“I don’t know about you but whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bit where the comments reside. Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the internet those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining,” he added, getting into his stride and echoing comments made by fellow comedian David Mitchell earlier this year about the standard of online commentary.
There are many perfectly reasonable remarks put online, and others that are only bland or harmlessly nonsensical, but if there’s one thing the internet demonstrates it’s that a lot of angry people can read. Their writing, on the other hand, needs work. If you’re in any doubt, go to ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com which provides a hilarious selection of the most illiterate, prejudiced and irate posts from the BBC’s Have Your Say site. It not only makes me laugh, it makes me angry at what people write, thus providing a moment’s insight into what it feels like to be a member of the incensed posting community.
I reckon I’ve got off pretty lightly from online comments (until now) but still, whenever I indulge in a drunken self-googling, I inevitably find, among the compliments or fair criticism, a smattering of remarks that are eye-wateringly personal, mean, hate-filled and unforgettable. There’s always someone who reads my column or watches a TV show I’m in and doesn’t just disagree or dislike it but reacts as if I’ve stamped on their foot and punched their mother.