So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

on comments

i really appreciate blog comments.

by that i mean, i appreciate comments i receive on my blog posts. moreover, i like commenting on other people's blogs. and finally, one of my favorite pasttimes as an avid blog reader/follower is reading other peoples' comments on other people's blogs. i hope i didn't confuse you. if i did, leave a comment to that effect.

i often spend more time reading and enjoying readers' responses to blog posts i'm reading than i spend reading the actual post. so that makes me an expert and validates the theory i'm about to share with you. i believe there are a handful of attitudes driving readers to comment on a blog: defensiveness, condescension/know-it-all-ness, and hysteria.

i should preface this theory by saying that i don't think these generalizations apply to personal blogs, like mine or yours, as they apply to news and opinion blogs we all spend so much of our time reading as sources of news and entertainment. personal blogs are a wonderful means of staying in touch with friends, of expressing ourselves, and of simply gaining perspective. news and opinion blogs, on the other hand, have replaced journalism and the objective news outlet, if such a thing ever existed, to become our primary sources of information, but with a twist.

the twist is that we now interact with information. we don't trust it and soak it in the way our grandparents did with the 6:00 news after dinner. we question it, we look for bias therein, we like to laugh at it, and some of us even talk back.

par exemple, this story about an iceberg the size of Luxembourg breaking off of an Antarctic glacier was fascinating and frightening enough to hold my attention for a minute. the comments and discussion that followed, however, interested me for much longer. we don't need to get into the inevitable discussion about global warning (i'm pretty sure that americans are the only people who are still trying to make up their minds about this one, despite the scientific fact that the verdict is in, y'all), but let's focus on my comments theory: defensiveness, condescension, and hysteria.

here's just one of the defensive comments:

sideefx said:

Drown? Who is going to drown???? Why don’t you try this simple experiment in your own home and maybe learn a little science.

Take a glass and fill it half way with water. Put a few ice cubes inside it and stick a piece of tape on it to mark the water line level. Allow some time for the ice cubes to melt and then go make an observation. You will notice that the water level actually DECREASES!!!!!!

Why? Because ice has air trapped inside it which gives it more volume. Stop being fools or sheep and read a book!

and here's a very good example of the condescending know-it-all, who tends to be witty and seemingly smarter than the defensive commentator to whom he often replies:

fergy51 said:

Hey Sideefx,
Before it was an iceberg it was a glacier. Glaciers dont float!!!! Try this experiment. Fill a glass with water half way, put tape on the water level. Drop a few ice cubes in it and see if the water level rises. Then go read a book and write an apology here so we dont think you are a moron.

finally, there's the hysteric. and these comments are always a little bit sad (especially when they contain not even a hint of sarcasm) but also the most entertaining. these comments often come from the Fox News target audience -- you know, people, like my grandma, who are easily thrown into a tizzy about pretty much anything, whether or not the topic has the potential to affect their lives:

Anna123 said:

The polar shift is coming.
No matter what people do to change their habits and consumption of fossil fuels.
Humanity is not worth saving.
The only consolation is the rich and politicans will have to share the same fate.

i admit, global warming -- or cyclical climate change, for you republicans in the audience -- is a divisive topic, albeit against all reason. but i think that these same comment categories apply to a range of blog topics. in the past i was a frequent commenter on Towleroad, where i noticed these few attitudes over and over again, in response to blog posts of all types and tones.

what do you think about my theory? or, if that's not worthy of commentary, tell me your thoughts on global warming.


Ca88andra said...

I too enjoy reading the comments on my blog and commenting on others. As for global warming - who knows? One side says this, the other says that, I just try to do my bit to save the world just in case!

Anonymous said...

I don't have to put up with this. I am clearly more intelligent as I use British spelling, go read an encyclopAEdia on the subject before blogging again. The voices in my head/Fox tell me we're all going to die anyway. *leaps from first floor window*

How's about that for a combo of all three traits...?