I’ve just trawled through this post on Buzzfeed and I really wish I hadn’t. Not necessarily for the article which is certainly news worthy but for the comments below it. See, for many years there were things called ‘Forums’ where people talked about things that interested them; like this awesome website. On these forums, people could get answers from other fellows who were actually passionate about their field of interest. More importantly these people talked about their chosen area in a safe environment where uninterested party’s would never look unless they actively wanted too.
Sadly, people don’t use forums as much any more as there were far too many useful answers to justify peoples time. Forums still exist but now people just post their entire lives on social media instead so therefore have a wealth of expert opinions from their friends no matter what question they ask! Far more satisfying.
But comment threads are a slightly different beast. Rather than talking about their chosen field of expertise with like minded people, average people take their time to construct responses to articles on subject matter most don’t have a clear view on. What results is a series of misinformed beliefs bogging down the occasional useful well voiced opinion and the occasional troll. With the Buzzfeed post in question the (at the time of writing this) top comment sounds like some grade a racist trash but is apparently a troll. I can’t tell though – neither can you. Or anyone. In fact what results is a thread that simply confuses us all with utter bullshit. The real racists get to spout their crap, trolls get a good laugh and the rest of us hope, vainly, that someone’s well reasoned comment with maybe some facts will champion as a top comment. Therefore saving humanity.
The reality is that these comment threads suck up our time in a way that is utterly depressing. You read and read and read until your rage builds to uncontrollable levels. You may even find yourself replying but you know that it will be as useful as a chocolate teapot filled with whale semen. To us humans, comment threads are like a red flag to a bull. Which is pretty depressing because bulls get slaughtered whereas humans are supposed to live meaningful lives non?
By far the worst problem is that by the time you read the comments, maybe replied, and then bogged yourself down in a mire of misinformation, you’ve kind of forgotten the point being made in the first place. In that the people in the photo above aren’t LARPers but are actually fascists who are dressing up out of choice for their cause rather than having a fun WW1/Bohr war tea party.
There is some serious shit going on in the world; stuff that is worth actually taking notice of. Sadly I think the general population are more than happy to let waves of opinion sweep them around until they find an island of like minded people that appeals to them. There they will stay simply yelling and throwing metaphorical coconuts at those who disagree with them.
Isolated. Alone. Wrong.