ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

On Comments and Commentary —

I have a policy about comments. I probably should put it somewhere. How about here!

Some weblogs are in the business of hits. Among the things they do to ensure hits, besides writing about subjects that Adwords says a lot of people want to know about, is to try to keep a good frothy conversation going. In the case of the wordpress/weblog paradigm, this means getting people to drop comments under your posts.

I don’t quite work that way; I write these entries as little essays, little columns in which I like to think I’m presenting a clear idea and a thesis, and that’s that. Some of my entries might be meta-discussions (like this one) or some might just be a link to another site with a bunch of commentary and thoughts on it. But generally, they’re kind of intended to be self contained.

Note I’m not saying civil, all-encompassing, or the last word, but I don’t generally write them like I’m waiting breathlessly for other people to come in and “finish” them. I consider this an approach I call lazy as fuck. If my stuff can’t stand on its own, then I’m not happy with it.

People then comment underneath. Some people use it as a jumping off point for their own sub-entry, i.e. talking about themselves for some paragraphs. Some people tell me they agree with me, and then explain why. Other people say I’m a pile of bunk and explain that as well.

In most cases, I don’t respond. If I do respond, it’s because either I know the person on a different basis (Flack and I are buddies, Trixter and I do work together, Chris Orcutt‘s my longest friend at a quarter-century plus, etc.) or because they have a specific question they’re asking.

I feel like the whole thing turns into a sniping match and degrades the worth if every other post in the commentaries are the original writer going “No, no, you misunderstand”, or, in my case, consistently deep and inappropriate personal insults. So I let it be, even if it looks like the person needs a whack with my 8″ of floppy disk.

So I guess what I’m saying is, ask me questions in the comments and I’ll generally respond. Rant at me and make fun of me, and I’ll let your position stand without trying to dilute or mitigate you with an immediate “but wait” afterwards. Deal?

Categorised as: documentary | housecleaning | jason his own self

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  1. Alex Jarvis says:

    Here here. I try to do the same thing, with each post sort of standing on it’s own, as if it could just as easily be published in an article/journal/magazine of ill repute.

    Of course, by commenting on this story, I begin to erode my hypothesis while somewhat proving your point regarding comments. Hrm.

  2. Rubes says:

    Yeah but I have this irritating habit of writing things that I think are interesting but in reality are kind of dumb-ass. When that happens the impulse to fix it is too hard to overcome sometimes.

  3. Gene Buckle says:

    …and this one time, at band camp….

  4. Meagan says:

    I would like to get hits, because honestly I’m writing for an audience, which I hope I won’t bore/scare away. I try to respond to all comments because all those “how to blog” people claim you should, and since I know I get a bit of a thrill when bloggers respond to me, I guess it makes sense. I like to think that when I respond it’s not a “no, no you don’t understand,” but a continuation of conversation. I like conversation. Even argument so long as it’s civil.

  5. disambiguated says:

    What’s the fastest land animal?

    • Jason Scott says:

      I always thought the fastest land animal was the cheetah, which was what it was always growing up. But I think that it’s a matter of going “for how long”. But I hope it stays The Cheetah, like the days of my youth; if a new creature takes it over, that means we’re doomed, especially if it’s, say, bears.

  6. Versa Dave says:

    What is the best way to medicate an over-active hemorrhoid?

    • Jason Scott says:

      The cream is a lie. Go to Dr. Procto and demand The Good Stuff. He’ll know what you’re talking about. Wink, while you’re at it.

  7. The cream is a lie. Go to Dr. Procto and demand The Good Stuff. He’ll know what you’re talking about. Wink, while you’re at it.