Monday, May 07, 2007

No Comment: When Readers Attack

On a site like Gawker there are so many commenters that they can afford to delete a few every so often. They do this in a way which is designed to not offend the remaining commenters, but nevertheless sends the message to its users about expected modes of behaviour while on the site in a suitably hip and humourous way.

The posts where this occurs usually fall under the grim heading of Commenter Executions; in preparing this piece, a simple search at Gawker yielded 342 examples, making Gawker's Commenter Executions a more-or-less weekly event.

Well, I'm not executing anyone, but I did receive a trio of comments which I will not be moderating. Instead, they will be placed here, where they can be dissected and studied. This is just one of the risks of dealing with me; anything that happens involving me is potential blog fodder. It remains to be seen whether such a policy will ultimately draw more people to me or drive them away. Anyway, "them's the risks", as they say; also, since it's my blog, "nanny nanny poo poo" if you don't like it.

Firstly, this trio of comments were published anonymously. Now, when I started this blog I was anything but adept at managing it, and so I'd had it set up that only other Blogspot members could leave comments. After about the sixth or seventh post, I was informed that this was the case (by another frequent commenter) and I remedied the situation.

The commenter in question (let's call him Mr. X) has been informed of this change of status, but still publishes anonymously, although lately he's at least taken to putting his name in the body of the comment. That, and given the calibre of the comments themselves, is what we in the business call "too little too late".

I realise it's a bit of a hassle to leave a comment, what with the mystery word and all, and I thank all of you who willingly undergo this precautionary step in order to do so. Given the nature of this blog, and the type of subject matter being dealt with, I feel it's my responsibility to protect it and its readers from flamers and haters of all kinds.

I'm sure I will give this practise up once there are so many comments that moderating them cuts into my writing time.

* * *


On the post "Now Showing - Jimmy Carr" Mr. X wrote:

"stodgy brit wit, though i want more american patronizing"

Nothing wrong in that per se but it should be pointed out that Jimmy Carr wasn't just patronising to Americans, but to the British audience as well. Thus the joke. Had Mr. Carr only been patronising towards Americans, I doubt I'd have found it as funny. In fact, it can be argued that Mr. Carr wasn't poking fun at Americans at all, but rather at himself. Wanting "more american patronising", Mr. X comes dangerously close to hater territory. I also disagree with the word "stodgy", but as Mr. X is entitled to his opinion, I won't make any judgement about that.

On "Queen's Address To Virginia Assembly" he wrote:

"that peacock-looking violet-blue and coral red hat is garish, gaudy and god-awful...definitely the ugliest hat ever!"

No word about the speech, just straight to the hat.

Now the hat may be garish and gaudy but as it is an exemplar of the kind of hats the Queen always wears it is hardly exceptional; as for the ugliest hat ever, that would be a hardhat. The second ugliest hat ever is the do-rag Mr. X himself has worn every single day since 1988. The Queen's hats are an admittedly touchy subject with me; here is where the policy "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" comes most fully into play.

His final comment was in response to On This Day in Pop Culture (1931):

"when u do finally fuck off to nyc, don't bother going up there -- too damn crowded with tourists"

Since if I didn't want to go where there are tourists a) I wouldn't travel, b) I wouldn't travel to New York, and c) I definitely wouldn't go to the top of the Empire State Building, this comment seems like a shitty opinion wrapped up in a greasy bit of passive-aggressive advice then lobbed through my picture window. Not going somewhere just because there are tourists there kind of negates the entire reason for travel in the first place.

* * *


None of these comments is particularly hateful in itself, but rather point to a certain attitude which indicates that Mr. X just doesn't get it. I try to make the Pop Culture Institute a welcoming place, if nothing else, and expect the same of my readers. Whatever else Mr. X's comments are, "welcoming" isn't one of them. If you must be intemperate or snide, at least be funny, well-informed, or willing to enjoin in some serious badinage.

There. Now that's done I can apologize for the clunky syntax here and go back to nursing my hangover. I got a little wild celebrating my 600th post last night, and I'm feeling it today. I'm afraid there isn't enough Calgon in the world to take me away from this headache.

Thank you for your time and patience in this matter.

MSM
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3 comments:

Seumas Gagne said...

Oh my goodness. A Controversy that I didn't start.

Speaking as one of your daily readers, comments such as Mr. X's are at worst a blip. I'm an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech. I think hate-speech laws are a very bad idea.

I think you should just let them go and be glad that you're getting a rise out of folks! Let's read what all the silly somebodies have to say!

michael sean morris said...

Hardly a controversy. And when did you ever start anything like that? Most of the controversy on here I start by shooting my face off or not checking my facts thoroughly.

Y | O | Y said...

Is this person from Vancouver? Like there aren't any tourists there! (And it is still beautiful!)