The art of eliciting quality comments

There are blogs and blogs everywhere but hardly any commendable comments on blogs. I am amazed at how people give vent to their animal instincts while commenting, mostly anonymously (Rediff.com is a classic case in point – for condemnable comments). This is the same instinct that makes people skip signals, when they know they will not be caught.

However, those sites that do have the uncanny knack of, not only attracting serious readers, but, eliciting insightful comments, are a pleasure to read. Freakonomics blog is one such rare example. Most often, the original postings are quite ordinary, and would have gone unnoticed elsewhere, but the comments make the posting interactive and extremely interesting.

Here is an example:

My Intro to Psych prof used a good example of correlation vs. causation.

He said that a study indeed found a strong positive correlation between a person’s alcohol consumption and their donations to their local church/place of worship.

“How do you explain this?”, he asked. “Does it mean that religious people drink more? Does it mean that alcoholics try to alleviate their guilt through giving?” No. This would be assuming that one thing causes the other.

In fact, he said, both actions could be caused by a third thing. Perhaps people with higher household incomes have more money to buy alcohol and to donate as well.

— Posted by Greg

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