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Official Commenting Etiquette for PastaQueen.com

I’ve been meaning to write up some rules of etiquette for the comments section of this blog, so here they are! This post is not aimed at anyone in particular (except for the parts that are). As with any rules of etiquette, these guidelines are designed to let everyone know what is considered appropriate behavior. Once everyone knows what is expected of them, we can all relax and enjoy a better interactive experience because we know what the rules are.

The rules are not intended to overwhelm you or frighten you into silence. I generally enjoy reading the comments, and I wish more of the lurkers would feel comfortable enough to stop lurking and start commenting. If you are a first-time commenter, don’t worry, I won’t decapitate you for making an error. However, if you start to comment on a regular basis, I will expect you to adhere to these rules.

So here they are, the Official Commenting Etiquette for PastaQueen.com! They’ll probably make me sound like I have a bug up my ass, but I was just at the health fair and I swear my colon is clean.

1) Do not make personal attacks.
Please to not make personal attacks on me or on other commenters. Think of the blog as a party happening in my living room. If you would not say something to me or my guests in my living room, do not say it on the blog. Polite disagreement is fine. Slamming someone’s face into the guacamole dip is not.

2) Please stay on topic.
Please only leave comments that are relevant to the conversation. It is ok for the conversation to steer onto a tangent as long as it happens during the natural flow of conversation. However, if a comment has nothing to do with the original post or with another comment, it doesn’t belong on that post. If you leave several comments on a post and do not seem to be getting a response from other readers, you should consider whether your comments are appropriate to that post. (That means you, Jere.)

3) Do not leave spam or ads that are masquerading as comments
I am not an idiot. When you leave a comment that is simply meant to increase your site’s PageRank, I can tell. It will not be approved. You are wasting your time. Please go away.

If you are a spammer, I suggest you consider a career change. There are many fine jobs available on Monster.com and CareerBuilder. If you want to place an ad, you may do so at reasonable rates.

4) If your comment is longer than 500 words, it should be a blog post on your own site.
While I’m happy that some of the discussions on my site elicit deep thought and analytical thinking, the comments section is meant to be a place of discussion, not speechmaking. If your comment is longer than 500 words, it deserves to be a post on your own blog. That way your post can be the focal point of the comments section of your own blog instead of derailing the discussion here so it becomes about your comment instead of about the original post. You can start a blog quickly and easily at Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Once you’ve posted your entry, you may link to it in the comments section if it is directly relevant to the post you’re commenting on.

5) Unless a link is directly relevant to the discussion, do not link to it.
If you have a web link that is directly relevant to the discussion, it is ok to post it even if it’s a link to your own site. However, it is not ok to leave a link to your site in your comment without reason. This qualifies as an ad, and if you wish to advertise on my site you may do so at reasonable rates here. There is a text field in the comments form where you can leave your site link. If readers of my blog find your comment interesting enough, they will click on that link on their own. Adding your link at the bottom of your post for no other reason than self-promotion is considered to be rude.

6) Do not leave your name in the body of your comment.
There is a field in the comment form to enter your name. Leaving your name in the body of your post is superfluous. I know some people do this because they consider it polite to sign their post. In some arenas, that is proper etiquette, but on this blog it is considered to be a social gaffe. Please restrain yourself from doing this.

7) Please read at least the first 5-10 comments.
Some of my entries elicit a lot of comments, and I do not expect my readers to read every single one before commenting. However, please read at least the first 5-10 comments, or at least skim some of them. I can tell when you haven’t done this because 10 or more of you will leave the exact same advice on a post, acting as if you are the first one to do so. This makes the conversation repetitive, and less like a conversation and more like a lot of people talking at once without listening to each other.

8) Please read the entire entry before leaving a comment.
Sometimes people read something in a post and are so filled with the need to share that they leave a comment before reading the entire post. This might work out ok sometimes, but other times it makes you look silly because you ask something or point out something that is already addressed in the latter part of the post. For your own sake, read the whole post before commenting.

9) Comments may be edited or deleted at my discretion
This is not a democracy. It is a totalitarian regime ruled by PastaQueen and defended by the macaroni military. I may edit or delete your comments at whim. I will be happy to deport you if necessary. Don’t make me whack you with my scepter!

10) Don’t make an ass of yourself.
This is more of a recommendation than an actual rule. I used to remove comments from people who were exceptionally rude or cruel, but lately I have simply allowed them to be posted. Then I let the community decide if and how to reprimand the individuals for their inappropriate behavior. If you want to be a jerk, I am not going to protect you from yourself.

So there they are, the official commenting rules. I reserve the right to update these and add additional rules as it becomes necessary (translation: as people find new ways to annoy me). These rules are meant to make the interactive experience more enjoyable by setting clear boundaries on appropriate behavior. As I said before, they are not intended to overwhelm or frighten you. I hope you’ll join us in the conversation! And thanks for following Rule #8!

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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Soapbox | The Anti-Jared · January 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm

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46 Comments

skitterbox • January 31, 2010 at 8:43 am

I honestly think people who misbehave in comments sections don’t get out much.

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KeithW • January 31, 2010 at 9:42 am

“elicit” not “illicit” :D

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Anonymous Fat Girl • January 31, 2010 at 9:48 am

Shoot… I got through all of the rules and was just thinking that I’m golden until I got to #10… lol

P.S. I’ve been getting a lot of those strange comments on my blog that appear to be legit but they’re really just spammers. Very creative, I must say though. :) Do people really just sit around all day and spam blogs? What a crummy job.

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PastaQueen • January 31, 2010 at 9:53 am

@Anonymous Fat Girl – Sadly, yes, there are people who leave spam comments for a living. Google “blog commenting services” and you’ll find them.

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Hot Mother • January 31, 2010 at 10:06 am

SQUIRREL!

Heh – sorry. :-) It’s sad that you *have* to tell people how to behave in a public forum such as this. Of course, I also think it’s ridiculous that we have to have laws to tell people that texting while driving is a no-no.

Sometimes, people are exhausting. :-)

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Evita • January 31, 2010 at 10:12 am

Hi Jennette

This is wonderful! You summarized everything so well. Now when I get one of those “comments”, I will just point them over to this post :)

However, as to #1, I think that some of the stuff that people say, they actually would say to someone face to face…sad but true, that so many of us have lost kindness, respect and compassion for the other beings around us.

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G.G. • January 31, 2010 at 10:17 am

As one of the Well-Intentioned But Socially Awkward, I’m glad you posted this. I think I’ve figured out most of the etiquette rules over the years (except for the making an ass of myself), but I’ve made a lot of gaffes on blogs and worried about making gaffes and wasted a lot of time and angst over it. This should be a big help to the Eager but New.

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Carol • January 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

Hello! First time commenter, long time lurker here. Nothing exciting to say – just thought I’d de-lurk for a few moments.

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mrs darling • January 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Hi Jeannette,
I got a kick out of your rules here. I am so tired of spammers acting like they are real people interested in my blog! And then there are the ugly trolls that cant leave my blog alone. I dont understand why they stick around if I upset them so!

But what I really came over here to say was that I have finally read your book and it is amazing in every way! I do wish there would be pics of you in the weight loss process though. I love flipping to the middle of books and finding pics of the author.

I also wish we could have gotten a better idea of what you were eating during your weightloss but you explained why you werent giving us a blow by blow account so I do know why you left it out but I still wish the book would have touched on more of what you ate.

BUT…..regardless of all that, it was an awesome book, very well written, chuck full of humor and above all it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to further my own journey! I cannot thank you enough for writing it!

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John • January 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm

A good idea to make all of this clear, but I have to say I’ve never understood your issue with leaving your name in the comments. Pretty common in writing to repeat your name. Sort of like the name field is the envelope and the name in the comment is like a name in the letter.

That said, I rarely sign off with my name either, so it won’t effect me here – just wondering how much of a social gaffe it really is.

Although that’s the great thing about owning a website – you can define what is what!

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AndrewENZ • January 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I hate those spam service comments. They are a real pain.

I think your rules are just common sense but I guess it’s worth being explicit.

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Mom Taxi Julie • January 31, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I get so excited just when someone leaves a comment on my blog! I guess I’ll know I’ve made it when I’m worried about how they leave it ;o)

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Shaunta Alburger • January 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I’ve been reading one blog where the commenters are so aggressive and down-right mean. These are women who in their real lives are probably mild-mannered stay-at-home moms who would no more attack another ‘real’ person in their ‘real’ lives than streak their kids soccer game. It’s amazing to me how people forget their manners when they feel annonymous.

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Mary • January 31, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Probably not the best place to be double posting comments, but my first one didn’t go through? Or it went through and you already think I am spam? Sadness. I just want to be heard! Haha.

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Kat • January 31, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I loved in #3 where you tell spammers to change careers, hillarious.

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theantijared • January 31, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Are you telling me that the comment I got on my blog that is written in Chinese is spam? Grrrrr!

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Carbzilla • January 31, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Rule 11) Please be wearing pants, skirt, or some sort of bottom coverage while reading my blog. Just the thought of someone partially dressed while commenting gives me the willies.

Oh wait, that’s just me.

I love your macaroni monarchy! Rule on!

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MB • January 31, 2010 at 7:20 pm

PASTA QUEEN HAS SPOKEN!!!! *in the voice of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz*

I believe lots of rules are meant to be broken but these seem pretty reasonable. I don’t think I’ve broken many of them except maybe #10 on occassion. Sometimes #10 just happens.

Hail to the macaroni military. Please don’t whack me with your scepter oh great and powerful Pasta Queen!

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Debbi S. • January 31, 2010 at 7:51 pm

While I pretty much agree with everything you wrote, the sarcastic jokester in me first thought, “How can I break all 10 rules in one post?” But it would just come across as mean and I genuinely like you so I wouldn’t do that. Plus, I really didn’t want to come up with 500 + words to write.

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Karen • January 31, 2010 at 8:54 pm

@Debbi S. – That’s hilarious! I would have enjoyed it!

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The Merry • January 31, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Well… all right… ’cause it’s you, I’ll do it.
(And yes, because this is your party :)
I will try to become a kinder, gentler, less sarcastic person. I won’t even make fun of your headache’s dress sense any more.

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The Merry • January 31, 2010 at 9:05 pm

And no, I never make fun of your dress sense. Just the headache’s.

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Jayce • January 31, 2010 at 10:49 pm

@John – I agree! I am de-lurking to say this. I understand having some commenting guidelines helps, but that one is, as some people may say, superfluous.

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Laura Pugh • January 31, 2010 at 11:22 pm

In general, I’m a lurker who occasionally will leave a comment. I am a little afraid I’m going to break one of the rules, but try my best not to.

Is it ok to say I love this blog? Because, I really do!

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sophia • February 1, 2010 at 12:42 am

lol! I spat out my oatmeal from laughter, not coffee. Loved all your points, and I thoroughly agree with all of them, esp the read all the entry part. I have quite a few commenters who come and would randomly just respond to ONE thing that I may have mentioned in passing, but that has really nothing to do with my post.

Also, I would add that commenters should NOT respond to my comments on their blog on my post. Or if they do, leave it as a sidenote, not the entirety of their comment. A comment should be a comment on my post, not a response to MY comment to their post.

Oh, and WHAT IS with those spammers? I get about 70 spammers a day. Grr…

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Diana • February 1, 2010 at 1:37 am

I just don’t know what to say to this post. I’ve probably broken every one of your rules, either here or somewhere else. Makes me want to become a lurker and never post a comment again.

Are you serious?

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Tracy • February 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

Is this because I corrected your spelling of the word “dietitian”? I hope that wasn’t the tipping point ;)

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PastaQueen • February 1, 2010 at 9:13 am

@John and @Jayce – Because it’s repetitive. Because it’s repetitive. *bonks them with scepter*

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Ashley • February 1, 2010 at 9:33 am

I’m guilty of #2 on occasion because I’m easily amused and someone yelling “I LIKE SHINY THINGS” when it has nothing to do with anything will never fail to make me giggle. However, I’ll respect your wishes Pasta Queen, because if I ever have a blog I would hope people would respect my wishes:)

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Jes • February 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

Agrees with Diana.

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Rebecca • February 1, 2010 at 11:00 am

The bossy, teacher part of me loves that you wrote up these rules. (Yeah! Tell ‘em how to behave, those Neanderthals!)

But the good girl, shy part of me is quaking in her boots – fearful of a reprimand. ;)

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Jennifer • February 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Oh for goodness sakes, pastaqueen. Are you really getting after people for signing their name at the end of a comment? I completely understand why spammers bother you, because it’s despicable behavior on their part, but your post is coming across a little “high and mighty.” I’ve been reading, and lurking, since the very beginning of your blog — back when you wondered about all of those people from different parts of the country (and now world) who were interested in your quest to become half of your size. Given the tone of this post, I’m starting to miss the early days.

And no, this isn’t a “personal attack,” and I really hope I’m not being an ass, and I hope this isn’t more than 500 words, and is still on topic, and I’ll refrain from signing my name, etc., etc., etc.

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Rebecca • February 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The fact that you can make me chuckle while laying down the law is why I keep coming back. Love your career advice! There’s a blog that approves comments before posting; she has a disclaimer that says if you’re a spammer, you can go rot. Amen.

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MB • February 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I agree – seriously, PastaQueen – I loved reading your archives and your book, but your negativity and disgust toward most of your readers makes it so unpleasant to read your posts these days. Many of your rules make sense, but some of them are just pet peeves that you are pretending are legit rules of etiquette. I’ve written in the past to comment (positively) on your blog and your achievements, but I’ve kind of lost interest in the last year or so @Diana -

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The Merry • February 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm

@MB – I’m not following your logic. These aren’t Emily Post’s rules of etiquette, but then this ain’t Emily Post’s blog.

It would be high-and-mighty if she decreed that these rules should be followed on every blog in the known universe, but if she’s only asking for them to be followed on her blog, well, it is her blog.

On my blog, I’m going to make it a rule that Merry Is Always Right. (But since this isn’t my blog, I expect someone will disagree with me ;)

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Vicki • February 2, 2010 at 10:41 am

I hate rules. I still like your blog (unless there are going to be more rules).

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DebraSY • February 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I know number 4 was for my benefit. Sorry. Ironically, however, between the lines, this post reveals all the reasons I’ve been afraid to start a blog of my own. What a challenge!

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Kamanu • February 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

YOU CRACK ME UP! Love these etiquette guidelines. You are not high and mighty, you are just tired of crackhead commenters who don’t think before they press submit comment. No wonder you have a successful book. Your weight loss is beside the point (SORRY!)…you have a gift for writing!

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Belinda Bentley • February 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I read you have bad headaches, I did for years until a diet doctor had me take Topomax and I rarely have them now. He gave me the drug before it was known on the market to help migraines.
Smart guy.

Belinda Bentley

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Jennifer • February 2, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Belinda –

THAT was funny! But it’s not nearly long enough, and doesn’t contain a personal attack. Try harder next time.

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MB • February 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm

What logic? I’m just sayin’ grumpiness from an author makes this blog much less pleasant to read…

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Johanna • February 8, 2010 at 1:55 am

Since grumpy was mentioned I had to go back and read each rule again in case I missed something. She doesn’t sound grumpy to me. In fact, each and every rule sounds perfectly reasonable.

I think this is a case of friends and “friends”. Friends share the good and the bad. “Friends” regard you as a part of the entertainment industry!

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Ouida Gabriel • February 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

Thank you for this post. While I agree that a blog is akin to being in a persons own home, I think you have taken it too far. Would you correct the grammar of your guest? Would you tell them how to eat while in your home? There is being polite and then there is being a tyrant. I have enjoyed your quirky personality and overlooked the things that I didn’t like about you (like friends would do). But as in all friendships, you reevaluate the relationship and decide if it is worth it. When someone starts picking on how people sign their posts then it is time to move on. I hope you find happiness and health in 2010. Thanks for all the laughs, it was great while it lasted.

Ouida Gabriel (who signs my name in the comment section all the time – I find it polite)

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Johanna • February 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm

“Would you correct the grammar of your guest? Would you tell them how to eat while in your home?”

Well, that really depends on the situation but as a general rule, no, you would not. And PQ hasn’t! The problem is that it’s her house and don’t you know it, one of her house guests seems to have smuggled the artificial sweetener out of the kitchen on repeated occasions, replacing it with real sugar. Just for PQ’s own good, you see. Those headaches! Get it??

As her other guest, you may even have noticed, but you wouldn’t know for sure since you don’t have access to the pantry. The other guest seems to though, which is strange because PQ has always enjoyed being the hostess of her own house and will only give you a peek. Which is why PQ has finally had enough and decided to set up some new house rules.

Oh sure, she knows that most people don’t really need many rules, maybe just a gentle reminder if they get carried away… happens to everyone, even PQ herself. And she doesn’t really mind the sugar, if her guest really wants it PQ is happy to oblige. But some people… I swear if you don’t want them to trample all over your herbacious border and declare the destruction a blessing (you really should have planted tulips. Much more feminine!), you better have some rules!

While she’s pondering about the right number of rules and the precise level of generality (she doesn’t want to be petty, but she doesn’t want to miss anything either!), she discovers that all kinds of potential friction will fit quite nicely under some very simple rules. Even those irritating grammar corrections, which she tries not to indulge in herself (well, every once in a while, just as long as it’s done in a loving manner). So the grammar and most of the pet peeves go under Rule Number One: “…party happening in my living room. If you would not say (or do) something to me or my guests in my living room, do not say it (or do it?) in the blo… sorry, kitchen. Polite disagreement is fine.” And so she is able to cover all things reasonable and important vis-à-vis houseguests in precisely the right place, under precisely the correct number of rules.

Ten! That’s kind of traditional, isn’t it?! Really not bad at all!

Besides, now her guests (friends?) will actually learn something about the Real PQ, and they could become friends if they wanted to. They really could!

PQ has one pet peeve, though. In fact she couldn’t resist giving it its own space, it’s her house and her life after all. And believe me, she knows it will earn her a few sneers, but the logic is right there and she has taken the trouble to explain it, so laugh if you have to, but if you won’t mind:

Do Not Sign the Guest Book Twice! (because PQ particular in that way)

——————-

I realize I have now broken against Rule Number Four, but I’ve been sick for nine days, don’t post that often and don’t have a blog or a website. Besides, I thought that this was important and I hope that PQ agrees, so I would like to just finish with a quote from the Internets:

When introducing new rules: “Expect huffy displays of “Who do you think you are!””

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svb • September 14, 2010 at 10:21 am

Rule ten is more of a life lesson than a blog rule. It always applies and is often overlooked.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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