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The Washington Post Comments Section

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The washingtonpost.com comments section is filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of innocents, fools, and idiots.

You have those who spend two hours writing "clever" limericks which might be at home in a weekly limerick competition. Intelligent people, but intelligence flushed down a black hole.

You have those who think logical discourse will work, and that people will remember what they type five minutes after they type it. Logical, well-informed people, whose arguments are largely gone forever, yet who somehow think they influenced the world. Ugh, this is as painful as anything.

And you have those who are there to defecate on the living room floor of their host's free party. This is why communities need light moderation - to prevent the trolls from taking control, or intimidate their best writers.

It's pathetic.

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WaPo's comment section is even more of a jungle than NYT's comment sections. 

I don't read them because it takes me about 10 nanoseconds before my brain explodes. We wouldn't want that to happen in real life.

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Commenting on the web is an amazing phenomena of the 21st century.  Stake holders ie newspapers, forums, social websites, politics, etc are all still trying to deal with it.   

On the one hand it enables people to make incredibly incendiary comments that they would never make in person.   I fell into that trap.  I regret the excesses.  

I have a friend from years ago whom I met on the web, worked on items together, and ultimately met.  He is similarly seasoned in age.  We probably disagree in politics on about 90% of issues.   We both have been “web outspoken”. 

We still follow one another on twitter where we both have expressed our divergent views.

Independently we have never attacked one another on twitter.  I was surprised he still followed me.  When I asked him why he hadn’t attacked or unfollowed me he referenced the old friendship.  We both acknowledged that the vileness of web interaction would never occur to the extent it does in real life.  He posited it would dramatically increase homocides;  I suggested a huge increase in punches to the face.

Occasionally I read comments on newspaper stories;  but only on a few select articles.   More occasionally I throw in a comment.   These days they are nowhere’s as vile as the comments I once made.

Frankly I consider it an interesting way to gauge the public’s reactions:  even a tiny subset of the public.

As to Arlnow—that is a whole different thing.  It’s a vehicle for witticisms.  It’s entertaining.

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