Saturday, January 05, 2013

10 Commandments of Blog Commenting

When you think of blogging, you probably also think of commenting. Blogs evolved to become open doors to 2-way communication. It is my firm belief that a blog encouraging intearactive conversation creates an entirely new level of value and transparency, as it allows a space for readers to feel comfortable asking questions and contributing feedback.

Yesterday we examined Title Baiting. Today we tackle COMMENTS. Those icky-sticky, sometimes impossible to leave thanks to cap'cha, particles of reaction to something just-read.

Researchers have found that comments can be counter-productive ::: Reportedly, those among us who read newspaper and magazine reports on topics relating to science “may be influenced as much by the comments at the end of the story as they are by the report itself,” according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study. I wonder if that also holds true for comments left on blogs.

My impression of the importance of comments is vastly different from what it was back in 2005, and even 2011. I enjoy reading them, particularly the ones channelled here through Facebook. It gives this humble weblog a "forum" atmosphere - an open discussion. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to determine whether the existence of comments (or no comments) adds, subtracts or changes anything presented in the original blog article posted.

Not all comments left on this weblog are deemed printable. Some are disqualified, my discretion, for a number of reasons. Here are some typical practices to avoid in trying to get your comment printed:

(A) SPAM ::: if it's crap, I'll stop it dead in its tracks. Period. Recently there have been people stupid enough to crack the cap'cha in efforts to get junk comments through. It doesn't work because I weed them out before they ever see light of day.

(B) WORDINESS ::: Blog*spot imposes a maximum word limit on comments. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but if you get too wordy, it won't accept your comment. Not sure what FB's policy entails. There is a 150 word maximum for comments. All comments greater than 150 words in length will be deleted in their entirety.


 I .Don’t state as a fact something that is unsubstantiated or that myself and other readers wouldn't know to be true.

II. Don’t presume someone’s guilt in a case when it hasn't been established by a court.

III. Don’t assail or impugn an identifiable individual or group. (I'll grant you leeway on this in connection with public officials, but it is not unconditional.)

IV. Don’t use profanity. "Crap" is ok. "S**t" is not.

V. Don’t be incendiary or tasteless. Those qualities are subjective, of course, I will be the arbiter.

VI. Do not identify yourself as someone you are not.

VII. Don't type in all caps. It is considered the Internet equivalent of shouting.

VIII. In sports articles, do not criticize officiating, unless I have done so in the piece.

IX. If an article comment fails any of the above criteria, the entire comment will be deleted.

X. My helpers and I monitor comments Monday - Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Approval of comments outside these times may be delayed.

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Because, like the fine publication Tablet, whom I borrowed this concept from, I too am committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing I'm able to provide, all free of charge. I take pride in my loyal readership, and I'm thrilled that you choose to engage with me in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse).

I'm asking people who'd like to post comments on my blog to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping me bring you the provocative and/or entertaining articles that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with me FREE of charge via Facebook comments and Google+ comments! You can also reach me via Twitter @davelucas

I hope this new largely symbolic measure will help create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all! Those of you who choose to contribute, thanks for your support.


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