04 September, 2011

The wonders of public opinion

Public opinion is often a cause of much entertainment. Public opinion, that is, as reflected in the comments section of a famous website. Let us say , for example, Reuters  reporting  a fairly innocuous news item as follows. You would have thought that there isn't much to comment about it. You would be wrong. Read on for this imaginary post and comments.

Cuba withdraws ambassador from Libya

Cuba has announced that it was withdrawing its diplomatic mission in Libya, reiterating that it does not recognise Libya's Transitional National Council.

Comments (325) 

Amyfalldown - First!

humanist7117 - Gaddafi is a thug. He is in  cohorts with Fidel Castro. He has run away to Libya
Nitinooroo - Мы работаем напрямую с импортерами парфюмерии в Россию, минуя перекупщиков. Это является гарантией реализации без наценок и каких-либо процентов. [url=http://www.voado.ru/optom/]Лицензионная парфюмерия производства ОАЭ[/url] – это имитация оригинальной селективной парфюмерии и духов.Настоящая лицензионная парфюмерия имеет хорошее

RobertBrewsterJr1 - IMPERIALIST THUGS ARE DESTROYING THE WORLD. OBAMA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS. STOP GOVERNMENT SPENDING. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BRING SANITY TO THE COUNTRY. LEFT WING LIBERALS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD. VOTE FOR MICHELLE BACHMANN

nicebrunido - %$#*%$ iPhones at half price. Visit ripyouoff.com today! #(#$@

elitaren - f*****g Gaddafi. b****** Castro. I don't give a s***


goodguy - MMS is corrupt. Sonia is corrupt. Narendra Modi for PM

        jidaspeak - @goodguy - you are a moron. RSS stooge. Go die somewhere

        goodguy - @jidaspeak  - You Porki. Go back to your mulla country and drown in blood

revengeofbutthead - wtf ?

Nihaonyan - This comment has been deleted by the moderator

oldman - The Libyan Transitional Council is a loose combination of different interest groups. So far the only glue holding them together was their common hatred and fear of Gaddafi. Now that Gadaffi has gone it remains to be seen whether they can form a sensible government. Uncertain times ahead for Libya

             lespaulrentals - @oldman - Who asked you ?

AnImmortalLove - Thumbs Up if you typed Viagra and landed on this site.

Padmanvasanth - GOOD STEP HAPPENED...

NOW THEY ADMIRE THAT THEIR WELTH IS THIS MUCH ONLY...

SO IT IS CLEAR THAT - OVER AND ABOVE THIS IS BLACK MONEY...

AND THEY MOST RETURN IT TO INtIA

LET US BRING BUCK ALL OUR HERD EARNED MONEY...



itshuyzz - People listen to me. Its all the fault of multinationals. Gaddafi was a stooge of Exxon, BP and the multinational oil companies. When he was no more useful, they have deposed him. Its all the fault of the evil oil companies.

Is this what public opinion has descended to ??

I am eternally thankful that readers who comment here are a million miles away from this lot. Truly salute those who take the time to make such informed and wise comments in this blog.
PS - This post was inspired by this article in the WSJ.
 


26 comments:

gils said...

rotfl :D :D OMG thala...mankatha ajith mathiri pattaya kelapareenga ponga. u r truly the definition for the word versatility :D :D

Anonymous said...

Me the second! Pluss visiti ma personal Blog fr similer psts like this

velayutham will rock

@gils :P :P

Venkat.. said...

எல்லோரும் எல்லா இடதிலயுமா comment பன்னிட்டு இருகாங்க, அவங்க அவங்க மனுசுக்கு தொடர்புடைய topicla மட்டும்தான் எழுதுறாங்க, இல்லாட்டி ஒரு நபர் கூடவோ ஒரு organization கூடவோ அல்லது ஒரு சமூகத்திடமோ தொடர்பில்(being in touch ) இருக்க ஆசைப் பட்டு செய்கிறார்கள்.

RS said...

On a slightly (just slightly) related note, I happened to read this from a public forum:

Comment 1:
"Actually Government should use the geographical advantage of we being on the opposite side of USA. We should dig a hole from the center earth which will connect India and USA, so we can put wire through it, So in India’s day time, sunlight and solar energy can be given to USA, and they can give us the same in their day time. Also, we can fit a train through it so that we don’t have to use planes for travelling."
Replies to the idea: You are a genius, want to touch your feet ,you are a living gem, Please give more ideas, I want to create a fan club for you etc......
The undettered individual , coming up with another piece of intelligence.
Comment 2: "Don’t make so many holes to earth man, otherwise the earth weight will decrease and it will start rotating fast and we will have day just 18hours and we will mthen die in 30years and there will be no retirement and then all these LIC, Pf, Lombard will become lose business and then it will be bankrupt and we will head to another recession and one more year with no hikes and my plan to buy a 60inch LCD will be delayed. Please don’t make many holes to earth."

Hilarious, isn't it???

Ramesh said...

@Gils - :) Much honoured to be equated with the racing driver !!

@Anon - ? Scratching the head ?

@Venkat - Oh you took it too seriously. Btw as annachi of Makkal TV asks - topic ka tamizhla eppadi sollanum :):)

RS - Ha Ha Ha

Anonymous said...

Oh I was just trying to keep up with the post. Bad it dint work out :(

Ramesh said...

@Anon - Aaaah . Tubelight me. Touche madam.

Venkat.. said...

Nan thamila sonna unkaluku puriyanume

Hopfrog said...

Really loved this post and I think this explosion of opinion (and I'm no stranger to voicing opinions) is something I've seen really spread like wildfi.... errr... make that cancer over the past year. There used to be little barriers to entry in commenting on websites that kept out a lot of people who didn't have the attention span to jump those barriers. Now with social media integrated into everything and those barriers down (facebook integration has made commenting barrierless), dialogue has degraded into a virtual shouting match.

I used to really enjoy the user feedback and dialogue that took place in the comments sections of some of the bigger sites, now the comment sections at popular news and sporting sites are worthless. Every uneducated jackal with an opinion has a megaphone now.

Honestly, all the rhetoric and utter worthlessness of it all has driven me away from the world of social media and commenting. Thankfully there are still little corners of the net (like right here) where meaningful conversation still takes place. They are becoming exceedingly rare and I find I am losing the will to wade through all the crap to seek them out.

TheMillionMiler said...

I'm an avid reader of Rediff.com -not for the editorial content (which is mostly trash) but for the comments from aam admi. Even an innocuous 'news' item like VW launching a car will have comments on madaraasi/northie/bong/marathi/muslim/hindu/x'tian/jew/athiests/sonia/advani/obama/putin/marylin monroe/ sachin/dravid/dhoni/commies/capitalists bashing. It is hillarious and simultaneously disgusting to see how low people can descend intellectually.
PS: Henceforth the kiwibloke shall be known by this new name. Now that I'm a Kiwi do'nt have to necessarily assert my allegiance vehemently

Ramesh said...

@Venkat - Not so bad. I'm somewhat challenged, but not hopeless :)

@Hopfrog - Well said. I'm totally off the comments section these days. I am perfectly OK with shouting, crazy views, whatever, as long as they are on topic. But the majority of the comments seem to have nothing to do with the topic - general ranting, cursing, etc etc. I wonder if such commenters have nothing else to do with their lives.

@kiwi - Please change your name back. Millionmiler, despite it being an accurate description of you, doesn't have the same evocative tang of kiwibloke.

Rediff is the worst. I think it attracts all the crazies of India, Pak, etc etc.

Vishal said...

This reminds me of some trash-bashing on youtube in one of the video songs. It was supposed to be a pure romantic song dedicated to God but how can general public resist from throwing s*** at each other? They made an absolute mockery of the feeling behind the song. That was probably first and last day when I went into comment section in an open public website :)

Ramesh said...

@Vishal - Alas Youtube seems to bring our the worst in people. Utter trash some comments are.

Deepa said...

I always go into the comments section after a video or an article. One would be amazed to see the trash or sheer idiocy people can come up with. The most ill-informed are the most eloquent. My pet peeve is when some people cannot spell a thing right, but still cuss in English like they know it!

Reflections said...

Hahahahaaaaa.....there was aphase where I wd religiously go thru all the comments in the mallu movie review section at Sify. U must try it when u r feeling really sad....I guarantee u'll be rofling away to glory.
A little bit of background info before u attempt to decipher the comments...
All fans who write there are either hardcore Mohanlal, Mamoooty or Pritviraj fans. Each cant bear to see the rival actor giving a hit, and resort to base gaalis if they dont like the rival fans' reasoning. If u understand malayalam it gets even more entertaining. I wd laugh so much tht I wd often have to wipe away tears; which reminds its been a long time....;-D

Reflections said...

oh yes agree with the millionmiler....rediff comments are on another level altogether....totally tasteless. These comments totally reduces a forums value...which makes one wonder just how many jobless people are floating around the web just waiting to spread unworthy thoughts & trash in anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes i come here and admire the writing style, humor sense of this blogger and thoughtful comments from elite readers. small question arouse while reading the comments above. if any reader can reply to this genuinely what they feel, i will be happy. (not expecting reply from blogger)

*Is english refers to intelligence?

PS: I am not here to justify the time pass or out of topic commentators on public forum.

hemarao said...

Ha ha ha...
dude, this blogger has stealen a million hearts. why nobody has took any action I dont understand.
He has to be jailed in heaven for life. :):)

Deepa said...

@hemarao: I'd rather have him on Earth, 'coz I am definitely not making it to heaven, if there is one! :D :D

Exkalibur666 said...

Guess the motivation behind such comments differs from person to person and could be as varied as just advertising something to spreading hatred to appearing "cool" . Some others just have nothing better to do :). Downsides of a free world...as usual people further their own agenda in what ever they do..

Ramesh said...

@Deepa - The language of abuse needs no grammar !!

@Reflections - I will now endeavour to be much informed on Mallu movies. Truth be told, I would rather be interested in the legion of incredibly pretty Mallu heroines rather than old, fat, ugly, so called heroes, some of whom you have named :)

@Anon - Touche. Me not responding as requested :)

@Hema - Me preen, preen preen :):)

@Exkalibur - Very true. To each his own and in the land of free speech everything goes. If people like me have objections to this, you only have to read the comments of China daily to realise how awful the alternative is.

Sandhya Sriram said...

given the post was for sensible commentors, i first thought i should keep quiet. but then, i had a very very sensible comment to make here and so here i go :-)

(i) Ramarathinams have to review every comment that is posted on the Internet and if found insensible, track down the person who has posted the comment and punish him with (a) Vegetarian food if belongs to China (b) working on weekends if he belongs to Europe (c) ban marriage if in the middle east (d) sue them for 100 thousand dollars if in the US of A - you may wonder - what in India - you let them be because you cant do anything with any one in this country anyways.

(ii) GILs will publish a Blogging and Blog commenting module which will be part of CBSE and State Board curriculam. we can use Google transilerators if we wish to keep the "Puns" in the local language intact

(iii) Deepa will be forced to write a blog every day and every one reads it compulsarily so that people feel ashamed of insensible blogging after reading the wonderful blogs that she writes.

(iv) and last but not the least - we start a Ravard Business School - R obviously standing for Ramesh. where Ramesh teaches every thing starting from Movies in Africa and Lakme Fashion week to British Oil Spills and Succession stories at banks. the world then will be a much wiser and better place

What say folks!!

Anonymous said...

@ Deepa - thanks for your kind words, cookies let me try for it. i am sure you have the same feel for your mother tongue.

Ramesh said...

@Sandhya - Hahaha. Brilliant ideas except (iv).Actually (i) happens in Chian every day.

hemarao said...

English may not refer to intelligence, but it defintely is the source of some humour.

Some top of mind phrases I can recollect from mails floating at the work place:

One service engineer from the land of Lallu writes - " We shall close all calls by Maundy" - It took me a second to realize he means Monday.

Another employee sends a plea to the team in chaste English - ' Request your valuable extreme time to complete this...blah..blah.."

One more --" I need access to that room as I have stimulated all the records there" - I am yet to make out what this means ..LOL!!

Ramesh said...

@Hema - Ha Ha Ha. But then the originators of such mails are expected to tinker with computers efficiently ; even if that was in Bhojpuri !!