Cutting the Crap in the Comments Section

By Logan Snook

Alright, question: Anyone guilty of reading comments on web and social media postings to see what crazy things people will say? All guilty parties, raise your hands.  Next question: Those of you who raised your hands, who gets about halfway through the comments only to become completely disturbed by the way people talk to each other, respond to issues, and disrespect differing opinions? All guilty parties raise your hands. For those of you who follow feminist blogs, websites, or groups, chances are you see this a lot. Does a post like this look familiar?

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Well. That got out of control quickly. Posts and comments on feminist posts range from general misunderstanding of what feminism and being a feminist is to simply harassing the author or other commenters. The post above was from an article Women’s Rights News shared on their Facebook about “slut-shaming” and female dress codes for high school proms.

Recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook and the saw another shared article from Women’s Rights News about becoming a feminist blogger. The article, published by the editor of Everyday Feminism, focused on tips for starting a career as an internet writer, focusing on the topic of feminism. What I saw in the comments was this:

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*As of 4/15 these comments have been removed from the post.

Now, I am all for seeing discussions started on posts and seeing the spread of positive, clarifying information, but both commenters here are bashing one another. The first commenter clearly did not read the article, jumping straight into posting uninformed and insulting remarks. Rather than correcting or offering relative information, the second poster fought fire with fire, posting derogatory assumptions about the first, and creating a domino effect of offensive statements. There was a similar pattern or comments seen in image one.

What happens that makes these comments so hostile? Can we not have a civilized dialogue about these issues? Differing opinions or not, doesn’t everyone deserve respect? Reading through these posts, there are very few harassing comments on posts that offer a strongly worded opinion. Instead of slinging insults at one another, each side defends their viewpoint. The point of this is not to make someone think the same way you do, rather it is to better inform (both sides), and create an open discussion.

Let’s drop the name calling and assumptions and increase the respect.