Bottoms Up: Public Discourse Online is Being Hijacked by Morons; Someone Save It

When India’s first mars mission took off, we’d written a rather simple post about it. It went on Hacker News and we saw some civil discussion on it. Comments were mostly around how frugal the mission was and how India’s space scientists were grossly underpaid in comparison to their counterparts at Nasa. Both sides were argued.

All was well.

Then there were some comments like the one below (on The Guardian)

Mangalyaan CommentHere’s the thing, as Kris Ashok pointed out, you don’t need to solve poverty first and then go to space. You can do both at the same time. In fact, much development happens in times of extreme poverty. Post war Germany and Japan are prime examples. There is no reason why India can’t go to space even if there are children defecating in public as long as one is not at the cost of the other.

 

But that’s not what I’m really leading to. We started seeing many comments like this:Mangalyaan CommentSample another instance: When Pranav Mistry launched the Samsung smart watch and the new Galaxy phone many articles were written about it. But then, the vexing comments started flowing in. There were people making fun of his accent. You might want to read what Ashish had written about it.

Here’s one more: In a much publicized development, 141 year old publication Popular Science disabled comments on their site. This is what they had to say:

But even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story, recent research suggests.

This has started happening a little too much.

Simply put, public discourse is being hijacked by a minority of morons and this needs to stop. If you have something to say, don’t be a coward. Say it and be sure to own up to it. People will respect you for that.

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