Welcome to the New Year, assorted e-ne'er-do-wells. By now you've likely recovered from the family-filled, merriment-choked, productivity-free nightmare of December and are ready to return to the cozy, productivity-free familiarity of misery and isolation. Good for you. To kick off 2012 properly, your Comment Ninja Squadron has prepared its annual paean to the virtues of good commenting, as well as a list of bozos who deserve to outlive the rest of you. We'll get to those guys in a bit; first, a few notes on commenting.
As always, we want our commenters to be funny, to be relevant, to not be fucking idiots. We want our commenters to get it: to not have to have every other comment shipped off to #hineyholeisland; to not make us chop comment threads into ribbons to snuff out chat-room bullshit; to make our readers happy and eager to come back.
How do I get it, you ask? Why did that awesome .gif of a kitten clapping its cute widdle paws knock 'em dead when I forwarded it to my grandmother and her friends, but get banished to #lame here? The answers, as ever, can be found in the sage words of prior combudsmen:
1. First, be funny. Second, do not not be funny. Third, don't be a fucking idiot.
2. Folks, Deadspin is not a chat room. Deadspin is not a message board. Deadspin is not a fan site.
Of the comment pending on your screen, when it's seen by the masses, what will be said of it?
3. Was it funny? Was it poignant? Was it grammatically cromulent?
4. If no one recognizes your pop culture reference, don't get upset. (and don't explain it, or beat us over the head with your brilliance in recognizing by using a goddamn slashie)
5. You can be banned if your comments are excessively self-promotional, obnoxious, or even worse, boring. (This includes being needy and annoying and more interested in discussing the procedure and administration of the comments, than actually making funny, original, creative comments that add value to the page.)
Let's pause for a moment and pay special attention to the word "original" in the previous sentence. When we say that we want commenters to be original, that doesn't just mean that we want you to find a heretofore-unused member of the Kardashian family to plug into your version of the "I haven't seen an X like that since Y" joke formula. (Although it also means that.) What it means when we say that we want our commenters to be original is that the best commenters strive to find fresh, unexplored territory for commenting, and we want all our commenters to share their adventurousness.
It means that when you do use a familiar theme or formula, you do your damnedest to imbue it with style and energy and freshness, so that our threads are not filled with depressing clones.
When we say, "Be more like Bevraj of Choice," it doesn't mean, "Wear out Ctrl-C on all of his comments": it means, "Strive to match his creativity and originality, even though you won't be able to because he is some kind of freak."
It also means, when you see the COTY nods down below, you should definitely not assume that a particular style, tone or structure was responsible for the success of the comment. Each comment was highlighted because it began with a funny premise and then merely chose a way to deliver it, not the other way around.
In keeping with the theme of venturing forth to explore uncharted territory, we'd also like to take this opportunity to encourage starred commenters to keep an eye out for quality stuff from new, or random, or unfamiliar faces, and to promote it when you see it. Your promotion could be the difference between an inexperienced commenter giving up and going away, or sticking around and eventually becoming a star. We can never have too many of those.
And now for the stuff for which you have skipped past the preceding several paragraphs, you impatient pricks. Deadspin's cup ranneth over with smart, funny, original comments in 2011, and no small number of commenters distinguished themselves, and if it makes you feel good, go ahead and tell yourself that you're one of them.
With that out of the way, here, in no particular order, are three commenters who spent the past year making your efforts look puny and insignificant by comparison.