Saturday, March 15, 2008

Advice to Internet Commenters of the World

Hello. I am here to help you, fellow commenters. You know those times when you read something on a comment-enabled website and just get the urge to spill all of your important opinions for all to read? Well, before you do that, or at least before you click the fateful "post" button, stay with me here- don't fall into the traps of so many before you. And just so I'm clear- this is for debate-oriented comment threads. Controversial ones that bring out the crazies.

Before I go on, I must mention- this comes from infinite experience in comment-reading. Yes, I am a whore for comment reading. I just love reading people's comments. Youtube, digg, random websites, whatevah. Just give me some o' that ignorance, that's all I need. Um, no, actually I do not like the ignorance. And that is precisely why I am here to help you all, every one of you poor lost souls.

The #1 basic rule is: use correct spelling. This is a crucial step towards being taken seriously. If you suck at spelling, just get Firefox. It automatically checks errors. So you won't have type-o as an excuse anymore! Although, really, that should always be your excuse if you are attacked by those vicious spelling monsters.

Now to the content of the comment. First of all - and this is only applies to those of you who do not want to be attention-starved trolls. If you want to be taken seriously, then don't come off as too passionate or closed-minded. Always keep your head. If you're a Hillary supporter, who are you going to give the time of day when they want to share their mind about their favorite '08 candidate, Obama?- Someone saying:


or someone saying

"I have no problem with Hillary, but lately I have been leaning towards Obama. I've watched a lot of his interviews and I really agree with his views on communicating with foreign leaders and uniting the US by being more bipartisan."

Okay, maybe the second one is a bit dull. you can change that. But what I'm trying to bring across is that a Hillary fan reading the first comment will stop after the first sentence and go on. Or he/she will understandably get pissed off and give you a piece of their mind. Which, if that's what you're looking for, then go ahead- have a blast. I'll just shake my head from the sidelines. But, reading the second line, they will be more likely to have a civilized reaction.

The do's are: Don't be over the top angry or worshiping, don't be overly closed-minded, if you know something will be taken the wrong way then try to clarify it in your comment beforehand, and specific details and opinions are always better than generalities.

And finally, a MAJOR, stupid, dumb dumb dumb big fat don't that prompted me to create this post in the first place:

Say you've written a perfect comment so far- it is calm, collected, inspiring, intelligent-whatever. The reader is just about to hail you and (oh yay!) give you the thumbs up. But, and I've seen this sooo many times it makes me want to cry- the very last sentence, or maybe the couple last, just goes totally off the rail by stating a very closed-minded, stupid comment that turns off half of the original supporters. You don't understand how many times this happens. In fact, sometimes it is not a totally ignorant comment- it is just a side comment that ruins everything.

Two examples:

The Hillary/Obama debate is full of examples. I have often seen criticisms of one of the candidates that almost convince me a little- until I see "Obama '08!" or "Hillary '08" at the end, depending on who was the candidate that they were not bashing. This ruins everyting. The argument falls to the ground, and all of the fair points made before are completely lost. Don't fall into this trap.

Now here is a specific example, from a recent HuffPo article on a Hasidic man who had to drop from a movie with Natalie Portman because the rabbis were giving him hell for going Hollywood:

When are people going to wake up and abandon ALL ancient mythologies? This is another example of the misogynistic lunacy that is part and parcel of the Abrhamic cults of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ever since the myth of Eve causing the downfall of man, women have been relegated as property of men. What I suggest to Abe Karpen is to grow up, and look at the reality of the universe, and see that ancient superstitions are in place only as a controlling force. I do find it disturbing though that he has already had three children by 25. What is his wife's age? Is all that she is is a baby factory?

It started out so promising. And then, when they got to slamming the poor actor, even though his children were threatened to be kicked out from their school if he did not leave. Then it just gets really closed-minded. Who is this person to criticize the guy for his beliefs, which hurt no one, or for how many kids he has. It's part of the religion, stop being a dick. You can disapprove, and say "I don't understand why he would let the rabbis make his decisions"- that is also a bit closed minded, but much better. Not inflammatory, like the actual comment. I mean, really, go after the guy for doing things of which you have absolutely no idea what their origin and therefore have no right to scoff at in such a way? Exactly.

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