Content · Information operations · Information Warfare

Useful Commenting 101

I recently had a commenter attack me.

No problem, B.  Bring it.

I have the latest and greatest in delete technology, so if you break the rules of etiquette, I’ll just make your comment vanish.

I realized I’ve never actually written about comments, so I wanted to sit down and knock it out.

A few ground rules for commenting, which should be common sense but some don’t seem to realize these obvious truths.

First, NEVER TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Never type in all capital letters, it is synonymous with shouting. I can actually edit your comments and change your case from upper to lower and I will, if your comment is worthwhile. Otherwise, I’ll just delete your comment. I actually haven’t seen all caps in a long time, thank goodness, except for headlines.

Second, you will not change my mind or anyone’s for that matter by arguing.  Arguing is not the same as an argument, where you use logic, reasoning, and facts. Arguing often degenerates into an attack.

The counter to that is if you state facts, cite references, and put at least a modicum of effort into stating facts, chances are your opinion will matter.

Attack me, you lose. Hell, I’ve been screamed at by Son Tay Raiders for PT in the morning when I was in Special Forces. I could take this paragraph, alone, and write ten books.

Here’s a hint I learned when I was in Special Forces. Whisper. When someone yelled at me, I ate it up like candy. Whisper and I will listen with every fiber of my soul.

When I was a brand new 2LT in an Infantry Battalion in West Germany, I had my Battalion XO chew my butt as part an initiation ritual, otherwise known as hazing.  After he yelled and screamed at me, got in my face, shared the smell of that morning’s breakfast with me, he asked me why I was smiling. I just responded, “Sir, you could use some lessons. I can teach you.”  He saw my Special Forces tab and knew I was either hopeless or that I spoke the truth. The veins on his eyeballs seemed to be throbbing, he was so worked up. It turned out there was a competition to see how many Lieutenants they could get to pass out – to me that seemed obvious but others were shocked when they learned the truth.  Shouting and screaming don’t work, you see, not with a person who eats pain for breakfast.

The takeaway to the above paragraph is that arguing or attacking on the internet is a waste of your time and mine. If I say you’re wasting your time, you should take that as a hint, because you’ve already wasted an inordinate amount of time writing an airheaded attack.

Stating that the United States is “the worst” or “responsible for” or any of a mountain of other generalities is a waste of perfectly good electrons.

Citing Candidate X’s name without a real purpose invalidates your argument.

Asking for or even demanding proof means your mind is made up. Even if I were to provide references, citations, and evidence, you would dismiss them, say it’s not good enough, or resort to the old trick of “whatabout…” If you want proof, look it up on my blog, most likely I’ve written about it. I know, your job as a troll is not to provide meaningful input but to harass, undermine meaningful discussions, and generally make a pain of yourself. But if you want to teach or learn, you’re going to have to have an adult conversation.

If you’re going to lie, at least keep the same perspective throughout your comment.

Spell check and a grammar checker are good, especially if English is not your strong suit. Using LOL or other expressions just means you didn’t pay attention in school.

Copy and pasting are occasionally good when providing a reference or a citation, but when a simple search finds those exact same words on a myriad of other comment sections, I know you’re a troll and completely ignorable.

Shorter is better.

Editing is your friend. I once cut a document down from several hundred pages to two pages. It was the concept of operations for what later became the Total Information Awareness program.  I inherited a groupthink project and had two days to make sense of it all. On the Joint Staff in the Pentagon they teach all staff officers to lose their sense of pride of authorship, that is the key to good editing. Find that one word that sings and use it to replace a paragraph, a page, or even a chapter. In Special Forces we had a saying, “When you’ve got ’em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”  If you’re tracking what I’m saying, you get it.

Bottom line.  Comments should always be positive, even when you disagree. Fewer words win, every time.




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