If you have ever posted anything that you spent a significant time on, on the internet, then you know the squeamish feeling that checking the comment sections brings. Comment sections are unique to the time we live in. When people my parents’ age would blurt out a half thought out statement after reading an article in the newspaper, only the people in the house could hear it. It is great that technology has allowed people to communicate with each other from anywhere around the world; however, there are negatives to this as well.
To be honest, sometimes I spend more time reading the comment sections on a YouTube video or an article than I do viewing the actual content. The comment sections are littered with advertisements, praise, arguments, and trolls. While it is amazing for the reader to see these conversations and possibly contribute to them, it isn’t so great for the content creator. Nothing truly compares to posting something on the internet after working days on it only to see the first comment telling you that your work is complete shit.
How the content creator feels matters a great deal because without them we would all be without the entertainment and information that they provide us. It would be horrendous to have creators pull their content because of the intense criticism that they receive. One negative comment can drown out two or three positive ones. That’s just how the mind tends to perceive things.
The solution to this problem has not been found yet. Moderators exist to delete some of the hateful comments, but this is an imperfect solution because sometimes they tend to delete meaningful comments. I have seen commentators complain that their comment was unnecessarily deleted. In a political debate it can be possible that a moderator may unintentionally wield too heavy of a hand on one side of the debate; this would be awful.
The problem does not have an easy solution. A code cannot be written to end people spreading hate. Some people may respond to this article by telling authors to “buck up.” This is because they have never experienced criticism on the internet. Internet criticisms sit at the top of the page on the comment section where they may be seen several times by the author as he/she tries to find readers’ questions to answer. It is much easier to say something negative online than to someone’s face; it is much more difficult to take online criticisms than it is to take them in real life. If someone randomly walked up to me and insulted me, I would likely laugh. That is not my initial response to hateful comments on the internet.
I said there isn’t an easy solution, but I didn’t say one didn’t exist. The fact of the matter is that the solution is a self-policing one. Ask yourself if your comment is constructive criticism or a personal attack before writing it. With this simple answer, we can win the war that is raging on in the comment sections on most content that is posted on the internet.