jul 12

Commenter Culture

Though it might seem that every ounce of nuance has been sucked out of this whole "commenter culture" meme -- yesterday it was Time with "Post Apocalypse" and previously it was NYT Styles with "All-Stars of the Clever Riposte" and NY Mag with "The What You Are Afraid Of" -- I'm still convinced there are some missing pieces, even if I can't put my finger on them....


The conclusion of the Time piece is interesting:

Maybe commenters are just on one side of a cultural disconnect between two incompatible ideas of what the social conventions of the Internet should be. One is based on the standards of real-world, off-line politeness. The other is a kind of communal game in which whoever is cleverest and pushes the most buttons wins.

This disconnect is probably just temporary. In another decade or two, one side or the other will have won out, and then we'll all be on the same page, and we won't have this kind of misunderstanding anymore. But I know which side I'm rooting for.

posted by Rex at 1:52 PM on July 12, 2008

It isn't temporary, because there will always be those who are computer illiterate. This means they won't get the experience.
It's not a communal game, it's human nature. Everyone is competetive and comments are arguments, so everyone wants to be right.
It will change again.

posted by Ironic at 2:33 PM on July 12, 2008

Remember that hype circle article from n+1, where they were arguing that criticism/hyping had become a sort of performance of cultural capital? I think there'd be a way to connect that idea and commenter culture - particularly if you think of the snark as a defence against being swallowed by anonymity. I'm just not sure exactly how.

posted by Nav at 11:46 PM on July 12, 2008

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