After nearly five years of blogging, I think I’ve gotten a good sense of the landscape of the blogosphere and one thing I’ve found is that, human nature being what it is, when it comes to the denizens of the comboxes, they often fall into distinct types. I’m not naming names, so if you think one of these describes you, that’s just your conscience talking.
- More-Catholic-than-Thous: These are the commenters who, when the conversation gets heated or when someone—usually a bishop—is being criticized, they chime in that no one else is acting like a Christian except for them, and everyone else should go to confession for being so judgmental.
- Don’t-Need-To-Readers: These people give a cursory read (or no read at all!) to the blog post, the previous comment, and/or the linked story and decide “blah, blah, blah, I know what they’re saying without reading it,” and proceed to explicate in detail on something the post/comment/story didn’t say or repeating nearly word for word what it said.
- Spleen venters: These gentle souls aren’t looking for a constructive debate or to be informed, they’re outraged and they want the world to know it. Debates? Feh! Reasoned discourse? For sissies! Anger! Rage! “The world’s going to hell in a handbasket! Nuke them all and let God sort ‘em out! I’m a faithful Catholic, but I hate the bishops, I hate the priests, I hate the laypeople!”
- Tin-foil hat wearers: Everything is a conspiracy. The Illuminati are working with albino monk-assassins to keep everyone from finding out about the secret Gospels, etc., etc., and so on. These are closely related to the ...
- Hobby horsers: Every post, no matter how esoteric or varied or how far it must be stretched, is related in some way to the commenters pet topic. “Oh yeah, I like what the Pope said about Palm Sunday…” Screech!! Left turn! “...which reminds me about that the women’s ordination bunch.” Huh? Don’t worry, it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.
- Straw man scarecrows: These commenters aren’t interested in debating with you about the points you’ve brought up. Instead they’ve have constructed fully functional and very convenient straw men to serve as punching bags for their off-the-point rhetoric. They don’t care what you said; what they claim you said is much more interesting to them and gives them a solid rhetorical victory.
- Fly-by-nighters: These mysterious figures appear out of the darkness of the Internet, swoop in to drop their words of wisdom on the rest of us, and disappear, never to be heard from again. “Who was that masked commenter?” (Okay, I’ll admit that I do this sometimes.
- And, of course, The Troll: He’s not interested in the debate or the point or anything else except getting a rise out of people. He’ll say whatever outrageous things he needs to in order to get your goat. The sight of other people foaming at the mouth gives him great glee. Don’t feed the trolls!
So that’s my list. What other “types” do you see in the blogosphere?
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