The Comment Section: A Bottomless Pit of Brutality

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Have you ever scrolled through the comment section of a Youtube video, or looked at a blog post only to find negative remarks? The Internet has become a medium for many forms of communication. Whether people are sharing art or the news, venting exasperation through the comment section or posts has become a cultural norm. Unleashing frustration via these outlets has gone so far as to even have nicknames like “trolling,” and these negative notes are usually the ones most viewers gravitate towards. All of the attention being drawn to these comments only feeds to the negativity fostering in those discussion boxes and, although these comments breed some kind of conversation, this shows a lack of responsibility on the part of people today because some are not consciously reviewing their words in order to remain respectful of others online

Now, some might say that no one should ever filter their words in order to appease the public, but with such a strong power of instant communication over the Internet, we have to consider holding ourselves accountable for every move – the Internet is forever. An example I recently saw of this kind of behavior was on Facebook. A friend of mine from high school had posted an article and a comment about why he disagreed with it. After reading the following posts, I was intrigued to discover what caused this commotion. The article was essentially discussing the oddity that is the social norm where a thin figure is considered more acceptable, however, the author went about the piece in a rather insensitive way. Without any self-awareness, the writer shafted an entire demographic of females while trying to promote security for another; he did so by successfully praising the curvy lifestyle and shaming skinnier girls. One of the more well thought out comments beneath the Facebook post pointed out this discrimination in a manner that showed the importance of body confidence for all sizes. However, there were some people who clearly just wanted to add in their two cents without contemplating the ramifications. One post went so far as to completely disregard the meaning of the post and side with the author.

Another instance of rampant negativity comes in the form of famous Youtuber Felix Kjellberg, or Pewdiepie, removing access to the comment section of his videos. Now I have never watched a video of his, but another channel on Youtube known as The Young Turks discussed this action and expounded upon why the most subscribed to Youtube entertainer has taken such a drastic measure. Overall, he disabled the comment section because negative comments were consuming that part of the page, and Kjellberg wanted his videos to be a positive experience for his fans. The explanation The Young Turks gave for this issue was that the algorithm used by Youtube shows negative comments above all else, but if the most viewed and most popular comments are the negative ones, does that not still point out a problem in the way the Internet is being maneuvered? Yes, negativity is unavoidable at times, but why are there algorithms that place them at the top? And why are these becoming so popular in general?

The only plausible answer is that not enough personal responsibility is being taken in conjunction to the ever-expanding Internet. There are few tangible consequences to poor etiquette online because it is easy to create fake accounts or to even just comment and let the wave of constant media flush it away into a hidden state. For problems like these, we unfortunately must rely on others to be aware of their actions. So, when you log on to your favorite social media website or onto any part of the Internet, be consciously aware of what you are typing, because you have no idea who is on the receiving end. I know that I have probably made this same mistake before, but I find it important to remember that once you put something into the world, the reception you receive for such actions are not up to you. So the next time that you disagree with an article or video, tread the keyboard carefully.

Image: Gratisography