Do you like to comment? Yes, of course. People listen to others talking on a bus they get closer, listen, and join the party. Radio programs offer free phone numbers to dial in, and many of us have an urge to call and speak. A simple e-mail can be sent to a newspaper when we consider ourselves to be experts on a subject, we like to express that.

The web offers many possibilities to simply and promptly express our opinion no need to write a blog or long arguments, nothing needs to be installed, no phone calls to be made: simply type or click on “Yes” or “No” for a protest call, rank a pop-singer from 1 to 5 or write a short feedback: “This was great, go on!”.

Many services on the web offercommenting possibilities: you can rate an accommodation, a shop, a public service, or you can share your experience about a specific product, etc. The reasons for allowing this activity are manifold:

  • website owners can have rapid, online feedback, products/services are immediately evaluated: feedback is given about what we do;
     
  • bloggers can have short responses as reactions to their posts;
     
  • webshops can show independent evaluation of products/services, orienting future customers, developing trust in the product/service through honest comments;
     
  • more visitors appear on sites presenting photos, news, events and this traffic itself generates more popularity and/or business value.

Commenting is normally positive, it is forming communities, it provides quick feedback. On the other hand, commenting can lead to verbal aggression, to the spreading of fake news, to abusing people, companies or communities. There may be bad intent behind ruderemarks, or they are initiated by people who don’t know the basic etiquette of commenting.

BESS documents and teaching materials would like to provide you with an introduction to various services: this time commenting, which is a normal, frank, easy way of web-communication, worth trying regardless of your age.

Commenting – the basics

A “comment” is a short, written reply, an “SMS-like” opinion responding to any information appearing on a website – even it can be simply a click when you select from offered voting variations.
Commenting is free and easy: this can be dangerous for both the receiver and even for the sender as both opinions, messages are opened to the public of the Web.

Why do commenting?

-    One can feel a news, a message, another comment needs immediate response:
we have to tell a person she/he is mistaken about the thing. Urgent comments
are sometimes dangerous as people do not think content over, even they don’t understand the basic information, but act emotionally on first impression;
-    We now it better and want to clarify for the author/blogger that she/he is wrong
with the published stuff, text, advice, photo, anything – in this case you have to be absolutely sure you are more expert than the publisher on that field;
-    We are disappointed about a product, a service,… - comment objectively
-    We have no blog, no website, no any channel to a newspaper, but have an opinion: reading/watching this or that puts our hand in action to express a “comment” and step onto the stage; or simply
-    I am bored and want to discuss with other people

Commenting can be done

-    publicly: you give your name, email address, and/or phone, etc.;
-    privately: you use a fake name, or post to a closed group, and do not open
your sensitive data;
-    anonymously: normally when many people is called to comment, you simply give your valuation, a ranking, a Yes/No vote – no personal identification is needed.

Rules

However, commenting is really easy and tempting – this is something like an art to be moderate, professional, polite, not hurting anybody on the other side:

●   First: make sure that you have read the text, the post carefully so that you fully understand what the writer has said. Also try to read the comments that have already been made – do not repeat what other commenters have already said.
●   Second: Do not comment to topics, websites, blogs which you know nothing about, do not rank product/services which you have never met. These are called spam.
●   Third: If not being an expert, but found the info interesting, not a comment, but a polite question is a right action. Learn from other with a good question!
●   Fourth: No need to comment everything, in every moment, every day.
●   Fifth: If you can, contribute to the discussion with your own expertise. Be polite, listen to others, think your text over before commenting. Give value to the public.  
●   Sixth: If you know more, serve the public with further links to websites, papers, articles, videos instead long explanations.
●   Seventh: Avoid quarrelling, hurting debate with other commenters. If you disagree with others’ point of view, do it in a polite manner, as an alternative viewpoint.
If others do it on you, either calm them down or leave the site.
●   Eights:  This is not honest to send fake rankings, news, opinion onto websites of people you don't like - not to speak about to persons whom you do not like.


Comment to value a product, a service

An easy and rapid way to express your opinion is the possibility to rank anything you are asked for. Websites like airlines, hotels, accommodation sites, webshops, sites comparing products or services frequently ask you to simply click on a valuation number, give “stars”, or even to write a short message.


Comment on websites: news, articles, science

Newspapers, TV channels, companies, complex, informative websites often ask you to comment their published information.  Normally this can be done with registration (email address as a minimum, or even more data) – the reason is to keep those “maniac commenters” away from honest, reliable people. Try not to comment hurting opinions on sensitive social, political, gender, or similar topics – you can have very bad reactions.


Commenting to blogs

Commenting on blogs is very popular: blogs normally can be linked to an existing person, so you practically “speak to” her/him. Your name will be known with discussing to blog-commenters, you can drive them to your own blog, you can build a small community with honest commenting. Take care: the blog owner has all rights to eliminate you from commenting, if you hurt the rules which are valid to that blog.
When managing your own blog, comment possibility is a must to offer. Read comments, wait for some outside reactions, and answer. Do not leave “strong” opinions unanswered.


Commenting political actions, voting, protesting, etc.

This is your choice to promote, to assist, or to refuse ideologies or parties. Law rules limits to any activities like this: better to moderate yourself in this dangerous, public world of the Web.


Closing words

BESS project documents are to support you being active in your senior life with using Web services. Searching, surfing, blogging, even running a website or a small business are great gifts from the Digital Universe. Commenting is one mean to publish your brainchild thoughts – learn other tools too and use all of them on their right place.

Before starting commenting, learn: listen to popular site commenters, check extreme blogs, small communities, how they communicate. Follow the style of other commenters, when start entering a community – and do not intend to be the opinion-leader on the very first day.

Be active, be smart on the Web – BESS documents and videos will support you!
Be Smart Senior Commenter!