Comments I (fortunately) do not receive

rocket appliances

comentI hole-hardedly agree, but allow me to play doubles advocate here for a moment. For all intensive purposes I think you are wrong. In an age where false morals are a diamond dozen, true virtues are a blessing in the skies. We often put our false morality on a petal stool like a bunch of pre-Madonnas, but you all seem to be taking something very valuable for granite.

So I ask of you to mustard up all the strength you can because it is a doggy dog world out there. Although there is some merit to what you are saying it seems like you have a huge ship on your shoulder. In your argument you seem to throw everything in but the kids Nsync, and even though you are having a feel day with this I am here to bring you back into reality.

I have a sick sense when it comes to these types of things. It is almost spooky, because I cannot turn a blonde eye to these glaring flaws in your rhetoric. I have zero taller ants when it comes to people spouting out hate in the name of moral righteousness. You just need to remember what comes around is all around, and when supply and command fails you will be the first to go.

Make my words, when you get down to brass stacks it doesn’t take rocket appliances to get two birds stoned at once. It’s clear who makes the pants in this relationship, and sometimes you just have to swallow your prize and accept the facts. You might have to come to this conclusion through denial and error but I swear on my mother’s mating name that when you put the petal to the medal you will pass with flying carpets like it’s a peach of cake.

Eye has know idea of the oranges of this peace, though I recipes it from my fiend Damn.

Responding to “How to Be a Good Commenter”

The lack of civility on some pages doesn’t just concern me in the moment; it makes me worry about us as a species.

John Scalzi, at his Whatever blog, wrote a very interesting piece called How to Be a Good Commenter. In the main, I agree with his points, though I do have somewhat different priorities.

1. Do I actually have anything to say?… A comment is not meant to be an upvote, downvote or a “like.” It’s meant to be an addition to, and complementary to (but not necessarily complimentary of) the original post.

Well, yes, but… I go to a lot of ABC Wednesday posts, and they’ve posted a picture of a flower, or a waterfall, and if I like it, I might indicate its beauty. And I don’t mind, frankly, an essentially “like” comment to what I write; beats indifference. Maybe I want to thank someone for doing something I can’t do, or say something I wish I had said; I want to affirm the creator for his or her efforts. That noted I do try to abide by the complementary notion. I think the fear of this first rule creates a lot of lurkers, who may visit a page but never say anything.

2. Is what I have to say actually on topic?

Now that I DO care about. I’ve found that some commenters are like campaigning politicians who can, and will, take any issue and mold it into a point from their stump speech, regardless of relevance.

3. Does what I write actually stay on topic?… if you make a perfunctory wave at the subject and then immediately use it as a jumping-off point for your own particular set of hobby horses, then you’re also making the thread suck.

This doesn’t happen on THIS blog, but I’ve seen the phenomenon on my Times Union blog, and indeed on most newspaper or magazine-related blogs. is particularly vulnerable to these trolls.

4. If I’m making an argument, do I actually know how to make an argument?… I will at the very least point you in the direction of this list of logical fallacies, for you to peruse and consider. I will also say that in my experience the single most common bad argument is the assumption that one’s personal experience is universal rather than intensely personal and anecdotal.

I love personal anecdotes, but only when it ISN’T used as proof. Gotten that at the TU blog too.

5. If I’m making assertions, can what I say be backed up by actual fact?

I suppose the problem here is that the world seems armed with contradictory theories masked as “facts.” If I express concern about global warming or belief in evolution, I’ll find people who will find assertions to the contrary. This is why some issues become not worth fighting over; the facts are out there if one wants to look.

6. If I’m refuting an assertion made by others, can what I say be backed up by fact?… refutation without substantiation is not refutation at all; it’s just adding to the noise.

Totally agree with that.

7. Am I approaching this subject like a thoughtful human being, or like a particularly stupid fan?… Look, everyone has their biases and inclinations and favorites, and that’s fine. This doesn’t mean you won’t come across as a brainless plumper for your side when you, in fact, plump brainlessly for them in a comment.

Don’t experience this much. Then again, I don’t write that much about sports.

8. Am I being an asshole to others? Yes, I know you think you’re being clever when you are being snide and sarcastic about that other commenter, or about the original poster. I would remind you what the failure mode of clever is. Also, being a complete prick to others in a comment thread is an easy tell to those others that you can’t make a sufficient argument on any other ground than personal abuse. Which is not a good thing for you.

If this were a ranked list – and it may be, I’m not sure – this would be #1 or at worst, #2. The lack of civility on some pages doesn’t just concern me in the moment; it makes me worry about us as a species.

9. Do I want to have a conversation or do I want to win the thread? Some people have to be right, and can’t abide when others don’t recognize their fundamental right to be right, and will thus keep making attempts to be right long after it is clear to every other person that the conversation is going nowhere and the remaining participants are simply being tiresome.

A perfectly good example of that phenomenon is a short post I wrote for the Getting There blog on the Times Union, Lunatic SUV driver harassing cyclists. I thought it was pretty self-evident that the driver was engaging in anti-social behavior. Silly me. The comment that struck me the most was this: “Sharing the road or not it’s a lose-lose if you ever get tangled up with a car. That’s the risk bikers WANT AND TAKE.” The first part IS true, but that bicyclists WANT to take that risk is absurd. I never even bothered to comment at all, as I had outraged readers willing to carry on that task.

10. Do I know when I’m done? I’m not saying you should enter each comment thread with an exit strategy, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt.

As I tend to be conflict-averse, I tend to avoid this particular problem. The worse case of me having to come back to a topic was actually on a Facebook posting in which I noted that there were government people opposed to the art display Piss Christ, and I had to go find proof of this, twice. I remember the controversy, and my need to prove it made me a tad cranky.

I like this comment to Scalzi’s piece. I’ve seen it before, and it continues to be valid.
T — Is it TRUE?
H — is it HELPFUL?
I — is it INSPIRING?
N — is it NECESSARY?
K — is it KIND?

Comments policy

Don’t be a schmuck. If you act like a schmuck in the comments, as defined by me, I won’t post your comment and you will have wasted more of your time writing the comment than my time in deleting it.

Here I am, just a couple months short of six years of blogging, and I’m reading where Wayne John thinks all bloggers should have a blogging policy. He’s probably right, but I cannot get very excited about it; i.e, the topic bores me. In all the time I’ve been blogging here, including the Blogger iteration, I have deleted exactly ONE comment that wasn’t spam. It was a nasty remark about a picture of a dear friend I had posted; I didn’t like it, and I took it down.

The Akismet on the WordPress blog is really good at catching spam, and I approve every comment anyway these days; ultimately, it’s just easier. I receive an e-mail when I get a comment and respond as soon as possible. I also check the Akismet to make sure it doesn’t reject real posts; it used to do it a lot, especially to a couple of ABC Wednesday people. And particularly entertaining spam I just might let slip through.

Some bloggers rail against the one-line comment; I guess I’d rather people say one line they really mean than three lines trying to meet some arbitrary threshold.

Except through the spam, I just don’t seem to get a lot of irrelevant links that people want to post here.

Wayne John linked to this article, which reads in part: It is also a “responsibility statement”. It informs the reader of what you will allow on your blog, what you will not allow, and what they are allowed to do. It establishes publicly the responsibilities of each party involved.

In a related link, there’s a list of no-nos.
is abusive – well, OK, but then I have to go define that
is off-topic – on another blog I have people go off-topic all the time; actually, it can be quite informative and entertaining
contains ad-hominem attacks – same as “abusive”
promotes hate of any kind – I’m against hate, but I find the notion overly broad
uses excessive vulgarity – this would involve me having to definite both vulgarity AND its excess
is spam – previously addressed

OK. In the spirit of that paragraph, here is my policy:

Feel free to comment on my blog. I love it when you comment on my blog. Besides self-expression, that’s the reason I write a blog – to get reactions.

So don’t be a schmuck. If you act like a schmuck in the comments, as defined by me, I won’t post your comment and you will have wasted more of your time writing the comment than my time in deleting it.

That’s my policy. What’s yours?

And do I really need a paragraph (freely stolen) like this?
By submitting a comment on Roger’s blog, you agree to hold this site, its owner Roger Green, and all future subsidiaries and representatives harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability. Roger reserves all rights of refusal and deletion of any and all comments and trackbacks. This policy may be amended at any time.

If so, then that, too.

On the other hand, I have actually made more money on this blog in 2011 than I had in the previous 5.5 years (which is to say, zero) from a small stipend I get from posting those infographics. Truth is that I would have likely posted them anyway, for nothing (and actually have), if not here then on another blog I write for. Still, in keeping with the spirit of the FTC disclosure rules, there it is.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial