Some Thoughts on Comments to My Blog…

Posted May 14th, 2008 by

I have a very disturbing trend with comments to my blog:  I don’t get any comments on the serious stories–only the “fun” posts.

This leads me to believe one of the following is at play:

  • I write succinctly and with authority and never make mistakes. (at least it helps to hope…)
  • Nobody knows the subjects that I talk about because it’s a niche to a niche.
  • I don’t sensationalize the news enough to make people want to comment.  Note that this is a radical departure from the mainstream media when it comes to security and government, where FUD-mongering is the norm.
  • People are scared of me because they think I’m intellectually and emotionally unstable and that I’m going to trash them if they comment.  =)
  • Government employees are afraid to put anything critical of their leadership in writing.
  • Like they say about the classified world, “Those who know don’t talk, those who talk don’t know”. (side note:  what am I saying about myself here?)
  • The First Rule of FISMA Club is that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FISMA CLUB!!!111oneoneone
  • If it’s your first comment, you have to fight.

Blog Explanation in French

Blog Explanation in French by Stephanie Booth

Now the problem for me is that in order to make security in the government work, we need to change the culture of the people doing it.  IT and specifically security require a zero-defects approach, and this is counter to survivability in a political environment.  The only way we can do that is if I’m not the only voice preaching in the wilderness–I really do want people to tell me I’m full of it and give a good rationale.  =)

In the spirit of helping, this is the Guerilla’s Guide to Commenting on

  • Everything in Moderation:  No big surprise–I moderate comments.  This is pretty much so I can keep the spam out.  I’ve only had one legitimate post that I deleted because it was personal in nature from a person who knew me in “a past life”.
  • Email is Semi-Anonymous:  If you post a comment using a bogus email address, I’m happy with it as long as the content is relevant and doesn’t look like spam.  The email address is really only so wordpress can track you and automagically approve your next post as long as the name and email match up.
  • Thou Shalt Remember the Chatham House Rule:  I do not repeat anything that was told to me in confidence.  Neither should you.  Yes, there are things I won’t write on here, like the conversation I had with [censored] from [censored] who confirmed that [censored]-[censored] is not yet final because [censored].
  • I’m Neither a Crook Nor a Cop:  I have yet to receive any kind of subpoena asking for subscriber or commenter information, nor do I send you stupid spam jokes because I know who you are.

I’ll end with one of my favorite army jokes:  “What’s the difference between a war story and a fairy tale?  A fairy tale begins with ‘Once upon a time’, war stories begin with ‘No sh*t, there I was'”.

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Posted in Rants, The Guerilla CISO | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1.  shrdlu Says:

    Rybolov, it’s either that I don’t know enough about your serious postings to comment knowledgeably, or you said it all and I can’t think of anything to add. But if it makes you feel better, I’ll be happy to contribute an occasional “WHAT he said!!!!111” 😉

    \waiting to be moderated out of existence

  2.  rybolov Says:

    Heh, all of you will care when the Government inflicts mass FISMA pwnage upon all of its contractors and state agencies that it shares data with.

    Then you’ll all come crawling back to my blog looking for guidance: Oh great, wise and knowledgeable rybolov, your content is so relevant now to my life, if I can’t get a daily blog posting from you, I’ll die. Teach me, oh sage one. =)

    Yes, that will feed my megalomaniacal slant very well, thank you very much.

  3.  Marcin Says:

    I’ll be honest, I don’t care enough about FISMA to read through your posts. Much like most people probably skip over ours because they don’t want to fix the core of their security problems. 😀 I want to hear more about EAR/ITAR, NISPOM, TSSCI, etc. 🙂

    Then there’s the crowd that’ll tell you tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) which can you happily tell to go, cough, err… Take some ritalin and learn to read.

  4.  Marcin Says:

    But I do still skim through and catch paragraphs here and there!

  5.  rybolov Says:

    Ooh, one more thing that I thought of… if you’re worried about anonymity, you can always drop me an email with your comment and I’ll post it myself with an “Anonymous reader responds that…” caveat.

    You can get my contact information here:

  6.  LonerVamp Says:

    I would bet there is plenty of material in the blogosphere about the art of elliciting comments. For instance, a post that is too authoritative and complete may leave absolutely no opening for anyone to comment.

    I bet Hoff would have similar observations on his blog. I think there are times he might get a little too smart that it precludes many commentors from wading into the discussion.

    A post that asks, “What do you think?” is maybe something most readers read as a plea to comment and thus don’t. 🙂

    Besides fun posts, I’d be willing to bet that edgier posts also get more comments. When you take a stance that is arguable, there is more opportunity for someone to post and, well, argue you.

  7.  Anton Chuvakin Says:

    Darn it, I was about to write THIS SAME POST!!!! Most of the silly or even travel-related posts get comments on my blog, while detailed guidance rarely does…

  8.  rybolov Says:

    Should be a T-Shirt (blatantly ripped off from the store):

    If this blog post is witty enough, people will love me.


  9.  Darren Couch Says:

    For me, its simply a lack of knowledge that prevents me from bringing anything to the table directly related to FISMA. Mainly, I just see how the policy affects my ability to get work done in the niche of government work I do. The serious posts I read and follow links and google to the wee hours to edumacate myself on. And when you say “unstable”, do you infer that you are thus the same way Debian Sid is unstable? =D

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