Thursday, April 26, 2007


Folks who do blogs want readers, and commenters. Duh! Otherwise, why write?

But all of us who have any trafffic whatever have occasionally run into one sort: the thread hijacker.

I was reminded of this at a couple of friends' blogs, a bit ago. This is the sort of person with a giant chip and a giant need, who comes in and slaps down some outrageous comment with one design: to move the focus of the thread onto himself.
First sign: inane comment
Second sign: instant-response interaction with each and every reply
This is, apparently, the whole aim. Whatever the initial post was about is secondary. The primary thing is to lasso the attention of all comers, and Feed the Need.

So what do you do?

I don't know.

I know what I generally do. A response or two to the substance (if any), then ignore. I know, 'tain't elegant.

My model, loosely, is Titus 3:8-11.
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
I have some at some blogs who are already on this list, so I just essentially never respond. I know what will happen if I do, and choose not to feed the pathology.

Given my fallibility, there are two "down"-sides to this:

  1. I might mis-diagnose, and mistake a genuine question for a hijack attempt because it is poorly or emotionally phrased.
  2. Even if the questioner is a self-absorbed vacuum tube, openminded lurkers who don't have the nerve to ask it might benefit from the discussion, even if it itself is pointless.
But here's the thing. I have limited time, resources, and brains. I just have to make choices as to where to spend them. In that, I have no choice!

And given that the hijacker is willing to give all his time to the pursuit of his goal (occupying the center of a thread's universe), I'm simply no match. So, no matter how many times his position has been finally refuted, he'll always have one more comment. It's probably a rewording of his third, refuted comment. But he's never done, because it isn't about the issue, it's about his psychological "itch."

So I just have to decide to give the lion's share to those who are asking genuine questions. I think (= hope) my record shows that the questioner doesn't have to agree with me. I just have to feel there's a point to it.

If I don't... no sale.


Tom Chantry said...

OK, but wait a minute, you missed something...

...What if the commenter is actually bigfoot, and he's being controlled by Aliens? Huh? Did you even think about that? I didn't think so.

And don't you dare ignore my comment. You have to respond - you have to!!!

Pastor Steve said...

I really like hot dogs. What are your favorite toppings on your hot dogs?

Kaffinator said...

I know the metaphor is imperfect but imagine yourself in your barrista apron marching over to a couple of patrons having an animated discussion and shouting "Here you are in MY coffee shop and you're not even TANGENTIALLY discussing COFFEE, let alone the deliciously hand brewed double mocha lattes I served you!!! What is WRONG with you people!?"

Dan: I know you like things put directly so: you worry too much. Sometimes a comment thread is just a comment thread.

Kaffinator said...

Also: sauerkraut. I mean, piled so high that you just completely loose the dog in there. But the bun needs to be toasted so it doesn't get too soggy. It's an art.

Craig Schwarze said...

All very well, but can we talk about me?

Neil said...

Comment threads can be sirens calling out to the tongue. Sometimes it seems like we don't think we really just set a forest on fire if the words were tapped out of our fingers instead of flowing from our literal tongues.

Neil said...

btw Dan, my registered blogger account just got a mail failed delivery notification. It seems it tried to notify you of my comment, but the mail was rejected. You trying to not tell me something? ;)

Kevin Stilley said...

DJP said, "But here's the thing. I have limited time, resources, and brains. I just have to make choices as to where to spend them. In that, I have no choice!"

Everything is about Calvinism with you, claiming that you have no choice.

So Tom C, agrees with you that you have no choice if you are bigfoot and controlled by aliens.

And Pastor Steve disagrees, suggesting that you have your choice of hot dog toppings.

Craigs seems to be unsure of whether or not we have a choice as he asks if we can talk about him.

What do you think, y'all does Dan have freedom to choose?

Stefan Ewing said...

I don't know about that, but I was predestined to write this comment.

ann said...

I wonder if I dare commenting here in future ;)

DJP said...

CraigSAll very well, but can we talk about me?

What makes you think I wasn't?

BWAHHHH-hahahah, of course I wasn't!

You guys are very funny.

Bugblaster—that explains how your comment came in under the radar. You're undetected! Try not to let it go to your head. Use your new powers for niceness, and not evil.


And, Kaffinator, really it would be more like someone walking into said coffee shop, cutting to the head of the line, turning around, facing the would-be customers, and trying to sell copies of his self-published autobiography.

Pastor Steve said...


I agree you have a choice of hot dog toppings, but only within line with your true nature. As a Chicagoan, I have the choice of putting ketchup on my hot dog, but my nature doesn't allow me to make that choice.

4given said...

Hot dogs??? Ewww!!! Don't you mean mystery meat?

Peculiar Pete said...

What about the crusades!?!?! Huh? Huh?

Everyone can check out my blog! Doesn't that sound fun!

I hate hotdogs.
Oh yeah one more thing, the world revolves around me so check out my blog!