Friday, May 23, 2008

Writing a Great Comment

Tēnā koutou katoa
Welcome to you all

I’ve just read a great post by Skellie on blogging. She tells how to write a great blog.

Michele Martin’s Day 23 task asks us to write a post on how to write a great comment.
Not being the world’s most experienced commenter, my post is going to be brief. Here are 10 points for writing a great comment.
  1. Read the post carefully and all the comments against it before writing relevant to the post or to a relevant comment. Use the old telephone-speak technique: smile as you write – it shows.

  2. Plan what you want to say before you start typing. For longer comments, type into a word file so you can review the comment and spellcheck it. When completed, be sure to copy and paste it into a Notepad file to remove any html debris (see Sue's comment). It’s easy to copy it from there and then paste it into the comment box.

  3. Never Take care digressing from the main theme of the post or relevant comment you are addressing. Digression can kills a good comment (edits courtesy Michele Martin's comment).

  4. If your comment can be said in a few words or sentences, keep it that way. Don’t waffle to fill space. A brief comment can have impact. Brevity is the soul of wit.

  5. If your comment runs to several sentences, break them into short relevant paragraphs. If you have more than one point in your comment, examine the sequence of these - critically.

  6. If you cite any posts, comments or web articles, put them into the comment using the link formula:
    and make sure you leave spaces at the beginning and end so thelabelwon’t look like this when the comment is submitted!

  7. Praise the post if that’s your intention but take care not to damn with faint praise. If you disagree, do so politely. Exclamation marks are good for effect - don’t go wild!!!!!! One’s enough.

  8. Address the poster or commenter in a friendly way – Hi Karen - @David. Make sure you get the name right - check the spelling.

  9. If you cite a blogger, always link to the blogger’s profile – if you cite a blogger’s post, always link to the post (use the link formula given in point 6).

  10. Once written, review your comment by reading it critically as if you’re critiquing someone else’s comment. Use Preview, if available, to check the 'look' of your comment.

Ka kite anō
Spot ya


Anonymous said...

Great list, Ken! I might challenge you, though digressing in comments. Although having people hijack a comment thread sometimes be a problem, I've found that I can actually learn more when people digress. They may follow a thread I hadn't considered or open up a new topic to chew on. Obviously it can get out of hand, but I think that some digressions can really add to the quality of the conversation. They can also give you something else to write about on those blogging days when you're dragging. :-)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

@Michele - I concede. I'll change it to:

3. Take care digressing from the main theme of the post or relevant comment you are addressing. Digression can kill a good comment.

Ka kite

Anonymous said...

Skelliewag is a brilliant blogger. Here's my amended tip "Type into a Notepad file so that you can review the comment." You should totally avoid using Word when writing blog posts because Word inserts bad HTML which can make your formatting look really bad.

If you want to paste from a document, email or web page and are worried that it may bring in bad HTML (if you look at some people's posts you will see their formating change throughout the post -- this is why) then copy the text > paste into NotePad then copy from NotePad into your post or comment.

Totally agree about paragraphs but noticed yesterday that one blog I posted the comment removed the paragraphs. So next tip beware of blog themes that remove the paragraph formatting in comments.

Oops broke one of your tips -- sorry Ken. Great list and typical of me to get down to business than say hi :)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Thanks Sue!

Yes, blog themes that remove paragraphing are pains. There's no way one can tell before submitting. Also, some jettison html tags, so that any link put in disappears!

I know about Word and its horrid html. I usually paste it into notepad before pasting into the comment, as you describe, and for the exact same reason as you explained. I should have brought this out in the post - but I can amend it AND give you the credit for reminding me :-)

Ka kite

Anonymous said...

Your top ten list is very useful, Ken, and it made me think, again, how wonderful it is to be part of this Comment Challenge. Even as I was writing my own post on this topic, I was looking around for what others were doing and learning from them.
It's interesting how earlier in the month, some of us were discussing how much you let the conversation in the comment of a blog post go its own course and how much you, as the blogger, rein it in. I see it happening at one of my posts in a friendly, social way and I have been just approving the comments and watching a conversation between two other bloggers unfold naturally.
But, wait, I digress.
And now I smile.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Welcome Kevin.

But, good grief! How can you leave a comment hanging in mid air like that? Anyone would think you've been reading something about what to write and what not to write in a comment on a post.

You shouldn't believe everything you read you know!
Thanks for the smile!

Anonymous said...

Not long after I left my other comment, I went over to Michelle's blog and saw that someone had used her comment section as to post an advertisement (it seems to me), and that kind of keeps me in the corner of moderating comments, I guess.
That may change, but not yet.
Have a great day

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

@Kevin - yes I saw your comment on Michele's post after she had dealt with the offending spam.

I've no answer to this. I think if it occurred often on my site (it has happened once) I would need to reconsider my feelings about moderation (too).

I'm not one for getting into camps over issues just for the sake of it or even if I have a few thoughts about something - which is probably why I'm not so politically minded as others.

BUT if it comes to a problem issue, then I would want to do something about it, for sure.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

BK said...

You have to admit, that this challenge is first class, because the participants are taking it so seriously and growing together, in the blogging moment.
I love just reading the conversations.
How rewarding, especially for the creators of this challenge, don't you think?

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

@Bonnie - "(T)he blogging moment" - I like your phrase.

I don't know so much about the Challenge being rewarding for the creators (though I'm sure it is) but it certainly has been rewarding for me. What I've learnt is simply mind bloggling.

I'm not so sure that everyone is taking the Challenge "seriously" though. All my life I've been criticised for taking things too seriously. Often it leaves me wondering, because usually I'm quite light-hearted about things. But it's simply point of view.

I think there is an art in blogging as there is in commenting. But I've always looked on the Challenge as a comment challenge, not a blogging challenge. Yet in a chicken&eggish sort of way I didn't become a blogger until I started the Challenge. Now I'm not sure which I enjoy most, commenting or posting on a blog.

It certainly was a bonus that I became a blogger. Also it has helped me appreciate more of what it is to be a commenter.