The 12 Commandments on Blog Commenting

Following my earlier post on how to approach bloggers here a few tips on commenting on blogs and how to actively engage in the blogosphere

Someone much wiser than me said that leaving a comment on someone’s blog is like walking into their living room and joining a conversation. In real life and on-line there are some people who are a pleasure to converse with, and some that are not, and it’s much nicer to be considered a pleasure than a pain, isn’t it?

  1. Stay on topic.

Don’t change the subject. Bloggers enable comments on specific posts to hear more about the content of the post. Nothing is more annoying than seeing a comment on a post about Social media releases and then suddenly “By the way, do you know anything about knitting?”

  1. Contribute with new information to the discussion.

Before you comment, read the entire thread and make sure you bring something new to the conversation. If you don’t have the time or patience to, don’t comment at all.

  1. Don’t comment for the sake of commenting.

Useless comments will gain you the reputation for being a useless commenter. Commenters who only say “Good point!” or “Nice site” on an open should refrain from commenting.

  1. Know when to comment and when to e-mail.

A blog comment is a public one-to-many communication within the context of a blog post. An e-mail is a private interaction. It is that simple. Comments should contribute to a public conversation based on the topic the blogger identified in the post.

  1. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

The best kind of comments comes from people whom add more information about a topic. When fact-checking, pointing out a typo or dead link or even asserting a dissenting opinion, do it in a respectful, friendly way.

  1. Make the tone of your message clear.

No one can hear the tone of your voice or see your facial expression online. Sarcasm, in-jokes and exaggerations can easily be misunderstood in a public forum. This is in particular important point for the many of us whom don’t interact in this public conversation in our mother tongue. When commenting I always try to err on the polite side of the conversation. If you use Microsoft Word the key combination SHIFT+F7 will bring up a thesaurus – a handy little list of words which certainly have helped me many times…

  1. Own your comment.

Anonymous commenting can be seen as cowardly. Own up to your comments, if you can’t display your name, then don’t comment.

  1. Be succinct.

Stay short and to the point. Everyone appreciates brevity.

  1. Cite your sources with links or inline quoting.

To comment on specific bits of a blog post, copy and paste the lines in question and add your response below each section. If you’re referring to information located elsewhere, provide a short summary with a link to your source so others can click through for more information if interested.

  1. Be courteous.

Chances are something someone says in a comment or post is going to irk you. Still, personal attacks are unacceptable, useless and can quickly degrade a discussion.

  1. Don’t post when you’re angry, upset, drunk or emotional.

There’s no taking back a published blog comment – once you post, it’s there for everyone to see and for search engines to cache. If you find yourself angrily typing a message into someone’s blog comment box – STOP. Revisit the thread when your head is clear.

  1. Do not feed or tease the trolls.

There will always be people surfing around the Internet and inject pointless and vindictive comments into any available text area. Do NOT acknowledge these people with refutations, disagreements or even a mention of their screen name.

It is all so simple isn’t it? But if you are anything like me – it is the simple facts in life we need to be reminded of…

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