Beware These Comment Saboteurs In Social Media

When using social news sites for search marketing, you are inevitably going to run into annoying people. Some, in fact, may be actively trying to undermine your credibility, to further their own agenda. You need to watch out for these troglodytes, and respond appropriately to maintain your own credibility. Here are the 10 worst kinds of comment saboteurs to watch out for.


No matter how great your submission is, these characters think they can find a way to make it better. It they are an “expert” on the topic, you will know. While adding to the community is a definite positive, the “know-it-alls” make sure that it isn’t about the content … it’s about themselves.

You will find these people restating your content is a slightly different manner, explaining back stories and history behind everything or just adding their own content in through the comments. Every topic has an expert and, unfortunately, most experts come off as annoying. So look for your “know-it-alls” on the most popular stories everywhere.

Annoyance Level: Medium High

The first fanatic

These people love one thing and one thing only. Being first. They usually do this for one reason—visibility. Instead of working hard and finding good content, they just leech on to others and hang onto the coattails as long as possible.

With comment voting enabled, these “first fanatics” now try to shapeshift their way into good graces. Rather than a “FIRST!” they now leave comments like “Really thought provoking stuff” or “Now that”s news!” If you see a comment at the top that doesn’t add value—bingo, you just found Waldo, the nothing-to-contribute attention grabbers.

Annoyance Level: Medium Low

The content hater

Rule 1 of social news is that not everyone will like your content. Rule 2 of social news is that you are going to hear about it. “The haters” not only dislike your submission—they want the world to know about it. Unlike the troll (see below), the haters just hate your content, not you.

Maybe the content wasn’t substantial enough. Maybe they didn’t agree with your take—instead of quietly downvoting your submission, they are going to try to start a revolution. Odds are that these people only contribute to the community with negative comments and furies of hate. Your best bet is to just downvote these babies and not engage their whining.

Annoyance Level: Medium High

The elitist

Cousins of both the “the haters” and the “know it alls,” the elitists only enjoy the finest products and make sure that everyone knows it, too. The main difference with “the Elitists” is that instead of being malicious towards others, they are simply in love with themselves and love flaunting it.

You might find them commenting on why Macs are better than PCs, talking about why microbrews are the only things beers worth drinking or why it”s unacceptable to buy an American car. The best thing to do when running into elitists in the wild is to simply leave them alone and let them embarrass themselves.

Annoyance Level: Medium

The jealous one

You found great content and you submitted it; it became popular. Lookout, because success brings jealousy. These people are not the “do-ers” of the community; instead of working hard, they just revel in causing a scene.

You” find these commenters complaining about power users, whining about mainstream sites and moaning about everyone else except the slackers in their mirrors. The only thing these users will ever be passionate about is starting a revolution and spearing a witch-hunt. Avoid at all costs, but don”t stop being successful just because others aren’t.

Annoyance Level: High

The fanatical fact-checker

No need to call—the “fanatical fact checker” (aka FFC) is right around the corner to say their bit. Instead of clarifying a situation in a way to help the community, they spout off all the info that they can muster up to cut you and your submission down.

Maybe your submission touched on Wolfenstein 3D as being one of the first successful first-person shooters—the FFC will be sure to let everyone know that “Maze Wars” came out in 1980 and had a small cult following. Or maybe you mentioned that the majority of experts chose the Patriots to win the 2008 NFL season—the FFC will hunt down any pre-season mentions of the Pats losing and share with world, as loudly as possible. The thing with the fanatical fact checker is that they mean well, they just don”t know how to say it.

Annoyance Level: Low

The hijacker

These users seek momentum and then do their damndest to steal as much as they can. Their goals are to find upcoming (but relevant) content and leverage that to their own benefit. They will link from your story to theirs to suck the livelihood from your hard work. The key to spotting these hacks is that instead of actually linking to neutral relevant content, they link straight to their social submissions or their personal blogs.

Whether disguised as “additional info” or “for more details” these commenters really want one more thing—additional votes. Report these users if possible, as they try to make themselves appear as godsends, but are really just polite SPAMers.

Annoyance Level: Medium High

The troll

The bizzaro version of “the hater,” these users seriously dislike you and want you to know it—publicly. Maybe you created better content than they did, or you downvoted one of their articles and they found out. The fact of the matter is that they are pissed. And they are going to follow you around to pester you.

The less attention you pay to trolls, the better. The anonymity of the Internet makes it easy to be a troll. It’s easy to counteract trolls—just try not to piss too many people off and be a nice person—squashing trolls before they start is always the best tactic.

Annoyance Level: High

The agenda spreader

These users target momentum just like hijackers do, but are worse members to the community. Agenda spreaders not only target relevant content, but mainly target competitive content.

Instead of persuading community members with your own content, these people spread competitive information on others others” posts. If you see a positive Republican agenda comment on an Obama submission or PS3 praise on a Wii post you probably caught an agenda spreader.

Annoyance Level: Very High

The shameless spammer

Why even choose a tactic when you can just drop your link into a comment? These people don’t try to hide at all. They drop links to their blogs everywhere that they think they can get traffic. Thanks for the link to your stop smoking site on my NFL submission Mr. Spammer; now I am reporting you.

Annoyance Level: Very High

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • giedrius

    Check out old school picture collection “Flame Warriors” for much more types of comenters and forum folk (google for it).

  • henweb

    A brilliantly written piece, but in saying so I suspect I’m flouting at least 3 of the rules, so this makes my head hurt…


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