Needed: News-Reading Body-Armor

As one of the rare visitors to Burque Babble (and I have the statistics to prove it!), you’ve been on the Internet (yes, I know, profound insight).  Maybe quite a bit.  And you’ve probably noticed that any time the issue of guns comes up, the story/posting is sure to result in a bevy (or gaggle, or flock) of comments from Real ‘Mericans using terms like “bear arms…cold fingers…Obama…socialism” in some arrangement.  Such comments are truly like death and taxes, and, for some of us, make following news via the Internet a slightly more depressing experience.  As if it wasn’t already depressing. 

If I were a bit more entrepreneurial, I’d pursue creation/sale of a new product ala “Adblock” called “Comment Block.”  Yes, some comment/message boards have “kill” features, but “Comment Block” would allow users to kill posts by terms (e.g., “cold, icy fingers”) instead of simply by users.  I guess I’ll lease that billion-dollar idea to someone else.

Or one could instead use the Albuquerque Journal model, in which just about zero people ever comment online about their stories….something I’ve never quite figured out.  Maybe it’s moderation or simply good luck, but the Journal seems immune to the whack-job fest at the local TV station sites.  Or perhaps it’s the necessity that commenters be able to read, instead of simply looking at the purty moving pictures.  I dunno.

Today in the world of assault weapons, we get a Journal story about how the 2nd Amendment winnows its way down to the Land of Enchantment and a discussion of Seattle’s intention to try one of those “gun buyback” programs.  The Seattle Times story is already up to 68 comments, I see…I’m gonna do everything in my power to avoid looking at any of them, but sometimes the flesh is weak.  The Journal story is, as of this posting, sans comments, and I can only congratulate the Journal again for whatever is working for it in this regard.

One wonders what comment/message boards would have looked like if the ‘Net had been around at other times in U.S. History, for instance the story of the “Little Rock Nine.”

To use the Internet parlance of our time:  sigh, “smh,” faceplant..times infinity.

Humans…humans are tough to put up with sometimes.


4 thoughts on “Needed: News-Reading Body-Armor

  1. I had to laugh reading this. You’re absolutely right. It’s wearying. I page through Twitter occasionally and think, There’s probably something worthwhile in here somewhere amongst the canards, cliches, retweets, tropes, and talking points. But it’s hard to find. The worst is reading comment threads where people obviously haven’t read the comments that came before.

    Still, I’m convinced it’s always been thus … it’s just that we get to see it now.

    FWIW, my wordpress has a feature that will filter out comments by words/phrases, but that’s on the blogger’s end, not the user’s. Some Twitter clients let you exclude tweets on the basis of blacklisted terms, but Twitter of course has been killing off those clients one by one. It’s in its advantage I guess to make us stand in the firehose.

    Also, I’ve got statistics like yours, so don’t feel bad. I’m convinced we all just have to write as if someone’s listening and someday, we may find out someone was. You also never know who among those few people might end up making a big difference. What’s more, if you look at who generally gets the traffic these days, I’d say it’s kind of a badge of honor not to have it.

    And my apologies if I’ve kept you from adopting the Journal’s strategy. 😉

    1. William: Thanks for visiting and your comment (that sounds like one of those spammer comment lines WordPress filters, but it’s true..and human, here). There are pros and cons of writing for almost literally no one. I try to accentuate the positive.

  2. The key to the Journal’s strategy (I do not speak for my employer) may lie in a lack of readers. (As I mentioned, I do not speak for my employer.) If true, this would leave us with an Internet paradox, wherein a lack of readers makes a site more attractive to readers. (Did I mention that I do not speak for my employer?)

    1. John: I wish it were not so, but Yogi Berra is, by far, my better as writer/thinker…

      “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

      Using this logic, Burque Babble is getting more popular every day.

      P.S.: But John, just to clarify, are you speaking for your employer?

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