Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘comment’ as, “an observation or remark expressing an opinion or attitude.” The same source defines the term ‘topic’ as, “the subject of a discourse or of a section of a discourse.” Thus, on-topic comments are remarks related to the post above the comment section.
If, hypothetically, the post was about changing a tire, and how inconvenient it may be to have to use a “donut” tire instead of a full-sized tire, a relevant comment would be, “I agree, those donut tires are rather frightening when you are on an interstate because you can’t drive your car at a safe speed to keep up with traffic.” Or perhaps even, ” It’s a good idea to keep of WD-40 in the trunk to help loosen the lugnuts.” Both of these are on-topic comments.
Sometimes even on topic comments will be met with someone who points out that your on topic comment that is longer than the post is a long-winded blow hard waste of space. That person might tell you to shut the fuck up. If you can’t handle that sort of response, then the Internet in general is probably not the best place for you. If your feelings are hurt, and you decide that this is not the place for you, I do not need an email notifying me of this fact. I will not attempt to keep anyone here against their will. I moderate the comments as I see fit.
If you recall, I mentioned a couple of days ago that I would not be around to moderate comments so you might have to be exposed to comments that upset you in my absence. I am still not fully back to run interference between you and other commenters. As we all learned in kindergarten, ignoring people who say things you do not like will stop them from speaking to you more quickly than having a protracted debate with them. There is nothing in my commenting rules that says that the commenters have to be nice to each other. AND WHILE WE DO GENERALLY EXPECT COMMENTERS TO BE KIND IN THE DAILY TEA POSTS, PEOPLE WHO DO NOT COMMENT HERE EVERY DAY DO NOT KNOW THIS UNSPOKEN RULE. And sometimes, even the ones who do post here daily don’t follow it. In that instance you have to be prepared to deal with hurt feelings and then adjust YOUR reactions accordingly. I have done it, so can you.
Within the regular posts here, ON TOPIC comments are expected. OFF TOPIC COMMENTS may be deleted. Using the above example, regarding tire changing, examples of off topic comments would be “Did someone say donuts? There is a really good recipe for donuts on another site. I really wish I could link it here. What is your favorite kind of donut? Maybe I could just cut and paste the donut recipe here. Let me just do that.”
There are other comments that could be seen as on topic, but are simply devoid of any contribution to the discussion. Examples of this are things like, “word.” which has no meaning at all despite some people thinking it is some form of global agreement. Similarly, “Agreed.” “Ditto.” “Like.” and other one word responses are not valuable comments. Particularly because the Administrator of the site gets an email for each comment.
Which brings up to another off topic comment, the clueless. These are comments from people who have no idea what they are talking about. They announce this up front in a comment like this. “I have no idea what to do in this situation. Maybe try a sip of Drano? Maybe someone will come along who knows what to do. So, um, Good luck!”
Which brings us to “the complimenters.” Sometimes someone says something particularly funny, or helpful, or smart or profound. In those cases it is fine to say, “OMG, you are so funny/smart/helpful!” HOWEVER. If every comment you make is “OMG, you are so funny/smart/helpful!” your comment has no value at all and is simply annoying as fuck. These obsessive complimenters are often the recipients of “mean responses” begging them to SHUT THE FUCK UP. I find those reactions totally understandable. As the admin, I often reach out to the constantly complimenting commenter and calmly suggest they stop making 97 comments a day that are essentially, “that was a good comment!” Why? Because once again, I get an email for each one. This usually hurts their feelings and they stop posting for a while and then revert back to posting 99 random compliments a day.
Just as annoying as the complimenters are the doomsday responders. Their comments go like this, ” I knew someone once who got into a nasty accident on one of those donut tires. He was decapitated and his head just rolled around the highway until a vulture flew down and pecked out his eyes. His whole family was so distraught they held a mass suicide where they even tried to kill the baby but it miraculously lived and is now just a deformed blob with no eyes and only patches of hair that is being kept alive on life support because there is no one to give consent to unhook life support.”
This brings out the one uppers. ” Well, I used to live with Jim Jones when everyone drank the Kool-aid and I was the only one who lived.” Which will be followed by someone else saying, “Jim Jones? Really? That is nothing. I am currently incarcerated at Gitmo and just endured a 48 hour waterboarding session where I did NOT crack.”
This of course brings in the apologizers. They are usually the same people as the complimenters. They will respond to each and every doomsday responder and one upper with heartfelt condolences and of course share a similar story that has happened to them.
Around this time, people will start asking about the donut recipe again. Is there a gluten free version? Might I substitute soy milk?
On the sidelines, stand a few on-topic people who want to talk about which truck they could purchase that has a full sized spare. But they are likely to go to another site at this point because a third of the site is fully of people blowing random sunshine up the asses of as many people as possible, another third describing the most horrific and depressing topic they can conjure up, and the final third discussing gluten free baking. They don’t want to interrupt all of that with actual on topic conversation. It would seem, well…rude at that point.
Then a complimenter will show up and say, “Oh wow! Look at all these comments! Congratulations!”
At some point, I attempted to create a solution to this issue. I thought I would add a spot where you guys could chat about off-topic things. That was when The Daily Tea began. I started it off talking about gardening. Sometimes we were talking about cooking. We had a successful thread about books once. We’ve talked about holiday plans and coping with the holidays. Things were going along pretty well.
Then it became a place of doom and gloom. I get a lot of people who email me that this place is an escape from the unpleasant things going on in their life. This is why most people claim to watch reality shows. A guilty pleasure, or an escape. The Daily Tea is fine for things like finding yourself going through an unexpected divorce. Supporting each other through difficult times is great. I have been struggling to explain where the line is between sharing life’s problems and making everyone want to drink cyanide. I recently had to point out that The Daily Tea is not a place to contemplate suicide. I actually think the line is somewhere way, way, way before that.
We don’t need to hear every gnarly detail about your illness in order to be supportive. If you post that every member of your family has just died in a massive car accident, then the person who wants to share their donut recipe feels like a douche for talking about donuts. So does the person who just read a great book they wanted to share. Or the person who got their first new car. Or the first time grandmother. Or the person on vacation who wants to talk about Paris or Aspen. Or the one who just had their first child. Instead what we get is more people whose entire families were killed in a major automobile accident and all of the apologizers and consolers. It’s no longer a fun escape but a major downer. And again. The administrator (or administrators) get emails for each and every post.
For the most part here, we discuss celebrity news, we talk about TV shows, simple topics. I’m not sure why I have to give you all excruciatingly detailed guidance on how to comment here. What I am not going to attempt is to keep people away from you that you don’t like. Just because someone says something mean to you, doesn’t make them an idiot. There are still enough idiots here to keep this place interesting. There may be fewer idiots soon.
And now to address the elephant in the room. Prior to this post, I sent Cat a private email. In that email I explained that there was at least one comment that I removed from the last Daily Tea post because that person decided to speculate on my absence with information I have decided I no longer wish to share here. I deliberately chose NOT to share because I did not want to read any further commentary on it. That was sort of when holy hell broke loose. In essence a diversion was created by two or more of my friends to squash the subject. And it worked.
In summary, please try to keep comments ON TOPIC. Stop being so fucking depressing at every turn. Try having a little fun. If you become triggered, scared, annoyed, sad, disgruntled, offended or some other way mentally incapacitated, feel free to retreat to your safe space, consult your psychiatrist, find a friendlier environment, take a xanax or sign up for Oprah’s next free 28 day online meditation seminar until you have built up the necessary coping skills to participate.
Perhaps this entire post could have been summed up with a Plato quote, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”