There’s a Time and Place for Everything, Including Never and NowherePosted: September 12, 2012
[I was never worried about the Earth running out of resources, and then I saw that my 32-gigabyte iPod had only 4 gigabytes of space left. Don’t think it can’t happen!]
Almost 100% of the time, a person wants to know what happened. And I mean that in the most general sense. All of us want to feel informed when it comes to politics, music, and celebrity news. But for most of us, the desire stops at just that. Or, I can say with confidence, “That’s where it stops for me.” Of course I want to know what people think about the content of a Youtube video or a sports article. The absolutely last thing I want to know is what one commenter thinks of another comment. Few things in existence make me lose faith in the world like a bunch of people snapping back and forth at each other under a comment board for a music video. Sometimes I just want to know how the general public feels about a new rule being instituted in the MLB or how to decode what a politician is actually saying in a decidedly nebulous speech. But those rare comments quickly get washed away and buried under pages of, “It’s clear that your parents beat you over the head with the lid of a trash can and that you should just go crawl in a hole and have someone bury you alive.” I just want to know when Football Player X is going to come back from his injury. If I wanted to know how many ways the Internet community could devise for you to kill yourself, I would go…well, I guess I can go pretty much anywhere on the Internet. Here’s a recent example (The comments may change, but boy were they bad when I read them)
(Time for a digression) And that’s the sad point: I don’t want to know any ways for you to kill yourself. No matter who the reader of this blog is—whether black or white; male, female, or other identifications; good or evil—I don’t want you to kill yourself. EVER. Now you can question my patriotism all you want, but my faith as a Christian trumps everything. So when I found out Osama Bin Laden was killed, I wasn’t sluggin’ beers and singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” (Although it is a good song, one I haven’t sung since my days at Andover Morris School.) Sure I was happy to see some sort of closure on such a horrific matter. But deep down, you know what I wanted? I wanted Bin Laden to have this insane change of heart where he repents all the bad things he had done. And using his family’s money, he opens up a huge network of sustainable schools to educate impoverished Afghan children. If you’re going to hope and pray for something that you essentially have no control over, you might as well think positive, right? Killing him gave Obama and the rest of us something to brag about, but it didn’t bring anyone back from the dead. But in my ideal fantasy world, the best case scenario is some super evil dude turning over a new leaf and saving lives for the future.
Anyway, I have this vision about Internet comment sections. I have a feeling some of you reading this are also sick of seeing the comments for a Snoop Dogg song devolve into petty arguments about existentialism or the existence of a higher power. This vision I have, I don’t know how possible it is. But I’m thinking positive, you know? The idea is as follows. There are monitors—automatic if possible—that scan through the comments of an online video or news article. If the comment is directed at another person and (using some algorithm) has below a certain threshold of relevance to the webpage, it is redirected to some faraway forum somewhere else on the World Wide Web.
All the senseless and irrelevant comments can go to the same place because, in the end, it doesn’t matter where the comments came from. They’re all about people being sacks of shit or being retarded (I don’t think that word should be used in a derogatory manner; I’m trying to fix myself, too). If the World Wide Web was a bathroom, this forum for unnecessary comments would be that dark corner behind the toilet—with pubes, Q-tips, pads, and the like.
A corollary of this vision is that I hope some really adept programmer/hacker reads this entry. Then he or she or ze will be inspired to make this happen. There was a tweet some girl sent out about how Obama needs to be assassinated. First of all, no he doesn’t. Nobody should ever be assassinated. But the other thing that struck me as frustrating was that people were responding to that tweet by saying that she needs to die. I hope I’m not the only one who sees a problem in this logic. I also hope there are people out there more driven than I am. I miss seeing comments that praise musicians and suggest to the world other artists who they think are even better. Or something that’s relevant to the topic but extremely silly. Both of those get thumbs-ups from me.