Giant Muh readers might have noticed that if you make a comment here, even if you know me, the site will usually tell you, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I moderate all my comments unless hindered by technical issues.
There are a lot of reasons, and some people might assert that it doesn’t create an atmosphere of free thought and debate, but I think the opposite is true, at least based on the gajillion or so comments I have read over the years.
The problem is that so many internet comments are vulgar, threatening, hateful, and even violent. I don’t have to go far – some of the people I follow on YouTube for example – to come up with some samples.
I think this kind of rhetoric is the opposite of free thought and debate, and I don’t know why any web site or web user tolerates it. Real verbatim examples (obscene language warning)…
- please commit suicide. Rope, gun, pills, fire, I don’t care how you do it.
you sir are a ball suck and a piece of shit.get over it (I think this one is hysterical)
i fucking hate dumb ass people who treat their fucking kids like shit
obviously you shouldn’t be living.
- No you don’t win retard
- I want to see his catheter bag pop
- This guy is a waste of human flesh
- were you in Nam? Your an *sshole
- Fucking fan boy, you’re still a little child. Get his dick out of your mouth, this guy is clearly a fuck up.
- buttfucking your moms
- your the one that came back and accused me of shit after I peaceably backed out of an argument you bitching fag
- So incredibly gay
The last one was about a comment I made on a YouTube video. The video was about using amateur radio for personal communication without a license. Of course I was going to chime in and encourage the user to get the appropriate amateur radio license. And of course, the commenting community can’t think of anything really wrong with my comment. In fact, the reason they got so furious with me was probably that I was right and they were quite wrong. And of course, there was nothing at all “gay” about what I said.
I think we can all agree – and by “all” I mean the 1% of internet readers with adult intellects – that comment sections of videos and news articles and Facebook threads are not exactly the place for greatness. I’d go a step farther and say that they are an embarrassment to the Western world. Someone made a salient point that commenters can’t refute, so they are a “retard” or they should die or they should be sodomized.
One thing that amazes and discourages me is how quickly – sometimes within the first couple of comments – a news article ties something to politics. A story about a tornado, for example, might have comments that begin with sympathy, but before you even have the chance to scroll down, along comes someone with “the Republicans caused this by ignoring global warming” or “the democrats are going to try to use this to prove global warming.”
September 27: The first comment on an NBCNews.com article about United Airline pilot who collapsed and died on a flight: “he was notified his health care was increasing 40%”, referring to health care reform. No concern for the pilot, who died; just irrelevant, self-serving political vitriol. No civility, no elegance, nothing uplifting, nothing selfless. It’s so vulgar and so tiresome.