Comment on Commenting

Sue Waters, she seems to be everywhere in #etmooc, wrote a post on commenting. I think it deserves some genuine thought. (And a few more comments) (A like button on some of the comments would be nice also)

I’m not a very good writer, but I sure like to try. In an effort to get better I joined a writing group a few years ago.

Critters is a member of the family of on-line workshops/critique groups, and is for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your writing. It’s run by Andrew Burt, former vice-president of SFWA and his army of software minions. Critters is free (except for the work of doing critiques!) and funded by donations; if you find Critters useful, donations are appreciated .

As an active member of Critters, authors are expected to critique stories every week. If they do so they can submit a story into the queue and wait until its turn to be critiqued, thus guaranteeing several critiques per story for each author. (I took a leave of absence while doing some graduate work, I need to get active again)

It is my firm belief that my blog posts have made me a better teacher. I hate to admit it, especially as a math teacher, but a cadre of English teachers and counselors were correct. A reflective journal will help you learn and grow. However, that is just the beginning.

Without some good quality feedback we can only grow so far. We are social learners so it is to our benefit to make comments on other people blogs. I’ve found that if I take the time to make a couple of comments, I at least get higher traffic to my blog and occasionally some good comments.

On the other hand a good comment on my blog, especially one that critiques my thoughts, forces me to rethink my reflection. I grow about 10 times as much.

I suppose that is why I have been on Facebook so much more this past year. The arguments have been mostly political ones with old friends from high school I hardly remember, but they have forced me to reexamine some beliefs. The changes in me are subtle and probably not noticed by anyone, but myself, but there are changes.

I hate writing anything but a positive comment on a person’s blog, but if they are like me then any decent comment is better than nothing. And sometimes a quality critique or question is the best comment of all.

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2 thoughts on “Comment on Commenting

  1. Hi Brendan

    A like button on a comment would be great! Wonder if we can pull comments into Storify?

    Quite a few have commented that I seem to be everywhere in ETMOOC. It’s just how I am. Can’t help myself. I’m about helping others learn the skills they need to achieve the outcomes they desire. If someone asks me to moderate presentations I’m a firm believer that it isn’t just about fulfilling my obligation to the presentation. If I want to help people grow and learn; it needs to be more than a presentation or workshop. It should be finding out about them before it; and then supporting afterwards for as long as needed. It also explains why I don’t do a lot of presentations any more.

    Personally I struggle sometimes to critique in a comment and rarely do. But sometimes it is really important so that those that read it know that things aren’t always black or white; and we need to reflect on the alternatives.

  2. Isn’t it interesting how most of us would prefer a quality critique (not a slam) but we feel bad doing it? In the Citters group and a lot of English teachers I know suggest three good comments and one critique as a quality review. That of course is a lot of writing especially when trying to read all the great blogs out there. The discussion on your blog is great though.

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