I sometimes play a game when I’m reading stuff on the internet. It’s called Commentogeddon – or, if you prefer, Crystal Ballocks. Do you want to join in?
Here’s how you play:
1. Read an article which has comments open. Since most things have comments these days – wisely or otherwise, YMMV – this can mean anything on a blog, news site, content portal or whatever. It helps if the comment count is greater than 0, but don’t read the comments just yet.
2. As you are reading the piece “above the line” (i.e the blog post, article, original content), try to predict the nature of the comments which will follow. Your prediction may concern form, tone or content of comments. For example, you might keep a mental tally (NB this is not the same as a mentalist tally) as follows:
— there will be a comment consisting of just one word
— someone will complain about the topic, insisting that this has already been discussed and concluded
— people will mention (and take issue with) the third paragraph
3. Now read the comments.
4. Award yourself a point for each comment type or form you correctly predicted would occur “below the line” as a result of the piece above it.
Over the years, you will hone your instincts to such an intuitive level that you’ll be able to accurately predict the content of any thread without needing to read it.
Whether you then decide to do so is entirely up to you.