After profiling the different types of blog commenters recently, I had some requests for advice on how to be the good kinds of commenters, rather than the bad. Here are some dos and don’ts that might help:
1) Be charitable. If you are not making a comment out of love, you have no reason to make it.
2) Do not comment when you’re angry. You’ll probably regret it and won’t be able to undo it. Anything good to say will still be good in a few hours when the anger has worn off a bit.
3) If you quote part of the article or another comment, make it a short quote. Do not copy and paste huge chunks of the article or other comments into new comments. If we need to reread the post or another comment you are referencing, we can scroll up and reread it. Just give us enough of the quote to know what you are referring to.
4) Do not leave really long comments (aka don’t be a Tome-ist). People generally will not read them and they are convo-killers. If you can’t say what you need to say in a paragraph or two (or maybe three), then I would suggest dropping a few of your lesser points for the sake of your better points. Try to be as succinct as possible. This will make your comment more valuable, more appreciated and more likely to be read and responded to.
5) If there is a character limit on a combox form, it’s there for a reason. Please don’t spread your long comment across multiple submissions until you’ve said all you want to say. It’s annoying.
6) Do not feel like you have to have the last word. Say your piece and then rest at peace.
7) Make good points, not lots of points. A lot of blog comment convos start with one point. Then somebody responds with 3 points. Then the other person responds with 6. And with each iteration each person feels the need to respond to each point the previous person made plus a few new ones. Try to reverse that trend. Respond to 6 points with 3. Respond to 3 points with 1. Make your one point just that good.
8) Go with your gut. If you’re gut is telling you that maybe you shouldn’t say something (but you still really want to say it), don’t say it. You’re gut is probably right.
9) If you are sharing links or promoting something, make sure you are contributing to the post topic/conversation. If you are only interested in promoting something else, you will do more harm to your cause than good.
10) Say a quick prayer before making a comment.
11) Be an informer, not a misinformer. Don’t spread information around unless you are reasonably sure it is true.
12) Read the post (don’t be a Slacker). Responding to something that you haven’t read is just obnoxious and foolish. Just ask Attorney General Eric Holder.
13) Remember that you are a guest on somebody else’s website. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in somebody’s living room if they invited you over for dinner. If it doesn’t pass the living room test, keep it to yourself.
14) Remember that your comment is public. It is not a private conversation between you and somebody else. Far more people will silently read your comment than respond to it.
15) Be Christ. WWJD? Allow Christ to work through you. Don’t say anything Jesus wouldn’t say. Your strongest evangelization weapon in the combox is your love and the way you conduct yourself - not the points you are making.
16) Comment. You don’t have to be really smart, have an awesome point, or something really valuable to contribute. Your opinion is valuable. Saying something encouraging or nice is valuable. And you never know how it will impact the many unknown people who will come across it and read it.
One of the fundamental aspects of giving a soul to the internet is our loving presence. Don’t be shy.