We've all read some really great comments on stories published throughout the Gawker family of blogs. Comments that are funny, comments that are touching and comments that make you reevaluate the way you think about things. Then there are the comments that make you want to burn down the internet. These comments aren't clever, they aren't helpful and they add nothing to the discussion. They can't be destroyed here, but at least they can be fixed. With that in mind here is Captain Max and JINX's* Guide to Elevating Discussion in the Comments!
The situation- News breaks about a new movie that re-imagines a beloved franchise from your childhood.
The comment- "Thanks for raping my childhood [insert director's name]!"
Why you shouldn't say that- Besides the obviously distasteful use of the term "raping" to describe something like a new movie, a reboot or remake of a franchise doesn't diminish in any way the love you had for the original franchise. It's not like Michael Bay bought all the copies of the original Transformers cartoon and came over to your house to burn them on your lawn.
What you should say- "Judging by the trailers I have seen this movie does not meet my expectations for this franchise. I will not be purchasing a ticket to see this movie. Good day."
The situation- An article is posted about a fandom that you don't understand.
The comment- "What is with these stupid [insert cute name of fandom]? [insert name of property they follow] is the worst thing that has ever been made!"
Why you shouldn't say it- No one is expected to love the same things as everyone else. That's why fandoms exist. Bronies probably don't like Star Trek and Twihards don't necessarily love Avatar: The Last Airbender. What they do love is the fandom that they are passionate about and you don't get to tear them down for that.
What you should say- "[insert name of property they follow] does not appeal to my tastes, but I applaud the [insert cute name of fandom] for their passion. Good health to you."
The situation- An author writes about a movie or TV show that you know an exceptional amount about. They omit an obscure piece of information from the article.
The comment- "WHAT THE F&%K!! You didn't even mention [insert obscure piece of information]! If you had done any research you would know that in the French comic series based on the play derived from the movie [insert obscure piece of information] was what the whole thing was about!"
Why you shouldn't say it- Just like fandoms, not everyone is infinitely knowledgeable about the same book or movie universe. The authors have knowledge that cover many diverse areas, but there are limits to how deep their knowledge can go. This isn't a wiki for your favorite property.
What you should say- "I would first like to say what a great article this is. I noticed that you failed to mention [insert obscure piece of information]. Even though it is not technically canon, this was introduced in some of the later comic series and goes a long way to clearing up some of the mysteries of the [insert property] universe. Best wishes for your continued success."
The situation- You click on an article that laments the very real lack of diversity in comics, movies, television, everything really.
The comment- "I am so tired of hearing all you [insert under-represented group name] whining about lack of diversity. If you want to see movies with [insert under-represented group name] go make them yourself!"
Why you shouldn't say it- The idea that if you want more diversity, you should just start making your own comics, TV shows, whatever, is ridiculous. If it were that easy to just make a movie so successful that it would forever change the system, it would have been done already. Kickstarter is not some magic solution to the problem.
What you should say- "I hope this comment finds you well. You make many excellent points in your post, but I'm curious what else we could be doing to fix the problem. Do you have any recommendations for [insert under-represented group name] creators so I can seek out their work?"
The situation- You stumble upon a well-researched article that contains information about a scientific fact that you don't believe is true.
The comment- "Wake up, sheeple! [insert scientific fact] is a lie! Obama is just trying to push this junk science so he can clear the way for socialism!"
Why you shouldn't say it- The article you read is on a site that reports on a lot of science so you're not working with a very receptive audience. Most people here believe in climate change, evolution, the benefits of vaccinations, electricity or whatever scientific fact that your Facebook feed told you is a lie.
What you should say- "I believe I accidentally clicked on the wrong website. I'll show myself out."
The situation- A long and detailed blog post has a handful of spelling and grammatical errors.
The comment- "Hey, stupid. Third paragraph, second sentence you used "then" instead of "than". Why doesn't this "professional" website hire an editor so I don't have to see these mistakes? I can't even concentrate on your words or their meaning now!"
Why you shouldn't say it- People do make mistakes when they are writing, maybe even you! Most of these articles are proofread by the author and we could probably cut them some slack.
What you should say- "Very insightful post that opened my eyes to some things. Just a minor note, in the third paragraph, second sentence you used "then" instead of "than". Simple mistake, but I thought you might want to know."
The situation- Any article about any range of subjects gets posted.
The comment- "My neighbor's sister was laid off from her job. Now she works at home for [insert name of tech company that clearly is not affiliated with this] making $453 an hour! Her last paycheck was $10,853,875 and she earned it all in her pajamas! Click here to find out more [insert highly suspicious website].
Why you shouldn't say it- Don't robots have better things that they could be doing?
What you should say- Nothing.
I hope that clears things up. Stay classy, everybody.
* As usual, JINX contributed nothing to this. When I don't credit him he bobs his little head up and down and keeps saying how we are "friends forever."