Citing a comment to a blog post
Update: 5 May 2010
With corrections to the 6th edition APA have not only cleared up their example of citing a blog post, but added an example for citing a comment to a blog post (APA, c2010, p. 6). The examples are only slightly better with three factors still missing without explanation, and on which I ask your opinion:
- Blog title. With the post, and comment from it, that have been chosen for examples, the blog (which remember is a periodical) title does appear in the URL - however it must be remembered that not all blogs are structured to show their titles in the URLs, and that sometimes blogs are moved. Giving the title for a blog as one does for other periodicals makes it easier for other researchers to find the post (or comment) if the blog is moved after you have cited it.
- Retrieved date. Blog posts and sometimes blog comments are editable and removable, a retrieval date is advised when our source may be changed.
- Precise URL, the comment APA cite was one of a multitude, and I think that commenter did comment more than once on that date, the specific URL to the specific comment would be useful.
Update: 10 April 2009
Leaving my original thoughts intact below, I've just been reflecting on how APA erred in their example reference of a weblog post. As it turns out, that example reference is more likely to be of a comment to a blog post. And if one looks at it that way it is almost good, except that it still does not follow APA's own principles and guidelines.
Take a look (APA, 2007, p. 24) and remember it is a faulty example:
bfy. (2007, January 22). Re: The unfortunate prerequisites and consequences of partitioning your mind. Message posted to http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/
Possibly when this example was accessed by APA neither the comment nor the post had a URL of its own (directing reader as closely as possible to the source). Even if that is the case a retrieval date would be appropriate because although comments often cannot be edited they can be deleted.
APA (2007, p.1) advises us to include the same elements, in the same order as you would for a reference to a fixed-media source and add electronic retrieval information.
Comments to blog posts are a little like letters to the editor in print periodicals, but they are directed to and appear with specific blog posts, somewhat like a message board.
APA's style for messages to a message board or mailing list include both the message subject/thread and the name of the message board or mailing list (APA, 2007, p. 24).
"Smith, S. (2006, January 5). Re: Disputed estimates of IQ [Msg 670]. Message posted to ForensicNetwork electronic mailing list, archived at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ForensicNetwork/message/670"
I've finally found an example reference of a letter to the editor in APA style (University of Maryland, 2006).
I also think that it is most helpful to call things what they are... blog post comments are known as comments, not messages.
So I believe my guess of two years ago is still relatively good although I think now it had too much information. Now I would include:
Comment Author, A. (year, month day). Comment subject if given. Comment posted to Title of blog post. Title of blog. Retrieved day month, year, from comment-specific-URL
Thus for APA's citation as it appears today:
Lots of Ifs:
If the comment did not have its own URL then I would keep in mind that sometimes (as for APA's cited blog post) people will comment multiple times particularly when a conversation has been stimulated, so if the commenter made more than one comment in one day a time for the cited comment might be needed for identification.
If the post commented upon did not have its own URL then the date of the original blog post might be required in order to find the post and thus the comment.
If the blog was a multi-author blog whose posts do not have their own URL (does such a blog exist?) then the post author would also be useful for identification.---------------------------------------
Original post: 4 April 2007 at 21:30
My immediate thought was that a blog comment is a little like a letter to the editor, for which we would make a square bracket form notation after the article title (APA, 2001, pp. 226-227). However do comments have their own titles? or are they untitled? I think I've seen both, though mostly the latter. Does it bear any similarity to citing an exchange of letters - how is that done?
If there are any online suggestions for this task in APA style, I haven't yet googled it. Jerz (2003) uses such square bracket notation [Weblog comment.] for MLA citations. His solution if the comment does not have its own title is to use its first few words, and in addition cites the blog post title, blog post author; blog title and blog sponsor organisation.
I can't find anything specifically similar in APA, but perhaps it might combine electronic referencing with the style for article in an edited work though the "In" wouldn't really fit. Maybe:
Walker (2003) suggests that it is like citing a posting to an email discussion list although neither of her examples represent APA format for messages posted to electronic mailing lists which is:
however if that is converted to context of blog comment it might be:
That might look a little neater (and briefer) but does it provide enough information? Perhaps if it was expanded with dates and had both blog post title and blog title?
I prefer the use of square brackets if the comment has its own title, but if not then: Comment posted to...etc.
Does it need to be mentioned that the URL would be the permalink for the comment if it has one?
How do you, in APA style, cite blog comments?
American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association. (2007). APA Style Guide to Electronic References. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association. (c2010). Corrections to the First Printing of the Publication Manual
of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (July 2009) [online document]. Retrieved 5 May, 2010 from http://supp.apa.org/style/PM6E-1st-Printing-Reprint-Corrections.pdf
Jerz, D. G. (2003, December 11). Citing a weblog comment in MLA style. Jerz's Literacy Weblog. Retrieved 3 April, 2007, from http://jerz.setonhill.edu/weblog/permalink.jsp?id=2001
University of Maryland Libraries. (2006, August). Citing Sources Using the APA Style Manual. Retrieved April 10, 2009, from http://www.lib.umd.edu/guides/citing_apa.html#editorial
Walker, J. (2003, December 13). Citing weblogs. [Comment to blog post] by D. G. Jerz, (2003, December 11) How to cite weblogs and weblog comments in MLA style. Kairosnews. Retrieved 3 April, 2007, from http://kairosnews.org/how-to-cite-weblogs-and-weblog-comments-in-mla-style#comment-2551