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Welcome to Part 9 of our series, The Unrav'ling Thread, where we explore the many fascinating things that can happen once a diary is posted.

As we've discussed in

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

the comment thread offers the opportunity to build upon the diary, adding factual information, asking and answering questions, passing along compliments and suggestions to the diarist, and otherwise expanding our connections.

I've said it before, and it bears repeating: somehow, I've managed to attract the most intelligent, insightful, literate, witty, and good-looking commenters to my diaries. Their contributions challenge and delight me, making me a better writer, filling my head with facts and ideas, amusing and delighting me with anecdotes, encouraging me to expand my range. In return, I am committed to providing them "good value" for the time that they spend reading my diary and hanging out in the comment thread.

Today, in homage to the late Stephen Covey, I'd like to pass along to you the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Commenters, gleaned from my experiences here. As always, I urge you to add your own suggestions to this list in the comments.

Habit 1: They show up, and make their presence known. There's nothing quite as depressing as hitting "publish" and waiting, alone in the dark, for someone to find my diary. Fortunately, one of my "regular" commenters will usually be the first to appear with that all-important first tip, "rec", and comment. Some of them may be among my "followers", perhaps checking their "stream" for any new contributions from the folks they follow. Others may simply see my diary pop up in the "Recent Diaries" and stop in to check it out. However they find me, I am particularly grateful for their visits, as their comments and "recs" tell other passersby that at least somebody found my diary worthwhile.

Habit 2: They immediately add value. By leaving an upbeat, informative, or witty comment (or a comment embodying the entire trifecta), they let me (and commenters to follow) know that they appreciated the diary. Sometimes I wonder whether my quirky, snarky writing style might have missed the mark. A comment suggesting that someone "gets it" and likes it is a joy to behold.

Habit 3: They expand upon the diary content. My very well-informed commenters often add facts, links, and other information that takes my diary a step further. This can include links to their own diaries or the diaries of others, summaries of information, and suggested additional reading. We're stronger and smarter when we work together, and I welcome the chance to learn more about my topic du jour.

Habit 4: They venture an opinion. Often, we don't have all the facts on a particular issue. We observe something that makes no sense (like the entire Romney campaign), and we struggle to make sense of it. Theories and opinions are most welcome in these situations. If nothing else, they suggest future topics to research, future diaries to write. Kossacks are generally "smarter than the average bear", and can be among the first to connect the dots, spot trends, and arrive at explanations. They're certainly better at this than most if not all of the "lamestream" media!

Habit 5: They entertain me. Sometimes, a witty comment, a laugh-out-loud funny graphic, or an an amusing anecdote really hits the spot. After all, if we're dealing with a nonsensical world, why not enjoy a bit of nonsense. It's a great way to bring a smile to our faces before we return to the grimace that this world evokes.

Habit 6: They pique my curiosity. When someone posts an especially brilliant, witty, or informative comment, I want to known more about them. I'll click on their user name to check out their profile, see what they've written in terms of recent diaries, and chances are, I'll "follow" them by clicking the little heart next to their profile user name. That way, I'll be sure to be able to catch their next diary (or their comments in the diaries of others)

Habit 7: They interact energetically with other commenters. There's something very cool that happens when commenters begin interacting as a group, rather than just interacting with the diarist. The comment thread becomes a rich and complex tapestry woven by some terrific people with a lot to offer. Ideally, it's as enjoyable, informative, and rewarding for those who visit my diary as it is for me.

I'm certain that you can point to other Habits of Highly Effective Daily Kos Commenters, so with that, I will turn the discussion over to you. Since you're the most intelligent, insightful, literate, witty, and good-looking commenters on this marvelous site, I know we'll have a great discussion!

Originally posted to cassandracarolina's fossil record on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Courtesy Kos and New Diarists.

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