Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Replies, Replies, Replies: That later discussion we were going to have..., Part I of III

[Ed. Note/Introduction to the introduction.  So this went up earlier today, and as I noted, Same Sad Echo of all people chimed in saying that it was too long and should be broken up into subparts, which I have now done.  Enjoy you short attention span having, motherfuckers!  Besides humoring the notoriously prolix Echo's advice on my overly prolix schlock, this also gives me a chance to add a few points I neglected to make this morning.  First, the last thing I want you to take from this is that you should reply less frequently.  I love replies on Deadspin.  Some of my favorite all-time comments are replies.  I just hope you'll reply with the same thought and care you would put into a new comment (unless you are giving a +1 to one of my jokes in which case you should fire away with abandon).  Also, our very own editor Sean Newell chimed in with a very good clarification in the comments earlier today, and I want to make clear that I'm not suggesting that anyone should reply to a comment for anything other than its individual merit.  To do otherwise is idiotic and counter-productive.  But I do think that it is tougher to enjoy the work of someone who has rubbed you the wrong way, either because they've stepped on your jokes in the past, or you think they're a hack, or because they're a fucking MMA fan.  I'm not saying this is conscious or vindictive, I just think it's a part of human nature that we should all be conscious of, for the same reasons movie studios are cautious about casting Paris Hilton - people find it hard to enjoy the work of people they hate, right?  Anyway, enough said, back to the thing below...]

This is going to feel a lot more like the fine print on a dry cleaning ticket than I would like.  There are several reasons for that, but most importantly, this is because it is fundamental a highly-subjective column on what can probably best be described as etiquette.  And etiquette is always optional, and debatable.  Remember that.  This is not a column about rules; it is not a column about how to be funny (which is something about which I do not claim to have any special insights); it is not a column about what you need to do to get/keep a star (ditto). 

Here's what it is: a while back, when there were no substitute or ultimate bastards, UweBollocks, EddieMurraySparkles, and I were working on a guest piece for MBA about how we choose when/where to reply to comments on Deadspin.  Like one of Same Sad Echo's jokes, it went on forever and ended up going nowhere, so we never even submitted the final draft to Shitehawk, but some of those ideas have continued to rattle around the hollow space above my neck, and I'm going to share some of them now.   But to underscore this point as clearly as I can: these are not rules about how to comment or how to make good comments.  As long as you stick to making good comments, you will do fine no matter what.

I'm going to steal the same intro we had for the unpublished MBA article, because I'm lazy, and because Uwe wrote it, so you can blame him if you hate it.
Here's a little scenario I want you to imagine yourself in.  It's summer of 2011 [ed. note: remember, I'm lazy, and this is lifted from an older piece...] and you're sitting in a movie theater.  The lights dim, and you ready yourself to find out whether you just wasted $10, or if it was money well spent.  But like any theater-going experience, you have 15 minutes of previews to sit through.  You see your usual crap, maybe a film or two you wouldn't mind seeing, and then it comes:  Memento 2: The Revenge of Leonard Shelby.  “What. The. Fuck?” you think to yourself.  Why in the world would they bother to make a sequel to something that was just fine the way it was?  Can't they just leave well enough alone?

And what in the hell does all of this have to do with commenting?

Here's the thing: some comments are like that, in that they're just fine the way they are. There's absolutely nothing you can add, except to let the commenter know they've done a good job.  However, sometimes you have your comments that are more like The Godfather.  [ed. note: comments about The Godfather are awesome.] Though they're excellent, there's somewhere they can go, they have room to breathe.  And there can be your Friday The 13th comments, in that they're fun and enjoyable, but they're crafted in a manner that leaves them made to be added to.  The biggest thing here is knowing the difference between these types of comments.
The point of this piece is to hopefully help you distinguish a Memento 2, from a Godfather, from a Friday the 13th


  1. My cousin once got prolix schlock really bad when she went to camp and forgot to pack tampons and had to use the wrong size tampons. True story.

  2. I Could Live Here SureJanuary 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    The link to Part I is above the links for parts II and III and I'm used to things running in chronological order from the bottom to top. It's like going backwards or something.

    1. You got to open up your mind, man. Black is white, and white is black.

  3. http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/984.html