How To Comment on a Blog Post

  1. Don’t give general praise.  Comment spam does that well enough. Few people believe general praise, anyway, and for good reason. If you must praise, be specific.
  2. Relate your own experience – something you’ve done, read, seen, or thought a bit about.
  3. You do not have to comment on the writer’s writing skills!  If you do comment on it, though, be only positive.  Never point out shortcomings of grammar, punctuation, syntax, style, or anything else.
  4. Challenge or question the post’s content!  Be polite, thoughtful, and specific when you do. One way to be specific is to copy and paste part of the post into your comment and to direct part of your comment to it.
  5. If you challenge or question a post’s content, back it up with evidence or reason.  You’ll need the practice for the AP exam’s argumentative essay and synthesis essay!
  6. Don’t just agree with someone’s position.  Share some new insight, evidence, experience, or perspective that brings something new to the discussion.
  7. Use your sense of humor. (That’s not necessarily the same as “be funny.”) Humor helps create a friendly tone.
  8. Don’t comment just on friends’ posts. Help deepen our community by commenting on work by people you don’t know, or people you don’t know as well. If you do comment on friends’ posts, don’t use inside knowledge or references that could make others feel excluded.  (If you want to have a private conversation in public, open a Facebook account.) is academic/professional — the online equivalent, perhaps, of semi-formal dress.
  9. You don’t need to praise, challenge, and agree all in one comment!
  10. Use complete sentences. Fragments for stylistic effect are fine, but fragments from carelessness or laziness are not.

The following is a lovely comment I made to a piece of my own writing. It focuses on the rhetorical strategies I use in writing “Pines.” How generous I am without being general in my praise!