The strange allure of internet comments

21:52, Oct 09 2011

I don't quite understand why, but I love internet comments - I'll scroll to the bottom of any article for the comments. Sometimes I love them for the sheer stupidity. Sometimes I love them for information. Sometimes I love them for insightful discussion. It's a mixed bag.

I read YouTube comments for the sheer stupidity. Only a few pages are enough to make you hate humanity. YouTube comments are intriguing in their quantity: nearly everything is on the massive site, and it seems that most things are commented on. And then argued about - and then compared in some way to Justin Bieber. In fact, the Justin Bieber Baby video gets so many comments it's near to a live tween chatroom. Riveting stuff - well not really, but intriguing.

I read Techcrunch comments both for the stupidity (some people are such blind followers, especially on BOTH sides of the Google/Apple divide,) for the occasional expert opinion/recommendations, and for when the guys mentioned in the article comment on it. Techcrunch is kind of a big deal like that.

Some sites understand this pathological need to read comments. CollegeHumour doesn't let you read comments unless you sign up, and it worked on me. This was before you signed up with Facebook too - I had to type stuff in, it was horrific.

I don't know why I love them so much. So many internet commentators have no idea what they are talking about. So many are spam. So many are way more angry than they need to be, but I like them the most. It's a weird mix of anthropology and genuine interest, I love reading how stupid some people are and I also find awesome awesome stuff through comments all the time. That and I have too much time on my hands. How much do you guys read comments?

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Image credit: XKCD

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