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I use social media mainly as a broadcast channel, publishing cartoons on their own on a daily-ish schedule for the entertainment of my small following and hoping to get the odd ‘like’ or retweet. But sometimes people add comments. Comments tend to fall into four categories:

  • a helpful explanation of the gag, whether to show that they have understood it, or for the benefit of later readers that they assume are stupid;
  • a confession that they didn’t understand it, usually followed rapidly by another reader’s helpful explanation;
  • suggestions for improvement; and
  • their own ‘jokes’ (inverted commas deliberate)

It’s difficult to know how to respond diplomatically so I usually just delete any comments as soon as I see them, even when they are from people I know well. Facebook does not allow you to globally suppress commenting other than by uploading a list of banned words, which I have now done using the commonest words in the English language.

Perhaps the strangest comment recently was attached to a cartoon whose essence was the phrase ‘bilge-watching’ in place of ‘binge-watching’. Although it got a number of ‘ha-ha’ responses, it did also get one comment, asking whether ‘bilge’ was a mistake. I suspect the commenter was American and not familiar with Midsomer Murders.

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