How not to look like an Idiot in the Comments

Smart Readers and Comments - The Anti-Social MediaThere’s nothing that I hate more on any blog than comments that were written by human beings that make no sense. Comments filled with typos. Comments that are unrelated to the discussion. Comments that are intended to make people look stupid.

These are blogs people, not Yahoo! News. We don’t want our descendants to look through all this crap hundreds of years from now and think “Wow. How stupid were they? How did we last this long? And did people really take the rapture that seriously?”

Ask yourself there three questions before you push that “Add Comment” button:

  • Does it add to the discussion? - Has someone else said what you want to say? Can you make a valid counterpoint? Does it bring new insight that people haven’t seen before? Think of what you can add before you type  a five page manifesto.
  • Does it have context? - Are you just posting a link to your own crappy blog with out any text? Are you talking about something completely unrelated? The easiest way to get banned from a blog or chewed out by an author is by posting something that comes out of the blue.
  • Does it make sense? - The author of the blog took time to write something that other people can read and will make sense when other people come along and read it. Do the same with your comment. Check for typos and grammar errors. Read it out loud to make sure it reads correctly.

It’s not that hard to make yourself look somewhat intelligent. You did this to get through school, and  you can do this on blogs too.

And if you can’t, don’t comment. Stop filling up the internet with mindless dribble and crazy conspiracy theories. My cat can share better things than that nonsense.

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Well here's the deal - 70% of Americans age 25 or older don't have a bachelors or higher. Saying "you did this to get through school" is a self-descriptor of why we have such stupid comments on blogs and (especially) news stories, since 70% of Americans didn't. I'm also totally in favor of more pictures of kitties.

But 85% of American adults have High School Diplomas (According to this Bloomberg Business Week Article from 2005 ). Do we not require students to write in schools and learn how to put their thoughts on paper? As more of our culture moves into the internet where the predominant forms of communication are reading and writing, it is prudent and necessary that we build these skills within future generations. Our continued success depends on them.

Awts. I'm guilty of this. Most of the time when I don't really have any idea of what to say I become a lurker, then just for the heck of it coz I feel guilty not leaving any comment, I just say whatever I think is logical or whatever. Thanks for posting this :)

There is no shame in lurking.

I think my comment adds to this discussion because it's a comment and this discussion is about comments. And I didn't make a typo. And I'm not an idiot. And maybe that rapture thing was legit and nobody made the cut. ;-)

No, my cat's still here, and she is perfect.

plz post more pictures of cats. ktnxbye.

Well said Jay. I always ask myself if what I'm saying in the comments would make sense if I were saying it in a face-to-face conversation at a networking event or a party. (Like now ;-))

Wait, you imagine you're talking with other people, not soulless avatars? What a great idea!