I thought I’d get this topic out in the open for some discussion…via comments, which seems a bit circular but unavoidable. Putting some thought into it I’ve come up with 10 types of comments. There may be more, but these came to mind as common patterns. I don’t bring these up to make any definitive statement about any one of them, so please don’t read into the description anything other than it being my best attempt at describing a phenomenon. What I leave for you, dear reader, is to leave your opinion on the different types. My hope is that this will encourage “good” comments and discourage “poor” comments, based primarily on what the majority of you feel about each type.
1) The Drive-By: This one consists of 1 or 2 words, three at the most, usually to say, “I read this,” or, “Interesting.” It conveys usually a brief opinion one direction or the other, though it’s primary point seems to be just that the story was read and noted.
2) The Technical: Here we have an earnest effort to give some grammatical or thematic critique. That’s a run-on. This is a comma splice. You forgot to carry the 2. I do that last one a lot, really mucks with the final lab results, believe me.
3) The Rambler: Of this one, I’m particularly guilty. The reader plunges into some deep train of thought loosely inspired by the ficlet, nearly writing another ficlet in the process, only it’s down in the comments section. These tend to be somewhere uncomfortably between gushing and being pompous.
4) The Advert: The standard goes like this, “Hey, I liked your story about X. Please come check out my stuff!” Insert appropriate emoticons here.
5) The Debater: Another one I’ve done at times, this one is all about taking exception not to the method but the moral, point, or insinuation of the piece. It’s about discussion and thought, but can be a little challenging.
6) The Slam: Beyond critiquing, I’ve seen a few comments that just plain spell out how bad a story is and why. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, flame wars usually follow.
7) The Bounce: Somewhere between the Drive-By and the Rambler, this one poses an opinion or thought, usually a little more spelled out but without dwelling on the point or beating it into the ground.
8) The Puppy Eyes: I know the title is a bit obscure for this one, but maybe this will ring a bell, “Ooh, ooh, write a sequel PLEASE!” It’s one part flattery, one part abject begging, and two parts cute puppy dog eyes to drive the point home.
9) The Doh: Here is when you read something thematically similar to something you just wrote, having realized you either look like a plagiarist or at best a follower. It’s a little bit of ‘How could you?’ but mostly ‘Aha, great minds think alike, right? Right? I swear, I didn’t just copy you.’
10) News of the World: This covers those comments meant not as a critique, praise, or slam but merely informative. For example, ‘I just wrote a sequel,’ or, ‘Someone wrote a sequel to the sequel,’ or, ‘My house is on fire.’