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Comment guidelines. - I know it's wonky and I don't care [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kake

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Comment guidelines. [Jan. 31st, 2006|03:29 pm]
Kake

I've been reading the journals of people who aren't on my friends list quite a bit recently. The reason I mostly post friends-only is not so much for privacy (I generally use filter groups for that) but to keep out the idiots. (Yes, I know about the setting that lets you only let friends comment. I like doing it like this. Also, the fact that you're not on my friends list yet doesn't mean I think you're an idiot. It means you're not on my friends list yet.) This thought led to me writing down some things I do and don't like about comments left in my journal. And now I've written it down, I shall post it. Comments on whether I've managed to communicate my thoughts clearly are welcome. No, comments are solicited. Help me get this into decent shape, and I'll link to it in my userinfo. It's a public post and will stay that way. Edited to add: I think we're covering the "don't post like this" parts adequately; has anyone got anything to say about the "do post this" parts?

Here goes!

If you cause tedium in my journal I will ask you to stop doing that, and if you don't stop after I've asked you lots of times then I'll defriend you. There will be no "final warning" because I find policing discussions tedious in itself. This has never had to happen yet, and I hope it never does. My definition of tedium is the only one that counts for this purpose.

I get very, very bored by short back-and-forth arguments with no time taken to ponder and re-ponder in between commenting. Take your time, think about what the other person said, consider the possibility that you have nothing to add to the discussion beyond the things you've already said. Conversely, give the other person space to think about your point; immediately jumping in with a reply to every new comment they make is a very good way of failing to do this.

I get even more bored by repetition of points that someone made perfectly well the first time (I have no problem with thinking out loud, and I positively love it when someone says something like "hmm, I said X earlier but now I'm starting to think Y is more accurate", or "I've changed my mind"). I like people who understand the difference between clarifying a point and trying to make someone else accept it by reiterating it twenty times.

Single comments are never tedious, even if they're relatively content-free. Obviously-non-hostile comments are rarely tedious (the definition of "obvious" is "obvious to Kake"). Social grooming comments (that is, content-free comments used to reinforce social relationships) are not tedious unless excessive. I have no objection to *hugs* comments, but if I've not asked for comfort or hugs then I probably don't need them.

I hate the way that livejournal switches to a horrible UI when a post gets over 50 comments. If a discussion is approaching this limit, I'd prefer that social grooming comments and other less-relevant comments are taken elsewhere ("elsewhere" includes other posts on my journal), or at least postponed. Once we've hit the limit we're screwed anyway, so anything goes after that.

I love it when I get a comment on a six-month-old post. I love it so much that if it's substantive I'm quite likely to make a new, brief post pointing people at the old one, so your efforts are not wasted. I like comments that say "yes, that makes sense" and nothing more; they let me know that you've read what I had to say.

I like comments that disagree with me intelligently. My definition of "intelligently" is the one that counts; it includes things like being coherent, and showing evidence of having put a lot of thought into the matter. I also like comments that acknowledge ignorance and request elucidation.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: whit_merule
2006-01-31 08:42 pm (UTC)
Edited to add: I think we're covering the "don't post like this" parts adequately; has anyone got anything to say about the "do post this" parts?

Probably the only thing I'd say if I were to post something like this in my journal is a request to comment on the posts that I've clearly invested more in. I dont' really care if a post on how 'bukkake' is a weird word that should apply to doing weird things with chickens attracts comments. And yet it ends up with lots, whereas people are edgy about commenting on, eg, short stories and so on. ;) And they are the ones I always want feedback on, whether it's 'heh, that was fun' (though that's probably the least useful comment) or 'i liked that line!' or 'this bit grated' or 'i don't get why this person was acting like that'. I can't read my own writing as an audience member, any more than I can watch my own performance onstage (even with the help of a video camera you still feel everything you do, you can't watch it as the audience would see it).

And of course, I also have very little confidence in my own writing skills right now. :)

But yes, to relate it back to the discussion - obviously the post that the author has put most into is the one we're least liekly to respond to - either because it seems like too much effort, or because we don't want to put a foot wrong, or because we're not really into thinking that deeply and getting an opinion at this hour of the morning / night.

And yet, even just tiny little comments, on some small detail rather than a broad analysis of the whole, can make the author feel like someone's really read and appreciated what they have to say...
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[User Picture]From: nou
2006-02-01 09:01 am (UTC)
"I dont' really care if a post on how 'bukkake' is a weird word that should apply to doing weird things with chickens attracts comments. And yet it ends up with lots, whereas people are edgy about commenting on, eg, short stories and so on. ;)"

I think my first incidence of 100 comments or more was when I asked people how they were and what they were having for breakfast.

"And yet, even just tiny little comments, on some small detail rather than a broad analysis of the whole, can make the author feel like someone's really read and appreciated what they have to say..."

I hear a lot of people saying "I didn't comment because I had nothing to say". I'd like to encourage "I read this"-type comments. I suppose the difficulty is coming up with a phrasing that sounds less blunt than "I read this". This post by sashajwolf is relevant.
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[User Picture]From: johnckirk
2006-02-01 12:25 pm (UTC)
I'm less convinced by that (the whole "signal:noise" thing). That's not to say that people shouldn't do it - if you like those kind of comments, and people post them to your journal, then everything's fine. The problem comes when people say "Nobody's commented, even with a ., so I don't think anyone's reading this". There are only so many times that I'm willing to say "Yes, you're on my Friends list, so I do read all of your posts, even if I don't comment on them."; eventually I'll just say "Screw it - you're now off my Friends list, so now you do know for certain whether I'm reading your posts or not."
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[User Picture]From: nou
2006-02-01 12:59 pm (UTC)
Yes, the signal:noise issue does mean that you need to apply some common sense. I'd not post "I read this and enjoyed it" as a comment to something that already had lots of comments. I do try to make comments like that on posts that obviously had a lot of thought put into them, but have been sitting there for three days with no replies.

But then, I don't (can't) read everything on my friends list, so people can't assume with me (as you're saying that they can with you) that I've read anything specific, unless I actually say so. If I see someone IRL or on IRC, I might mention it there instead, and people do the same back to me.
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[User Picture]From: nou
2006-02-01 01:01 pm (UTC)
Oh - and the other thing is that "I've read this" is not the same as "I found this interesting". It's the latter comment, really, that has value.
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