Friday, September 14, 2012

Comment Boxes - Use with Caution

I must admit, I can never resist a comment box. Be it the Daily Mail (my dirty little secret that is brilliant blog fodder), the Huffington Post or the Guardian online, I always have to say something. And I usually end up wondering why I bother.

The other day I commented on an article about jobs, and how Tom Brokaw (a veteran American journalist) thinks it will become the civil rights movement of the 21st century. My point was that it's not a right; people aren't entitled to a job, and really, more people should think about creating jobs for themselves and others.

The first reply attacked me for using the word entitled, since it hadn't appeared in the original article and therefore I had made a leap too far. (To quote - "I didn't see it. Where did you?") Sigh. So I took to my Merriam-Webster and pointed out that "entitled" means "a RIGHT to benefits specified especially by law or contract". You know, a bit like civil rights. 

Up comes the next goon, attacking me thus - "The Civil Rights did NOT entitle covered groups to special treatment....".

Sigh, again.

I said "specified" not "special". 

And the worse thing is when you point out the error, people get all huffy and even nastier.

There should be one of those little boxes that you have to tick/check before you leave a comment, promising that you've read the article or comment to which you are responding, and that you have thought your response through and checked to make sure it actually contains an iota of sense.

I know, I know. But I can dream. 


  1. Oh lord,the DM is a treasure trove of those sort of comments (my dirty secret too). I just read them tho, I have conditioned myself not to get sucked in.......

  2. Hmmm, I came to the conclusion a while ago that apart from a minority of an educated few, comment boxes are in fact the dens of Trolls. All comments will be willfully misinterpreted, jumped upon and denounced... no matter how well written they are :(

  3. But I regularly tick a box saying "I have read the terms and conditions..." when I absolutely haven't.

    On the other hand, I do usually contain an iota of sense. (You knew I'd spot that, didn't you?)

  4. The DM is just so irresistable and the comments are even more so. That sideline thing with pictures on the Femail section is a total time sink for me.

  5. The Guardian commenters are so committed (or is that should be committed ?) did you read the Marina O'Loughlin review of Garfunkels?The comments section is like a war zone:)

  6. Mmh..... I think I'm a bit wary of that type of comment box.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Perhaps when we finally get an degree on blogging (a university will probably do one soon) there will be a section where you have to leave comments and deal with the flak that ensues so the DM etc will be an excellent learning tool! I feel all virtuous now finding an actual use for the DM...
    PS yes you are totally right as always.....

  8. Husband came home with his dirty little rag of a newspaper on the weekend. Blushing profusely, he confessed he had succumbed to his carnal desires and bought a Daily Mail. Shame I don't make fish n chips is all I can say. And you're right about the comments. Did you see the trolling poor old Very Bored in Catalunya got earlier in the year? All about nothing at all. It was completely out of control. I'm sure someone somewhere is doing a Thesis on why people go off the deep end in public comment boxes. I'd love to know a little more about the psychology behind it.

  9. Can't say I read the DM online (I do sometimes buy it, but only for the puzzles, which I really like), but I do read The Times and it's not much better there tbh. You'd think Times readers would have a bit more class but obviously not.


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