Anime site Crunchyroll removes its bigot-flooded comment section

So long, Crunchyroll comments, shut down due to a systematic flood of right-wing wharrgarbl. The anime site is removing its peanut gallery as the peanuts are nastier than ever—and many of the throwers appear to be bots.

At Crunchyroll, we prioritize creating a safe and respectful community environment. To maintain this standard, we are removing all existing user-generated content, including comments, across all our platforms and experiences. The user ratings system will, however, remain allowing you to express your opinions through star ratings.

The final straw appears to be the review-bombing campaign against Jyanome's Twilight Out of Focus, reports IGN.

While the removal of Cruncyroll's comment section seemingly came out of nowhere for users, anime YouTuber Geoff Thew theorizes the decision came in the aftermath of a homophobic review bombing of Twilight Out of Focus, which premiered on July 4 during Anime Expo weekend. IGN reached out to Crunchyroll for comment.

It might be straightforward enough to stop it—charge for new accounts, don't let new accounts post for a while, detect and shadowban bots, etc—but all those solutions represent an investment of further time and energy into maintaining something, the comments, which are already perceived as an unrewarding drain on those things.

You've heard about the "dead internet theory", a clever idea lately crystallized by the advent of A.I. content generators. It reflected a general anxiety about the media vibe shift of the late-2010s, not so much the rise of the alt-right and then MAGA but how the media adapted to its presence and to its potential.

One of the subtle inflection points was people thinking that user reviews are real. For almost all of the web era, anyone with any savvy knew that user reviews (a special case of "the comments") were easily-gamed and faked. Polls were easily-manipulated; options would end up ranked to form acrostics referring to 4chan memes. And yet slowly, then all at once, pundits and commenters alike started assuming that things like user reviews at Steam or Metacritic were genuine barometers of public sentiment. The thing that changed wasn't technology or even the presence of a larger and more mainstream audience and those advertising to it, it was that mainstream media was restored to preeminence by social media.

As parochial as the tech-savvy era of media commentary was, it saw the scarlet tiers and the vast steps of data and was competent at identifying shenanigans. The distinctive feature of Dead Internet era media discussion—driven as it was by media commentators interlocuting with the dead on Twitter—is that now people look at screens and simply don't know what they're looking at.