Comments Of The Fortnight-Ish: Srsly?

Illustration for article titled Comments Of The Fortnight-Ish: Srsly?

To kick off today's discussion, here are two exceptionally great, fairly recent comments for you to examine:

Steve U
A Pimp Named DaveR


It's likely that the first thing that struck you about these is that, while DaveR's finishes with a humorous flourish, neither of the two comments is a joke, nor primarily aimed at getting laughs. That makes them quite unusual and rather countercultural in a place where the only explicit rule is to be funny, and yet they are both unambiguously terrific comments. How to reconcile that?

We're all familiar with the "be funny, do not not be funny" rule—and, just to be clear, we still prefer funny comments over all others—but that rule exists in service to the goal of having a comments section that adds value to the site, that makes visiting Deadspin a richer and more rewarding experience for the entire readership. With respect for the latest "I haven't seen an X like that since Y" gag, the two comments we're discussing are made of somewhat rarer, more precious stuff: genuine insight.

We point that out not to clap the commentariat on the back for being special ("wook at you, you made an insight you special widdle commentawiat you"), but to illustrate that there's a welcome place in the comments for seriousness when it's matched with the intelligence, originality, relevance, and grammatical cromulence we expect from all Deadspin comments. A reader of the site is at least as likely to be completely blown away by the above two comments, which illuminate the stories to which they are attached in real and meaningful ways, as by a great joke, and blowing readers' minds is the best any comment—humorous or not—can do.

So if you see something in an article that calls for a more serious response, go for it—being mindful, of course, that while your comment may not be funny, it is still required to be smart, relevant, and original. Personal anecdotes, recitations of your little feeeeelings about an issue, your opinion that the author is biased, a jerk, or wrongheaded: these are not smart, relevant, or original. They do not inform or enlighten the audience about anything other than your annoying little worldview. If your comment is about what YOU think, we don't care, and we won't like it. If it illustrates a legal, technical, factual, moral, biological, philosophical or sexual insight that adds to readers' understanding of the issues in the article—have at it! And if you see a serious comment that continues the discussion in a post, don't be shy about engaging with it in an articulate, respectful, relevant way.

Here's where you'll want to take another moment to ponder the difference between a serious comment that is relevant and interesting because it poses a heretofore unasked question, illuminates a new perspective, or offers a valid and well-argued counterpoint to the discussion, and a serious comment that is "relevant" and "interesting" because the guy who posted it thinks that everything he thinks is relevant and interesting because he thought it. That's also the difference between a serious comment that is good, and a serious comment that is boring and crappy and stupid and annoying.

Now, having praised the merits of serious, thoughtful commentary, let's laugh at some funny jokes that you didn't make.


Gamboa Constrictor
Bring Back Anthony Mason


Feel free to post some of your favorite recent comments below.