What is a 'comment'?

I believe:

- A reaction to something a person reads, hears or sees.

- A reply to some content - either impulsively or after applying one's mind.

- A completely new perspective of thinking to a topic that germinates as a comment, but becomes a point of view in itself.

Sure, comments can also be social, jovial and the funny 'facebook' types - but those are not the context of this discussion.

In this blog, I discuss why 'commenting' on media we consume has to have an Art, a Science and an Etiquette.

So that as Indians, we come across as an intelligent group of thinkers - and not farters - in the global realm of digital media as it explodes all around us.

Let me start with a comment I made, that I am still so proud of till date.

In 1995 (almost 17 years ago), the India-Enron crisis had become a center point of all media discussions. As expected, The Economist also wrote about it. 

In response to the same, I wrote a letter to The Editor (comment if you may) which was printed by them !!!

(Produced below - my letter in the issue dated Sept. 2nd - 8th, 1995 edition of The Economist)

Start from bottom left and then go to the top

Believe it or not, after that one letter to the Economist and that's 17 years counting, I have still not been able to get a letter published :-( Despite having written to them over 50+ times.

Why so?

Simply because my letter quality has not matched the quality or gravity (person associated with an article) of other letter writers, competing for the same space!

Now, one can ask that in this age of Internet Media, should The Economist bother reserving only 1-2 pages for comments? Why not let everyone's letters feature and make them happy?

I think that The Economist believes that any letter printed in their magazine is as sacred as the content in their magazine. If it ain't good, then it ain't good!

So, let's agree that at the highest level, a comment must have a high quality to be really called a worthy comment!

ps - if you notice the ranking system of Facebook comments, this is the same philosophy at work.

Moving on, in the age of facebook, comments and tweets and G+ replies, let's work with these views:

- At least if not of high quality, a comment must have the right CONTEXT!

A couple of days ago, I posted a blog about how Junglee will destroy the e-commerce market ...

That blog was well received, and the well known site, pluggd.in also featured the same article

On pluggd.in, there were some critical comments and some positive ones. The editor Ashish Sinha and I addressed some of them personally.

Some of the critical comments are produced below:

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

There was a normal exchange of comments on this subject via twitter also. See one example below:

Quite clearly, commenting with context and agreeing to disagree drives the healthy process in the business of Commenting.

- Now, what worries me is when comments come through WITHOUT CONTEXT OR QUALITY.

Check this out: (Posted on Twitter with reference to the pluggd.in blog post)

The original tweet HAS NO CONTEXT! When you say "this is a foolish article" - what do you mean?

And another person Re-tweets the same!

In the same tweet messages, and also supported by another person, I explain the BENEFITS of this blog piece  (read the tweet messages again, as produced above)

When confronted further -  see what happens:

Well, the bananas begin to fall from the trees! 

I appreciate that if the HEADLINE OF THE ARTICLE is not 'decent' for your ears, then - STATE THAT!

As I have said earlier, CONTEXT is so important in a comment!

Now, the person says "Balls" is bad "mannerisms"! Sure - maybe improper (for you)  - but that's my headline, further mutilated by pluggd.in - so, shouldn't the tweet say "Guys, get decent. Use appropriate language to tweet a blog"...?


So, to prove this point to these people, I send them an equally 'OUT OF CONTEXT TWEET'

See below:

And sure enough, when the comment goes out of context... then the discussion becomes UGLY and PERSONAL!

Last one that is completely out of control:

In short, essential lesson learnt:

- Keep comments rich in content.

- If nothing, at least stick to the context.

- If the context slips, then everything else will. And the shit will hit the turbines.

Finally - why did I mention the SCIENCE of Commenting?

I believe that if comments are rich and contextual, then given the interactive and social pattern of the web, A REACTION MUST HAPPEN!

Check this out:

So, not only did the blog impact people but also, good, contextual comments HELPED some people as well!!!


Heavy, heavy, duty credit to Asha for editing !!!

Tags: Blogs, Commenting on blogs, Comments, Junglee.com, Moviemart.in, Pluggd.in

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Replies to This Discussion

Alok,why are you arguing with useless Morons?Ain't that going to waste your precious time and drains your energy?Just Ignore such filthy people.Keep engaged in discussion with intellectuals and enterprising people.I have an objection on one of your generalisation though ,I .e ..Hyderabadi's r thugs..If one or two tomatoes are rotten in a bag does n't mean all are rotten...Please,dn't generalise all.

I agree with both your points.

Its a bad failing of mine. I have promised to stay calm and unbiased, but always slip. Will try harder again..

Thanks my friend.

i think it's heartening to see so many rodinhooders look up and look out for you rodinya! 

I agree with RohitN and glad to see you do too. Though I'm much the same. I slip many a times and then feel bad later. Not worth my time, energy and much more. To each his own. Let them be what they are.

Alok, I also am in complete agreement with RohitN. Why go down to match "those" people who have no idea what they are talking about. No disrespect to anyone, but do we care when dogs run behinds cars...do we actually stop and take heed.

There will always be criticism...some constructive and some not so. Part of life. I find it weird giving you advice, since I find myself coming to your site all the time for a real intellectual/fun article read.

But as you said slip-ups do happen! :-) Happens with me too....!

On another note, I will be honest that I did find your Junglee article a bit too over the top, too soon. Frankly I didnt find anything novel in what Junglee is doing...creating a platform for other sellers and compare rates. Indianbookstore.net does that for books. Ebay does that to an extent. Even Rediff if I recall allowed third party sellers. Whether they also provide comparison, I am not sure. I want the original US Amazon anyday right here in India!

My insight is limited so correct me if I am wrong.

Though I do hope that Amazon in its current avatar as Junglee is just an initial step and expecting a lot more from Amazon India aka Junglee!



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