The Internet has become a dumpster fire of overtly opinionated and uninformed comments. Does everything need to be commented on? Do I need your affirmation that a post I wrote is good?
The days of the intelligent debate seem over, though there are pockets of good people having thoughtful discussions. I prefer engaging, even heated, but always polite discussions and comments. A quick tour through YouTube or any news site and you will see that ad hominem attacks are the rule, not the exception. And that is why I have decided to disable commenting on posts.
The following example happens too often in comments:
Question: What kind of cocktail should I make with Brand X?
Reply: Why the f^@k would you use Brand X, when Brand Y is so much better.
As you can see, the reply has nothing to do with the questions. The proper answer would be “Make a Cocktail Z with it.”
Comment: I like cocktail A!
Reply: Cocktail A sucks, try Cocktail B!
Though the commenter may have opened themselves up to this reply, in reality, there is no need to reply. Just leave it be, what other people like is what they like, and your opinionated response isn’t going to change them, so why say it. Not everything needs to be said.
New Scientist stopped allowing comments years ago because fringe, pseudo-scientific groups, and even religious zealots, used it as a forum to disparage proper research. Opinion is not research. Most often, it is not regular readers who destroy the comment section, it’s just some adult living in their mom’s basement who happens upon the site and thinks someone cares about their negative, uninformed opinion. It’s these “crop dusters” that display the worst characteristics of humanity. I actively avoid reading news site comments because it’s just terrible. Too many people fighting over the smallest, insignificant things. And even if they got their way, it would make no real difference in any person’s day-to-day existence.
Going forward, the comment section on this site is disabled. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to discuss stuff. If I post on Art of Drink, we have Twitter to do discussions, or possibly Facebook but I don’t participate their much anymore. If I post on This is Stuff, about a non-drink related topic, I’ll post in a relevant forum and direct people there for the discussion at the bottom of the article.
This has a couple of benefits for me. The first is that it simplifies my life, I no longer have to decide what crosses the line for comments. Second, relevant conversations are had in the appropriate forums or social media platforms, because really, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the multitude of discussion forums are the comment sections of the Internet. Third, it reduces all sorts of issues on the blogs, like I don’t have to deal with privacy laws, or deal with purposeful spam. I just post what I write, like in a book or magazine.
You are all anonymous to me here, but not to Google. Google knows who you are and I’m still figuring that out.