The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - What Kind Of Blog Commenter Are You?

By Paul Michael on 7 June 2007 (Updated 9 June 2007) 14 comments

line up

As a writer for a blog that’s growing in popularity, I’m noticing that several different types of blog commenters exist. And not just on Wisebread, but also on every other blog I read. Some are great, some are good, some are bad and some are, well, just plain mystifying. Do you know what type you are? I have compiled a list of the main ones, not just for the sake of everyone who reads and writes for this blog, but for every other blog out there. If we all know what type of blog commenter to be, maybe we’ll all achieve blogging nirvana.

The DO-GOODER (Nice people, never a bad word to say)
I would put my mum in this one. When I was a kid, I tested her a lot. “What do you think of this sketch mum, is it good” even though I had done it badly on purpose. “Oh, that’s wonderful son, you’re so talented.” Do-Gooders are just nice folks in general, and want everyone to feel as nice inside as they are on the outside. They probably won’t help you build a better article or start a great debate, but they will make you feel warm and cozy. Do I like Do-Gooders? Sure, it’s great to feel loved! But when they say great things about everything, well, the comments never feel as special or as helpful as they could, know what I mean?

The BUILDER (Constructive Criticizer)
I think these folks are up there as my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get a nice remark, but I love it when folks put meat on the bones of a comment. For instance, I’ve written several posts that were not complete enough in either research or detail. The Builder has pointed this out, in a very well mannered and meaningful way, and also provided links to some research I may have missed. Builder’s will not simply say “That’s stupid, this post is dumb, you suck” and leave it at that. For a start, they’re way too smart and well behaved to do just that. They will point out a blogger’s misgivings politely and provide genuine helpful guidance. If you’re a Builder, I applaud you. Thanks for making the blogging world a much better place to be.

The WANDERER (Always off-topic, sometimes nice, sometimes nasty)
It’s difficult to know what to think of these folks. Some are very polite, friendly and helpful, some are just plain moronic. But the problem here is content. They’ll leave comments about space travel on a post about homemade fertilizer. They may well have a reason behind getting from point A to point B, but they certainly don’t share it with the rest of the blogging world. It’s ok to wander off topic if you start on topic and it’s a natural progression of the comment. But to just dive headfirst into a complete tangent, well, it just gives us all a headache. Thanks for commenting, but please let us know what your comment has to do with our article. We’d really appreciate it.

The ONE WORD WONDER (too short, too brief, seemingly pointless)
I have to wonder to myself why these folks comment at all. I mean, why take the time and effort to comment if you’re going to say something like “Sweet” or “Good one” or even “Bologna!” Back it up please, either way. If we have in some way touched a nerve, let us know how and what we can do about it. If we have moved you, we’d love to know the background. We all know that life is too short to write book-length comments in blogs, but if you’re going to the time and trouble to leave your thoughts, can you elucidate please? We’d love you so much more for it ☺

The QUESTIONER (always probing, sometimes doubting)

Questioners will have a question for every article. “Yes, but if I do that won’t it end up being more expensive in the long run?” or “Hmm, but did you check the Arizona Institute of Wiseasses for contrary information?” Questioners can often be helpful, starting bloggers down another path that will lead to even better articles in the future. Questioners can also be really tiring, because you sometimes get the feeling they’re only asking a question because they A) want to show you how smart they are, or B) are always asking questions. If your question is a good, relevant one, please ask it. I’m always happy to answer genuine inquiries. But if you’re basically finding another way to show off, or didn’t read the article correctly, then I’m sorry but I may not give you an answer.

The DEBATER (looking for a fight?)

Some people have a natural gift for arguing. As a result, they will leave inflammatory comments or just pain outrageous remarks in the hope that a blogger or reader will bite. I have bitten that hook a few times, to my shame. Debaters never want to drop the subject either. If you see the comments area filling up quickly, you can bet there’s a debater with some poor sap on the end of the line, squirming and wriggling. Debaters are good at what they do, well versed, educated (most of the time) and will often leave you feeling week and feeble. And for what? Sometimes, it’s over important issues, and that’s a good thing. That’s healthy debate. But when it’s over the petty, off-topic subjects, it’s best just to let these people go. Avoid the bait bloggers. Stay away from their shiny lures. No doubt a debater is rubbing his or her hands with glee over this article, just waiting to pounce on me and start something. But I will be strong.

The CHAMELEON (hey, did you check out my site?)
Many bloggers are split on this one. Some don’t have a problem with them (myself included) and some are irritated by them. Chameleons will disguise themselves as any one of the other blog commenters listed here, but they usually have just one goal…to get click-throughs to their own site. They will register their name as a hyperlink, or include various links to their own sites in the comments box. Personally I know just how difficult it is to get traffic and so if you are doing this in a good way, leaving good constructive comments, then I have no issue. If you’re being mean, it won’t reflect well on your own site anyway and thus is not really self-serving.

The JOKER (the comedian, not the super-villain)
There’s one in every pack, right? (Although I always thought there were two in a pack?) Anyway, the Joker will comment just to make a funny. Sometimes it’s at the writer’s expense, and can be downright mean. Other times, the Joker leaves a lighthearted, on-topic chuckle that gives us all a smile. Personally, I’m no big fan of the first one (and I’ve been on the receiving end of a few cutting jokes since my blogging career began). The second type I can take or leave. It’s nice to have a laugh, so if you feel like you will just burst if you don’t leave your harmless funny then go ahead (but please, keep it on topic).

The NAYSAYER (also known as the “impossible to please”)
If you’re a Naysayer, you’re already compiling a list of every single thing that you disagree with in this article. It will be a long list. You’ll dislike my tone, the subject matter, the categories will be all wrong, I’ll have left out the most important point, etc, etc, etc. Naysayers would complain if they won the lottery. Naysayers would have told Jesus he was doing it all wrong. Naysayers are a negative force on this world that suck the life out of you and drain your energy. Sure, their comments will be on topic, and often civil. But they’re so pessimistic that it’s hard to get through them all without chewing your own arm off. Think carefully if all you do is leave comments that disagree with everything the blogger says. If you have a genuine concern or problem, then that’s no problem. But if you spend your life bringing people down and naysaying everyone and everything, what kind of life are you living anyway? Something tells me you’re not too happy.

The FIGJAM (An English term meaning “F**K I’m Good, Just Ask Me)

Also known by many as Trolls, comments from this particular blog reader are self-serving and patronizing. If you’re a FIGJAM, you’re probably already typing a nasty, self-promotional comment to this post right now. Although I’d actually be surprised if you had read this far down, as most FIGJAMs merely skim the surface of an article, think they know the score, and write a hefty response. FIGJAMs build themselves up by putting people down. They’re the bullies of the blog commentary world, and as a result will usually not leave their names or contact details (scaredy cats). FIGJAMs also have a tendency to be hypocrites, often pointing out spelling errors and grammar while making the very same mistakes in the comment box. All in all, a FIGJAM only serves to bring the whole blog down. If you’re a FIGJAM, I have a few pieces of advice for you. First, get in touch with your inner bastard and kick him/her to one side. Second, stop reading blogs. If the articles constantly annoy you, why keep reading them? You’ll be happier if you just go off somewhere and read a good book, and I’m 100% sure we’ll all be much happier without you. I thank you.

Fabulous line-up photo by Lamont Cranston (sorry, I couldn't find a line up with good guys in it too)

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Guest's picture
Flexo

I play various roles at various times as a commenter. But I must say the reason I clicked through from my RSS reader to this post: a Cyberman AND a Dalek.

Guest's picture
jess

it takes a lot for me to go out of my way to comment, but i must say:

well done! lol informative and amusing :D

i tend to find my self in the question category, ironically, because i always want elaborations. how does it work? where did it come from? why do you feel that way? and on and on. ironic? because my college professors practically begged me to elaborate.

as a constant reader, i love it when you guys right things like this (or the top 5 ways to hustle a drink). it helps break it up all the frugality. sometimes it is nice to pop on and get something really entertaining. Not that wisebread isn't entertaining...you have got one of the more talented blog teams around (and i read about 20+ blogs a day.)

so to wrap things up...thank you guys for existing. I know you've taught me a lot and given me quite a few laughs. (i discovered your site through a link for the fish tank toilet)

Paul Michael's picture

A Dr. Who fan Flexo? As a Brit I was hooked on the good Dr. as a child. The new ones aren't so bad either. And Jess, we're happy to keep you smiling. Wisebread is a blog I enjoy writing for because it allows me to be more informal, and there's no reason for stuffiness just because I'm talking about money. Thank you both and keep on reading. We all appreciate it. 

Andrea Karim's picture

If you click on Jess's hyperlink that takes you to her beauty blog, you will see that you have neglected to include her particular commentor category in your post; the Incredibly Beautiful Woman with Good Blog of Her Own and Nice Things to Say About Us category.

Make sure to update the post accordingly.

Paul Michael's picture

Until then, I'm putting this comment firmly in the NAYSAYER category

Guest's picture
Bill

I confess, I have been -The CHAMELEON. I am glad you are ambivalent on this one, because this one is a struggle. Great bloggers say that to get noticed you have to engage in conversation and comment on other blogs. It is hard to get noticed in the blogosphere and commenting provides an introduction. But it is important to have something meaningful to say within in the comments, otherwise they just look like spam.

Guest's picture

I'm not sure what kind of commenter I am. I think I just want to participate in a lot of blogs and network with people. Hopefully some of it will spill into traffic for me! I admit it! I'm a traffic whore!

Guest's picture
zoom

How would you categorize this comment?

Paul Michael's picture

a cross between A Questioner and A Joker.

 

Guest's picture

Here's a question: let's say you read a post, have some observations or responses, and then a comment previous to yours totally nail it - says everything you were thinking and more eloquently than you would have. So as not to beat a dead horse and repeat the points, wouldn't it be preferable to say, "Yup," or "What Steve said," to just nodding to yourself and lurking?

I kind of feel like a chorus of one-word "yes" votes can be welcome and valuable, at the very least so the poster or commenter isn't left hanging, wondering if they were going way out on a limb. Maybe disagreement needs to be explained, but agreement, less so. I think I'd rather get a "Right on, sister" than no acknowledgement. Then again, I travel in low-traffic circles.

Anyway. Fun post. For some reason I found it really funny that you spelled it "Bologna." rather than "Baloney!"

Paul Michael's picture

but does it have to be just 'yup?' It doesn't have to be a book, just a sentence expanding on your 'yup.' Like "Yup, Richard totally nailed it with points a,b and c. Excellent post."

Guest's picture

Nay, I kid. I discovered your blog when looking through the backlogs on i-am-bored.com and found a link to your post about carnival game scams. I saw a comment you left in response to someone else's comment asking if they had read your post on blog commenters. I took the time to look through your other entries until I found it. Curiosity got the better of me. :) I've read a few of your other posts along the way, and I really liked them. I particularly liked the one about the iPhone. That lady got what she had coming. I like how vindictive you were about it too. :-p.

That being said, I'm going to make it a point to try and come back and read your entries more often, as I find them rather entertaining.

Guest's picture
Jasi

Enjoyable. I've often wondered at group dynamism on comment pages myself.

Normally a OWW. It can't be helped, I'm a minimalist.

Guest's picture
Bigkeenenot

Hello! simply super resource