Monday, July 03, 2006

Comment Type #26

The Hair Trigger

After commenting for a while, you begin to see patterns in blog posts and comments, you see familiar phrases and memes that are tired and old, and you can predict what's coming next. One of the more jaded ones is any post that starts out "I used to be a... [insert blog's theme here] then x event happened and...]." You know that whatever follows is going to be a thinly disguised attack that dissenters usually launch at the site, but positioned as if this was a True Believer who just can't take it any more.
I used to buy Fords, the first car I ever had was a Ford, and I bought nothing but that brand, but after the last recall, I finally couldn't take any more...
However, this can get you into trouble when commenting. Sometimes a post starts out or uses certain phrases but doesn't say what you think it does. Sometimes people use wording that is slightly different or confusing and didn't say what you thought they did. Sometimes they're being sarcastic or quoting someone else, but the formatting is poor and you can't tell where the quote is.

So you post a quick reply and find out to your embarrassment that you misunderstood what was being said, who said it, that it was a joke. The mature thing to do is admit your mistake, laugh with everyone, and your esteem, such as it is, grows in the community. This kind of Hair Trigger post can be funny for other people, but most often it devolves into a long fight that nobody benefits from. One person tries to insist that the other is a fool and so very wrong, while the other person tries to figure out exactly what the other is talking about, while insults and defensiveness spirals out of control.

Read carefully. Read what's being said, don't read a few words and then cram the person into a square shaped hole, no matter how many whacks with the plastic hammer it takes. Read the whole blog entry and respond to what is actually said, rather than what you figure it says. And most of all... think before you hit [POST] because if you're like me, that's what gets you into the most trouble. A few moments reflection and some editing can make a world of difference.
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Blogger Susan said...

So true Christopher.

I think that when we (I) read blogs we just skim through the post without really taking the time to digest it and then we embarrass ourselves with an off topic comment.

Love the plastic hammer mental picture!

9:14 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Gavriel said...

I can't BELIEVE you have a problem with Fords! Their solidly built and have a long history and its just astounding you could give up on them just because of a single recall!

9:15 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Gavriel said...

Oops. Never mind.

9:16 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Hee hee :)

8:38 PM, July 11, 2006  

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