The Hitchhiker's Guide to the B/R Galaxy: The Invaluable Comment

Taylor RummelSenior Analyst IJanuary 23, 2017

This kicks off part one of the series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the B/R Galaxy" put forth by Sulayman Hussein and Taylor Rummel.

Special thanks to Leroy Watson who helped assist with this article.



Bleacher Report is a site littered with different degrees of users.

You have the "Old, Wise Veterans." The Sages of the B/R world who remain steadfast in their contributing to the well-being of the site.

There are the proverbial "young-guns." The newcomers to the blogosphere world who feel accomplished the moment a senior writer leaves a mark of satisfaction on their work.

And as well are the scum of our communities. The so-called "Internet Trolls" who do little but hamper the progress of the site as a whole. Writer Graham Brunell superbly outlines what exactly a troll is in this article.

If you react too strongly to the last paragraph, you just might be a troll.

But despite the variances from one writer to another, some things will always remain.

Stories will be written, discussions will evolve, and comments will be submitted—necessarily or not.

That last part is a crucial one. It serves as the reason for why I am writing this all too necessary guide.

You see, what helps make this site so successful is its members. You and I. Leroy Watson and BabyTate. Hotnuke and Gray Ghost. Blaine Spence and...(you get the picture).

It matters not who you are though, just that you actively participate and educate within the B/R community.

And what better way to participate and educate than by voicing your own opinion on a fellow writers' work?  And what worse way to participate and educate than by voicing your own opinion on a fellow writer's work?

That's not a typo people; it's the undeniable and unfortunate truth.

One great thing about the country we live in is all of the freedoms that it allows its people.

Freedom of the press, religion, and speech are all privileges that we as citizens are entitled to—and all-too-often take for granted.

It's one thing to speak what's on your mind—it's a completely different maneuver to belittle, insult, or offer little more than a two-second brain regurgitation to an author of the story you just read.

When you comment, you are (supposed to be) providing the author with your gratitude, analysis, thoughts, and/or overall feelings about the piece you just read.

It is also your duty as a reader, (and enlightened B/R member) to offer up advice when and where it is desired or required.

Sadly though, the definition of the word "advice" has been both abused and forgotten entirely by and large among far too many threads.

Here's a hypothetical example:

Joe Joseph mentions in an article that NBA Player Kobe Bryant, after leading the Lakers past the Magic, has received his third NBA title ring.

Contrary to what the author has stated, a certain John Jingle-Mouth knows that Mr. Bryant has in fact received his fourth NBA ring after defeating the team from Orlando.

But instead of subtly making the minuscule edit, John decides to publicly rip the author stating this:

"Hey Sasquatch, have you been living under a rock? Anybody worth their grain of salt knows that Kobe got his fourth ring, not his third! Idiot!"

So while not only looking like a fool for suggesting that Sasquatch lives under a rock, John also contributes essentially nothing of value to the discussion, and more importantly gives off a demeanor of negativity that could potentially discourage the writer from pursuing a further career here on B/R.

What John should have done was make an edit, and politely tell Joe that he did so in the Editor Feedback section. If he truly cares about his craft, this should serve as a reminder to him to give his article one last look through before finally publishing in the future.

Another situation that maybe shouldn't (but does) irk me is when people write these little, inconsequential remarks such as:

"Great article Joe!" or "I liked the work, good job."

Again, what is being contributed? Your gratitude, yes, but that's only half of the commenting process. You are forgetting to offer your advice and or tips to make the piece, (and more importantly) the author better.  Or at the very least, you are missing a chance to tell the author why you enjoyed their work, so they can keep doing positive things.

Everything about B/R is designed around the idea of creating and maintaining conversation, debate, and/or the free exchange of ideas. Sometimes, that might mean disagreeing (if you really have some objection), or at least adding some unique fact to the discussion, in order to take it to new depths.

We can disagree without being disagreeable, or amplify without embarrassing the author. Always comment with the idea that someone might take the exact some tone to something that you write; would you find it helpful, or is the tone condescending?

It’s application of the Golden Rule; if you wouldn't like seeing it on your comment thread, why place it on someone else's?

So remember folks, please take this message with you. Forward it to all of your fans, share it amongst your communities, spread the B/R word!

Comment to give thanks, to give advice, and to provide a positive, enjoyable atmosphere that can be expressed and felt in our communities and threads. It is in this way that we can further enhance the already successful pool of writers we contain here on B/R.


Another outstanding article explaining the ethics of commenting can be read by clicking here.