5 Types Of Comments Writers Don’t Need

Not every comment is a good comment. Today, let’s talk about 5 types of comments that can seriously ruin your online experience and why you shouldn’t write them.

I’ve been regularly writing and posting stories online since I was twelve, and I can honestly say I’m glad I do. Through writer’s blocks and dwindling interest, through insecurity and panicked Nobody-will-ever-read-this-what-have-I-done’s, online communities have proven me wrong time and time again. I’ve found endless support, constructive criticism and invaluable friendships on various sites and forums. And frankly, I don’t think I would still write if it wasn’t for them.

With all that said, we all post content on the internet in the hopes that someone else will read it and — if we’re really lucky — comment on it. Comments mean interaction with us, the writer, but also with the content we post. In that sense, comments are worth more than gold.

For the most part.

Unfortunately there are comments that are neither encouraging, nor helpful, nor good, nor do they possess any other, redeeming quality. Comments that don’t aim to help, comments that leave you feeling raw, hurt, and uncomfortable. Comments that may cause you to stop writing altogether.

Comments that really, if you ever find yourself writing one of these, don’t post them. Just don’t. Here we go:

Number 1: Flames
Those are really just a nice term for comments that contain insults, threats, and no redeeming quality whatsoever. Prime examples include “This is worthless,” “My cat could write something better,” and “You’re stupid.” They’re known to include swear words and rarely even deal with the actual content of the post in any significant way. They can also contain homophobic or racist language, religious or self-righteous condemnation, and lots of other fun stuff guaranteed to ruin an unsuspecting writer’s day.

Number 2: Non-constructive criticism 
This one definitely earns its place among those dreaded comments. The bad thing about this type of comment is that, often enough, the person writing them thinks they’re actually being helpful. This encompasses every comment that can essentially be summed up with “I don’t like your story.”

You can be as polite as you want and list as many reasons as you want, that still does nothing but tear the writer down. And for what? Because you didn’t like it. Which is your right, but it’s also your personal opinion. If you don’t like a story dealing with magic then I could write the next Harry Potter and you’d still think it sucks. Here’s the thing: a negative opinion that offers no helpful criticism only serves to discourage the writer. They don’t learn anything from it — except that you don’t like it and they should probably just give up.

Number 3: Demands for more 
Now this one’s a little trickier because many consider them compliments. After all, when you beg a writer to post the next chapter or write a sequel, you do it because you love their work, right? You’re just being appreciative, right? Funny because when I post an 8k long chapter and fifteen minutes later I get a “MORE” or “UPDATE PLEASE“, I don’t feel very appreciated. At. All.

Here’s the thing: Yes, it’s nice to know that your readers are interested and want to see more of your work. But demanding it — or worse guilting the writer into it — is a shitty thing to do. Especially when the writer is only doing it as a hobby and you can read everything online for free.

There’s a difference between saying “I love it, I can’t wait for the next chapter.” and “Where’s the next chapter? When are you gonna update?” Both express your desire for more, but the latter makes you sound like a bratty child.

Number 4: If you don’t continue I’m going to kill myself.
This one is such an outrageous example that it deserves an entire category of its own. Because. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck.

Let me make one thing very, very clear: Threatening to kill yourself is not funny. It’s never funny, and especially not on the internet where the recipient of your threat doesn’t know you and has no way of guessing exactly how serious you are. It’s a shitty, inexcusable thing to do. I don’t care how much you love a story. I don’t care how much it’s helping you cope. I don’t care what other excuses you can think of.

Your mental health does not hinge on the continuation of some story on the internet. Your mental health is not someone else’s responsibility. Especially not that of a total stranger, who’s been doing you a favour by sharing their writing with you for free. Do you have any idea what you put the author of your favourite story through when you write such a comment? Any idea at all?

If I ever see another comment like that again it will be to soon.

Number 5: Spam, self-recommendation and the likes 
Out of all types of comments listed, I consider these the least harmful ones. Sure, they can be annoying, but the worst they cause is the disappointment of the writer, when they realise the comment they were looking forward to answering has nothing at all to do with the content they’ve posted.

Writers don’t need these comments for obvious reasons — which is why they made the list — but I wouldn’t rain down the fires of hell on you for leaving them either. (Honestly, I have nothing against self-recs, as long as you offer useful feedback before leaving it. But I think every writer has their own policy on how they handle these comments.)

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What’s the point of this entire post? It’s a simple one. Despite what a lot writers say, not every comment is a good comment. Writers are allowed to defend themselves against their readers too. They don’t have to sit back and take it. And they especially don’t have to be grateful for any comment at all. The list above is the reason why.

No, I’m not trying to convince you to stop commenting. As a writer, I know how helpful and encouraging comments are. What I ask of you is only that you think before you write.

Ask yourself if you would be glad to receive a comment like the one you just wrote. And please remember: This is the internet. You don’t actually know who’s sitting on the other end of that line, reading your comment, and taking every word to heart. You don’t know if it’s a twelve year old who just posted their very first story ever, or a sixty-four year old with multiple published works. You don’t know.

Comment. Be honest. But don’t be a jerk. It’s that simple.

 

Do you have experience with negative comments of this kind? Was there ever a comment that ruined a story or post for you? Or is there a type of comments I forgot about? I’d love to hear what you think!

Yours, Alex
a.k.a. The one who has spent more time thinking about comments than writing content lately

 

 

10 Lessons I Learned By Watching ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’

When I watched The Avengers: Infinity War for the first time last week, I wasn’t prepared for how much the movie would teach me. (And yes, that’s only 65% sarcasm.)

When I watched The Avengers: Infinity War for the first time last week, I wasn’t prepared for how much the movie would teach me. (And yes, that’s only 65% sarcasm.)

10 life-saving lessons in particular stuck out to me. Being the generous person that I am, I have decided to share my newly gained wisdom with the rest of you. You’re welcome. One never knows when the rules of how to survive in a superhero universe comes in handy. And should you ever find yourself in such a universe, ignore my advice at your own risk. 

Now, without further ado, here they are, vague spoilers included:

10 Lessons I Learned By Watching The Avengers: Infinity War

1. If I am an obvious Slytherin™ with no back-up and have been surrounded by the enemy, and consider taking the most Gryffindor-ish action possible, I will remember that such actions only ever work for foolish Gryffindors™ and plot-protected characters. I will sneak off the ship while everyone is busy with said foolish Gryffindor™ instead.

2. I will not make promises regarding dates and dinner reservations if I am a Superhero™. The universe itself will take this as a personal challenge, and frankly, I should know better.

3. If I live in a world, in which the existence of aliens, space-traveling Superheroes™, etc. has been proven, I will ensure that my Standard Superhero/Supervillain/Antihero/Unimportant Bystander™ Kit For Beginners™ includes the equipment an average person needs to survive for six months, if they were to be randomly dropped off on an uninhabited planet at the far end of the galaxy. There is no excuse to not be prepared for such an occurrence.

4. Flip phones are virtually indestructible and will therefore be part of my Standard Superhero/Supervillain/Antihero/Unimportant Bystander™ Kit For Beginners™. Any allies, friends, potential love interests, and other people I’d like to contact during the impending end of the world will receive one as well.

5. When everyone agrees that the Evil Villain™ should not get his hands on The Ultimate Weapon™, I will not hand said Ultimate Weapon™ over as soon as one of my loved ones is threatened, unless I have already decided to join the Evil Villain™ in his quest.

Should this not be an acceptable course of action, I will either
a) use the Ultimate Weapon™ to free my loved ones and or defeat the Evil Villain™
b) destroy the Ultimate Weapon™ immediately or
c) kill my loved one quickly and painlessly before the Evil Villain™ can use them against me.

  • Addition 1: If I don’t have the stomach to go through with options a), b) and c) should the situation demand it, I will quit my work as a Superhero™ immediately, and either become an Antihero™ with my own agenda or fall back into the role of an Unimportant Bystander™.
  • Addition 2: Any team member, ally, friend, potential love interest or stranger who wavers in the face of a threat against myself or someone else they care about, will preferably be killed immediately. Should this not be possible for practical, plot-related or moral reasons, they will not under any circumstances receive possession of the Ultimate Weapon™ ever.

6. If I want to question the Evil Villain™ on the whereabouts of my potential love interest, significant other, partner, sibling, parent, friend or another relevant being, I will wait until such a time, when said Evil Villain™ is properly secured and contained.

  • Addition 1: This also goes for any Evil Henchmen™, Antiheroes™ and people whose allegiance I’m uncertain off.

7. If I am a plot-protected character, I will not worry about ridiculous things, such as my possible immediate and violent death. I am a plot-protected character for a reason.

  • Addition 1: I will also not waste everyone’s time attempting to sacrifice myself, as the plot-protection will kick in and inevitably kill someone else in my stead at the last possible second.

8. If I have a Powerful Device™ that allows me to see the future, I will use said device. I will then do everything in my power to ensure that the future I prefer comes to pass, and share the necessary knowledge with the necessary people.

  • Addition 1: Should my death be an inevitable part of my preferred future, I will not die with an unnecessary dramatic line as my last words, unless this truly is the only way to ensure my preferred future comes to pass. Otherwise a sarcastic quip or a heart-felt “Fuck you,” directed at my killer will suffice.
  • Addition 2: If the Powerful Device™ allows me to control time, I will use it to my advantage as needed.

9. If a known Evil Villain™, Evil Henchman™ or another person whose allegiance I am uncertain of states or implies that one of their own has died, and I have not seen this death with my own eyes, I will not believe them.

  • Addition 1: Instead I will expect the supposed dead to lurk in the shadows and attack from an unexpected side. I will adjust my plans accordingly.
  • Addition 2: If there is a single being in this universe capable of creating illusions, mind-confusing spells, reshaping reality or similar talents, I will not believe a proclaimed death from anyone without concrete proof, even if I’ve witnessed said death with my own eyes.
  • Addition 3: If a being has successfully faked their death before, I will expect them to do it again.

10. If another being of sound mind is willing to sacrifice themselves for the Greater Good™, they are not being pressured into this decision, and I’ve deemed this the most practical way to achieve the Greater Good™, I will allow them to sacrifice themselves. I will not go to ridiculous lengths to keep a single being alive in the face of a global, universal or multi-versal crisis. Instead I will sincerely thank them for their sacrifice, and proceed to go through with said sacrifice.

  • Addition 1: If I have joined the Dark Side™, pressure is an acceptable method to convince said being of the necessity of their sacrifice. Similarly, a sincere “thank you,” though polite, is not necessary.

 

[This list should be considered an evolving work in progress, not a conclusive list written in stone. It is open to change, additions, and clarification among other things.]

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But despite — or maybe because of — these lessons, you should really give the movie a shot, if you haven’t seen it yet. The Avengers: Infinity War offers a mad, but scarily reasonable sounding villain, a lot of snark, high stakes, a gun that actually does go off (as well as one that doesn’t), and the usual threat of the end of the world as we know it. 

And if you have watched the movie, I’d love to chat with you about it in the comments!! (Sadly I suspect my friends are getting tired of discussing the same topic every day. I know, I think they’re crazy too.) And if you have any lessons to add, I’d love to hear them!

Yours, Alex
a.k.a. the one who has a slight obsession with the MCU and its snarky occupants