(Originally published in Fall of 2010 while writing for Xspond.)
Use the Comments Field to Encourage Useful Dialogue (not to attack the writer)
Have you ever read the comments on your blog and found that it appears the person was reading something else when they commented? A complete misunderstanding of the point you were trying to make, or they read into it more than what you wrote?
I have! Words have been inserted into my mouth (or in this case keyboard). It appears when a commenter is struggling to make their point they insert anything they need to help their case. This kills the discussion. No one needs to be attacked for what they did not say – isn’t there enough attacking going on based on what they did say?
So here are my tips for playing nice on the playground. You won’t get a time-out if you don’t play nice, but you will quickly become the kid who has no one to play with.
1. Do not put words in the mouth of the writer.
2. Do not group the writer into a category of people who share this singular opinion.
3. Do not attribute opinions to the author that they did not state.
4. Do not attack the writer, attack the idea if you disagree. (I call this bullying)
5. Do not attack the intentions of the writer when they have not been clearly stated by the writer.
6. If you are going to be nasty to the author, have the cajones to NOT be anonymous.
7. If it is unprofessional to say it in person, the same applies here on the web.
8. Keep it above the belt.
9. Do not label a personality characteristic to someone based off one article – you being offended by it does not make their intentions malicious.
10. Don’t just disagree, if you really have a different opinion, give the alternate solution.
11. Don’t be rude. (“I disagree with you” vs. “You are an idiot!”)*
12. Don’t assume anything, it makes an Ass out of U and Me.
Did I miss any? What type of comment have you gotten that has ended a conversation abruptly?
*Didn’t anyone tell you that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Same thing applies here. If you are truly trying to make a point and you tell someone they are an idiot, they quit listening to you right then. You’d be better off putting yourself on mute, at least then they might try to read your lips.