Here at Not A Stepford Life, I try to better the world, one post at a time.
Or something like that.
Sounds good, anyways.
The downside to having a really popular article, or even just *any* article out there, is some of the commenters. I mentioned before, in Uterus Of Mass Destruction, that comments can be crazy, and this is more evidence.
So, in the interest of bettering the (online) world, I offer the following tips for How Not To Be A Jerk When Commenting
1. Actually READ the article. All of it. Don’t glance at the title, the first sentence or two, and assume you know the rest. This comes from commenters complaining about me judging the Duchess for how she looked. Uh, hello? I’ve said repeatedly, even on TV, that I thought she looked incredible. Nowhere have I insulted her at all. Marvelled at her, absolutely, but not insulted her in the slightest. How the heck the article was ‘flinging mud at her’ I truly don’t understand.
2. Insults. If you’re going to insult someone, at least spell properly, ok? Being called rude, crude, and without a shred of intelligence is kind of hilarious when you also call me ‘aweful’. Psst, I may be rude and crude, but at least I’m smart enough to spell ‘awful’, so neener, neener, neener. Someone else took me to task for using the term, ‘crotch watch’. Fine. From now on, I shall use the term, “Avid Lady Garden Observance”, is that more acceptable? Probably a good thing that commenter doesn’t read my blog, because calling babies, “crotch fruit” would give her a fit of the vapours.
3. Pay attention to the topic. When discussing stuff, like, oh, I don’t know, child-birth, and post partum, maxi pads aren’t actually considered TMI. And, while we’re at it, they aren’t *actually* crib mattress sized. You’re welcome.
4. Watch who you’re insulting. Sometimes, in your zeal to insult the author, you’re actually insulting an entire group of people. For example, stating that. “I have no doubt you did not have the stamina or character to pull yourself together as Kate did!” is actually shaming every other mother that read the post and identified with what I wrote. The swollen Shrek feet, the shuffle/limp, etc. Also, comments about how someone aren’t meant to have babies if they don’t have an easy time of it is pretty rotten too.
5. Calling for someone to be fired? Might be best if the author isn’t a freelancer, or, you know, if it didn’t clearly state that the article didn’t originate on the site you’re commenting on. Again, reading comprehension is a good thing. And a super secret tip? Editors love writers that provoke a response. As long as nobody gets sued, a lot of editors are just fiiiiiine with some contentious comments and such. A writer is more likely to get a *raise* than fired. Assuming that they’re a staff writer, and not a freelancer, of course. Calling for someone to get fired is actually more likely to ensure that they stay employed.
6. Comment where it’s at. Tracking the author down at another site, to leave a comment on a piece there, about a piece that’s somewhere else? That’s just weird. And, if the site is moderated, your comment will never see the light of day, anyways, because it makes no sense.
7. Sure you can have a different opinion. But guess what? So can the writer. In fact, that’s what we’re being paid for (Yes, I get paid for some of this stuff.) Our thoughts, opinions, style of expression. So, emails telling me to ‘shut up’ and ‘your so dum’ isn’t exactly going to have me crawling under my desk in the fetal position and promising the Universe that I’ll never write again. In fact, it’s more likely to be used in a homeschool lesson. “See, kids, this is why spelling and grammar are so important. If you’re going to write someone, you don’t want to sound like a dumb ass, ok?”
8. “You have a future writing for the porn industry.” I’m honestly not even sure how to take this one. Is it meant to be a compliment, in that the commenter can’t imagine a higher calling than writing porn? How the heck does someone read an article about post partum women issues, and think, “Porn”? Never mind, don’t answer that. I would like to sleep again this month.
Look, I know not everyone is going to agree with me. I have a husband and children, for pity sakes, so God knows I’m used to folks disagreeing, not liking what I have to say, or not liking how I said that. Anyone that’s ever had ANY communication with another human being should be accepting of that situation. Disagree, that’s all well and good. Don’t find me funny, that’s ok too, even if in my secret heart of hearts I kinda feel bad for you, and think you’re missing out, because I’m freaking HILARIOUS, at least some of the time.
But, you don’t have to go out of your way to be a jerk commenter. A little bit of common sense, a bit of spell check, and a whole lot of reading comprehension will go a long way.
But, then again…