because it would go against my zero tolerance for anonymous posters. There are some good ones in there though that get put in line with the spam, unfortunately.

  17. *sighs* Yes, I'm too am guilty of #5. Sometimes I just don't know what to say, but I don't want people not think I am reading their posts, so I'll just say something rather inane. It's wrong, I know. I'll try to be better about it.

    And I've done #8 during a blogfest I hosted, but it was to let people know I got their entry but was reading and would comment for real later. That's a bit different.

    Great tips! :)

  18. Susan Oloier,

    Thanks for reading. The internet makes it so easy for people to misinterpret things or take things out of context, it can be a challenge to comment in a manner that states your position without being perceived as combative. Acknowledging that this exists helps to keep the conversation running smoothly in the future when each person is more aware of the way his or her comments may come off to bloggers.


    The secrets are're right about that :)

    As time continues to be a factor in the quality of comments that people leave on blogs, I totally understand how shorter content may receive more in depth comments whereas longer content may be more likely to receive short, one-liner commments.


    Hi and thanks for reading this blog post. Yes, I've seen Alex serve up some pretty neat one-liners and have yet to notice another who does it quite as well as him.

    If you're going to leave an irate comment, the least you can do is back it up by stating your affiliation to the topic at hand. I've read comments on many a website where business owners have chimed in to either defend or apologize for their practices or customer service or whatever. It shows the level of professionalism and brand awareness that businesses have (or lack, depending on the comment) and take pride in, through their handling of criticism.

    Jamie Gibbs,

    Damn straight, man! LOL. I know this won't apply to everyone because there are those cases like Arlee mentioned, where the seasoned visitors (who usually leave good quality comments) just want to let a blogger know that they stopped by one day, if they're busy or running on limited time to visit blogs.

    In other cases, it's already annoying that someone doesn't care enough to leave something better than a blanket, template comment, but then they go ahead and have the balls to add links with follow requests?!! Give me a break. I'm with you on that one, buddy!

    Jemi Fraser,

    Thanks so much! I'm glad that you find these commenting secrets useful. Now, please remember to leave a comment on my blog and follow me back, like me on Facebook and add me to your circles. What? I said "Please."

    Come on, you know you want to laugh! ;)

    That is so annoying....a total snooze fest in my book.

    Cherie Reich,

    One way to get over going #8 is by adding a slight twist to each comment. Like, if you're going to go so far as to write "Great! I enjoyed this," you could try to spin it so that it doesn't say the same thing verbatim on several posts for the same one blog. The next comment could read "I liked this. Great post" and the following one could read "Great post. I love coffee!"

    See...same short stuff, but different comments! -- Not that I'd recommend any of them, lol, but I might as well try to offer a way to improve upon #8 if you're just gonna do it anyway, lol. Blog fests can make it so challenging to leave good sized comments on every-single-blog that one those cases, I can see how it's more efficient to just comment with a quick "Liked this!" and keep it moving...which can be long as it isn't anonymous ;)

  19. I think I've broken one or two of those rules before but hopefully not so much since I've been blogging for a little while now. However, I don't really mind a nice post comment from a regular commenter from time to time. It lets me know they stop in for a visit.

  20. It's a good list except, maybe, for #5. I used to think along those lines: "why bother to leave a comment if I have nothing of substance to say or anything that hasn't already been said?" It took me a while to realize that, often, it's not about what you're saying but that you're saying something. It's a sign of support to the blogger. Even a non-substantive "nice post" is usually better than not saying anything.

  21. I agree that most of the above can be really annoying. I'm often guilty of number five though. Usually it's because I'm tired and have been trawling through a lot of blogs half asleep and can't think of any shiny words. Also I sometimes make the mistake of reading all the amazingly insightful and witty comments that other people have left and feeling inadequate so I just post a quick line. One of my goals this year is to be more proactive with commenting and this post have given me a lot of food for thought, thank you.

  22. Hi Nicole,
    Can you believe it? I left a long, detailed comment and then realised I was not signed in. Thus, that comment has gone and I'm starting all over again.
    You have touched upon many of the things I have alluded to in my postings.
    I will comment back to anonymous comments and will banter back according to the comment.
    In fact, unless it's obvious spam, I comment back to each person individually. I try to give the personal touch that enhances positive interaction. I realise that logistics would dictate that really popular bloggers who get lots more comments than I do, this would be a very time consuming task.
    What I also find very aggravating is when somebody leaves a comment on my site that has nothing to do with the article but is everything to do with them and their disrespectful self-promoting. I find that insulting. I get links in the comments on my site from popular bloggers I'm sure you know.
    And yes, when you get a comment such as, 'great post' or 'thanks for sharing', you can be reasonably sure they have not read your article and are just trying to draw attention to themselves.
    I have visited some very popular bloggers and left supportive, encouraging comments, several times. Not only did they not acknowledge me, but they have never 'lowered' themselves to comment on my shy, humble and unassuming site. So what you mention in point number 6 is not necessarily so.
    The bottom line, Nicole is that we should all feel apart of a sharing, caring blogging community. Rejoicing in the diversity. All different, all equal. Thanks for a most informative article. I have never uses word verification. Comments are welcomed on my site. If they disagree with what I've written, then so be it. I just got a rather silly, generalised comment on my latest article. I handled it with polite discretion.
    And with that and a second time trying, this rather long, perhaps disjointed comment, will suddenly end.
    Much respect to you, Nicole and Lee, the dude with the cool hat and shades.
    In kindness, Gary

  23. Hi Nicole,

    Great advice. How long have you been blogging? You sound like a wise veteran. I totally agree with giving special treatment to your most loyal commenters. VIP's right? Way to call people out on the short and sweet comments. I have to admit, I get a little lazy when I'm super busy with work and blogging. But I do want to let the blogger know I'm still visiting and care. I agree, short "Good post" comments add nothing to the conversation. Need to fine that sweet spot. Thanks!

  24. I'm another "guilty of #5", although I'm not sure I totally agree with Nicole on that one. Sometimes I don't feel I have anything constructive to say on a topic but I still want the blog owner to know I stopped by. On the flip side, I have a smaller following and I'm grateful for every comment no matter how short or long.

  25. Lee, I left a comment. It seems to have vanished. Do you know what happened?

  26. Thanks for this great post! I just started my blog today, so what great timing for me to read this! I have seen some of the "follow me back" comments on other people's blogs. I thought they were a little abrasive; glad to know it's not just me.

  27. Great post! OOPS, that is just one line. Wonderful and helpful secrets that we should all take into consideration. There, that's three lines. No, now its four lines, wait it keeps growing...

  28. Susan, cleemckenzie, Ciara, Jamie Gibbs, Jemi Fraser and Cherie...

    I have no idea where my comment went but I did respond to you all earlier today. It seems to have disappeared. My apologies.

  29. Wanda,
    You're in good company, lol. Many of us have probably done one or a few on the list at one point in time. Sometimes quick "nice post" comments are all that's needed for bloggers to know that people visited their blog like you said. So long as those are isolated events, those types of comments are understandable.


    You make a valid point about #5. There are those times when a "nice post" is all a blogger needs to keep going, especially in the beginning stages or blogging. I can't tell you how many days I spent participating in those NaBloPoMo events and didn't receive one comment from fellow participants! That made me think that I was wasting my time, so now, you won't see me doing another NaBloPoMo unless I have a fellow blogging partner doing it with me. Otherwise, nope, nah, no NaBloPoMo for me!

    Anstice Potts,

    Cool name! No. 5 seems to be quite popular among bloggers themselves. Timing definitely plays a part in the type of comments readers leave, I know. Your comments are just as worthwhile and meaningful as the other comments that you read beforehand. Believe in yourself and your ability to leave comments that meet or even exceed the quality of the "other" comments. You can do it :)

    If all else fails, just comment on another reader's comment...that way, you can just build off of whatever great thing they said and still feel just as awesome!


    The sweet spots are what stand out every time. I like the title of VIPs for loyal bloggers. That's cute.

    LD Masterson,

    It happens...many times, people are just short on time and that is understandable. In some circumstances, the reader who left a short comment is better off than the reader who didn't join in on the conversation. Shorter can rock and trump silence every time. It's all in how it's done that makes all the difference in the world :)


    One of my comments vanished as well. I wish I did know what happened but nope, I don't. It's that weird Blogger thing...and I'm not a fan of it. Technology is weird that way sometimes.

    Angry Admin,

    Good thing that you found what you read to be useful.


    Haha, that's a good one! Looks like you're learning. LOL. The thing is...those three-four lines have some substance. That counts a lot more than "Great post!" on many occasions :)

  30. Comments in question went into spam. Don't know why those particular comments did, but I have now released them and they are published.


  31. I was quite excited to see the title of this post and to read it, all the while hoping I wouldn't encounter a personal "faux pas" on the list. One of the problems I have is that oftentimes I'm reading quite late in the evening after work, and with fatigue I don't always have the same sharp attention that I would probably have earlier in the day. I have learned to re-read a comment so that I haven't said something in error. It's a little additionally time consuming, but I really care about the people I'm speaking to, and certainly want to be clear and as concise as possible. Thanks for an excellent post! Debra

  32. I totally agree with everything you've said. I think it's pretty easy to tell when somebody is really only pandering for followers. Favoritism? Your darn right there is favoritism! Above all, as humans we like to connect with people. GREAT information!

  33. These are all true. I thought I was the only one going through this. I swear, if I weren't reminded that the world doesn't revolve around me...

    Comments from Anons (not from the hacktivist group) have led me to moderate my comments. They can be real bullies.

  34. All great tips. I have never really come across negative comments on my blog but I have read some on the blogs with huge followings. I cringe whenever I read a neg. comment. I was brought up "If ya can't say something nice..."
    Great post, very helpful
    Blessings, Joanne

  35. Hahahahahah!! This is a great post, and all of it so, so, so TRUE!!! Thankfully I've never received a negative comment, but lots and lots of insincere ones!!

  36. I don't like the anonymous ones myself. At least have the common decency to leave a name if one is leaving a negative post. That's when he/she posts anonymous. And that's just truly annoying when they are attacking your post.

  37. This is a really great post, and I definitely agree with most of your points.

    I do think that sometimes a short comment is appropriate, especially during something like A to Z. I know there were a few blogs that I just wasn't interested in, even though I thought they were well written and something along the lines of "nice post" was the best I could come up with. And sometimes time constraints are such that a short comment is all I can manage.

    I definitely agree with you about the comments asking/begging you to come visit their blog, or the "I'm following you, so follow me back" comments. Do you have any suggestions for dealing with people who leave multiple comments asking you to come comment on their blog? I typically respond to all comments, but I'm a little unsure how to respond to a comment along the lines of "Nice post. I hope you'll stop by my blog and say hi." I have commented a few times on this person's blog, but overall the subject matter doesn't interest me, so I don't usually have much to say.

  38. Arlee, these are dynamite. I noticed you shortened your signature a bit. ;) I find a blog link is helpful when I'm trying to visit commenter's blogs. It saves me the trouble of tracking down their blog. It can be really annoying if it's done wrong though.

  39. Lee, thanks for having Nicole Ayers.

    Nicole, this is a refreshing how-to for bloggers. I think I had that same commenter during A to Z! Sure, we want to promote, but we do it by being nice people, so people want to visit us.


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.