TOP TEN WAYS TO BE A BETTER COMMENTER
ON TRAIL MIX
(Hey, do whatever you like anywhere else)
Report violations to firstname.lastname@example.org
Trail Mix is dedicated to providing the most user friendly news commenting forum on the web. To ensure the best experience for all users we try to follow these simple guidelines.” — Craig
Contribute new information to the discussion. At least scan the entire thread to see if what you are writing has already been said. Repeating yourself is also unhelpful. Relentlessly pressing the same argument with multiple posts, in a single thread or over a period of days, is another form of spam and subject to deletion. Persistent violators are subject to blocked access.
- Nobody likes a know-it-all. Thoughtful, knowledgeable commenters gain a following. Condescending smartypants are about as welcome on a blog as they are in someone’s living room. They generally persuade no one and aggravate everyone. When fact-checking, pointing out a typo or dead link or asserting a dissenting opinion, do it in a respectful, friendly way.
- Be careful about your tone. As in email and other cyber communication, blog commenting is susceptible to misinterpretation because readers cannot hear the tone of your voice or see your facial expressions. Sarcasm, teasing, even an innocent joke can so easily be taken the wrong way in a public forum like this. Emoticons are helpful to clarify how you want your comment to be taken.
- Own your comment. Only registered WordPress users are allowed to post comments without moderation. Newly-registered users or those who haven’t recently commented might see their first comment held for review. If so, send an email to email@example.com to expedite review and post future comments without delay. There are very few reasons why the host might not approve a new commenter, such as supplying a fake email address, impersonating others, trying to return afer being banned or devising a screen name clearly meant to insult another commenter or the blog community as a whole.
- Be succinct. Blog commenting is not a place for lengthy lectures. Keep it short and to the point. You will find that your comments will be much better read. Generally, comments beyond 150 words should be reviewed before posting, in case a bit of editing might improve the readability of what you have to say.
- Cite your sources with links or inline quoting. Copying and pasting large blocks of text from other sites is strictly off limits, even with links or identification of the source. It is best to summarize why you think the item is significant, provide a few quotes from it and ALWAYS include the link. Never paste quotes from another site without the link. Violations are subject to deletion. Use url shortening tools such as tinyurl.com for lengthy addresses. Multiple links (3 or more) in a single comment are held for review by our spam filter (unfortunate, but unavoidable in order to keep threads free of annoying spam) — two per comment only!
- Be clear about the subject or person you’re addressing. There is nothing more confusing and maddening for a thread reader to come across a cryptic response to someone else’s comment and have no idea what the dialogue is about. The easiest way to prevent this confusion in our blog is to right-click the date stamp on the comment you’re addressing and copy the url that appears in your browser. Or in some cases you might just copy a particular quote into your response, but be sure to add the name of commenter.
- Be courteous. There will be moments of passion when things are said in anger. If you must attack, target the idea or the opinion — but NEVER the person. Personal attacks are useless, tend to escalate hostilities and ruin the reading experience for everyone else. Such comments, even if isolated, are subject to deletion. An ongoing pattern of persistent violations will result in blocked access.
- Do not feed the trolls. As in life, there are always those who somehow enjoy surfing the internet to inject pointless vindictiveness. Many are classic passive aggressives who deliberately provoke others into a counterattack followed by acts of martyrdom. Don’t let the terrorists win. Do NOT acknowledge these people with refutations, disagreements or even a mention of their screen name — even when you are directly attacked by name. Responding in kind on their level is exactly what they want you to do. Be assured that your host will take action against chat bullies as soon as possible.
- Most of all, have fun. While we have commenters with a variety of views who often engage each other in vigorous debate, we also strive to be a genuine community. Sharing recipes, photos or other personal information is also welcome. Arguing might be fun at times, but a little fellowship in between makes for a better place.
On the subject of cursing in comments (which your host doesn’t appreciate but chooses to mostly ignore), maybe we adults can learn something from the kids, see: nocussing.com.
Cyber-bullying is not just for kids. See this revealing article by an adult former cyberbully at overcomebullying.org.
- What Type of Web Commenter Are You? See this hilarious list by ABCNews.com Techonology Columnist Michael S. Malone.