What is the deal with Yahoo comments? (And other news sites)

iBlazed

macrumors 68000
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Feb 27, 2014
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I've noticed that it's impossible to have a discussion on Yahoo comments or many other news sites because the entire site is now troll bait for the extremist right wing. There is nothing left on the comments to every single article except racist, myogynistic, homophobic, and generally idiotic comments. Some of them get very vile and threatening. Every article turns into an anti-Obama rant. What is the deal with these people? Do they actually hold these views in real life? Are they paid by right wing propaganda sources? I have a hard time wrapping my head around these people, how high of a percentage of our society do they actually represent? It's kinda scary. I actually had one user tell me they hope we have another civil war so they can shoot liberals like me and my family in the face.

Obviously it's totally anonymous, so any threat cannot possibly be directed at you personally so it's easy to laugh it off. But what the hell is going on with the web? It's like a giant convention of mentally ill people.
 
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citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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I've noticed that it's impossible to have a discussion on Yahoo comments or many other news sites because the entire site is now troll bait for the extremist right wing. There is nothing left on the comments to every single article except racist, myogynistic, homophobic, and generally idiotic comments. Some of them get very vile and threatening. Every article turns into an anti-Obama rant. What is the deal with these people? Do they actually hold these views in real life? Are they paid by right wing propaganda sources? I have a hard time wrapping my head around these people, how high of a percentage of our society do they actually represent? It's kinda scary. I actually had one user tell me they hope we have another civil war so they can shoot liberals like me and my family in the face.

Obviously it's totally anonymous, so any threat cannot possibly be directed at you personally so it's easy to laugh it off. But what the hell is going on with the web? It's like a giant convention of mentally ill people.
Abandon ship.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
13,988
Well Yahoo's user base is almost identical, demographically speaking, as Fox News' demo...

Seriously, who under 50 uses Yahoo? :confused:

(this isn't to be snarky, I worked for the GeekSquad for two years and saw this trend time and again. Anyone under 40 tends to laugh at Yahoo in the same way they laugh at AOL. Over that age and its really just become part of their internet routine)
 

iBlazed

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I'm 25 but yahoo has become a habit for me. But even if its the same demographic as fox news, I have a hard time believing that a majority of fox news viewers are that vile. I mean these commenters really seem mentally unstable...
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
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Not every place is a coddled "safe place" like macrumors.

Venturing outside the wire can be eye opening.
 

ElectronGuru

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Sep 5, 2013
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MR has two features. Users are self selected (awesome geeks in this case) and comments are moderated. Yahoo is not moderated and apparently self selects to something less good.

If you want to see some worthwhile article comments, check out the Economist.
 
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yg17

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Aug 1, 2004
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Not every place is a coddled "safe place" like macrumors.

Venturing outside the wire can be eye opening.
It's not that Yahoo's commenters are just more conservative. They tend to be more like "MAOBAMA IS A MARXIST MUSLIM KENYAN AND THE DUMOCRATS ARE GOING TO TAKE ALL OF OUR GUNS AND SEND US TO CONCENTRATION CAMPS TO BRAINWASH US AND FURTHER THEIR SOCIALIST AGENDA!!!!!!!" They are completely irrational human beings.
 
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iBlazed

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It's not that Yahoo's commenters are just more conservative. They tend to be more like "MAOBAMA IS A MARXIST MUSLIM KENYAN AND THE DUMOCRATS ARE GOING TO TAKE ALL OF OUR GUNS AND SEND US TO CONCENTRATION CAMPS TO BRAINWASH US AND FURTHER THEIR SOCIALIST AGENDA!!!!!!!" They are completely irrational human beings.
Yeah, I mean we're talking about a place where you can call Rush Limbaugh a RINO and get thousands of thumbs up. You can also call Putin an amazing leader and say that we need someone like him in the US instead of "Obummer" and have the most highly rated comment on the story.
 
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vrDrew

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Jan 31, 2010
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Reading the comments section of many, many websites can be, shall we say, dispiriting. Whatever pride or hope we may have for ourselves as a society and as a species quickly evaporates in a torrent of poorly spelled idiocy.

But take heart. The vile nonsense you see in internet comments sections is not the norm. Most people really don't think that way. The sort of person who seeks to give themselves some sort of self-validation by wildly criticizing Tim Cook or Barack Obama, Taylor Swift or Tom Brady is doing so out of a deeply-ingrained sense of self-loathing. Disappointed in their own achievements or their own characters they lash out at people who have achieved notable and visible success.

This is not to suggest that all criticism is false. Obviously as human beings Mr Cook and President Obama have their faults, and their policies may well fail to meet expectations.

But I think most intelligent people can tell the difference between legitimate critique and analysis, and the sort of mindless screed that populates the Yahoo News comments section.
 

Tsuchiya

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2008
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Ah yes, I'm with you OP. It's like old MSN news article comments.

You lose faith in humanity just a little bit.
 

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2010
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I do think that this type “TROLLING” is a phenomena which is seen all around the Western world, where an internet site let you enrol anonymously. As in daily life these types of comments would cause the user to be called to account, but on the internet they can go all out.
Some years ago here in Europe one of the sites was “HACKED” , putting faces to usernames, the majority were between the ages of 15-26 years, had on average only a high school education. There was however a small but hard core group of users who were 30-50 years old and peddled their hate as a kind of religion. These are the type, who hate PC, think all immigrants are criminal, foreign aid is a waste of resources. Some of the Right Wing Hate groups recruit using these sites, but of course mostly the site is used to let off steam, in a very NON PC manner.
 
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thekev

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Not every place is a coddled "safe place" like macrumors.

Venturing outside the wire can be eye opening.
I wouldn't say that. Some sites tend to be more civil than others. I don't find trolling on certain sites to parallel real conversation or meaningful discussion.
 

iBlazed

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Original poster
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But take heart. The vile nonsense you see in internet comments sections is not the norm. Most people really don't think that way. The sort of person who seeks to give themselves some sort of self-validation by wildly criticizing Tim Cook or Barack Obama, Taylor Swift or Tom Brady is doing so out of a deeply-ingrained sense of self-loathing. Disappointed in their own achievements or their own characters they lash out at people who have achieved notable and visible success.


But I think most intelligent people can tell the difference between legitimate critique and analysis, and the sort of mindless screed that populates the Yahoo News comments section.
That's certainly an optimistic view, and I truly hope that you're right. But keep in mind these extremist idiotic comments get literally THOUSANDS of thumbs up. It's very disheartening.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
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That's certainly an optimistic view, and I truly hope that you're right. But keep in mind these extremist idiotic comments get literally THOUSANDS of thumbs up. It's very disheartening.
Yahoo's forums have been a place frequented by trolls and other ne'er-do-wells for some time now...

Yahoo's news site (news.yahoo.com) started around 2000, if I remember correctly. I don't think it had message boards originally, but seems like I remember them being added within a few years. Yahoo's forums soon became a troll's paradise...

By 2006, Yahoo closed their forums, and began a project to rebuild their message comment system. At the time Yahoo said:

As they were set up, the Yahoo! News message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion. In addition, related discussions from similar news articles were not easily linked. Over the next few months, we plan to offer new discussion forums based on topics in the news and incorporating the latest features to foster a better discussion for all of our readers.
 
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iBlazed

macrumors 68000
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By 2006, Yahoo closed their forums, and began a project to rebuild their message comment system. At the time Yahoo said:

As they were set up, the Yahoo! News message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion. In addition, related discussions from similar news articles were not easily linked. Over the next few months, we plan to offer new discussion forums based on topics in the news and incorporating the latest features to foster a better discussion for all of our readers.
That went well...
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
1,755
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Hawaii, USA
I read CNN rather than Yahoo, but often feel the same way. I suspect there are two phenomena occurring.

First, there's a change in internet demographics. I'd imagine that most of us here have used the internet for communication purposes for a long time now; I know I started in the late 1990's. The types of people who had internet access and who used the internet to discuss things were not representative of mainstream society at the time. As internet access became more widespread and accepted, the demographics of the internet began to change. It began to reflect society as a whole, as opposed to just those with an interest in technology.

Second, there is another form of self-selection occurring along with the shift in demographics. People are coming online who don't observe etiquette online (and perhaps offline, but we'll never really know). The whole aspect of anonymity may be new to them, too, which only amps up their attitude. They spew their hatred in a rude manner, serving to attract and energize others who agree with them while simultaneously driving away those who would prefer a calmer, more civil discourse. Just as the wealthy tend to avoid settling in slums, why would someone seeking intelligent discussion spend their time among such commenters? I occasionally see people doing it, and I've done it myself a few times, but it is always unrewarding. There is no connection of understanding, no intellectual honesty. At the end of the day, it is easier and faster for them to type a snide one- or two-line insult and disagreement than it is for me to take the time to write a post that provides information and explanation.

The question of "why is it the right wing" is an interesting one. It's likely because they feel persecuted. The "conservative" mindset tends to yearn for the perceived past greatness and shuns changes that they perceive move away from that. The world is a place that is constantly changing, so their fears aren't simple paranoia. They're speaking out regardless.

Who knows? It might be even simpler than that. Many of these individuals may simply hold such despicable views, and align with what ever group seems to tolerate them (or comes closes to matching them).
 

xShane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2012
814
37
United States
I've noticed that it's impossible to have a discussion on Yahoo comments or many other news sites because the entire site is now troll bait for the extremist right wing. There is nothing left on the comments to every single article except racist, myogynistic, homophobic, and generally idiotic comments. Some of them get very vile and threatening. Every article turns into an anti-Obama rant. What is the deal with these people? Do they actually hold these views in real life? Are they paid by right wing propaganda sources? I have a hard time wrapping my head around these people, how high of a percentage of our society do they actually represent? It's kinda scary. I actually had one user tell me they hope we have another civil war so they can shoot liberals like me and my family in the face.

Obviously it's totally anonymous, so any threat cannot possibly be directed at you personally so it's easy to laugh it off. But what the hell is going on with the web? It's like a giant convention of mentally ill people.
You know, it's funny, because I just finished clicking through the "interesting" articles on Yahoo!.

Many times, I'll click certain articles because I know the comments section will be flooded with right-wing crazies. I almost want to make myself some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy reading the comments.

For example, I was reading the Chile tsunami article today, and I was reading many religious-based comments on how the end is coming (hmm?).

But it's also quite fun to just read all the complaining comments on various other articles. From my reading experiences, I'd say most of it is anti-black and anti-gay. I'd say after that, I read a lot of comments on how previous generations were so perfect, but now we have no family values (more buzz words?) and we're the entitlement generation (what?).
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
1,492
361
Oregon, USA
The question of "why is it the right wing" is an interesting one. It's likely because they feel persecuted. The "conservative" mindset tends to yearn for the perceived past greatness and shuns changes that they perceive move away from that. The world is a place that is constantly changing, so their fears aren't simple paranoia. They're speaking out regardless.
Great post. It may be that they see and want to stop change but it may also be part of a larger strategy. If people are getting laid off because of shrinking sales or automation, it's a lot easier to blame immigrants for 'taking' those jobs then to stand up and explain what actually happened. So too, if liberals are out to get you, anything useful a liberal might say is easier to dismiss.

It also ties in nicely with religious persecution. Time was, Christians were a persecuted minority, coming to the US for religious freedom. It doesn't matter that we now dominate the landscape, letting go of that mindset would mean letting go of a powerful political tool. The ability to get people to vote against their own larger economic interest, in the name of a small cultural one.
 

xShane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2012
814
37
United States
Great post. It may be that they see and want to stop change but it may also be part of a larger strategy. If people are getting laid off because of shrinking sales or automation, it's a lot easier to blame immigrants for 'taking' those jobs then to stand up and explain what actually happened. So too, if liberals are out to get you, anything useful a liberal might say is easier to dismiss.

It also ties in nicely with religious persecution. Time was, Christians were a persecuted minority, coming to the US for religious freedom. It doesn't matter that we now dominate the landscape, letting go of that mindset would mean letting go of a powerful political tool. The ability to get people to vote against their own larger economic interest, in the name of a small cultural one.
The way I see it, is that it's only a matter of time until the majority of physical labor jobs are mostly, or even completely automated. Society will have to advance and new job fields will have to be found and/or prioritized.
 

sim667

macrumors 65816
Dec 7, 2010
1,365
2,834
Not every place is a coddled "safe place" like macrumors.

Venturing outside the wire can be eye opening.
Id always thought of macrumors to be pretty right wing too to be honest. :confused:

Maybe I'm just way too far gone the other way :D