Of comment sections, and why they are everything that's wrong with society

Dear every self-righteous, sick, sad, malicious, feelingless nutjob that posts comments on any Internet forum they are able,

KINDLY SHUT THE EFF UP. YOU HAVE NO SENSE, LITTLE EMOTION, AND — HEY, GUESS WHAT? — YOUR OUT-IN-LEFT-FIELD STANCE ON WHATEVER YOU’RE COMMENTING ON IS MOST LIKELY WRONG, BASED IN NOTHING BUT HEARSAY, DEVOID OF PRETTY MUCH ANY FACTUAL BASIS, AND JUST PLAIN RUDE. ARE YOU DONE NOW?

Thanks for your time. No love,
Angela

I’m not sure if it’s the anonymity the Internet affords people, or if these people honestly think they’re correct. I’m not sure if they, like every wacko political radio host out there, just like having a forum to voice their baseless opinions. For all I know, they’re just truly afraid the world is going to hell, believe America is ruled by a Muslim terrorist socialist, are self-righteous enough to honestly say they/their children would never break a law/do anything wrong, and really mean it when they say all these horrible news stories out there really do happen to people who “got what they deserved” (I’m looking at you, Michael Crook, you four-letter-word thing that’s most certainly not going to be hanging with the Big Man Upstairs when you, oh-so-sadly, leave this world).

But, really, people, even if you do have it in your minds that all those things are true, don’t you have at least a shred of human decency to not voice your opinion on a news/blog site that the whole world can see? Don’t you get it that people have different opinions? That people make mistakes? That there are loved ones of the people involved in those tragic stories that are reading and don’t need to read and feel worse because of your pea-brained comments about how the war is wrong wrong wrong WRONG (even if that might be true), or how you think this guy that shot up Fort Hood is a Muslim terrorist (which probably isn’t true), or how the girl that died in a car crash because the driver was speeding knew what she was getting into and wanted to die (which DEFINITELY isn’t true, and you DEFINITELY shouldn’t MYSPACE MESSAGE HER TWIN SISTER AND TELL HER SUCH A THING, MICHAEL CROOK!)

While I’ve got your attention, did you ever stop and think that you might, just might, be wrong? When you make a snap judgement based on someone’s skin color or race or anything else, you’re just feeding into the social perceptions. You may think that your grammatically-incorrect proclamation that the soldier that killed all those people today probably was a terrorist, and Obama probably knew about it, and he was probably the one that personally promoted him, and socialism is taking over the country, so we need to stop this healthcare thing and stop guns and… — you might think you’re voicing an important opinion and getting the word out about these evil things, but really? Really, you know nothing about the situation this man was facing, and you’re just feeding into mass hysteria and distrust. And it needs to stop.

I suppose you’re just following what you see on TV. After all, we have people in positions of governmental power who say things like a public healthcare option is “more dangerous than terrorism”? Really, Representative Foxx? REALLY?! It’s statements like yours that help cause all that distrust and political polarity. It’s people like Rush Limbaugh that disseminate these crazy ideals and keep this cycle going. And you, Internet comment-posters, by posting your asinine opinions on a comment board below a story? You’re not helping things.

Part of the problem comes from the simple fact that comment boards and radio talk shows and other forums of public opinion often only attract the extremists. You get the people who are very strongly pro-whatever commenting, and you get the people who are very strongly anti-whatever. But you rarely get the 98% of the population that’s somewhere in the middle, because they just don’t care. They read or listen to the story, they absorb it, and they might share their opinions with friends or write about it in their blog. But they don’t feel the need to let every other reader know what they think. I know that 98% is out there somewhere; I just wish they’d pop up a little more often. In fact, I applaud those of you in that 98% who do try and add meaningful dialogue to comment sections. But they are few and far between, and they usually get ignored or flamed, and we’re left with all these far-out comments that are slowly but surely destroying my view of human beings as, for the most part, sane and rational.

What really kills me is most of these commentators with these extreme views (and I’m talking on message boards, comment sections, radio, whatever) can’t even acknowledge that someone else might have a different opinion. Or they’ll say that everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but when you try to disagree with them, they tell you that you’re wrong, and they try to make you see it their way (see flaming reference above). And then, they get so worked up (*cough*Mr. Limbaugh*cough*), and they won’t stop until you walk away or give in.

I’m not, by any means, saying people shouldn’t have opinions or shouldn’t voice their opinions. I’m not saying a debate (key word: “debate,” which is not defined as “one party yelling at another until they give up, give in, or walk away,” as you can see) on political and social issues isn’t a good thing every once in a while. I’m not saying Republicans are right; I’m not saying Democrats are right; I’m not saying Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc. etc. etc. are right. And I’m not saying they’re wrong, either.

All I’m saying is that, when you open your mouth or put fingers to a keyboard, for the love of God, please think before you speak or write. Think about how your statements will make you sound, and think about how they will make other people — ESPECIALLY those involved with the event — feel. I don’t care what you think. I don’t even care (OK, maybe I do because it’s a little extreme) if you really do think Obama is a Muslim socialist hell-bent on executing acts of mass terrorism in this country, running it into the ground, and then leaving us all for dead.

But, honestly, is it REALLY necessary for you to share that opinion with the rest of the readers? Do you really have that much hate in your heart and such low self-esteem that posting cold, cruel comments is going to make you feel better about yourself or your opinion? You’re probably just hoping to get people riled up and want to watch how they react.

Do what you gotta do, I guess. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking you’re the reason muzzles were invented. I’m entitled to that opinion, you know. I just won’t post it on every comment board out there. And I’ll listen if you have a different view.

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9 thoughts on “Of comment sections, and why they are everything that's wrong with society

  1. Emily Stefano says:

    I think the people that comment "first!!!!1!" on everything are about as unintelligent as the people you wrote this about…especially because they're normally not first.Nice blog entry though. I was looking at one of the facebook groups for the kids that died in the car accident at home and there were people saying "they got what they deserved". Honestly???

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  2. Comment World = Bizarro World

    Well, maybe not all the time…but I truly get creeped by the level of ignorance out there . If it is a gauge on our society, there are a lot creepy people trolling around the internet.

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  3. pirate's code says:

    @angela — “What really kills me is most of these commentators with these extreme views (and I’m talking on message boards, comment sections, radio, whatever) can’t even acknowledge that someone else might have a different opinion. Or they’ll say that everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but when you try to disagree with them, they tell you that you’re wrong, and they try to make you see it their way (see flaming reference above). And then, they get so worked up (*cough*Mr. Limbaugh*cough*), and they won’t stop until you walk away or give in.”

    You are correct, I think, but I’d hope your disdain for the over-bearing, over-reaching, over-the-top applies, where appropriate, to bloggers themselves. I would include some who are regular contributors here at WNYMedia.

    That written, for the best of the worst in local commenting, I would urge you to borrow a copy of the Tonawanda News and read its “Sound Off” section on the editorial page.

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    • You’re right — the word “commentors”/”commentators”/whatever I used could be substituted with “bloggers,” “radio hosts” (which I mention), etc. etc. No matter what format you say it in, and even (especially!) if you’ve been given a public platform (blog, radio show, etc.) to express your opinions, if you’re using that chance to say horrible things and insult people without proof/backing, it’s just wrong.

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  4. Robert Laity says:

    Angela, You seem like the person who wants to say what she wants to say and think that’s fine as long as no one disagrees. News is spread through the written word. I am not going to sit idly by and not warn people of what I might recognize as being dangerous or important to everyone. The blogs are for communication. That is what I do. I am one who does believe that Obama is a radical Islamist supremacist,traitor and fraud.I have used my REAL name to say it:

    http://agjnow.org/

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    • Robert — It’s not so much that I don’t like people communicating (certainly wouldn’t be a blogger if I did), and while I don’t agree with what you believe, and you don’t agree with me, we have the right to say it. I commend you for using your real name and spreading the message you’re spreading in a way that’s…how do I put this?…written insightfully and with what you see as proof of your view. That’s cool with me. What I have a problem with is those who hold ANY view, whether I agree or not, and try to say that they’re right without having any proof, without listening to other views, and while yelling, screaming, being rude, etc. Sadly, that’s what the places I was referring to seem to deteriorate into when people are given the opportunity to respond, and that’s rather upsetting. I don’t know why people think they have to be that way to get others to listen — or why they think being that way will MAKE people listen.

      As for me being “the person who wants to say what she wants to say and think that’s fine as long as no one disagrees” — I actually don’t know what to say to that, other than I’m a pretty darn tolerant person. I see the whole point of reporting is to give different viewpoints, so that you don’t necessarily agree with, a voice. Would I be doing that if I didn’t want anyone to disagree with me?

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