A commenter on a blog is someone who writes a comment. In most cases, the comment gives their opinion about a blog post or another comment that appears above on the same page.
A lurker is someone who sees a post but leaves no comment. On this blog, for every commenter there are about a hundred lurkers.
A thread is made up of all the comments on a blog post, listed from oldest to newest.
The bad kinds of commenters:
- spammers – those who leave comments that have nothing to do with the post or other comments. Most are not human, but spambots leaving links to their own websites.
- sock puppets – those who take on a false identity, like by commenting under more than one name or trying to pass as Black.
- trolls – those only interested in getting others angry for their own entertainment.
My comment policy is designed to keep these sort of commenters from taking over. It is carried out with three weapons:
- spam filter – catches nearly all spammers based on word usage, links or where on the Internet they come from.
- moderation queue – catches comments that use certain words or too many links. These comments cannot appear on the blog until I approve them. I delete those that go against the comment policy.
- banning – done by marking a commenter as a spammer. Some know how to avoid the spam filter. Fortunately, they are few and can generally be worn down by always deleting their comments.
A civil troll is what I call a troll who has lasted for months without breaking the comment policy.
A pet lizard is what I call a commenter who unwittingly proves the point of the post they disagree with.
Common debate tactics:
- name calling – when all else fails, call the other person a name.
- ad hominem fallacy – make it about the commenter, not the comment.
- tone argument – make it about their feelings, not what they said.
- White feelings – make it about the feelings of White people, not what was said.
- straw man argument – argue against something no one said. This works best when it sounds kind of like what was said.
- move goalposts – when your argument has been disproved, just change it slightly and make them disprove that instead.
- derail – change the subject.
- be wilfully obtuse – act as if you cannot understand simple English.
- play devil’s advocate – take a position supposedly opposite your own.
- mantra argument – keep repeating your point, even after it has been disproved.
- last man talking – write long comments that are hard to follow or comment on so that most give up and stop disagreeing with you.
Not every thread has to be a debate, of course. It can be about sharing experiences or knowledge, asking questions, learning, or just having an ordinary conversation. My model for a thread is a dinner conversation.
One of the most surprising thing about commenters is that in most cases you can tell when they are White.
– Abagond, 2015.
- Tips on commenting
- How to tell if a commenter is White, part I, part II
- My philosophy on trolls
- Comment Policy
- Broken Records Dept
- Traffic on this blog – some demographics on commemters