Your Opinion is Worthless!

February 16, 2007

These days, it seems every news web site in the world has a way for people to post comments, blog-style. Techy news sites have long had these features, but now it’s hit the mainstream as The Thing To Do.

And you’d think this was a good thing with everyone having their say, all “democratic” and shit. No longer does an editor handpick contributions with real value, it all goes out there, although usually a moderator will check for “unsuitable” language, that’s about it. Trouble is, the odd profanity would be the least of problems.

This kind of feedback might work on blogs, most of the time, but I just don’t think it works on a large scale, not even on very popular blogs. It becomes little more than noise. So, you have to sift through all this crap to find something meaningful, or simply not bother.

Take a look at any of these discussions and you’ll see the same pattern repeated: some people simply agree with the main gist but don’t really add anything; others disagree but seldom make a good case as to why. Then, buried in a hundred comments are probably a handful of gems that add another angle or make a good point that is really worth reading.

So why does it bother me? While I like the idea that anyone can contribute and nobody is acting as the thought police, I think it’s misleading for people to believe that because they *can* say something, they really should, when it clearly adds nothing to the conversation.

I believe my concern is with something much bigger, though. Maybe it’s because I have been on the receiving end of people’s uninformed or pointless opinions and have seen others suffer the same onslaught of crap. It’s off-putting! To survive, you have to develop a thick skin, then risk becoming an arrogant cunt.

Maybe it’s also because of my involvement in podcasting. Same rules apply: just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should. Since podcasting went mainstream with iTunes, the amount of crap out there has become ridiculous. And there’s the danger that what is good about one podcast could be dismissed on the basis of all the shit out there. So, lots of people are doing it, which is good, but not so many people are listening, which is not!

I really don’t mind if someone is honest enough in saying “this is a personal journal” or “just another tech news clone” – ironically, it’s things like these that tend to be the most worthwhile, but too often there’s all talk and little substance to be found.

You deluded fools! Your opinion is worthless!

But not everyone’s. So I guess that’s it: I hate the dilution and resent the negative consequences. I know there are people out there who would have plenty of good stuff to say, but they shy away for fear of getting bombarded with crap, or are drowned out by loud-mouths with little to offer. And then we’re back where we started.

It will probably all work itself out in the end. 🙂

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3 Responses to “Your Opinion is Worthless!”

  1. purrplechick Says:

    Seriously though, I do agree with you. The comments that some people post are devalued by the commenter themselves because a) they don’t make sense; 2) they use txt spk (more on this later); c) they completely misunderstand the point of the original commentary or 4) they simply want to rant/get their name on a webpage.

    It’s particularly bad when all the commenter does is disagree and insult another commenter and/or use txt spk – ‘U don no nufin don eva say nofin lik tht agin M8 or im gona ve u’. Even without these misdemeanours, it seems most people are unable to construct a rational argument or provide compelling evidence to back up their viewpoint.

    YouTube and similar have more than their fair share of pointless comments – to the point that I never read them any more (thus defeating the point) but even BBC News and others of that ilk suffer.

    Of course, I only ever leave well-argued, well-written and coherent comments. Init, bruv?

  2. Steve Says:

    Actually, Miss Chick, you’ve tapped into something I hadn’t considered: the abundance of cringe-worthiness to be found there. You almost want to hide behind the sofa in the face of such horrific English and that point of view straight out of The Sun newspaper.

    I’m glad you got where I was coming from, anyway – and made more sense than me. 😀


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