It's common knowledge that it's your responsibility to comment on every single thing you read online. After all, if you don't, how will we know which stories made you "lol" or feel "mad"?
But sometimes it's hard to work out the particular feedback you're responsible for providing.
To make things easier, I've compiled a simple list of tips and tricks for getting the most out of your commenting experience.
Take everything really seriously
Provide context to the author and reader
IIf there are children starving in Africa and the author has not mentioned it in their story on a local sporting success, then you need to make sure they are aware of the issue.
It's possible they have not heard of it:
If there is a bombing or shooting in an American city then, by all means, tell the author they should be mentioning the daily bombings and shootings in Syria and the Congo, even though there are stories out there that do mention these events that you will never read.
If an author has not addressed your particular pet issue in their article, it means they hate you personally
Miss the point
Question the merit of the article
If you are not sure whether something is "news", make sure you ask other readers whether they think it is news. The best way to do this is by commenting: "Is this news?" or: "This is news?". If you are pretty sure it is not news, try: "NOT NEWS".
It is possible the author did not realise their story was not news, you will do them a favour by pointing it out. The same rule applies to "slow news day?". Writers appreciate you taking an interest in the speed of the news day.
If the story is negative, insist the media only ever cover bad news. If the story is positive, say it is not news at all.
If they include a quote from a public figure which makes that person appear intelligent, or dedicated to making the world a better place, they have been paid off by that person.
Typos are a sign the author is a 15-year-old intern, not a reminder they are human
The most important thing you can focus on is minor spelling mistakes, particularly in breaking-news situations.
When addressing other commenters, remember they come from many backgrounds, and therefore their level of literacy differs wildly
Never realise when another commenter is clearly trolling you by using intentionally inflammatory language and arguments
Trolls: continue to live fulfilling lives
Check: have you compared someone to Hitler? Does your comment suggest you are above reading and engaging with the story you are reading and engaging with? Have you used the phrase "PC gone mad"? What about "common sense"? Are more than half of the words in the comment in capital letters? If the answer to any of these questions is "no", it's possible your comment could be improved with some careful editing.
Have fun with commenting, but do remember it is an important public duty. Some would even call it a sacred right.