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Jan. 18 2010 - 3:41 am | 325 views | 2 recommendations | 11 comments

How to comment on a blog and vice versa

Jessica_Biel

Jessica Biel (Image by Keng Susumpow via Flickr)

Ah, the joys of interactivity.

I know I speak for all of us who blog or post or whatever it is we do on this Internet thingamajig when I extend my grateful thanks to those concerned readers who take the time and trouble to offer their comments.

A witty and perceptive response is wonderfully gratifying and heartening to the blogger. That would describe about .003 percent of your comments.

The rest, well, you guys need a little help. A little basic instruction, which I’m happy to supply, free of charge, due to my generous and caring nature.

To set you on the right path, let me give you these illustrative examples of actual comments, followed by my comments on the comments:

Example of a good comment

Lewis, your defense of the Albigensian Heresy was the most powerful, persuasive, insightful and moving piece of writing I’ve ever read. What’s more, it was wickedly funny! My life will never be the same. Keep up the fantastic work.

This comment is short, sincere and to the point. Its grammar is unassailable and its assessment of the blog in question is accurate. Use this example as a model whenever you comment on my writing and you won’t go wrong.

Example of a poor comment

Grossberger, you insufferable dunce, your pathetic, twisted attempt to slime two wonderful, innocent children [Sasha and Malia Obama] was factually atrocious and stank with malice. In a just world, it would bring you a slow and painful death, featuring the application of white-hot metal prongs to the more sensitive of your body parts, assuming you have any sensitive parts, which is doubtful.

This weak and ill-thought-out comment goes on far too long and it rambles. Avoid vagueness! Be specific. Be timely. Check your spelling. And please, don’t exaggerate! Leave that to the pros. Worst of all, this commenter takes a “negative” position toward the blog in question. Sure, you can criticize, but always do so in a positive and worshipful manner.

Basically, that’s all you need to know about commenting. But for those of you who want to go on to slightly more advanced concepts, these suggestions may help:

Avoid passive-aggressive compliments

When giving a grudging or insincere compliment, try not to let your true feelings bleed through. A good example of this would be a recent comment I received that said, “Nice piece, though if I’d thought of the premise, I would’ve written it a hell of a lot better than you did.”

Eschew extraneous subjects

“I really loved that hot, hot, hot photo of Jessica Biel accompanying your article ‘Super Hot Hollywood Sex Babes,’” wrote one commenter recently. People, bear in mind that a writer has no interest whatever in the stupid photo accompanying his piece. Or the caption under the stupid photo or the headline or the author’s headshot or anything, really, except how great the piece was.

Don’t leave too many comments

Because let’s face it, nobody’s reading them anyway.


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  1. collapse expand

    Just read your “how to comment on a blog” blog. Terrific. Here’s a variant I encountered.

    I passed on your “advice to Sarah Palin” to several friends (some of whom you know from SU days). Lot of funny and positive feedback. One recipient (not one of our old friends), a SP devotee, immediately attacked my “socialist” leanings. I guess that’s something like Freud’s “transference neurosis.”

  2. collapse expand

    Lewis, as a result of your witty and insightful post, I am humbly submitting my request to ‘follow you ‘(in the parlance of blog world) and thus become a Grossblogger minion. I respectfully request that you continue posting in the form and style of the aforementioned post as I find it both enjoyable and…well, mainly enjoyable.
    Best – Minion DiSalvo

  3. collapse expand

    LOL = But I leave the wit to you, Grossberger. You really do do it so well.

  4. collapse expand

    Lewis, your exegesis of blog comments was the most powerful, persuasive, insightful and moving piece of writing I’ve ever read. What’s more, it was wickedly funny! My life will never be the same. Keep up the fantastic work.

  5. collapse expand

    So where’s the vice versa part- how to blog on comments?

  6. collapse expand

    At the risk of sounding passive aggressive and violating your suggested protocol, I’m forced to ask: why present as the example of an appropriate/satisfactory comment only the viewpoint that agrees with you? A lot of quality discussions and comment threads result from considerate critiques. I would have appreciated a highlighted quality comment disagreeing with one of your premises.

  7. collapse expand

    Why were you blogging at 3:41am?

  8. collapse expand

    The best (ie: worst) I’ve received (aside from the downright racist/disgusting/offensive) was this one, in response to me writing that I like Lady Gaga: “This is why the terrorists hate us. This post is the final nail in the coffin of the enlightenment. In name of all that is just and pure please do not ever have children Sara.”

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    Once I was a writer for the Old Media. But the Old Media went away and now I am a content provider for the New Media. That doesn’t necessarily mean I am more content or better provided for, only that times change.

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