Please Keep Comments on Topic


I’ve been noticing an increasing incidence of people going into comment threads and writing something like this: “Hey, I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what this thread is about, but…” and then posting about something that is, true to advertising, completely unrelated.

Don’t do this. I find it more than a little annoying. And if you read the comment policy, you’ll it’s one of the things that inspires me to moderate posts (i.e., expunge them from the site). The reason for it is that while most of you mean well, it’s really an attempted hijacking of a comment thread, and that’s kind of a discourteous thing to do. Unless it’s a stated open thread, comments in a thread should have some relation to what’s being discussed in the original entry.

Here’s a hint: if you find yourself writing (or, really, even thinking) “this isn’t really related to the discussion at hand” — don’t post it. Because it’s just as socially clueless as walking up to a conversation in progress among a group of people, on a particular subject, and then saying “hey, shut up about whatever you’re talking about and start talking about what I want to talk about.” And I know you wouldn’t do that. Because you’re not a dick.

If you want to have a discussion about a particular topic on Whatever, either wait for an open thread or send me an e-mail and ask me if I might be willing to post on the topic. If I’m not wallowing at the moment in a massive deadline (as I did, for example, last week), there’s a reasonable possibility I’ll post about it. Saves me from having to think of something myself.

Alternately, sign up for Whateveresque, the Whatever’s bulletin board, and post to your heart’s content there on whatever topic you like without having me as a mediating presence. That’s right, you can stick it to the man, the man being, of course, me.

But otherwise, keep comments here at least somewhat related to the topic of the entry. Saves me from being annoyed, and also from having to moderate your ass. And that makes everyone happy. Thanks.

39 Comments on “Please Keep Comments on Topic”

  1. I’m first. Now why am I here again? Right. I don’t have a blog so I’ve never been hijacked, but I despise it when people do that in conversation.

  2. Uh, what if the comment is a comment on a comment which is mostly on tas,k but the comment made takes the first comment off in a non-related direction to the original post?

  3. Patrick M:

    If there’s a thread of connection to previous comments, it’s fine, although if things get too far afield and I find it annoys me, I’m likely to tell people to reign it in — cf., on the Heinlein thread, when it was becoming a thread about Ayn Rand.

  4. sorry. While I suspect I wasn’t the straw that broke the camels back I am guilty of this and will quit it. It’s those darn whateverettes that get me. They are so commentable!

  5. I hate those hijackers, too.

    Just to be clear, can I comment on just about anything I like in this particular thread as long as I include the phrase, “This doesn’t have anything to do with what this thread is about, but…”? I mean, that phrase links my comment with the post above, right?

    This doesn’t have anything to do with what this thread is about, but…some people like pie, some like cake.
    I prefer cake.

  6. Rembrant:

    I’ll find some way to have a permanent open thread for the Whateverettes, and that will fix that problem.


    The cake is a lie.

  7. Ridiculous! Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance, and I’m glad that Rush Limbaugh (bloated enormous keg of donkey droppings) is bashing the living crap out of McCain – it simply gives Obama a better chance… and…

    Oh right, I hate it when people ruin a thread – thanks.

    Blade Runner The Final Cut? WTF was wrong with the original theatrical release?

  8. There’s a whole Whateveresque forum for commenting on the Whateverettes. And it could use some more traffic. Maybe put in (yet another) link to it, marked “go here to comment on these”?

  9. Maybe a blathering lockdown style post would do the trick for whateverette comments. It’s easy, it’s cheesy, like a Col-Pop! Cheesy in a non dairy product way that is.

  10. Heh heh. There is no cake. “Assume the ‘Party Escort Submission Position’ or you will miss the party.”

    Sort of an off/on topic comment, since it’s in relation to your comment, John. Having said that, I agree totally. Comment hijackers are almost as bad as comment trolls.

  11. Yes, well, I’m not known for following directions or, more specifically, orders. You haven’t said you are going to kill me. You just, rather directly, request that I stop living.

    I suspect you’d miss me when I was gone, though.

  12. Christian,

    Blade Runner The Final Cut? WTF was wrong with the original theatrical release?

    Lack of tight pvc cat suit on Ms. Young.

    *sighs* Sorry. I should really not insist on being a hideous ass candle when the opportunity permits. I’m just built that way.

  13. Well, as long as Nathan brought it up…{blush} I am HUGE among the elephant seal watcher and grizzled White Mountain hermit demos. If elected, I promise coupons for a Skyline 4-Way and a Graeter’s Chip Wheelie ice cream cookie sandwich for every U.S. American!

  14. Re: the Whateverettes, what about some sort of “guestbook” widget repurposed as an on-running commentary on the Whateverettes? it could work, wouldn’t require an entire post to itself and the comments would scroll off quickly enough to keep reasonably abreast of the linkage.


    Saves me from being annoyed, and also from having to moderate your ass.

    Is it just me, or does that not sound just a wee bit kinky? In any case, I prefer my ass to be immoderately unmoderated, so I supposed I’ll have to play nice. But surely, someone on the threads is up for a bit of posterior adjustment…

  15. Hey, I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what this thread is about, but…

    …oh wait…. I guess it does… darn.

  16. Once again we see that John has forgotten the first rule of dealing with commenters, don’t tempt fate.

    BTW, thought I’d signed up for Whateveresque, even got a confirmation message. But nothing about the account getting activated. Is it my breath?

  17. I try to follow the rule of thumb that visiting a blog comment section is like entering someone’s home. Except I try to be more clever in a comment section. And I’m better looking.

  18. “And while Jim’s wrestling the wild water buffalo, I’m going to tell you all about Mutual of Omaha.”

    Marlon Perkins. Inventor of the threadjack.

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