Good comments on the internet are like excellent supporting actors. Sometimes they can make such a difference, they'll steal the show. You may have clicked on a YouTube video by theneedledrop, but you're giving a like to one of his subscribers joking about the guy's bald head.
So it comes as no surprise that there's an entire Instagram account dedicated to this art. Called Comment Awards, it shares the most creative and funniest observations people have made online. Continue scrolling to check out its top posts! And, of course, don't forget to comment on them.
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When folks at FiveThirtyEight asked 8,500 internet commenters why do they do what they do, the answers, people gave a wide range of answers.
"Our respondents' reasons for commenting mirror the results of a recent survey of 600 news commenters by Talia Jomini Stroud and her colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin's Engaging News Project," Christie Aschwanden wrote in FiveThirtyEight. "In their survey, the top three reasons that people gave for commenting were 'to express an emotion or opinion,' 'to add information' or 'to correct inaccuracies or misinformation.'"
Certain stories, however, generate a disproportionate number of comments, and after years of being on the receiving end of comments, Aschwanden has formed a theory: the subjects most likely to elicit impassioned responses are those that feel personal to the reader (a real-life experience with the subject has made them feel like an expert) and those that hit on identity in some way.
"[My insight is] based on something a newspaper reporter in Boulder told me many years ago," Aschwanden explained. "Back then, readers were still mailing letters to the editor, and they had a seemingly endless appetite to debate two things: who was at fault in conflicts between cars and bikes and whether dogs should be allowed to run unleashed on city trails."
To test this theory, Aschwanden asked the people who took the survey about the circumstances that made them most likely to comment.
"The answers lent at least some support to the bikes-and-dogs theory. But respondents’ reasons were more complex than my one, unified theory; commenters were also driven by a desire to provide their own information or to argue against an idea they disagreed with."
At the end of the day, commenters want the same thing as us publishers — to be heard. So if they have something to say, we're glad they can do so on our platform.