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[1.Local]: Making your comments matter


VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED; language Not Safe For Work.

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Internet comments and commenters -- gah. What does it take to get a comment spotlighted on [1.Local], anyway? Many readers assume that the comments we select each week represent the most popular posts, or the most controversial, or the most "important." That's true ... Sometimes. Humor is frequently the common denominator; after all, everybody loves a good laugh over the game we all enjoy. Beyond that, the factors that make a comment [1.Local]-worthy are more of a moving target. Maybe that comment is the seed of an intricate debate. Perhaps it's an inspired strategy worth sharing. Maybe it's simply a pointer towards a story we think more readers ought to see. There's no set formula.

What is set, however, is our commitment to providing a place for our readers' voices to be heard. That doesn't mean we're throwing open the editorial doors to some sort of hegemony via comments. What it does mean is that we love a vibrant, energetic community of commenters just as much as you do. Blog comments do matter. How can you make your own viewpoints make an impact? Join us after the break for a refresher course on best practices for commenting on the internet.

Respect other readers and other points of view. This is probably the most important rule of the road in any online community. It's certainly the point that separates the sheep from the wolves and the boys from the men. If you can't engage other readers and other viewpoints with respect and maturity, you won't get very far making your point or adding to the conversation.

Read the post completely. If you find yourself typing, "I couldn't even read past the second paragraph, when he said ...", you've obviously missed at least half the the point. Please stop. Go back. Finish reading.

Don't get caught making one of the Top 5 Most Pointless Comments.
  1. First!
  2. Slow news day? (or, How's this news?)
  3. Learn2 <whatever>.
  4. <Blahblahblah long-winded opinion blahblah stated as fact blahblahblah>, period.
  5. <Blogger> doesn't know what he/she is talking about and should be replaced.
Tone matters. You're more likely to get permanently banned from the site over personal attacks against a blogger or another reader (including name-calling), hate speech, or attacks based on race, gender, sexual orientation and so forth (come on, you know this drill) than you are for getting hot under the collar about a nerf and letting slip an F-bomb. Inappropriate language is inappropriate, yes, but tone and content matter too. Shouting in ALL CAPS, going over the top with punctuation (!!!???), laying on the sarcasm, overclocking the rhetoric and hyperbole and descending into ad hominem attacks are all good ways to attract the attention of a moderator's banhammer.

Comments are not votes. Comments do not affect WoW.com's editorial decisions or Blizzard's game design. If the comments appear to be headed towards a "Me, too -- let's overwhelm 'em with public opinion, boys!" lynching, expect the banhammer to be making an appearance soon.

Learn how to disagree well.
Don't fall prey to the most common pitfalls of internet commenting: name-calling, ad hominem attacks, responding to another's tone, contradiction, counterargument, refutation ... Click the link; it'll clear up a lot.

Quote/cite the point of your reply.
The commenting system here at WoW.com can be confusing and somewhat ... quirky. (Feeding it the blood of our newest crop of bloggers seems to help, but we haven't ruled out additional sacrifices of chickens just yet.) What's more, readers rarely read every single comment and reply before jumping into the conversation. If you're responding to a previous comment, quote a snippet (shorter is better) relevant to your counterpoint before launching into your reply.

Upvote/downvote comments to indicate merit rather than agreement. WoW.com's system of uprating (starring) and downrating (darkening out) comments is most effective when it's used not to agree or disagree with an opinion but to shed light on the merit or flaws of a particular comment's style or content. It's more effective to upvote comments that add value to the conversation (whether you agree with them or not) and to downvote comments that are off-topic, insulting or otherwise ineffective contributions.

Pick the right time and place to disagree. If you take editorial issue with something that's been written at WoW.com, the appropriate avenue is an e-mail to an editor, not a diatribe in the comments. Editors' e-mail addresses are linked after their names in the list of writers on the right side of the home page; just click on the editor's name to see more details and a link to their e-mail. And if you have an issue with another reader? Best to try to find some way to contact them directly off the site or stop participating in that particular thread of comments.

Don't take our word for it -- hear what others are saying about making your voice heard in a positive way. We're looking forward to more good conversation this week and next, right here in [1.Local]. Until then!



Ha, caughtcha looking! Hey, don't scroll away ... Come join the conversation on these and other posts around the WoW.com community. We'll see you around in [1.Local]!

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