Saturday, 4 August 2018


Comments on blog posts bring fresh perspectives and unknown issues to attention.  
Wise, interesting and thoughtful comments come from people in all walks of life, many of whom would never think of writing a letter to an editor or calling a political office.  Not all points of view need to agree either – an exchange of views can enhance the posting under which they appear and benefit many readers.  Comments can also be a source of considerable disdain for the posting author and many who read the comments section.

Posts on this blog frequently tackle the huge and uncomfortable issues facing this province, exploring hard issues that the mainstream media cannot or will not cover.  As the Uncle Gnarley blog has become a vital source of information, analysis and critical opinion, the comments section has steadily become a focal point in itself.  Given the lack of another common public forum, the administration policy toward the comment section has been routinely hands-off except for the most egregious transgressions.
The steady growth of the comments section, routinely many times the length of the blog post itself, has become a liability, particularly when many of the comments lack relevant substance or adopt negative qualities.  While there may be wheat among the chaff, few readers will find the good stuff when they are buried in information they consider unnecessary or offensive. 
All regular commenters should be getting the message by now.  You shall help to clean it up or you will find your own messages subjected to the most sacred and important blog rule: the administrator holds exclusive authority to delete posts and ban commenters as he sees fit.  If you don’t want the sheriff taking you down, you need to help make a cleaner, leaner comments section; one that can be appreciated by all.
Here are just a few tips to hopefully reverse the most obvious habits.
Comments should be brief – like this paragraph.  If you want to write comments as long as the post and you want to do this over and over again then you are a prime candidate to get out and start your own blog.  They’re free – give it a go.  If we respect what you’re doing, we’ll link with you.
Comments should preferably be on the post or closely related.  Dredging up old irrelevant topics and leading readers down long useless rabbit holes is a high-risk behaviour.
If introducing a new issue, make a good case for why it deserves attention.  Remember, you have purposely disrupted the flow, so you had better make it good.
If a comment simply can’t be brief, consider your quota for the day used up.  If an exchange runs long and sideways, you should be aware that the entire set has little value to any but the direct participants.  In that case, you really need to find a chat forum somewhere.
Comments should not be repetitive.  Repeating the same argument within multiple comments of a single post or repeating the same argument week after week is a wrong-headed tactic and savvy readers expect more.  If you do repeat something, keep that part brief and do so only in the context of bringing something new at the same time.
Don’t let the blog own you and don’t try to own the blog.  Things do get warm here and lots of people have a hard time not having the last word.  Some people want to try to answer all questions.  Give others space.
That should be enough for now.  The sheriff is on duty.