Less Chat, More Hat

To keep the comments as fresh and outstanding as they've been up to this point, we've commissioned Commenting Guru Rob Iracane to write a bi-weekly Comment Ombudsman column. It runs every other week. This is that week.

Mr. Iracane is the guy who approves and deletes comments around here, and the fellow to whom you should address any comment account requests, and he will explore issues involved in commenting, what makes a great comment thread, what's working, what isn't, answer your questions, so on. We want the place to continue to be as much fun as it is every day, and it's not an execution thread like our friends at Gawker do. We like to be inclusive here, because if we're not, we'd be forced to rely on our own wit and knowledge, and that's a scary thought indeed.

So here's this week's column, about the notion of commenting chat ... after the jump. Of course, don't be afraid to let him have it in the comments.

Please forgive me while I reminisce about the halcyon days of Deadspin commenting, back in the spring of aught-six, when the sports blogosphere was just beginning to coalesce and people like Matt Ufford weren't yet getting paid to blog.

There were many (extremely talented) commenters but not many comments on each post. Why? Gawker Media was running the Deadspin website on a hand crank-operated Commodore 64. Deadspinners like BoSox Siobhan would enter a smarmy comment, click the SUBMIT button, get up to make a cup of coffee, come back in 10 minutes, and her witty retort would still not be published yet. Nibbles 1.0 was coddamn slow.

However, this flawed system favored quality over quantity. Since there was no need to rush to post a comment, we'd think twice before clicking that button. Was it funny? Was it poignant? Was it grammatically cromulent? Still, this sluggish system didn't allow for much commenter interaction. Turns out the good ol' days weren't so good after all.

Fast-forward to May 2007, and we've got more talented commenters than ever before and a fancy new 'reply-to' technology, or as I reluctantly call it, Deadspin Chat. Folks, Deadspin is not a chat room. Deadspin is not a message board. Deadspin is not a fan site. Deadspin is a snarky (Ed. Note: We prefer "cheeky!") sports blog that allows us to comment on its witty, well-crafted posts. The least we can do as commenters is to honor Deadspin with our own witty, well-crafted comments. Take a second to recall the three rules of Deadspin commenting, spelled out in the infamous Commentist Manifesto:

First, be funny. Second, do not not be funny. Third, don't be a fucking idiot.

If we follow these rules, we can keep the 'reply-to' technology alive and prevent Deadspin from devolving into some crazy hybrid of an AOL chat room and a sports blog. Here are some shoddily-created DOs and DON'Ts to illustrate my point:

DO use the reply-to feature to follow up a softball comment by knocking one out of the park.

DON'T use the reply-to feature to say "Good morning" to Lady Andrea.

DO use the reply-to feature to award an especially good comment with a +1.

DON'T use the reply-to feature to show off your Mel Brooks-quote-identification skills.

DO use the reply-to feature to create a comedy pyramid.

DON'T use the reply-to feature unless you have something funny or poignant to add to the post! Think twice before clicking that SUBMIT button.

Of course, the last post of each day will always be the unbounded anarchistic pleasure dome known as Deadspin Up! All Night. No rules apply there, but please: Be nice.