Comment length September 23, 2001 2:37 AM   Subscribe

Guidelines or opinions on ultra-long essay-style comments?
posted by skylar to Etiquette/Policy at 2:37 AM (4 comments total)

I've looked around MetaTalk and MeFi for guidelines on posting length but cannot find any definitive opinion. The average response appears to be two or three paragraphs max, but I have spotted the odd discursive piece spanning eight or nine paragraphs, sometimes more. I have no gripes whatsoever with the content of these as they seem to be very well argued, but I suppose if they became too frequent, my doctor might have some worries about my scrolling finger! Opinions?
posted by skylar at 2:50 AM on September 23, 2001

I've been writing such responses for more than a year, and I'm not the only one. Generally the issue is not length but content: as long as it is relevant, informative and easy to read, no-one ever seems to mind a long response.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:39 AM on September 23, 2001

Very long and very short are the best sizes.
Apart from the obvious considerations - they should be well thought out and written - I think indented paragraphs and spaces between paragraphs help the reader.
I know a lot of altruistic members feel bad about wasting memory space but it's a small investment which repays the readership.
In main page posts the no-paragraph, no-interval style actually works to its advantage. But it would be nice to have paragraph indentures in comments.
I also find, as an experienced editor, that the print rules do not apply here.
For instance: numbering or alphabetizing points, even when they are not strictly separate, does help reading, as well as making responses easier.
Finally I think it is the longer pieces - as well as the very brief, pithy(and equally, if not more, difficult to write)remarks - which better represent Metafilter's character and distinguish this forum from others.

Surely some techie can come up with a solution to skylar's(and every serious member's)scrolling-finger problem?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2001

Interesting. Personally I find indented paragraphs and double line breaks between paragraphs very annoying (although both a rare occurence.) For some reason it makes it more difficult for me to read the comment. A matter of taste, perhaps.

But I agree, Miguel, that the pithy answers are sometimes harder to write: certainly I find them more difficult to come up with!
posted by skylar at 1:13 PM on September 23, 2001

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