10 Questions Blog Commenters Should But Don’t Ask

John Scalzi knows that you want to be a better commenter because, “You’re a fine upstanding human being, not some feculent jackass with a keyboard, an internet connection and a blistering sense of personal inferiority that is indistinguishable from common sociopathy.”

To help achieve your objective, he suggests asking yourself ten questions:

1. Do I actually have anything to say?

2. Is what I have to say actually on topic?

3. Does what I write actually stay on topic?

4. If I’m making an argument, do I actually know how to make an argument?

5. If I’m making assertions, can what I say be backed up by actual fact?

6. If I’m refuting an assertion made by others, can what I say be backed up by fact?

7. Am I approaching this subject like a thoughtful human being, or like a particularly stupid fan?

8. Am I being an asshole to others?

9. Do I want to have a conversation or do I want to win the thread?

10. Do I know when I’m done?

He fleshes each of those ten out quite nicely; I commend the piece to you in its entirety since, after all, you don’t want to be that guy.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, James Joyner, Quick Picks
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Would you say that 47% of commenters are failing to live up to these standards?




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  2. DRS says:

    I’d say they feel like they were entitled to comment. You can’t do anything for them, Michael.




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  3. Dave A says:

    Obamas dream has come true I thought this was America I’ll say what I please you socialist
    Ayn Rand 2012




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  4. Anderson says:

    11. Is this at least kinda funny?




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  5. PJ says:

    1. No
    2. Maybe?
    3. Maybe?
    4. Circular?
    5. Anecdotes?
    6. Anecdotes?
    7. …..
    8. Obviously
    9. FTW
    10. Goto 1




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  6. David M says:

    @Anderson:

    11. Is this at least kinda funny?

    That’s an alternative if you’re failing the first 10 questions…




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  7. Anderson says:

    @David M: Right you are!




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  8. Rob in CT says:

    Scalzi is excellent.

    And I suspect even the best of us occasionally fail to meet those criteria (#8 springs to mind…). They are still good to keep in mind.

    Of course, on Scalzi’s blog, people are subject to the Mallet of Loving Correction.




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  9. I have a policy against meta-commenting 😉




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  10. rodney dill says:

    One of the funniest posts/comment sets of all time.
    I think Michael Reynolds and Anderson tie for the win.




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  11. rodney dill says:

    @john personna: I thought you never meta-comment you didn’t like…..

    responding to.




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  12. @Anderson:

    The Rule of Funny applies double to blog comments.




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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    If I answer “no” to all of the above, does that mean I win something for consistency?




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  14. Andre Kenji says:

    11-) Are writing properly, since you are writing in a language that is not your native tongue?

    12-) Are you using foreign examples that most of fellow commenters have no idea about?




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  15. @Andre Kenji:

    Just so you know, I love 78% of your comments.




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  16. mattb says:

    @rodney dill:

    @john personna: I thought you never meta-comment you didn’t like…..

    Give this man a badump-chah and close the thread!




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  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    1. Do I actually have anything to say?




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  18. john personna says:

    @mattb: FWIW, one of Rodney’s +1’s is mine




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  19. ASK says:

    But What Does Hitler Think About the Secret Video?




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  20. MarkedMan says:

    @rodney dill:

    I thought you never meta-comment you didn’t like…..

    Public: Call for Dill to be permanently banned for bringing the lowest form of humor into this blog.

    Private: Curse myself for not thinking of it first.




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  21. LightsOut says:

    ::yawn::




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  22. rodney dill says:

    @MarkedMan: My exact thoughts when someone beats me to a pun.




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  23. ASK says:

    From Twitter:

    Jeff Greenfield ‏@greenfield64
    Q. for my fellow journos: is it common to see 2,500 comments–but after the first two, none of them have a thing to do with what you wrote?




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  24. Bob2 says:

    Scalzi needs to modify “blog commenters” to include initial blog posts




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