Welcome to the world of the internet!
Where trolls and ghouls alike dwell in the depths of the comment system, ready to pounce on any unwary commenter to...
okay, you know what? that intro sounded better in my head.
let's get down to the crux of why I am here, which is to teach you greenhorns the ins and outs of how to make comments, as it's far more complex than seems at first glance, and I feel it's my duty to share my almost 10 years commenting experience (more or less) so you don't end up making the same mistakes I did.
I will be teaching you several things here
1. how to make comments that are clear, and won't make people hate you or tl;dr scroll down to dislike your comment into oblivion from sheer boredom
2. some advanced tricks based on my own brand of commenting
now, you may or may not have seen me around, but chances are, you have, my almost 14 THOUSAND comments will have seen to that, I hope. out of all those, I can only remember 3 or 4 instances where I was met with irritation or even open hostility, so if this is your first commenting experience, you're in luck, we're very nice here.
But, even with all that, things can still go south should people interpret your words the wrong way. This is the text world, your face is hidden, your voice is gone, and all that's left is this ambiguous string of characters on a monochrome background, so you must put all your heart and soul into forging these words.
The first, and most common trick, is to spam your text with emoticons (all who call them emoji will be smited off the face of the earth) and the like. This helps to lend some emotional cues, but ultimately comes off as hyper or childish under most circumstances, so it can also detract if you are trying to be serious.
Another simple way to do this is through your avatar. A cheerful avatar will (most of the time) produce a more cheery reading of your comment, and vise versa with other kinds of avatars. I like to think of the avatar as an extension of the comment; the face, if you will. It carries a bit of you across to the other side of the screen, so proper care should be taken when choosing your internet face.
I have also seen people use caps lock and intense punctuation to great effect, but this one is very easy to mess up, so it's generally wiser to use it for things that will never be taken the wrong way. For example: a massive 'LOL!!' will always be cheerful, no matter what.
Should all else fail, the edit/delete buttons are your friends. They are hidden until moused over, but the general area is about the height of your username in the comment, like so.
that little pencil is the magic fix all tool of the site, and I love it so.
This concludes the basics, though I'm sure most of you knew this stuff already
everyone up to speed?
now, look back up at the post.
what do you see?
Lots of breaks between the paragraphs, I should think, and there's a good reason for this.
paragraphs were invented for a reason, and no, it's not to torture you through primary school. The fact of the matter is, walls of text are boring and a total slog to read, and paragraphs break things up not only by number of sentences, but by subject as well, and are key to any sort of long post, on most sites, simply hit return and continue typing. On tapastic, it's a little different. You must hold shift, and then press enter. This will cause a normal carriage return that is key to this whole next part.
This does not truly work on mobile phones, as their shift is a toggle and only serves to switch keyboard mode to capital. There are work arounds, such as copy pasting the comment of someone else using these carriage returns and inserting your own words in place of theirs, but other than that the mobile crowd is kind of stuck.
But you didn't come here to hear me drone on and on about boring old paragraphs, did you?
you came for the creme de la creme of all comments, and that is what I would dub the vertical comment style, if I were so arrogant.
Now, I have been giving you a taste of what this is like in this post as well. See the last paragraph and a few before that.
they have a lot of breaks.
kind of like the dialogue portions of books, but different, because they can be as small as a single word, or even nothing at all. The point of this style is to create timing in the comment, much like tapastic's touted vertical comic format.
As the reader scrolls down, breaks and punctuation will cause them to read the comment differently than they would have normally, and this can be used to force a bit of vocal tone into the text through pacing.
let me show you what I mean
So these are all pretty standard.
The trick here is that I'm using the carriage returns as an unspoken comma, a brief pause in the reading that also serves to shorten the string of letters by spreading them out across multiple lines. This is great for comedic purposes, as I have found out, thinner comments tend to look more funny. I'm not sure why this is, though. Probably something to do with less effort in terms of eye travel time or whatnot.
(side note on the first picture, it uses gradual scaling of intensity in the punctuation and words. the idea is you only ad one level of excitement per sentence, and it looks much more even and clean than randomly spamming !!?!?!!?!!?!?
Intensity is hard to explain, but think of capital letters as being more intense than regulars, and the more exclamations and question marks, the better. A little trick I like to do is add one ! or ? to each line, and it creates a feeling of a gradual melt down as the commenter is freaking out.
I may explain this more if it's requested, but this kind of thing really is a matter of taste and doesn't add all that much to the comment's readability, so this is all you guys's gettin')
Anyway, those are all pretty basic, make a return after a sentence, omit punctuation sometimes, and you're golden
well, what about THIS one?
a double return!
and I bet you already guessed where I was going with this
longer pauses! how original, eh?
these are much more rarely usable, as they can serve to indicate a pause for breath, thought, or in this case, building up anticipation, which can make the anticlimactic payoff that much more laughable (and laughatable)
Now it's important to note that tapastic and many other sites will squish any extra carriage returns into one if they are all blank, so save yourself the trouble and broken keyboard, they ain't gettin' longer.
But you know what? this is fine, even with a super long pause it wouldn't have inflated the reading time more than the single blank would have, anyway. People will just look down faster and keep reading.
so to bypass this instinct and tapastic's limitation, you need to spice up the breaks if you are wanting to put in extra long pauses. Throw in a bunch of elipsis and sentence fragments, depending on what type of pause you are trying to portray.
(see above 'breath, thought, or yada yada yada')
they also make great memes!
someone else who knows this
pfft, probably nobody, I don't think I'll get in trouble for using this one...
One of my personal favourite uses is to separate an all caps locked word or two into its own line to give it extra emphasis
the snark is strong with this one.
and before I forget
yes, it is very good for lists
as expected, but I find it is once again superior to commas in its cleanness. the lack of punctuation just looks nicer, I find.
nice imagery there...
here's another little example of isolating words for emphasis
as you can see, there is another word with it, but because there is nothing after, it still is emphasised as the last letter because readers must pause (once again, all about timing) before moving on.
aaaand before I bore all of you, let's look at a comment really putting this system to use.
there we go!
a single line break for a pause, followed by a blank line to indicate a longer one, and finally an ellipsis acting as a double blank line to increase the pause to the last word for extra incredulity. it even has a bit of that incremental intensity I was talking about!
the 'WHAT EVEN' is very similar to the previous line, with the addition of one word, therefore it can technically be considered to be 'more intense' than the last line, and once again building on the shock and incredulity posed in this comment.
so, to recap
get the right avatar for you
use your carriage returns to keep things short
use that edit button like there's no tomorrow
and best of all
make a TONNE of mistakes
I know I said I was going to try to help you avoid that
but all this is doing really is putting you ahead of the curve of reeeeeeally stupid mistakes
now is the time for you to make the slightly less stupid ones, as I still do, and hopefully will continue to do in the future.