Saying "never read the comments" turns a blind eye to abuse

Anil Dash writes that a cynical blogger in-joke—"never read the comments"—has become a "bad habit," an excuse for giving free rein to abusive conduct.

honestly, I get it — making a joke out of the situation may be the only way of dealing with that horrible feeling of dread that comes from knowing an institution values one’s words enough to profit from them, but not enough to protect the person writing those words…

Yet I think our reflexive use of these grim jokes have gotten accepted into the culture of people who build, manage, and publish on large social apps and media sites. The fact that we joke about it documents an acceptance of a culture of abuse online. It helps normalize online harassment campaigns and treat the empowerment of abusers as inevitable, rather than solvable.

And worse, we denigrate a form that used to be, and sometimes still is, a powerful way of making meaningful connections with the world. I met most of my closest friends in the comments on my blog, or by commenting on theirs.

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Popular Science has an evidence-based reason for shutting down its comment section

Yesterday, the Popular Science website announced that it would no longer allow readers to comment on new stories. Why? Because science, says online editor Suzanne LeBarre, who cited research showing how a minority of uncivilized, vitriolic comments can skew readers' understanding of the content of a story and contribute to political/ideological polarizations of opinion. Mother Jones wrote about the same study more in-depth earlier this year. Read the rest

Browser extension converts all YouTube comments into HERP DERP

Tanner Stokes writes:

"I loathe YouTube comments. Here’s a simple browser extension to convert them to ‘herp derp’. If you insist on reading the original (which is highly discouraged), click the comment."

Ladies and gentlemen, Herp Derp YouTube Comments.

Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox all supported. THANK YOU, DEAR MAN.

(via Rob Sheridan) Read the rest

Recent Comments Page

Like to stay abreast of the chatter at BB? Keep up with the 100 most recent comments. The page refreshes itself periodically, so you can just leave it up and passively absorb it until you realize it's 4:30 p.m. and you haven't got enough done. Read the rest