I've been tempted to put this post together as a means of work evasion ... no, as a way to restart a debate that has rumbled around AARland many times in the past (for a link to some previous discussions, see here).
Now, to me, AArland is clearly a product of two different inputs - the AAR posts and the commentary that follows - and quite often commentators are writers in their own right. We recognise the importance to this community of feedback by one of the weekly awards - Fan of the Week.
I'm pretty sure that most writers like comments, so I'd like to revive two related debates. How to acquire comments and the nature of the commenting process.
I still think the best way to acquire comments is to leave comments elsewhere. Its not perfectly reciprocal, nor should it be, but if you enter the spirit of this place (you get to read stuff for free and comments are really the only currency in use), then, on balance it will happen. The second key thing is to respond. I'll be honest, if I leave comments and there is no feedback from the writer, I tend not to bother leaving any more (I may carry on following the AAR if it interests me, but I am very unlikely to carry on actively commenting).
If you are new, then this takes time. One good thing of the now quite regular release of new games or new variations (such as AHD) is that it brings in a group of new writers and commentators. This in turn lessens the feeling of joining a long established group and indeed brings in a group who will tend to leave comments in each others AARs (I've seen a lof of this in particular with the CK2 forum).
Being new though has a second problem. One frustration of actively following an AAR is when it just ... stops. Now this happens for lots of good (& bad) reasons, but it tends to make me unwilling to properly read a new AAR till it is clear it has some durability. If someone does this more than once, I become very wary of following any future AARs by them. And that is not to say that all AARs have to span the entire notional game period, just that ideally it ends in a manner that wraps it up and concludes the original project. However there are good reasons - attacks of real life, save games do become corrupted or new patches make carrying on a bit pointless.
Equally, I think certain types of AAR tend to attract both more comments and more readers in general. For the most part, a gameplay AAR will invite more comments than a detailed narrative approach. I think partly as a lot of users of the forum are looking for information on how to play a game and partly its easier to leave a comment such as 'how did that happen/why did you take that option?'.
That slips over into a question of how to comment. There are a lot of ways to do this, some can be as simple as expressing your appreciation. Some can be quite detailed analysis of a period of gameplay or dissection of plot or character. As long as you avoid spam, there is no need to ensure that every comment is deep and meaningful (&, as above, writers tend to like comments in any case).
One particular challenge is to work out how to comment on a long standing AAR. Not only is the prospect of starting to read something that is already 50+ pages long rather daunting, it raises the question of how to comment. Some suggest, keep any comments till you've caught up. I tend to the view of comment as if you were reading real time. Again, people like comments, and there is no harm asking a question about a post on p.20 when all will be revealed on p.78. Matter of taste, but post, ask, and see.
Sorry, a bit rambling, and provoked by a post I encountered earlier today. But its an enduring problem for AARland, which is that comments are the main source of reward to writers and it can be daunting when you post, see the view count move up, and see no active response.