Comment Culture Must Be Stopped

Comment sections do nothing but derail meaningful conversations.

Devon Price
May 22 · 15 min read
A child yelling into a microphone. Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

It Makes Us Think Reactively

We’ve all been there. A friend posts an article with a headline that gets your blood boiling, so you hastily fire off an incensed comment without reading the piece itself. Someone else reads your comment, interprets it in the least charitable way possible, and shoots back an angry response. An entire fight ensues, with each party refreshing their Facebook every two minutes… until some kind soul enters the conversation and tells everyone that actually, if we read the article we were fighting about, we’d see it says the exact opposite of what we assumed.

It Devalues Expertise

A lecture hall filled with people. Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

It Distracts and Enrages Us

Two birds fighting. Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

It Exploits Emotion for Profit

Dozens of people in shadow, back lit in red. They appear to be holding swords. Photo by Hasan Almasi, courtesy of Unsplash.

How to Resist Comment Culture

Comment Culture was built gradually over the course of many years. Social media sites helped it proliferate. Smartphones made engaging in that culture more and more of a norm. Almost all of us have unhealthy media habits that feed into Comment Culture. But there are steps we can take, right now, to resist its influence on our lives.

Calm, still water. Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash

Stop Reading Comment Sections

I’m serious. We all talk about wanting to avoid comment sections, but we often find ourselves pulled in, whether out of outrage or the fear of missing out. The time for that has got to stop. When we visit comments sections, we guarantee that we will find something that enrages or distracts us. And then we jump into the fray, hoping to score points in an argument that will actually never end. We have to stop feeding this beast.

Support Sites That Don’t Rely on Ad Revenue

When sites and content creators are funded by their fans, they have less of an incentive to encourage Comment Culture. Medium is a wonderful example of this, I think: users pay to have access to the site’s wide array of essays and articles, writers get paid based on how many people read and enjoy their work, and comments are optional.

Write an Essay, Not a Comment

A lot of people waste some of their best writing on comment sections, which are barely read or taken seriously by anyone. Don’t devalue your time and energy like that! If something makes you angry, write an essay about it! If you have a point to make, it deserves to be made carefully, and given its own platform. If a writer incenses you with their bad take, write your own essay explaining why it is bad. Don’t line the pockets of that writer by wasting your time in the comment section.

Avoid Social Media Sites That Make You Angry

I really enjoy Medium because it’s helped me reach a ton of interested readers, and it’s introduced me to some great writers as well. I also love spending time on Tumblr, where ridiculous absurdist posts rub elbows with long, multilayered dialogues about gender studies and analyses of which characters in Metal Gear Solid are gay.

Devon Price

Written by

Nonbinary Social Psychologist & Writer in Chicago. They/Them pronouns only. MEDIA INQUIRIES: erikadprice at gmail dot com.