These haven’t happened too much on this blog (my popularity is obviously not breaking wordpress bandwidth bills), but I see various types of this behavior running rampant on other, more popular blogs. A variant of this list used to be titled “Reasons I don’t read Slashdot anymore”.
People, if you’re going to go to the trouble of reading a blog post, and furthermore you’re going to trouble yourself to post a comment, please follow these simple rules:
1. Use your spell-checker. I’m not a great speller either, consider this a self-improvement project. It’s your gift to the Internet community. Limit your use of creative grammar.
2. Don’t use words you don’t understand. Don’t quote statistics unless you know something about statistics. Don’t quote facts unless you provide context.
3. Read many somethings about a subject before you start commenting upon it.
4. Learn what fallacious arguments are. Particularly if you’re going to post to political blogs.
5. Read the already-posted comment thread. If someone has already pointed out a trivial error in the original post, don’t repeat it. If it is an egregious error (one that significantly impacts the value or correctness of the original post) that is already commented upon, cite the original comments and say “I agree with posters Alice, Bob, and Bruce, your argument is flawed”. The Internet is supposed to be a community, engage in community building. If you just repeat what Alice, Bob, and Bruce have already said without acknowledging them, you’re plagiarizing.
6. Don’t comment when you’re angry about something that’s not related to the blog you’re reading. If you caught your boyfriend cheating last night, your coworker claiming credit for your project this morning, and you spilled coffee on your favorite outfit at break, save your commenting for when you’re not monumentally grumpy at the entire world.
7. Admit your mistakes when someone corrects you, and (more difficult) acknowledge points of contention that you can’t refute. Everybody has a post/comment or three they’d like to retract. If you’re in an argument with someone and they have a point you can’t contest except with belief, acknowledge that and move on.
8. Don’t comment just to drive traffic to your own site. It’s crass.
9. Use PG language by default. Unless you’re posting/commenting on an R-rated blog, try and imagine that your mother, your grandmother, your boss, your significant other, and your present/future children are all reading your post over your shoulder. (note – if that process of imagining doesn’t change your default behavior in the slightest, you’re probably a jackass.)
10. Invective is the privilege of the blog owner. If you find someone’s post to be violently offensive to your sensibilities, post your own argument on your own blog and link to the original blogger or comment. Don’t start flamewars in someone else’s comment thread. Even if the blog owner/commenter is a total jackass, it’s impolite to engage in a mudslinging fight in someone else’s house.