This post was inspired by this post, titled “Are Comments Sections Worth It?” I am an enormous fan of this author’s blog, mostly for the comment section, which happens to be the best one I have ever read. Trolls are kept at bay 95% of the time, and most of the commenters are so intelligent that I’m actually scared to make my own comment because I feel like I might say something stupid.
So reading that post prompted me to think about comment sections in general. I would say that most of them are total crap, populated with illiterate or spam comments, haters, 8-year-olds who shouldn’t even be online in the first place, and much more. It’s rare to come across a decent comment section on a major website, but it all depends on the content of the website or the post and the kinds of commenters that content would attract.
I remember that one popular site (it might have been CNN) stopped allowing comments on certain articles, which was good because CNN’s comment section tended to be one of the worst. I was especially glad about the lack of a comment section because I tend to jump straight to the comments after skimming an article, mostly to be entertained, but also to see whether the commenters agreed or disagreed with my opinion on a piece. Not being distracted by the comment section allowed me to think more deeply about a particular article without being influenced by others’ opinions on it.
I also like comment sections because sometimes users post links to other related articles that can be even more interesting than the article being commented on. Unfortunately, this can lead you into an Internet black hole, where you can get lost for hours following the trail of links.
But are comment sections on the whole worthwhile? I would say that they are. In a way, they’re like a microcosm of the entire Internet: 95% crap and 5% good stuff (of course, sometimes those percentages fluctuate depending on which site you visit). You can sometimes find stuff that’s so stupid it’s hilarious, and other times, you can find something that will make you think for a couple of days. It’s free speech at its finest (or at its worst).
Do you like surfing through comment sections? Or do you normally avoid them?