Comments should add to discussion



Column by Wesley Robinson

There are quite a few things about the Kernel that bring me joy, but none more than online comments.

If you have a second, take a little time and read through a few stories and the corresponding comments and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Most of the time, it’s someone telling you how badly you suck at your job and how journalism is dying because of you — those type of comments get the bronze medal in the Kernel insult originality category.

Yes, all of journalism is failing because I don’t meet your standards of what a journalist should do — right.

I’d say my second-favorite comment is the “I hate how the Kernel is always biased, and they never tell the truth even though they have police reports, have people on record or witnessed the event in question live” comments.

We enjoy making up stories so much just so we lose your readership — wait, we didn’t because you’re still commenting.

My absolute favorites are the ad hominem attacks. If I could finance platinum medals for these kinds of comments, I would hunt down every single commenter and give them their much-deserved awards.

Most of the time these attacks are nothing more than “I don’t like what you think, but instead of acting like an adult, I’m going to attack your point and then something that has nothing to do with anything, but mostly the second part.”

Whats so bad about these comments, other than the fact it’s the same seven people hiding behind the security of anonymity and making these comments, is it really detracts from the point authors are trying to make.

Most of the time the entire point gets lost and commenting becomes back and forth about everything the columnist wasn’t saying.

Being the opinions editor means I get to see lots of people’s ideas — and a lot of the ideas I don’t agree with or am not interested reading.

Honestly, I can’t express how often I have read a column and thought “so what” or “what’s the point of this column,” but that doesn’t stop me from publishing someone’s work or trying to understand their point of view.

Furthermore, it never makes me want to attack the writer for having a differing view than I do, but that is how this particular breed of comment works.

It’s sad commenting has degraded so far. It could produce valuable dialogue helping further develop a story or framing the issue a little better. Instead, commenting is something constantly filtered and constantly is disabled.

I may be wrong in making predictions on this, but I’m going to say the majority of the comments for this column will fall in the same line as the rest.

In the newsroom, we are constantly having discussions about whether or not comments are even worth having, and I’m kind of getting to the point where I am leaning towards restricting them altogether.

What good are they? Seriously?

Nevertheless, I’m not one to complain about something and not offer a solution — so if you are so adamant in getting your opinion out, write a column or send a letter to the editor.

It’s simple. Instead of submitting your comment, send an e-mail to [email protected] and let us know your name and major/position with the university.

Even if you have no affiliation with the university, if you raise a valid point, I wouldn’t have a problem publishing your feedback, and it would be great for making the paper more reader-friendly.

Somehow I don’t see too many commenters taking me up on that offer, but I’ve been surprised before.