The keyboard mafia

Published: September 2, 2010
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Comments come in all shapes and sizes in the blogosphere

Over the past few months I have been paying close attention to the comment mafia. Mind you, they do not attack regular newspaper reports, but the pistols come roaring out for blogs and op-ed pieces.

In blogs there is a bit of professional rivalry. If a certain popular blogger has received a high number of comments then others bloggers will start commenting tearing his/her piece apart.

One would find something like this:

Frustrated201: What crap!

KhiGurl: I agree with Frustrated!

[email protected]: I concur…with Frustrated and KhiGurl. They are so right.

These hate commenter’s travel in packs. They will leave derogatory (but not abusive) comments on each of their targets posts in an attempt to make the writer look bad.

The mafia, of course takes care of its own. If, for instance KhiGurl wrote a post then you can be certain that members of the pack will leave plenty of “bravo’s” and “keep it up’s” in the comments section. The people who do this are usually unsuccessful bloggers who fail to get readers by virtue of their pieces and end up unleashing their pent up resentment and frustration on popular blogs.

There is another kind of resentment filled commenter as well – the eager writer who has been rejected from every newspaper he sends his pieces to. Their accusations and negativity isn’t only focused on the blogger, but towards the newspaper too. These comments are usually along the lines of:

SteinbeckFan: The quality of the newspaper is low, why is it publishing such low quality blogs?

CitizenJurno: A very third rate piece for a newspaper!

Then there are people whom you have rejected as cyber friends. Being rejected, they think that the comments section of your blog is the ideal place for them to start interacting with you. They make random comments on your piece without even reading it.

But while virtual stalkers may leave plenty of comments – it is often who (and how many) people you know in real life that can make that comment number go up.

I call one brand of commenter the “teachers group”.   They were the ones who scolded and punished you when you were in school or college.  Now they feel proud and love the way you write. Their comments on blogs are very objective, and their tone very encouraging.

Old friends who know you well and enjoy your writing style comment too. As friends, their views are unbiased and rational. Bloggers get their best critiques from friends sometimes because they comment honestly and objectively.

Acquaintances from college or university days are unlikely to take the trouble to go to a website and read your blog. But they will keep commenting on the Facebook status where you shared the blog link. These comments are random and have nothing to do with your piece:

:P

You are a difficult person

what is this

Often the comment section is a great platform to butter up the powers that be in an organisation. If a prospective blogger has sent in a piece to the editor he may spend some tome writing complimentary comments about other posts or the site in general. They are trying to win the hearts of the community. The newbie blogger will probably leave a long and highly agreeable comment on a few popular blogs so that when their blog does come up, no one leaves a negative comment on it.

Of course, not everyone in the comment section is waging war. There are the quiet readers who feel happy that their comment was published at all. They may just leave comments like “nice” and “good” on a blog.

The final category of commenter is the silent commenter – the thinker. He reads each and every word of posts and columns carefully. Sometimes you worry that he has ignored you. The thinker does not ever leave comments on blogs but one day, out of the blue they may mention that your blog on certain issue posted two weeks ago was great. They really enjoyed reading it. That is the best comment of all.

Sadaf Fayyaz

Sadaf Fayyaz

A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jahanzaib-Haque/149352001744540?ref=ts Jahanzaib Haque

    Kudos

    Recommend

  • Mango man

    hehe, something good and different to read about. Kudos from a “Quiet Reader” … :)Recommend

  • Nasreen Ghori

    I will comment after 2 WEEKS ;)Recommend

  • Sarah

    I think I’ll be KhiGurl and say…

    I agree with Jahanzaib Haque.Recommend

  • http://thatis.me/wasijaved/ Muhammad Wasif Javed

    I’m a silent commentator ;-)Recommend

  • Sachal

    The best comment of all really is what you mention in the last lineRecommend

  • Habiba Younis

    Frustrated201: What crap!
    KhiGurl: I agree with Frustrated!
    [email protected]: I concur…with Frustrated and KhiGurl. They are so right.

    hahahaha!Recommend

  • http://www.dataflowgroup.com Khurram Zahid

    A blogger should know how to handle negative comments positively, which should make the commenter to write encouraging note next time…Recommend

  • Quiet Reader

    So in a nutshell, anyone who disagrees with Sadaf Fayyaz is “jealous.” Anyone who compliments her blog is “objective and unbiased.” ?

    However, Sadaf Fayyaz, your articles are worth reading for their sheer senselessness. So keep up the work :) Recommend

  • khigurl

    Wat crap!! Waste of time. Tribune should do better Recommend

  • Jman

    I hope this was a feeble attempt at humor… otherwise such a waste!Recommend

  • F. Alam

    now you expect me to comment on that ‘crap’?Recommend

  • Zaid Bin Nisar

    haha very true!
    ohh btw u forgot the spammers! :)Recommend

  • I concur…with Quiet Reader and KhiGurl. They are so right.Recommend

  • Quiet Reader

    I concur with [email protected] and KhiGurl. They are so very right. Recommend

  • rocket

    OMG….such a nuisance behind ,innocent looking remarks.No wonder a women figured it out.Recommend

  • Bunty

    Nice :PRecommend

  • I approve of Quiet Reader’s concurrence with my concurrence. Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Funny kind piece……..Recommend

  • Sakina

    :) last two lines made me smile :D good job! :)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Sarcastic kind piece…………….I am not talking about myself here…..used the word his/her……………and secondly some bloggers shared with me about their blog comments………….and why they feel wierd about it……….Nothing social, nothing political, nothing cultural, only little irony this time…………:)Recommend

  • Haris Masood Zuberi

    Enjoyable read. Good change! :)Recommend

  • http://shirazhassan.blogspot.com Shiraz Hassan

    there is also another kind of commenters, who are being forced to comments! what do u say about them? several writers/bloggers urge this
    plz comment at this or that
    and his/her frnds end up commenting like ” Good” , “Nice” etc

    SadafFayyaz has a deep obvervation and how smoothly she presents thing is admireable! very well done!Recommend

  • Ghausia

    Hmm, I don’t think I can agree with you. I enjoy reading a lot of blogs here, I’m a fan of many regular bloggers. But then, there are the ones that are just really bad writers, they can’t write at all, they write absolute rubbish, and yet, they still get published! But I don’t post “jellis h8r” comments because I got rejected, I’ve had blogs published as well. So what does that make me? By my definition, an irate writer who’s poured her sweat and blood into her words for years, writing for herself, for others, for the world quietly, and can’t stand seeing such crap published. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; “True ease in writing comes with art, not chance, as those move best that have learned to dance.”Recommend

  • Samrah

    lol! this was a funny piece! good work!Recommend

  • http://www.daastansiraey.blogspot.com Syed Shahid

    Good observation, seems to be one of the affectees of bad commentors! Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com/ The Only Normal Person Here.

    //Then there are people whom you have rejected as cyber friends. Being rejected, they think that the comments section of your blog is the ideal place for them to start interacting with you. They make random comments on your piece without even reading it.//

    I think ^^ this happens in mostly girls case. The best revenge the rejected-frandsheeper could find it to make you feel bad on you write up.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Thanks a lot Shiraz,,,,,I missed out that category……….You are a better observer :)
    @Ghausia………:) I am talking about a “mafia”……..Even I leave negative comments on many blogs……..if you could read a post by Shafique Rehman, U ll instantly understand what I am trying to say…:)
    For ex analyse the oped by Fasi and Talat…Those commenting positively on Talat, comment negatively on Fasi and vice versa………Reflects a mindset……….Check Daughters of Huda and its Opp piece,,,,,,Recommend

  • B

    The comments on Zaka’s, Fulton’s and Talaat’s piece don’t necessarily reflect an evil side. They just show different perspectives. Somebody who didn’t agree with Zaka is bound to agree with Mahreen or Talaat because they defy his point of view.

    It’s just that some people while commenting make sure their worst critique hits the spot and is not rude. While others, just say what is on their mind.

    Despite all that, being on a public forum one should expect both positive and negative responses and do better in the future. Recommend

  • Ghausia

    Sadaf I do agree with B but to a point. I actually have NOT waded through all 6 pages on Zaka and Fulton’s blogs, but I did comment on the liberal lynch mob one(I think) in which I pointed out that Fulton was right to say that our history is rooted in bloodshed. But I know that there were people who were just mean for the sake of being mean, I’ve seen it happen on commercial blogs like LJ as well.

    I’ve actually been guilty of being too harsh a couple of times on blogs, I even emailed the author of one blog to clarify my point. Similarly, I hated Morial Shah’s first blog here, but I love the rest of them. But again, there’s the fact that you’re opening yourself to criticism when you’re writing on a public forum; but there’s a huge difference b/w criticism and and plain nastiness, the kind you pointed out. But again, it happens on every blog. The perils of free speech I guess.Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    @Ghausia Its a funny kind post………….Take it easy …………..The best comment so far are from wasif, nasreen and some others,,,,,,because they have understood what i m trying to say………:) Recommend

  • Pakistan is my identity!

    Light humour, liked it :)Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/pracker S. Ali Raza

    allow me.

    ;)Recommend

  • aysha

    i was just thinking the same thing today, before reading your article. i read an another article in the blog section of the express tribune about milk. now, i’ve noticed for a long time how pathetic the state of milk is in pakistan. milkpak always tastes and smells like chemicals and makes me sick. the rest are just thick and bland and weird, and don’t compare to pasteurized milk at all. the writer was pretty mild though, she didn’t complain as much as i would have. she may have missed a point or two on her research, but i got the gist of what she was trying to say and i’m glad someone finally said it. uht milk sucks! anyway, so half the people applauded and yet half came out guns blazing. it was as though they were personally offended that she doesn’t like uht milk. one even had the audacity to tell her to quit journalism. astounding. it’s just milk! so i can imagine how tough the criticism is when you write about something actually controversial. you need to have a very thick skin to be a writer of any kind. everyone’s a critic. Recommend

  • Mahreen Khan

    Very nice – sparkling observations!Recommend

  • Ghausia

    haha sorry I didn’t mean to come across as uptight, I get that this is meant to be funny, but you still raised an important point, which is why I got too serious I guess. And you should blog more frequently, I really enjoy your articles. :)Recommend

  • Nida Haque

    Quite true! Good that someone finally blogged about this. It’s been going on for a while now. Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    Guys thanks a lot :) if u read some of the comments above, some commenters are really PROVing my post……isn’t it? Secondly the main objective behind this blog wasn’t to stop negative criticism, but just discussing a mafia….The blog doesn’t say “don’t comment negatively.” Just a mafia that comes in every sphere…..Recommend

  • maheen usmani

    Intriguing viewpoint, Sadaf.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    LOL Sadaf, nice attempt! I was actually writing a piece on funny comments, now it would go to my recycle bin. You stole my idea somehow :P and yes, there is always one comment which you often get to see on posts not related to news, which comes from a lot of people here, “What a time to write such a useless piece when the nation is suffering from floods, mob behavior, plane crashes, etc.”Recommend

  • CRITIC

    Deja vu :D Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    I just loved the caption and the artwork. A very nice read.Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    Agreed one extreme saying “what a useless piece, nation is suffering,” other extreme “we are sick of every writer writing on same repeated topics like floods, corruption and disasters” …..Recommend

  • http://the-perfect-line.blogspot.com/ WarmSunshine

    Skimming through the comments section, I see a little argument going on. I’m the happy go lucky commenter. Give me a good read and I’m all in for it.
    Nice work Sadaf. Will have to go through your other posts also :)Recommend

  • http://mylandpakistan.wordpress.com/ Rai M Azlan

    hmmm so again there was flavor of hummer in it but i am thinking that what kind for commenter am i. can any one help :PRecommend

  • Atika Rehman

    Good read!Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    Thanks :) @Rai u know better :p commenters criticise writers, the first time writer critising commenter mafia……Recommend

  • http://ayesha5.wordpress.com Ayesha

    Great piece! It irritates a lot when people ask personal questions on (a)Twitter and (b)When they post personal comments on blogs!

    I come in the last classification. I mostly read but don’t always comment! Yes, a few regular bloggers/writers are exception! Recommend

  • sadaffayyaz

    @Ayesha,,,,,,,,It does………….anything that talks about “this writer has,,,,,,,or this writer is……….” is a kind of personal……..rather………”The blog…….the article”……….start comment is a better one….unbiased, and objective………….Recommend

  • http://anummunaf.wordpress.com anummunaf

    nyc post……… completely agreed on it
    by the way sum1 suggested me to have a read :)Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    Thanks to that “SUMONE” and you too………:) Recommend