The Ridiculous Phenomenon of Out-of-Context Comments About Articles That Haven’t Been Read

Robert Terson

Warning: I’m about to go on a rant!

A number of times during the last month I’ve come across out-of-context comments—either on Twitter or LinkedIn—that are obviously based on the TITLE of articles of mine that the commenter obviously didn’t bother to read. I say “obviously” because the “comment” is so far off the beaten path from the point I was making—the actual context of the article—that it short-circuited my mind. In each case I sort of did a double take and said, “Huh!?”

I find this phenomenon disturbing. What it comes down to is, [lazy] people are trying to be clever as they attempt to contradict, or make a provocative statement about, what you’ve written, based solely on the TITLE of the piece. They think they know what you’ve written about, but of course they don’t, because they haven’t bothered to actually read the damn thing! Not only is it ridiculous, it shows them to be untrustworthy! I mean, if they’re willing to pontificate on something they haven’t bothered to actually read, how can you trust anything they have to say? (There are exceptions, of course: One young man, whom I gently challenged on LinkedIn, apologized profusely, admitted right away that he hadn’t read the piece, then went ahead and did so; we became friends.)

An individual comes to mind who is constantly seeking out confrontation, challenging people every chance he gets, often calling their work dangerous—in my opinion, he’s always trying to enhance himself: Hey look at me, everyone! Over here, over here! I’m a genius and all these other “experts” don’t know what the f— their talking about! I’M the one you need to be following, listening to; not these other dangerous people who have no e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e to support their positions!

On Monday December 8, 2013 I posted a blog entitled “Taking Action Leads to Glory, Not Taking Action Leads to Regret”. In it I told a couple of personal stories to make my point. The individual referenced above sent out the following tweet to me and two friends of mine, two of the smartest people I know, who had tweeted about my blog: Taking the ‘right’ action that is, not the ‘wrong’ action. I knew immediately that he hadn’t actually read the article, but I took the time to confirm that via Google Analytics—I was right. I then sent out this tweet: This is another example of an out-of-context comment based on the TITLE of an article that wasn’t read.

Anyway, if you’re commenting on articles, based solely on the title of the piece; if you haven’t bothered to actually read it, I suggest you keep your mouth shut and your fingers off your keyboard, lest you provide e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e that shows you to be untrustworthy.


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