…In a recent column, I touched on the topic of conspiracy theories, which of course brought in lots of crazy people to the comments section. As I looked through the responses, I noticed how easy it was to scan them or just read the first sentence and say, “Well, this one is a crazy person.” And lots of people scan like this, because crazy people have this habit of self-identifying on the internet that allows sane people to skip over what they have to say before even getting to the crazy point. Thus crazy people never even get heard.
Now, I’m not going to try to tell people how not to be crazy anymore. That’s a long, involved process of correctly identifying the internal things making them angry in their own psyches that they instead project onto external things. And it sounds hella boring. Instead, I’m only going to tell you how to conceal your craziness. I’m going to teach you how to take your freak flag and fold it up and put it in your back pocket. If you’re successful, people are going to have to really read your points before understanding that you’re crazy. They might even miss your crazy entirely and really consider what you have to say (e.g., “This guy makes some interesting points; maybe I should find out more about this ‘Ron Paul’ person”). Doesn’t that sound great, you social outcasts and conspiracy nuts?
I see some crazed nodding. Let’s get started.
i can haz proper grammar?
Here’s another pretty basic one: no lolcats speak. Write actual English sentences using real words and proper grammar. Capitalize the first word of each sentence. Use punctuation. there is no reason ur comment 2 a blog or column shud look lik ur a n00b at texting. You’re not writing these things from a old cellphone with just a number pad that lacks auto-complete; there is a big keyboard in front of you.
You save like 0.1 seconds writing “u” instead of “you” at the cost of making yourself look like an absolute idiot. Is there any reason you’re trying to shave off this time? Are there wild dogs bearing down on you as you write why we need another look at Obama’s birth certificate? If so, run from the wild dogs and write your comment later. Your whole sentence shouldn’t scream, “I’m a useless idiot with nothing important to say.” You should never write like that unless you actually are a cat expressing your desire for a cheeseburger.
No Long Screeds
[And no manifestos, either! - 1389]
On the other end of the spectrum from the lolcats speak is the guy who apparently has hours to spare writing pages of response as the 200th comment to some blog post. There are people who have long things to say, and they do it by writing columns or writing in their own blogs. But if you can’t get your column published and no one reads your blog, maybe you’re thinking you’ll get exposure by putting the long screed in the comments section of something people actually will read.
Sane people know that the only people who have hours to spend writing pages of text in a comments section are crazy people. And that’s why no will read what they write except other crazy people with way too much time on their hands. So keep it short. Pick one point, and write no more than a couple of sentences. Keeping it short also helps you police your crazy. I’ve seen comments where I’ve read the first paragraph and thought maybe the person was just a little over-enthusiastic, and then I started the second paragraph and realized, “Oh, this is a super crazy person.” So keep it pithy, and avoid the crazy.
Respond to an Actual Point and Not Just Something That’s Been Mentioned
Ever watch a paid partisan shill who, no matter what is said, will go to his couple of talking points? Now that has less to do with being stupid or crazy than just being soulless, but lots of crazy people are the same way, going back to the crazy stuff they really want to talk about no matter what subject people are actually on. And often crazy people will just read until they see a word or phrase that sets them off and then go off on a big, crazy rant before even reading the whole thing they’re reacting to. Often, then, they’re completely missing the point or missing that something is satire and taking it seriously.
Now, I know when people have crazy in their brains, it is really impatient to be let out. Still, you need to teach your crazy to wait and make sure you are actually listening to and understanding what you’re responding to. Like if someone mentions when Hanukkah is this year and you respond with a rant about Jews controlling the banks, you’re not actually having a sane person conversation. You’re just reacting to words someone is saying, which, despite the similarity, is leagues different.
Now, this is really advanced hiding-the-crazy. In fact, it’s at the borderline of trying not to look crazy and actually not being crazy. If you can actually read and understand what non-crazy people are saying and still keep your own crazy, that’s a really advanced state of crazy you’ve achieved. Be proud.
More tips here.