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Ask HN: How often do You write a comment/reply to this forum but not submit it?
15 points by sigmaprimus 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments
I'm not sure if I'm just in a mood today but found myself writing snarky, argumentative replys to peoples' what are, IMO stupid comments. Today though after reading over my replies for typos, I found myself asking "What value am I adding to the conversation?". I ended up comming to the conclusion very little value, and deciding to not submit it.

I'm wondering how common this is, sometimes I feel like just going through the process of writing but not posting, gives me enough satisfaction.

If this seems like a dumb question I'm sorry but am going to click "submit" this time anyways.






Depending on my mood it can vary from about 1 in 6 comments up to 4 or 5 out of 6 comments that are deleted before I hit the submit button for various reasons.

When it gets up that high I take it as a very good signal that I need to log off and step away until my mood improves enough for me to appear somewhat human.

Even with the ones that do make it through I will read and re-read what I have written to see if there are better ways to phrase things in a neutral tone before hitting submit. I also try to refrain from posting on HN when my blood alcohol level is above legal driving limits.

I don’t always succeed and sometimes a snarky or judgemental comment will slip through the internal safety net but I certainly try my best to avoid doing so.

Furthermore I usually only comment on ‘On Topic’ posts and eschew any ‘hot button’ comment threads since the down-votes tend to fly in the Reddit fashion rather than as per HN upvote/downvote guidelines on those.


The lost art of the unsent angry letter -

Whenever Abraham Lincoln felt the urge to tell someone off, he would compose what he called a “hot letter.” He’d pile all of his anger into a note, “put it aside until his emotions cooled down,” Doris Kearns Goodwin once explained on NPR, “and then write: ‘Never sent. Never signed.’ - https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/opinion/sunday/the-lost-a...


Of course you're going to get an enormous bias in the answers here; how many people wrote out a reply to this question and decided it was best not to submit it?

Ha, you got me. I was about leave instead of saying how whatever comment I make has generally been commented already

My internet journey started with getting into long protracted arguments with others online.

Eventually I started to type out comments, give them a read, and decide that either nothing would come of the conversation/argument, or worse, I would find myself in a flame war. I'd just delete the comment and move on.

It's been years since I've really written anything substantial online. Simply not worth it these days.


All the time. Maybe 1/3 of comments I don't submit.

We all feel outrage and want to snark back. Writing a diss is cathartic. But experience shows they just provoke more in return, and the forum turns into a bunch of monkeys flinging poo at each other.

So, on behalf on HN, thanks for not submitting your snarks!


Half the time. It's not even snarky/rude. It's usually just "meh, I don't have anything good enough to say"

I just went through the process with this very comment since other people have said something similar and almost clicked off before deciding the irony was enough to go forward with posting it.


I started regularly looking back at my comments and seeing which ones get modded up, and which ones get modded down.

(Click on your username in the upper-right of the HN page, and then click on "comments.")

This might sound insincere, but I really try to write my comments so that they won't get downvoted.

> I ended up comming to the conclusion very little value, and deciding to not submit it.

Maybe every 3-4 months I decide not to submit a comment?

Honestly, I tend to abandon comments / posts on Facebook more than I do here. Hacker News tends to be a lot more civil, with good enough moderation that flamewars get doused quickly. Thus, I don't feel the need to even start the kind of post that I will abandon.


I do the same. Sometimes the snarky comment will make me feel good but usually I decide that the point I intended will be lost on the readers so best not to post. Ultimately it's still a kind of trolling and not adding value as you indicate.

I also find that sometimes I'll write a well written and reasoned comment, but it may go against the typical group think. So I'll not post that as well. It seems all too often people use the arrows to indicate agreement or disagree instead of well written vs poorly written and the comments to debate the merits.

Such is the nature of things.


Somewhat often.

The intellectual superiority bullshit flying around this site all the time is usually it. And I love having this community to participate in, don’t get me wrong, but you have to admit it’s ridiculous sometimes.

In these cases I don’t feel smart enough, well traveled enough, like my voice matters, the whole nine yards. I’ve worked with people who do this too. It sucks to know someone just doesn’t trust you to know what you’re doing.

I dunno, there are tons of feelings behind that closing of the tab instead of submitting the comment haha


I don't submit a lot of the time because I come late to the conversation and it's so far gone I don't see the point even if I think the thread is full of peoples opinions I need to correct. Like another commenter here I used to get into long and sometimes personal arguments over the internet I used to waste days, weeks in the back and forth, now I just can't justify wasting my time like that anymore.

This is a great question! Lots of great answers already. I don't submit comments maybe half the time. Just seeing what I thought is enough. But after reading here, I have decided to put much more effort into my unsent "OMG, YOU SUCK!" comments, and enjoy the full benefits of catharsis.

You don't mention 1. votes and 2. dang's reprimand.. Q. Would people submit 100% of comments if not for these motivating factors?


Often. I do wonder about the value I add and stop if I don't feel it's adding enough of it.

Sometimes I respond without going through the discussion so I remove my replies if I see it being repeated elsewhere in the comments.

I am trying to be more empathetic and helpful. Adding snarky comments would be opposite of that so I don't do it.


Quite often. Sometimes I quaffed coffee and my brain went high gear and I thought I got some good answers. But when I typed it the fancy facade wore down and a cooler head realized that it's stupid or incomplete and I never bother to post it.

I sometimes realize that what i just wrote is simply an expression of a feeling that is probably really hard to relate to for other people and press delete. Other times i realize i am not providing value but want to get rid of it and press „post“.

I'll agree with about 20% of my comments are written and then not posted. Similar reasons to you--argumentative, disagreeing with unimportant trivial parts of a larger argument, or just not really informed enough to make a good comment.

Most of the time. I draft outlines for my comments. If it's not worth outlining or the outline doesn't add anything, it's not worth writing (or reading).

4 out of every 5 attempts. I've been trained to self censor

1 out of 5. If I get downvotes, I typically stop commenting on that site for a week (and if possible, delete the comment).

Uhm maybe 1 out of 100 comments or so :)

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