This is an unfinished blog post imported from the Disintermedia project on CoActivate.
Making public comments on the internet is not about trust or manners. It's about saying what you mean, in as few words as possible, and sticking to the point. Can I suggest a practice that may help? When you comment on a public forum, imagine you are speaking at a public meeting. In that situation, I doubt you would just stand up and start talking. Instead you would listen carefully to what's being said by others, reflect on it, and prepare your remarks before you get everyone's attention and deliver them.
So, when you comment on a public forum, here's what I suggest (and what I try to do). Write your comment as you normally do. Then, before you click 'save':
- re-read your comment aloud to yourself, along with the comment you are replying to.
- think about what point you wanted to make in response and ask yourself how well the comment you've written clearly expresses that point.
- edit. Remove every word that isn't absolutely necessary to help you make your point. If necessary, delete what you've written and completely rewrite it. Fix your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- when you're happy with your edited comment, click 'preview'.
- repeat this process until you can't think of a single way to improve your comment.
- if your comment is still longer than 3 paragraphs (ie longer than 9-15 sentences), consider posting it on your blog instead. Then you can post a much shorter TL;DR comment on the forum, with a link to the blog post.
- then, and only then, click 'save'.
This means you will spend longer writing a comment, much longer at first (you will get quicker with practice). But it means everyone else will spend a lot less time reading and trying to understand your comment. It also means you are more likely to get replies and that that those replies will address your point, because the person replying will be able to understand your point more easily. Also, the public record of your thoughts that you are creating will be a much better reflection of your thoughts and ideas.