How to Be Taken Seriously in Blog Comments or Mailing Lists

I moderate a handful of blogs and sit on a number of mailing lists. Occasionally, people will post to a list and get no response or leave a blog comment that gets ignored or deleted. Here’s why.

You won’t be taken seriously by me or anyone else unless you:

  • Use reasonable English grammar. Even if you don’t speak English as your first language, you can at least obey some basic English conventions, like capitalization and punctuation. Amazingly, it is usually English-speakers who are the worst at this.
  • If you have a lot to say, break it up into paragraphs. One giant paragraph is annoying.
  • Actually read what you’ve responded to. It’s amazing how much misreading or skimming of a post people do before responding. Closely read the post to see if your criticism or concern has already been addressed.
  • Be reasonable when what you are responding to is reasonable. Respond to reasonable discussions reasonably. Ignore unreasonable discussions. (This is hard.)
  • Participate in the discussion. If you only post with problems or to complain and never contribute solutions or interesting commentary, you don’t have much credibility.
  • Don’t comment anonymously. If you believe what you are saying, be an adult and put your name on it. If you are too cowardly to leave your name, you probably shouldn’t be commenting.

So there you have it. Feel free to comment. 🙂

5 thoughts on “How to Be Taken Seriously in Blog Comments or Mailing Lists

  1. I agree with everything you’re saying but dont get the point of the post. Arent you letting an aspect of human nature get underneath your skin, and therefor failing an aspect of abstraction that IxD’ers need in their toolbox when working on HCI?
    Along the lines of build a foolproof system and they’ll build a better fool. Complaining on the net is a futile activity.
    Rise above it.

  2. Re: paulric’s comments – true, IxDers need a level of abstraction (or professionalism and analytical ability, if you prefer( in their work, but we are human, after all, and not robots, and the tool that makes the best designer (empathy) leaves us open and vulnerable. It’s hard to rise above it at times.
    I also don’t quite ‘get’ the point of the post, but more from a ‘bemoaning human nature’ point of view. Isn’t this stuff really Internet 101 – or Human Relationships 101? If people need to learn the lessons you wrote here (all valid, btw), well, it’s a sad, sad day for them, and the rest of us.

  3. A sample email from the IxD Mailing List today:
    ironically, CRTs are generally more adept at handling color than LCD screens
    (e.g. brighter whites, darker blacks, etc), which is why graphic designers
    will usually prefer a CRT vs. a LCD.
    however, LCDs are crisper at displaying fine lines and text than even the
    best CRTs and don’t have the refresh issues that CRTs do. both of these
    qualities make viewing images and text far easier on the eyes on LCDs than
    it’s quite possible that the users were reacting not to the color but to the
    greater clarity of the LCD vs. the CRT.
    ARGH. That is the point of this post. It’s annoying to read people’s poorly constructed posts.

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