The Conversation We Want
November 8, 2015 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Writing for Agence France-Presse, Rob Lever details the struggles of major news organizations and online content aggregators to keep comment sections from devolving into ‘pie fights’ at best to hateful and abusive at worst. Some sites have simply eliminated comments rather than deal with the negativity. In 2014, The New York Times and The Washington Post announced that they would form a partnership, the Coral Project, aimed at creating a commenting system that, “might diminish the ‘incentive to be the loudest voice’ and would foster communities of commenters[.]”

The Coral Project has been slowly taking shape around Community Lead Sydette Harry's principle that, “Communities have to become a safe part of journalism.” Last month they announced their first product, a listening tool designed to help moderators, “ascertain which users are the most trustworthy.”
posted by ob1quixote (45 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Boy ... If there was only a website that mastered this concept. That would be cool.
posted by lester at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2015 [42 favorites]


I don't get why news outlets feel the need to host discussion fora. That's not their mission, or their speciality, or even something that adds value (imho).
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:02 PM on November 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


Maybe they see the comment section as a 21st century letter to the editor, and feel that aspect of the newspaper is a requirement
posted by thecjm at 8:10 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


News outlets provide online comments sections because they drive traffic to the website. For most, moderating the comment section requires money they don't have. None of the journalists that I know give a crap about the online comments that appear below their stories.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


I guess $5 just holds back the masses all too well
posted by Divest_Abstraction at 8:12 PM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I often spend as much time parsing the Metafilter comments as I do exploring the links provided.

This being said, I think the small financial bar to participation seems to weed out a tremendous quantity of sound and fury.
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives at 8:14 PM on November 8, 2015


Hell, even $2 would probably do the job - I can't imagine how much time, effort, and money this think tank is going to waste.

Ah, well, I hope Matthowie is able to siphon some consulting fees from them.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:30 PM on November 8, 2015


Why the fuck can't loser assholes fucking be goddamn civil to each other and less shitty?

Seriously, polite isn't difficult. The rules are pretty simple. I am far from good at reading social cues, so I tend to fall back to things like the rules of civility when I am in doubt.

The problem I have with the financial solution is that I only have part time work, am poor enough I live in public housing, and have no method of making online payments to boot. So, Samizdata doesn't get to speak due to lacking affluence?

Therein lines the rub, methinks.
posted by Samizdata at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I only occasionally glance at the comment sections and it is always striking how awful they are.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw a comment section below a cute news article about how a man in Brazil had saved a penguin and nursed him back to health after an oil spill, and that penguin visited him every year after that, during his migration.

There were exactly four comments, two just saying how it was a cute story, one expressing fascination with animals and their habits...

...and one that explained how if this had happened in America, the government would have taken the bird from the man and then imprisoned him because of regulations and laws.
posted by FireballForever at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I never understood why this is baffling to so many people. There's s reason why newspapers employed editors to read their letters to the editor.
posted by Melismata at 8:56 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


>The problem I have with the financial solution is that I only have part time work, am poor enough I live in public housing, and have no method of making online payments to boot. So, Samizdata doesn't get to speak due to lacking affluence?

I truly sympathize as I've been there myself. But somehow having a user account (for commenting) needs to be made valuable somehow so people are less inclined to abuse it lose it and just repeat the process. I'm sure there is somewhere a happy medium somewhere where people who truly can not afford a buck or two can be accommodated.

Personally I think that, for the most part, true anonymity has to go. Too many people abuse anonymity so somehow someone somewhere someone knows who you are and can say, "No, you, Joe Blow, do not get to do that again - sorry". Yes I get the need for anonymity for whistle blowing and government abuses but there will always be places for that. But large general public forums need a mechanism whereby they can better prevent the 10% of bad actors out there from ruining a community for everyone. Eliminating anonymity (at least at the sign up level) and making an account more valuable to own and more precious to lose are, in my opinion, great first steps
posted by AGameOfMoans at 9:03 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Tablet has an even better system (previously):
COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180 
I don't know if there are any comments at all.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:13 PM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


why the fuck can't loser assholes fucking be goddamn civil to each other and less shitty?

Seriously, polite isn't difficult.


as my mom would say, "assholes fucking goddamn shitty -- none of this is polite"
posted by philip-random at 9:22 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


two just saying how it was a cute story, one expressing fascination with animals and their habits [...] and one that explained how if this had happened in America, the government would have taken the bird from the man and then imprisoned him because of regulations and laws.

If you replace regulations and laws with capitalism and republicans, it becomes hard to see how your typical Metafilter thread is that much different.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 9:27 PM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am far from good at reading social cues, so I tend to fall back to things like the rules of civility when I am in doubt.

Actually, if you think about, people that do read social cues on newspapers online 'communities' realize that the social environment is something akin to a drunken pub with a fill-in bartender. They then comment accordingly.

So I read an article at the Coral Project. The word 'access' and 'accessibility' came up 4 times... Which I find pretty hilarious from a joint partnership between two paywalled newspapers. The article claimed it wanted diversity in its commentators, but obviously not economic diversity.

That same article said "If my tweets are taken and used in a way that I don’t agree with, I can leave a comment beneath the article." Sigh... The (I would imagine) painfully obvious problem with this approach is that the moment an article writer starts responding to comments they are doing a couple of things; jumping into the fray - suddenly the less thought out commentators will expect well thought out responses to their shit-slinging, also create an expectation from other writers that not only do they have to do original reporting, but then they also have to defend their work from the peanut gallery.

I want reporters reporting. I want them investigating. I want them interviewing people that are pertinent to the stories that they are telling. I don't want them spending their time getting into back-and-forths with everyone that has an opinion about their work (including me). I'm a huge fan of public editors, and I respect newspapers that assign someone to interact with the public and sometimes pass concerns along to the original writers ('hey dude, you messed up on this detail, go fix that'), but I won't respect an author more if he hangs out and chats with folks all day about the piece he just wrote.

Honestly, I barely trust the newspapers to do the job they are entrusted with doing; trying to master online communities isn't their strength, and they shouldn't try to make it part of what they do.
posted by el io at 9:30 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I never understood why this is baffling to so many people. There's s reason why newspapers employed editors to read their letters to the editor.

and he's the first guy that got laid off in these tough times
posted by philip-random at 9:31 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lack of anonymity has zero effect on trolling behavior (see facebook).

I agree with Samizdata. While a good idea in theory, requiring payment presents a bar to people who can't afford it. Even if it's an extremely minimal payment, like $1, we still have the problem of the 70 million "unbanked" people in the US who have no access to payment systems. I think that effectively cutting these people of from online debate/discussion is a very bad idea. Websites could implement some kind of waiver system where they'll let people join without payment on a case by case basis, but this requires that people even know that this option is available and is still imperfect, at best.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:33 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best I can offer as to why newspapers want comments (and I've worked on three online newspaper sites so far) is advertising. Comments encourage page views, and this is an important metric for advertisers. Comments also are generally associated with persistent identities, and if you can collect demographic data as part of the comment signup process, this is valuable in advertising. (If you use Facebook or other social media accounts in your comment section, you can obtain such data from Facebook etc).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:49 PM on November 8, 2015


Lack of anonymity has zero effect on trolling behavior (see facebook).

From TFA:

Some evidence indicates the Facebook platform and other tools have helped the tone.
A 2013 University of Kent study found that by making users "accountable," the Facebook system makes them "less likely to engage in uncivil discussion."
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:00 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


triggerfinger: "Lack of anonymity has zero effect on trolling behavior (see facebook).

I agree with Samizdata. While a good idea in theory, requiring payment presents a bar to people who can't afford it. Even if it's an extremely minimal payment, like $1, we still have the problem of the 70 million "unbanked" people in the US who have no access to payment systems. I think that effectively cutting these people of from online debate/discussion is a very bad idea. Websites could implement some kind of waiver system where they'll let people join without payment on a case by case basis, but this requires that people even know that this option is available and is still imperfect, at best.
"

I have no shame in anyone Googling me or looking up my comments here, or on Quora, or Disqus or whatever. The worst you will generally find is not any trolling, but an questionable sense of humor.

(As an aside, I use the same "anonymous" identity pretty much everywhere, and, if you use it as a "Facebook name" you can find my "real" name, should you care. I just like having "this identity" who tends to be a little more fearless than the "real" me.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:17 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Heck, I even use the same little avatar pics I use here just about everywhere. I did a Google image search on it, and I am finding posts I don't remember.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:20 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


>> a listening tool designed to help moderators, “ascertain which users are the most trustworthy.”

The increasing willingness of people to design, build and submit to social scoring systems is terrifying. I want the news media to be calling these systems out, not building their own.
posted by spudsilo at 10:30 PM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


>Lack of anonymity has zero effect on trolling behavior (see facebook).

1. temporary Facebook accounts are effectively anonymous for all the obvious reasons

2. When trolls are unmasked for their behavior they are both punished for that behavior and forbidden to join other sane communities.

3. It's not lack of anonymity per se that defeats trollish behavior but rather the accountability that tying a name to an account provides and the ability to selectively deny entry into a community that such accountability provides.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 10:48 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


In every gathering there's an outlier of course, fueled toward chaos and their own personal spotlight. Whether council meetings or restaurants or forums, we've always known the type - solo or micro, driven to repair a personal deficit, from any age, everywhere.

But recently it's a different, broader and more populated trend, less anonymity I think than lack of personal empathy. It sometimes seems empathy can be written underdeveloped across a cultural subset of a generation's DNA.

There's a deep seated drive toward human interaction, a basic biological imperative similar to shelter, food, procreation. At some low level loneliness feel wrong and isolation can lead to breakdown. All of this we know.

When you wanted to interact with another person, there was a time you had to in some way read what they were feeling. If you wanted anything close to resembling a date with someone else in school, you had to not be a dick within the first 5 seconds. No one would call you if you didn't pick up and reciprocate some mutual communication of friendship.

We still have the need to connect, but online we can get hundreds of likes in 5 minutes. Why bother what the other person at the other end is feeling? Our interaction is met, our desire for contact sated. Thousands of people have read my post. What are you even saying? My comments aren't egregious, they make me feel amazing. I have 700 friends, just look. I'll have 710 by this evening.

It manifests in comments, but also in darker corners. Millions of privately sent sxts are uploaded to sites every day. Who cares what the girlfriend was feeling, the boyfriend is amped when it hits the web, he's dangerous and king and he feels it.

There's a rush of endorphins with every new comment, every new refresh, every click. Years go by, you're 11 now 15. By 18 you've developed a life communicated entirely over wires. Did you fill this world with kindness and friends, or confuse them with online prestige?
posted by four panels at 11:44 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Totally disagree with everyone, and also you are all Hitler.

Elementary capitalism tells us that there is no such thing as a free brunch. Yet media outlets arrogantly expect the public to freely contribute their valuable words to comments sections in violation of every law of the market. The worthlessness of comments is just a completely natural consequence of this pricing model: if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Or elephants - they also like peanuts. And some squirrels, I guess.

Some of you have even suggested charging commenters to make comments - which just makes the whole equation even more unbalanced. If I had to PAY to contribute content to a website made out of user content, I would post nothing but self-serving stupidity, and call everyone "Hitler", just for the hell of it.

Obviously justice and logic both require a revolution in the internet's commentary philosophy - whereby contributors are paid a fair, living wage for their contributions. By professionalising commentary, the quality of commentation would be lifted up by the invisible hand of the market and finally have an invisible seat at the invisible dinner table.

That's why I think we should all vote #1 quidnunc kid, who will ensure that MeFi stops ripping off its most valuable resource - it's users base - and pays each member a fair rate for every post or comment. In order to balance the books, I will charge mods a $5 fee to come to work every day, thereby ensuring that they are not just here to make trouble or spam us. Also I'll build a pyramid to store our grain. I don't know where cortex has been storing our grain to date, but given the number of monkeys, squirrels and elephants around here we can't be too protective of our precious grain.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:06 AM on November 9, 2015 [31 favorites]


"There's s reason why newspapers employed editors to read their letters to the editor."

If my experience was any guide, it was mostly to mock the letters and choose which ones should go on the Wall of Crazy, and which ones could be redirected to the poor schmoe in charge of crosswords (50% of them) and which ones required handing off to the police (10%). True immortality comes from conspiracy theories about US paper money. Lesser conspiracy theories may get you into the paper on a slow day, but the top spots on the Wall of Crazy were totally dominated by cash crazies, especially if you included illustrations.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:16 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


News outlets provide online comments sections because they drive traffic to the website.

Do they though? I've been working in online news for about a decade, and I haven't seen much evidence of it, even though publishers continue to believe it is the case. There are usually a handful of dedicated people who will return again and again for the flame wars and trolling, but almost everyone else views a story once and never returns to that story, regardless of whether they leave a comment or not. I guess it may improve time on site and engagement, but traffic? Nowhere I've worked, anyway.

And with so much conversation happening on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc, it all feels like an unnecessary burden.

I'd love to see some data from sites that have killed comments to see whether it has had a measurable impact at all.
posted by retrograde at 12:23 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


" I'd love to see some data from sites that have killed comments to see whether it has had a measurable impact at all."

Me too. It *is* a widely held belief, I think, but maybe not a justified one.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:44 AM on November 9, 2015


>If you replace regulations and laws with capitalism and republicans, it becomes hard to see how your typical Metafilter thread is that much different.

Also, if you replace true with false, add a commenter who posts randomly, and use the words "da" and "ja" for "yes" and "no" (except you don't know which is which), it becomes hard to see how your typical logic problem is any different.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:51 AM on November 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yep, the only solution is extensive (and thus expensive) manual moderation of threads, deleting not just the comments of trolls but those foolish enough to reply.

I've noticed sites are increasingly hiding their comments sections by default with a button saying show comments etc so it looks like they're more aware of how giving unhinged lunatics a megaphone hurts their brand.

The rise of state actors changes things in a big way. If you look at the Guardian, most of their articles have about 200 comments. I actually read their rugby articles for the comments as a knowledgeable community of regulars has established itself. Then you get a news story on Russia and suddenly there are 2000+ comments saying Putin is god.
posted by kersplunk at 1:15 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've taken to simply eliminating comments on some sites rather than deal with the negativity and advertisements.
posted by unmake at 2:25 AM on November 9, 2015


You Can't Tip a Buick: ">If you replace regulations and laws with capitalism and republicans, it becomes hard to see how your typical Metafilter thread is that much different.

Also, if you replace true with false, add a commenter who posts randomly, and use the words "da" and "ja" for "yes" and "no" (except you don't know which is which), it becomes hard to see how your typical logic problem is any different.
"

Da.

unmake: "I've taken to simply eliminating comments on some sites rather than deal with the negativity and advertisements."

Like we cared about your comments anyway.

I keed! I keed!
posted by Samizdata at 3:02 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Guys! Guys! You can all be Hitler.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


In my local paper, the commenters seem to be the same 15 or so people every day so I'm not sure how much traffic gets driven.
posted by octothorpe at 4:55 AM on November 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seriously, polite isn't difficult. The rules are pretty simple. I am far from good at reading social cues, so I tend to fall back to things like the rules of civility when I am in doubt.

Unfortunately, the fallout from three+ decades of talk radio is that civility has been driven from the minds of the population. Anything you need to say must be said as loudly and as insultingly as possibly. The people you disagree with aren't worthy of respect anyway.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:36 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Good point -- and from sports radio, too, Thorzdad.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:46 AM on November 9, 2015


Can someone more technically savvy than I tell me how SoylentNews has been doing as the new maintainers of SlashCode, and whether any of its features are useful in non-tech-related news sites?

There's a career-making study out there for budding sociologists who're willing to investigate sites where the comment sections work well and compare/contrast what they're doing that others don't.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:42 AM on November 9, 2015


"There's s reason why newspapers employed editors to read their letters to the editor."

If my experience was any guide, it was mostly to mock the letters and choose which ones should go on the Wall of Crazy, and which ones could be redirected to the poor schmoe in charge of crosswords (50% of them) and which ones required handing off to the police (10%).


Right. So why are people wringing their hands now over how people should behave better? They never have, and never will.

On non-preview: or, what Thorzdad just said.
posted by Melismata at 9:02 AM on November 9, 2015


1. temporary Facebook accounts are effectively anonymous for all the obvious reasons

2. When trolls are unmasked for their behavior they are both punished for that behavior and forbidden to join other sane communities.

3. It's not lack of anonymity per se that defeats trollish behavior but rather the accountability that tying a name to an account provides and the ability to selectively deny entry into a community that such accountability provides.


Facebook's real name policy is enforced, so while you may see some fake name or temporary accounts, facebook has been pretty swift to shut a lot of it down. And I have also seen little to no widespread evidence (other than maybe less than a handful of high-profile cases) where trolls are unmasked and banished. The fact that this doesn't happen (i.e. people can be hateful online with little to no repercussion) is a major issue with pretty much any high-profile woman who operates on the internet and is subject not only to rape and death threats regularly on the internet, but also gets actual real-life harassment and stalking which often forces them to go into hiding. The "report for abuse" function on facebook is a joke. I reported a page for overt and explicit misogynistic hate speech on facebook once and then more or less forgot about it until I got a follow up notification from them saying essentially - thank you for taking the time to report this, the page you reported is no longer on facebook, so we can't review it. If it reappears, please report it again. I got this on April 28th of this year. The date I reported the page? May 21, 2013. Taking nearly two years to even look at a report of hate speech is not really taking hate speech seriously. And I highly doubt that facebook is applying higher standards to individual comments than they are to pages.

Requiring people to post under their real names may block some of the most odious, bottom-of-the-barrel comments, but online trolling is still alive and well in facebook-verified comment sections. I see it every single day. On the flip side, Mefi still allows anonymous commenting and everything works pretty well here. I'm not comfortable seeing the conversation on commenting systems go down the path of real name = accountability = problem solved, because it's not true and in pursuing a quick-fix easy solution, we overlook the solutions that we know will work. I think what the Coral Project is doing is a good start. The problem is that you can't really build algorithms for this kind of thing because online moderation requires a kind of thoughtful evaluation that can't be quantified, from real humans who have the emotional/cultural intelligence (for lack of a better term) to understand the nuances of the community and of the individual posters and how they interact together. And when we're talking about human skill like that, it starts to get expensive.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a career-making study out there for budding sociologists who're willing to investigate sites where the comment sections work well and compare/contrast what they're doing that others don't.

A long time ago, I thought that might be me!

Anyway, features of web communities I tend to like. Obviously these are for the most part features that Metafilter has:
  1. Comments displayed in sequential order. By this I mean that threading is bad. but more significantly, I mean that sites that elevate high-scored comments and sink low-scored comments are almost always cesspools. This is because of the feedback effect established in systems where the way to get more of a resource is to already have a lot of that resource. Voting-based sorting systems typically tend to elevate whatever meme or catchphrase is currently most recognizable, without concern for the meaning or use-value of that meme or catchphrase. And these memes and catchphrases are often political awful, because we're living in a politically awful culture and many (privileged) people are on a baseline level more comfortable around awfulness than decency.
  2. A fanatical policy against advertisement in all of its insidious forms. If marketers can pay the site owners to boost their posts, or otherwise manipulate the voting system to elevate their employers' content, the community is not a site for speech and thought, it is a site for marketers and marketing. Money power cannot in any way be convertible to control over conversation, not even partial control.
  3. I tend to like sites with a strong tradition of pseudonymity, even though in some cases — I'm thinking of the comments threads on The Stranger's blog — this results in a situation where a significant fraction of the posters are crazy people, and another fraction are political staffers trying to sway public opinion / pseudonymously carry on inside-baseball fights with other political flacks. Despite its drawbacks, pseudonymity is absolutely necessary, though, because most of us aren't living in free countries. If you are in the class that needs to seek employment to live, you are expected to express only satisfaction with that situation. As such, expressing rigorously anticapitalist political views in a fashion that can be straightforwardly linked to your real name can jeopardize your livelihood dramatically. I mean really, would you hire me if all this crap showed up when you googled my real name? The fig leaf of a pseudonym helps weaken this chilling effect on speech.
  4. Extremely aggressive moderation. but I mean duh.
  5. Beyond this, strong policies against sexual harassment (enforced through relentless use of the banhammer) and a overall site culture that aims at instituting something like progressive stack — even if the site culture never quite achieves that ideal. The people who are directly subject to specific raced/classed/gendered oppressions are more qualified to speak on their oppression than the people who aren't, and are often silenced in meatspace conversations. They speak first, they speak last, and if they want a Crone Island where the rest of us aren't encouraged to speak, they should have it. Misogynists make great informants. As a corollary to this, misogynists, racists, and homophobes make great trolls; even when they're not actually trolling, they're functionally equivalent to trolls.
  6. By this I am saying that the quality of a given web community isn't solely determined by the form of the site the community congregates on. Metafilter has, famously, kept the broad strokes of its user interface more or less stable since the turn of the millennium — but back in the early 2000s, it was a much trollier place, because it was a place where misogynists and lolracists felt comfortable. A site with good politics is, all else being equal, more likely to have good conversations, since a lot of what "good politics" means is a willingness to do the work involved in building and maintain functional spaces for conversation.
  7. Community stability. Wait, this one is so important that I'm going to repeat it in bold: Community stability. There have to be a lot of long-time users, a lot of people who have been long-time active participants in the struggle to define and maintain site norms. The influx of new users can't be so slow that the site stultifies, but it also can't be so fast that it drowns out the voices of these long-time users. For a functional web community, going viral is a form of death, because it means that the norms and practices established over time get buried under noise. It's cool that we have jokes from 15 years ago that are still active on the site. It's cool that we have cameras, if you know what I mean. Old references like this aren't just valuable for themselves, though, but they are also indicative of other, more significant aspects of site stability. We have jokes from 15 years ago; we've also learned and at least partially remembered lessons from 15 years ago, lessons about how to talk about complicated issues without the conversation turning all shitty. Um, not to say that we don't have to also continually learn new lessons. can I apologize here for my role in the twenty-car pileup we've just had at the intersection of Seattle Avenue and Race Relations Drive? If so: uhhh... sorry everyone...
  8. This last feature is less important, but it's this is a little aspect of metafilter that I just love to death: user names below content, rather than above it. This is for two reasons. First, a number of mefi users have developed extremely distinctive writing styles, such that I know exactly who is talking without looking at their user names. I like this! The Whelk or whoever isn't just recognizable as the person with the tag "The Whelk" under their posts. The Whelk is recognizable as that person who writes really Whelkishly while talking about Whelkish things. Secondly, though, and more significantly, often I find myself midway through a long, thoughtful post, that's totally swaying my opinion, and then scroll down to see that oh god this really smart thing is written by that person I get into fights with all the time! Maybe I should listen to them more instead of just getting cranky! If user names were at the top, my jerk brain wouldn't ever let me give those comments a chance.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:49 AM on November 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


...and one that explained how if this had happened in America, the government would have taken the bird from the man and then imprisoned him because of regulations and laws.

Well, to be fair, bird law in this country is not governed by reason.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:56 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


TheWhiteSkull: "Guys! Guys! You can all be Hitler."

Don't wanna. It's not springtime any more, it's winter.
posted by Samizdata at 1:21 PM on November 9, 2015


WHEN FALCONS ARE OUTLAWED ONLY OUTLAWS WILL BE MISSING EYES BECAUSE THEY WERE CLAWED AND/OR PECKED OUT BY POORLY TRAINED FALCONS.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


“2015 is the year the old internet finally died,” Todd VanDerWerff , Vox, 30 October 2015
What links these seemingly dissimilar stories is a very basic fear — the idea that the internet as we knew it, the internet of five or 10 or 20 years ago, is going away as surely as print media, replaced by a new internet that reimagines personal identity as something easily commodified, that plays less on the desire for information or thoughtfulness than it does the desire for a quick jolt of emotion.

It's an internet driven not by human beings, but by content, at all costs. And none of us — neither media professionals, nor readers — can stop it. Every single one of us is building it every single day.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:16 PM on November 28, 2015


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