How not to be a jerk when you post blog comments

If the comment you made didn’t appear on my blog (or for that matter, on any blog), chances are you were being a jerk.

Honestly, the rules are pretty much the same as they were 12 years ago when Charlene Li and I wrote about this stuff. And they’re pretty good rules for any conversation (Facebook and Instagram, too).

Here are some rules and examples, provided 80% to educate and 20% to horrify you with what appears in my moderation inbox. (All errors in quoted passages were in the original comment.)

Don’t spam

My excellent spam comment blocker, Akismet, has blocked over 700,000 spam comments since I started the blog in 2015. During that time there have been about 8,500 legitimate comments. When 99% of comments are spam, you have a problem.

Spam comments are pretty easy to spot. Would you walk up to people conversing about writing and say this?

Goodpasture syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterised by the presence of antibodies circulating against antigens in the basement membrane of the renal glomerular and the pulmonary alveoli. The determination to transfuse blood shouldn’t be based mostly on haemoglobin levels alone, but also on the affected personпїЅs scientific need. Distention or fullness at the website of the normal soft spot suggests the presence of intraarticular fluid diabetes erectile dysfunction cheap repaglinide 2mg without prescription

Don’t make threats

Would you join a conversation and immediately make threats or try to scare people? What makes you think I’ll let you do that on my blog?

Keep drinking the liberal kool aid, then crap your pants at the sound of the guns. Even if there was no fraud (and there was plenty), election rules changed by any body other than the legislature is an unconstitutional election under Article 2, sect. 1 of the Constitution. Don’t underestimate these Patriots. Many of them are trained for war, dedicated, and fearless. One way or another, we are headed for martial law in this country; either when our Supreme Court paves the way for affected state legislatures to elevate the legitimate leader of the United States back to power and your side goes nuts, or when they don’t and we go nuts. Pick a side and prepare to fight for what you believe in.

Don’t call people names

You can’t call me names. You can’t call other commenters names. If you do, you’re a jerk, and we don’t need to see your comment. Would you join people talking and then call one of them a sheep?

Hahaha.  Just like your title says, this is complete bullshit.
Scaremongering using something (covid) that is basically a psycological and political tool is scandalous. Join the sheep brigade.

Stay on topic

If we’re talking about press releases, don’t veer off into homophobia or whatever else is on your mind. (This comment was submitted on a post regarding Hallmark’s press release about ads with gay themes — the topic was the press release, not gay marriage.)

Oh how we have lost our way.  Forgive us Lord.  God himself defines that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.  In Genesis God tells us that man was created from the dust of the earth and made in His image.  Woman was taken from a rib in the side of man and fashioned by God because God said that it is not good for man to be alone.  Woman  was made by God in His image to be a helpmate to man and procreate.  

Don’t promote yourself

If I make a post about the Consumer Technology Association rescinding its award to an innovative vibrator company, that’s not an excuse to tell everyone about your own competing product.

As amazing as [name of company] vibrators are, sometimes it can really take you out of the moment to have to keep your hands on the toy to cycle through any patterns or adjust speeds or modes.

Don’t make claims without evidence

If you’re going to cite “facts” about which there is controversy, include some links to back them up. Otherwise, you’re just saying “Oh, yeah, sez you!” That is not adding much to the conversation.

Bottom line…Biden took money from
China, he’s compromised his integrity
and our country’s.

What pleases me most is the actual dialogue

My blog has 1,500 posts and 8,500 legit comments. This is a source of pride for me — it means there is actual dialogue going on. In some cases there are hundreds of thoughtful comments on a post.

I enjoy hearing from people who disagree with me — and each other. Frankly, “Here’s why you’re wrong” is far more interesting than plain old “You’re right, I agree.”

Many of our politicians have left civil norms behind. And the online world is filled with nasty, mean, irrelevant, and incoherent babble.

Luckily for me, the number of comments on my blog is manageable and the number of mean and off-topic babblers is small. This means I don’t need to pre-moderate, but can just delete and report the offenders, while everyone else gets a fluid and healthy dialogue.

Part of writing is being respectful of others, and that applies to comments as well. I cherish hearing from most of you, since you’ve clearly understood that.

As for the rest of you, go spew your idiotic garbage somewhere else.

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  1. Wow – this should be made contractually required reading before anyone is allowed to sign up for a social media account! No – it should be mandatory reading as soon as you can read (but clearly many spammer/trolls can’t read otherwise they’d obey the rules of decency at the very least).

    I run an Organizational Change Management group on LinkedIn with 77,000 ‘professional’ members and it’s surprising how many of them can’t read either (or maybe they can read, but choose to ignore the three simple rules we ask them to follow)

  2. The jerky comment examples you gave were both discouraging and kind of hilarious. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to filter these jerks out? I don’t think they’re interested in changing their behavior. I’ve been using the block button quite a bit on social media.

  3. I was going to try to put together a post to see how many of Josh’s rules I could break, but there’s just too much else to do today. If you’re going to be a troll, at least have fun with it. 😉

  4. Is spam defined as something off-topic intended to promote or sell? Or are we including folks that ramble?

    It seems like true spam is merely people/bots posting anywhere and everywhere so that they get paid to post or if one connects with them.

    It is amazing that ~99% of comments are spam and amazing that the blocker is excellent, eh? How much spam do you have to delete manually? Do you have to approve every comment before it becomes visible? (You hint at scrubbing after comments are published.)

    Oh, thank you Josh for taking the time to figure out how to post the comment I had in which I did not count my punctuation marks and it got caught somehow in the system. And thank you for writing the blog, period.

    In a topic that is related to today’s topic and a topic that keeps coming up, I am still very interested in a social media outlet that posts everything, without a filter. I can handle the comments I see on FB and LinkedIn whether they come from “connections” or other suggested folks or are actual comments to my discussions, thoughts, or entertainment posts. My thought process is I report all false/fake comments and block everyone who is not already a connection and engage in conversation with my connections (I rarely have to disconnect connections). I would prefer to see everything my connections post and do not mind the poor attempts by the sites’ AIs to identify posts I might be interested in. I certainly do not need the sites to attempt to moderate posts for any reason.

    1. Yes, I think the best definition of spam is something off-topic intended to promote or sell (or just get links posted). And yes, it is people/bots posting everywhere in hopes that some comments will slip through.

      If you saw my the spam comments on my blog, as classified by Akismet, there would be no doubt. None of them has anything to do what the topic of the post, and every one has links in it (or links that would appear as the sender’s site if the comment were posted). There are zero examples of falsely classified comment spam, unlike with emails.

      I see every comment at the same time it is posted. I can remove it later. I don’t approve them before posting, which is known as “pre-moderation.”

      Norman, I’d be interested in your impressions of Parler. It is supposed to be for conservatives like you, and to have no speech moderation. I wonder if it would live up to your expectations.