By now, anyone who reads this blog should know that I find the comments of blogs to be one of the most interesting things about blogs. So, I thought of doing a rough categorisation of different types of commenters (by the way, I know it’s meant to be ‘commentators’, but I just don’t like the sound of it…).
They are categorised in relation to position they take to the post and/or the blogger, and also their ‘Identifiability’ - i.e. how much information they leave about themselves.
(aka Kiasu Commenter) Loves to be the first to comment. This phenomenon is restricted to a few high readership blogs. (Interestingly, according to one of my respondents this practice originated from Slashdot.org; does anyone have any thoughts on that?)
‘Yay, first!! Na na nananana :p’
‘NoOOooo – I tot I was 1st but den by the time I post some1 beat me oledi :(‘
Identifiability: High – probably not anonymous and probably leaves a link.
May overlap with the Firster; will leave comments that say little more than ‘I was here and I think you’re cool/cleve/correct’.
‘Haha lol this one so funny lah’
‘ROFLMAO you brighten up my day haha’
‘Once again you have nailed the issue. My hat off to you!’
'Interesting - never thought of this
Identifiability: Has name and probably links to blog.
A version of the classic Troll, but distinguishes him/herself by never missing the chance to insult the blogger, whatever the post is about. It’s impossible to know if it’s the same person coming back, or not, because s/he always posts anonymously, or uses a pseudonym such as ‘Blogger_is_a_fugly_bitch’.
‘You’re a fat idiot’
‘F**k you pathetic fool’
‘I hope you choke on your cigarettes, you poor excuse for a human’
‘Your thighs are fat and you have to photoshop out your ugly zits, I know because a friend saw you at the mall’
‘You’re a disgrace to Malaysians/Chinese/Malays/Indians/men/women/penguins…’
Identifiability: Lowest – typically anonymous and has no link.
The Bigot will always see things through the lens of nation or race, and will typically come out with a (somewhat self-contradictory) racist or nationalist comment.
‘Who do you think you are saying we Elbonians are obsessed with branded goods, in your country all they can buy is cheap plastic crap!’
‘Why always these [insert race here] have to act like that? My cousin’s friend told me [insert stereotypical anecdote here] …’
Identifiability: Low to medium – more likely to be anonymous and have no link, but not necessarily.
The Engagers are the gentlewo/men of the commentosphere – they are the ones that (IMHO) make blogging so useful for learning something new, debating SoPo issues, and just passing the time. S/he may or may not agree with the content of the blog post but asks question and critically engages – it may or may not be a 'serious' topic or tone, depending on the kind of post.
‘Hey in that photo there is a man in the background digging his nose! Did you see it lol!’
‘I disagree because you say xxx, but in fact yyyy’
‘You have a point, but you contradict yourself by saying xxxx’
‘Check this related article: http://anewspaper.com/related_article.html’
Identifiability: High - probably not anonymous, and may or may not have a link to a blog (SoPo commenters are less likely in general to have a link to a blog, even if they comment regularly).
The Challenger will imply the Blogger cannot take criticism.
'I know you will delete this comment, but...'
'I dare you not to censor this comment, like you always do to those you don't like, and...'
Identifiability: Medium - may or may not be anonymous and leave a link.
The Defender is self-appointed and decides to defend the Blogger against critics, they also often seem to believe that they have an an unparalled ability to read the Blogger’s mind. S/he may also be a Follower in other contexts.
This may be done in a more measured manner
‘criticalcommenter, you don’t understand that why Blogger is saying that is because xyxyx…’
'Blogger means zyzyz, obviously, so why are you saying she means xxxx?'
Or they can take on a more rabid tone:
‘Hey criticalcommenter why are you coming here to talk craps! If you don’t like this blog just don’t come! knncb!’
‘girly24 why don’t you shut up Blogger is really pretty and I bet you look like a pig’s bottom!’
Identifiability: Medium to high – usually will have a name and probably a link.
The Socialite can’t help but to try to connect with everyone, and starts to chat with others in the comments area, possibly about matters having nothing to do with the post.
‘hammyhamster82 you sure funny wan LOL!’
‘Hey fuzzy69 haven’t see you here for a while, where you been?’
Identifiability: High – definitely not anonymous, and 99% chance of having a blog (unless it’s in a SoPo blog comment area).
The Free Rider
The Free Rider’s only purpose of leaving a comment is to attract traffic towards his/her own blog.
‘Wow! I also blogged about this, check it out: http://freeriderblog.blogpost.com/checkitout.html’
‘This post sucks, see why here: http://iwanttraffic.com/theotherblogsux.html’
Identifiability: High – has name and link.
The Hijacker starts to make him/herself at home, s/he starts to respond to groups of othe commenters, acting out the role of the blogger; in this way s/he can start to act out a few of the types discussed here.
(multiple answers in one comment)
‘fuzzy69 – ‘sup how have you been?
squigglymouse – you know Blogger is joking wor!
anonymous – make your own blog if ur not happy, loser!’
The Hijacker may also try to switch the topic to another:
‘Blogger says Politician X should resign because she is corrupt, but the real issue is freedom of the press and responsible blogging because…’
or s/he may have a mind-numbingly long comment, enough for three posts on any normal blog - I won’t bother with an example of that, but you can imagine.
Identifiability: High – typically has a name, but there is also a relatively high chance s/he doesn’t have his/her own blog.
What do you think? Do you recognise any of these? I’m sure I’ve missed out some - do you have any more to add?
*Edit 03/02/09*: I should have specified that all the above examples are fictitious. Any resemblance to real comments is purely coincidental.
anthroblogia on : Social networks and commenting
A recent post by danah boyd (and Bernie Hogan) called Would the real social network please stand up? makes some interesting points about the dangers of assuming all social networks are comparable and concludes "The truth of the matter is that there is n