The Bitch Slap: Are You Contributing?

This is a Detractor

We run into it in the board room. It rears its head on our blog. It’s sitting at the table next to us at the coffee shop.

The person who doesn’t contribute.

The Blog Bomber

You can spot them a mile away and hate the smell of ’em when they get too close for comfort. They’re the epic jackasses who use fake email addresses on your blog to bypass authentication so they can spew things like “yawn” or “LOL. Right on.”

Pro Tip for blog commenters who aren’t so savvy with the interwebz: any blog owner can track a comment by IP address. Yes, the computer from which you spew. Hence, whether you’re dropping mad wisdom or garbage, we know the source. And we’ll block your IP address. I have a zero tolerance for anyone who spews schlock or hate in my blog comments. Debate? Opposing viewpoints? Bring it on and my readers will be better for it. But don’t wast my time or anyone else’s with a petty comment that fails to contribute to the conversation. And use a real email address. It’s a policy on this blog and I believe in holding people accountable for what they write. Anonymous comments are welcome – but your comment will be held for moderation (this is MY house) and I will be judge and jury deciding its relevance toward the matter at hand.

Pro Tip for blog commenters in general: it’s not about the size of your comment. It’s about sharing content that adds to the conversation. When you post crap like “LOL” or a smiley face, are you really contributing? We get it – you laughed. You liked it. You’re upping my comment count. But when it comes to anyone interested in the amount of interaction on my blog (as this is of importance to some who hire me for certain projects), I’m more interested in them seeing 30 comments filled with personal thoughts and threading conversations as opposed to 60 comments that are nothing but a series of LOLcat speak and emoticons. As well, I can always appreciate the well-constructed argument in reply to a post. But don’t hijack my blog’s comment section with a blog entry of your own. Gimme a pingback and write a response on your own domain and link to it in my comments. Please.

The Glommer

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down. The glommer (a person so accurately defined by my friend Jenn Fields in her article for the Colorado Daily last week) is the Antichrist of the contribution movement. They invite themselves along on trips and outings, never have the right gear, always forget something, expect others to carry more in their pack and never have enough food.

In the business world, it’s the guy who never has a pen but always steals yours. They’re never on-time for a meeting and their reports are never done. They pour all but the last drop out of the coffee pot so that the pot isn’t technically “empty” so they don’t have to make a new pot.

The Detractors Don’t Contribute

These people are annoying. And when you hear them utter, “Thanks, man,” they wander off as quickly as they showed up in need and leave a cloud of insincerity in their wake. You want to shove their last LOL comment up something sideways and bomb their office web browser with porn links. The worst part – well, for me – in dealing with those who don’t contribute is realizing how much they detract from the flow. In business, on a blog, in a conversation – flow is what you have and it sucks when people screw with it.

Top Five Questions Detractors NEVER Ask Themselves

If you’re a detractor, you don’t ask questions. You think in statements. Questions beget dialogue and statements…tend to isolate. I sat down this morning, laptop on lap and Small Dog licking something at the foot of the bed that I only dream of being able to reach in such a manner, and thought: how do detractors think? If this were Narnia, I think the list of questions would look something like this:

  1. Do I have anything meaningful to add to this conversation? A link, an alternative viewpoint?
  2. Can I state my viewpoint without being a douchebag?
  3. Have I done the requisite preparation for this event/meeting/post/airplane trip so that I’m not a burden on others due to my lack of planning?
  4. By doing what it is that I’m going to inevitably do, am I going to cause someone else frustration or make them want to choke the living shit out of me?
  5. If I act like myself, will people want to invite me back for a repeat performance?

So today – ask yourself: are you contributing? Or are you merely coasting by and dropping d-bag bombs near and far and falling further and further into the rabbit hole of becoming “that guy/girl?” We all slip-up every now and then and not everything we do has to be of earth-shattering import. My point is this: if you’re walking into a dialogue and you drop a conversation-stopping bomb (and needlessly), what’s the point? It’s lovely that you want to amuse yourself. It’s entirely unlovely how people have to moderate, manage and compensate for your lack of contribution.

You’ve been slapped.


4 comments
Todd
Todd

I definitely thought I RSS-subscribed to this after the previous post (regarding Facebook's lack of customer service). To contribute: I guess I thought that old adage of "if you don't have anything nice to say" applied to blogs, except replacing "nice" with "useful." In my naivety, I thought that's why I saw so few comments. Ha!Actually, I thought that's what Facebook's "Like" button was for ... what does it do, really, except allow you to comment without saying anything at all? Kind of useless.

Todd
Todd

I definitely thought I RSS-subscribed to this after the previous post (regarding Facebook's lack of customer service). To contribute: I guess I thought that old adage of "if you don't have anything nice to say" applied to blogs, except replacing "nice" with "useful." In my naivety, I thought that's why I saw so few comments. Ha!Actually, I thought that's what Facebook's "Like" button was for ... what does it do, really, except allow you to comment without saying anything at all? Kind of useless.

Jess Downing
Jess Downing

My company site has been dealing with the 'hate monger' - people who post anonymous comments with fake email addresses that just rip on the company itself that doesn't relate to the blog post at hand. Talk about detractors! We've moderated inappropriate and unrelated comments, but then get blasted for 'editing'. I think holding anonymous comments for 'moderation' is a good idea. We put 'like' and 'dislike' buttons on each comment, and if a comment gets more than 5 'dislikes', it hides - seems to help a bit!I must say though, I've totally been a 'glommer' on recent outdoor pursuits. Uh, does anyone have an extra shovel? I seem to have forgotten mine. Guess I'll ski that sick powder line first since I can't dig any of you out should it slide... (don't worry, that was a one time forgetfulness...)

Cherry Woodburn
Cherry Woodburn

I have been duly slapped and needed it today to pull me out of my self-induced funk. But that is not being a good contributor so: Can you have your cake and eat it too? I agree that I also want well thought-out comments, especially from those who are disagreeing with me. But why does the blogger get to set the parameters around what people write? (except for the objective, collective truth of malicious, ugly comments) The parameters will be different for each blogger, so as I reader do I need to read, understand and adhere to each one's personal proclivities? Sometimes I just want you to know I thought it was a good post and I appreciated it. Sometimes I don't disagree, sometimes I have nothing to add, and sometimes I don't have the energy to write out a well thought out argument. And what are the rules for what constitutes a blog entry of my own? How many words to I get before I'm bitch slapped? If it's well thought out and provocative am I allowed a little extra? We also need to agree on the definition of douchebag viewpoint. My husbands would say I have many of those but, needless to say they're wrong. Douchebag is in the eyes of the beholder.

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