Why Online Comments are So Polarized


In this five-minute video, Ze Frank posits a theory about why online comments are so overwhelmingly positive or negative. Ze is a guy who has done tons of work online (primarily video, but also interactive group projects), and is currently posting videos several times a week, many of which receive lots of feedback...and most of that feedback is hyper-polarized, loving or hating, to the point that one commenter recently suggested he'd like to punch Ze in the face because Ze's voice is so annoying. As a fellow guy who makes internet things and posts them every day, I can relate to this issue -- though I don't recall the comments ever getting super nasty here on Mental Floss (y'all are great; it's the YouTube commenters who scare me). So, if you have five minutes to think about why online comments are what they are, and what we should and should not do about it, here's Ze Frank's "Face Punch":

Sample quote: "A lot of people have violent thoughts, and as long as those thoughts stay thoughts, and they don't become obsessive, it's actually pretty normal. ... I think of those punch-you-in-the-face comments as somewhere in between thinking a thing and saying it in public."