Trolling and flaming
Longtime reader AG writes to Ask Avery:
I wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. As you know I’ve been reading it since you started it several years ago. I’ve laughed at some of the posts, gone out and bought cds as a result of some of the posts (Eric Reed’s Mercy and Grace project), questioned my own outlook on a number of issues…
I’ve also the comments section of the blog as well but I’ve noticed a huge deterioration in many of the [commenters’] posts and I was wondering what your take on that is and if you have noticed it as well. It really seems that many of posts are consistently showing a real lack of respect for the opinions of others. Many posts start off sounding rather dogmatic and many of them end in near fistacuffs. I guess I’m more surprised that many are so quick to react this way. I know that if I could see many of the posts that got “edited” I would be even more surprised but it has gotten to the point that I’m actually able to gloss over many posts based on the writer (Wade, Harry etc.) I know they are entitled to their opinions as well but they manage to offend, hurt and bring people down so quickly that it becomes a waste of time to even read it.
I’ll always read your blog quite frankly. I’ve enjoyed countless posts of yours and I have honestly appreciated your insight on a ton of issues. I guess I hope for better things to come from many of the other readers/posters.
Keep on writing, screening and editing. The SG world needs this.
I didn’t ask for anniversary presents, but this ain’t bad as gratifying responses from readers go.
But more to the point: yeah things do seem to be getting uglier in the comments lately. Hard to say what’s going on. Maybe the proportion of boneheaded comments to original, thoughtful, and interesting ones is no different than it ever was but that the increase in comment volume (in both senses of the word) has accentuated the loudest, crudest, most anti-social voices. Could be that more people are reading (they are, if traffic metrics are any indication), and so a certain strident bloc of commenters think the only way to be heard above the crowd is to shout and hector and badger and bait. Could be fewer people are reading (or commenting) and the place has gone to the trolls, die-hards, deadenders and lifers – in which case the spike in traffic would be registering an uptick in the number of times the same people log on (from different computers?) to keep flogging the same old stuff. Maybe it’s a general direction in comment quality afflicting more sg blogs than this one (DBM discusses “stupid comments” here, though I’m not suggesting two is a trend).
I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve found myself more impatient of the numbskull posts, and more and more I have less and less trouble hitting the EDIT and DELETE buttons. I’m not sure that’s entirely a good thing, but it’s probably not all bad either. I’ve made this plea before and you see where it’s gotten me, but still … Less trolling and flaming, please. Honestly.Email this Post