HOWTO be a good commenter


64 Responses to “HOWTO be a good commenter”

  1. Just_Ok says:

    LOL me too!

  2. embryoconcepts says:

    Of all the sites to which I subscribe, BB seems to have one of the better commentator communities.  There are a few rotten apples in the bunch, but there is also a large, diverse and eloquent contingent that does an excellent job illustrating differing opinions.  While my deep-set personal beliefs haven’t changed dramatically, I have been challenged and educated, and that (in my mind) is a good indicator of healthy, intelligent discourse.

    • Just_Ok says:

      True, but I sense an underlying “My way is the only right way” in the “rules”. IMHO, a multi-dimensional filtering approach is needed, by the author(s), publisher and community. Something abit more advanced than “like”, “dislike” and “flag”.

      I sometimes find myself liking something that is inappropriate or disliking something that is appropriate.

    • Beanolini says:

      BB seems to have one of the better commentator communities

      …and it has a healthy disregard for rule 2. I like the fact that I may end up reading about a subject only tangentially related to the original post- this is one of the reasons I read the comments.

      • embryoconcepts says:

        If it’s a natural segue, I completely agree.  Conversations natural ramble, and you can learn some fascinating information and new perspectives.  If it’s a blatant attempt to hijack the conversation to be all about you and your interests, that’s a dick move.

        • Snig says:

          I would divide them into illumanitive or humourous digressions, that I often enjoy, vs. argumentative digressions, which i usually don’t.  Unless I really agree with the argument.

      • ookluh says:

        yes, this! 

        Sorry, I couldn’t help it, but I do agree. I think there is a very fine line between adding to the conversation through tangential commentary and just derailing it altogether. Maybe that’s all in the eye of the beholder, or the eye of the moderator.  The moderator who, coincidentally, is just one intimidating eyeball, staring out at you, challenging you to be on-topic…or else.

        Simply, rules should often be broken.

      • Mister44 says:

         I’m guilty of going off topic sometimes – though I try to stay on task. But communication is organic and if it goes on long enough it is going to branch into other areas.

      • I find rule 2 seems to go out the window mostly due to the implied ridiculous nature or humor to a post but technically they are still there. Technically  racist/sexist/violent posts on something like a Fox News story and their forum could be considered “On topic”…

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        I don’t generally care if people go off topic as long as it’s not about guns, Ron Paul, etc.  If the digressions are more likely to keep people mellow than inflame them, they’re fine. 

        Occasionally, some subjects are a little stricter.  We don’t really need to hear about what you had for breakfast in an obituary thread.

        • B E Pratt says:

          Damn. Wait a minute here! ‘Breakfast With The Obituaries’. There is something to monetize here….
          Ah hell, I guess the Dadaists (or Surrealists, whatevah) already did it better with the phrase “Exquisite Corpse”. But then, just look what Poppy Z. Brite did to THAT :)

      • B E Pratt says:

         Hey, it’s one reason I am starting to comment a lot here. I like to go off topic, but it only works it it has some relevance to the entire thread if not the actual topic. Discussions are much more fun when far ranging and not narrowly limited. I should know. I talk to Republicans and it is mostly not fun. Unless you like shouting. Phone hang ups. Completely being cut off for life. That kind of thing

  3. RustyTrawler says:

    Don’t we have better things to worry about than commenters when 47% of US Americans don’t pay taxes LOL Hussein Obama has you people all brainwashed!!!11!!!

  4. MrRocking says:

    I respect boing boing for not implementing the traffic baiting downvote button.

  5. rafterman says:

    i am 12 and what is this

    • Dlo Burns says:

      How serendipitous. 
      Also Gamefaqs is a great example of how when rules are strict and bizarre the fora mutate in strange ways. (for those who don’t know, on the gamefaqs board if you just merely mention or joke that you’re under the required age of 13 you get banned)

  6. Meh, who cares about farmers anyway?

  7. BDiamond says:


  8. cleek says:

    meh. every blog is different.

  9. Dan Hibiki says:

    I wonder if Corry leaves a lot of sticky notes with passive aggressive comments on them telling people to clean the microwave or refill the coffee pot.

  10. TheMudshark says:

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  11. SamSam says:

    Mark, why did you even post this?

  12. Yacko says:

    What about snark factor? Rule 11 -  If you think your comment has a snark factor of less than 10, then do not post.

  13. xzzy says:

    My main rule is to wonder what Steve Martin would say, and then post that.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s actually something Steve Martin would say, the point is there needs to be more Steve Martin in the world.

  14. signsofrain says:

    Rule 11: Never criticize the website you are commenting on. Remember, a healthy level of sycophancy is essential to being a poster in good standing!

  15. DewiMorgan says:

    This is a bunch of really nice guidelines on how to comment well. But it worries me that these things might be seen as an etiquette guide to judge others by, or even as hard and fast rules.

    It’s the difference between “I prefer to spell my own posts properly” and “you are bad for your misspellings, and you should feel bad”, or even “that’s your tenth typo today! Banhammer!”

    To me, the list is also a list of things to check the life of the thread. Cleaving well to those guidelines is a good thing: but if all posts adhered to it like glue, it would feel dead, or at least cliquey and insular.

  16. naught_for_naught says:

    You know who could never stay on topic? Hitler.


  17. SummerFang says:

    I didn’t read the article or any of the comments above mine.  But I just wanted to say that I think people should be allowed to comment however they want to!  Dagnabbit!

  18. bklynchris says:

    Apparently, “Whatever” has conveyed a misleading message to his community?  Maybe he needs to change it to, “Whatever is for me, the rest of you hoi polloi respond on my terms”.  Man, I bet their staff has a hard time finding dates for their staff parties.  But he has achieved his quest to “taunt me”, and I have never even read the blog.  Kudos!  I mean, if kudos are allowed….

  19. timquinn says:

    Once, a Facebook ‘aquaintance’ posted his opinion of the bass player Jaco Pastorious. A few people brought up other bass players. OP says, “Hold on, everyone. This post is about JP and please don’t talk about anyone else.”

    Sometimes trolling is merited.

  20. timquinn says:

    Dissenters are always first accused of bad manners. It serves to marginalize at least if it doesn’t just shoo off the troublemaker.

  21. Ipo says:

    Cory, this post of yours is not to my liking.  I expected better from bOINGbOING . 
    I’m very disappointed and with this I’m cancelling my subscription. 

  22. benher says:

    My own comment policy, laid bare before the masses, for easy down-modding:

    1. Am I drunk? If so, comment regardless.
    2. Is the article about Japan? If so, comment pedantically.
    3. Is the article about science ™? Comment positively.
    4. Is the article about religion ™? Comment snarkily/mockingly.
    5. Is Disqus a pain to log into? If so, refer to rule one then proceed accordingly.

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