Comments, in theory, are a great idea. Enabling comments on your blog could give you an idea of your readership's reaction and, by providing valuable feedback and supplemental content, help make every subsequent entry more interesting. Unfortunately, this theory grossly overestimates the demography of The Internet.
Take this exchange, for example, left on an article about the Worst Video Game Consoles of a All Time:
I could never get used to it, the controllers are too awful. It has nothing to do with just big hands!! No!! It is uncomfortable.Aside from the abundant exclamation marks, this comment was approximately on topic and added a certain amount of insight (or at least enthusiasm) to the rest of the article. Another anonymous comment followed:
"Wah wah! The big bad controller hurt my hands..."This is the problem with comments. For every insightful or helpful comment, there are half a dozen that range from regrettable to disgusting. Marco.org tends to have a lower dumb-comment rate—but that is more than balanced by comments on sites like YouTube or Digg. (I promise I did not search for the worst comment threads I could find. I didn't have to.)
Grow some man-size hands, little sissy-boy. What a little fruit you are!
Few Internet veterans would get their feelings hurt by the unprovoked hostility in some of these comments. Still, this comment raises one pressing question: Who spends their time leaving hateful, anonymous comments in response to another anonymous comments left over month ago? Where do these comments come from? The simplest explanation is that there are an entire population of people who spend ungodly amounts of time randomly browsing the internet and leaving comments like, "You suck," or "Your mom is gay," or some combination of the two. Somehow this sort of comment manages to become the most common non-spam comment on the internet. Is there some computer-spread mental illness causing this? Is this a super-virus inadvertently unleashed by an immature hacker-prodigy? Do bloggers leave such comments on their own blog in an effort to look more established?
After extensive research, behavioral scientists at Marco.org have uncovered the real reason behind this phenomenon. It turns out comment trolls are actually people, much like you or me. The only difference is that they speak a different dialect of English. I might say, "Please pass the salt." Somebody else might say, "Hook me up with some flavor," or "You mind tossin' me summodat der condiment?" A comment troll might say, "You gay-face but luvrs should stop whackin' for a sec and pass the rest of us some sodium cloride. Even a moron knows that sodium cloride is another word for table salt." Despite our repeated failure to understand them, the Comment Trolls have unflaggingly continued their efforts to communicate.
While Marco.org's behavioral scientists are still working to understand the finer syntax rules of Comment Troll, progress has been made on the basics. What follows is a rough translation of some of the most common phrases.