The original intent of the comments section--a place for readers to respond to content and start a dialog between author and audience--works fabulously in some circumstances. Some blogs have dozens of thoughtful, well reasoned comments cropping up at the bottom of each post. But as sites become larger and more popular, and as the audiences become less knowledgeable and more general, comments sections frequently devolve into a 200 car pile-up of stupid. Writing regularly for Cracked, I've gotten pretty used to seeing the regular types of commenting idiots. People who yell "First." People who yell other ordinal numbers. Spell checkers. People who post entire essays. Anyone segueing into something not in the article, especially articles that aren't about Ron Paul. People who post "Meh." Ron Paul.
(Less frequent, but appreciated all the more for their rarity, are my favorite types of commenters: Nude co-eds. People who post '8===D' and nothing else. Naughty co-eds.)
To see how commenter intelligence varies across different sites, I've created a scientifical method of analysis. By choosing a single story that multiple sites have reported on--The Development of Flesh Eating Robots--I'd be able to observe how different communities respond to the same stimulus. I'm actually pretty proud of this experiment: It's easily the most scientific thing Cracked has done since DOB had sex with that vacuum cleaner.
A brief synopsis of the Flesh Eating Robot story for those of you who've been in your robot shelters the past few weeks: Scientists working for the U.S. Government have created a robot that is capable of harvesting organic materials (plants, animals...... AND MAN
-record scratch-) and burning it as fuel for its engine. Yesterday, the CEO of the company observed that the machine would not be harvesting dead bodies, remarking, "We completely understand the public's concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population." I'd like to imagine he continued: "Now please put your weapons down," but none of the linked articles can confirm that.
Anyways, here's what our selected Internet communities thought of this:
Digg is one of a few popular link aggregators on the Web these days. Users of the site submit their favorite Cracked articles, then everyone votes to see whether the community enjoys it, or only loves it. Sometimes non-Cracked articles are also submitted, much to everyone's embarrassment.
The comments below are typical: people making weak references to pop culture; people yelling about the main stream media; and a couple of guys posting in binary for no particular reason.
(Just thought of a reason: their mom's nursed them on Kahlua?) Also keep an eye out for a guy screeching about how we're all being sterilized by fluoride in the water supply. What that has to do with vegetarian, flesh-eating robots is beyond me, so honestly crazy guy, I think we should try and tackle one problem at a time here.
Sample Comments on the Flesh Eating Robot StoryRyokuchaa
“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO.
These aren't the droids you're looking for.
So... Fox News has once again kept us safe... from flesh-eating zombie robots... oh... and the "homosexual agenda" too!!!
01000010 01010010 01000001 01001001 01001110 01010011 00100001
It's never the mission to create flesh eating robots, it's just something that happens along the way to creating Skynet.
lol what complete and bold faced lie to all of you. This company put out a PDF on the EATR outlining just how great it was that it can consume and burn any organic material including humans (which provide the greatest energy return) to power the robot with its external combustion engine. Stop being such simple minded sheep and trusting everything these skynet clone companies tell you
Their goal is profit margin and military contract not public safety and concern. Wake the fuck up from your brainwashed slumber, pull the jack out of the back of your head and open your eyes to the real world around you already.
om nom nom?
for every veggie the robot eats, i am going to eat 3 robot cows!
Rating: 5/10 Stupids.
I think Digg got off easy here. I've seen these ass-necks act way dumber than this--during the election, the stupid hung thick in the air every time Hillary Clinton's ritualistic orphan murder habit was mentioned
Reddit's sort of like Digg, in the sense that user submitted links get voted up or down depending on whether the attached image contains nipple or just sidebreast.
Sample Comments on the Flesh Eating Robot Story
Nice try robot... we know the inventors have been eaten.
U R MEAN
Robots that can EAT YOU. I picture a tank driving through a crowd, picking people up by the throat with the claw and holding them over the burner. Then it uses the chainsaw to lop of parts of it's victim so they fall into the burner, all the while the person is alive watching the flesh be consumed to fuel the machine that is still in the act of tearing them apart. The best part is you could throw kids right in without even chopping them up first. Hell you wouldn't even need them to be dead.
"It's" is a contraction of "it is."
"Its" is the possessive form
Snark's right, "its boiler" is it, it's not "it's".
no its not
STEAMPUNK STEAMPUNK LITERALLY EVERYTHING IN THE FUCKING WORLD IS STEAMPUNK. STEAMPUNK OWNS FUCK YASE STEAMPUNK STTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Once again, this is being taken completely too far, without proper context. Technically the title is not incorrect, but pretty damn close.
This thing runs off of a biomass boiler. Now, I'm sure you all understand how a boiler works; heat+water=steam. The steam would be used to power the machine. Now, how does one create heat? Burning things. What is burned? Combustibles aka biomass. Namely wood. If you look at the designs on the claw, there is an attached chainsaw. That is because the main source of fuel for this bad boy will be wood. Technically bodies could be used, but quite frankly they are not going to burn with the consistency and intensity needed to keep that boiler going. I have literally not seen a single link to this on reddit which does not claim this thing will be fueled by bodies; technically possible, but far from the ideal fuel.
As long as the ambulance version puts patient life above hunger, I'm cool with it.
Rating: 4/10 Stupids.
A modest amount of stupid, tempered by one impossibly levelheaded comment. I'd have given them a better mark, but Reddit never links my articles, so fuck 'em.
Slashdot is a technology oriented news website that is widely read by people with food in their keyboards. Given its computer related angle, the users in general are relatively educated, but as with most computer people, they do have strange cares. Simpsons quotes abound, and you won't find a single thread on this site where someone doesn't take a swipe at Microsoft.
Sample Comments on the Flesh Eating Robot Storyelrous0
It also doesn't say who exactly is supposed to ENFORCE the conventions if someone breaks them.
The machines will enforce the conventions.
What's the difference between having a robot eat the guy, and leaving the guy to be eaten by the crows, coyotes, vultures, or whatever other detrivores are common place wherever you are.
Go read some philosophy and/or spirituality if you really want an answer to that (or just debate on it). It's WAY out of scope for this discussion, and frankly, it's something I expect civilised people to have already studied somewhat.
Maybe he can be allowed to eat the dead only for recreational purpose. :)
"I for one welcome our flesh eatin robot overlords."
Never thought I'd see a post where that lame meme was apropo...
Ukab the Great
"Company Denies Its Robots Feed On The Dead"
-- Insert Microsoft Employees Joke Here --
Rating: 2/10 Stupids.
I like the one prick who goes off about what he expects "civilized people" to have studied. That's one hell of a prick. But aside from him, the lame Simpsons reference and the even lamer acknowledgment of the
Simpsons reference, there's nothing terribly stupid about Slashdot at all--aside from the fact that there's people who really really care which version of the GPL a certain batch of Linux drivers are being published under. Seriously guys, you should get out a little more. Go find yourself a nice naked lady website or something.
The GuardianThe Guardian is a respected English newspaper with an active website and online community. Because of their close proximity to the Queen, I assumed that English commenters would generally have better control over their spelling and grammatical structure than those of us in the colonies. That was generally the case (I only counted one LOL) but the English do have their quirks. Huge swathes of the comments were taken up by bizarre references to old English comic book characters and lengthy diatribes about how much George Bush sucked. Interestingly, very few commenters saw fit to mention how their asses were bailed out in WWII. Bizarre.
Sample Comments on the Flesh Eating Robot Storycbarr
It looks almost like a big skatboard with an arm i wonder if thats to lure in children?
Trust the yanks to reinvent the goat.
"You have to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel indigestible?' Well, do you, punk?"
All the same, I'm slathering my buttocks in Marmite in the hope it'll give me a 50-50 chance.
Rating: 1/10 Stupids.
Well I had to look up a half dozen different words (I'm pretty sure Marmite is a joke) to even understand these comments, so I'd be hard pressed to say these guys were stupider than me.
Yahoo! has the largest audience of any site listed here, so using my More Commenters = Stupider Comments theory, that implies Yahoo! is the dumbest site on the Internet. Unfortunately, Yahoo! no longer allows comments on news articles, as they stripped out the feature some time ago, possibly because by pouring current events into the fiery crucible of the Yahoo! community, a molten wave of stupid could have swept o'er the land. Because Yahoo! isn't willing to play fair in this comments analysis, I decided I wouldn't play fair either. For Yahoo!'s entry then, I went straight to the dampest crevice of stupidity the Internet has ever seen: Yahoo! Answers. Here's what I found when I searched for
"eating robots."Asked by Barney Purple Behemoth
Is the behemoth in Job 40 a dinosaur or some sort of big tailed grass eating Voltron robot?
Asked by ~
Which films do find a robot eating metal?
Asked by Abe
how much Zinc can you eat before you turn into a robot?
Asked by codianne99
What was the name of a '70s robot cartoon with robot named Crunch?
Asked by Diffin
My 5 year old cousin loves to eat happy meals at McDonalds and collect the Robot toys?
Asked by ohbobsaget
Will you miss your heart when robot Bruce rips if from your chest and eats it?
Asked by Ella M
Anyone know that Christimas song about a robot coming to dinner and eating the knives and forks?
Asked by Darth Nihilus
If theoretically, Adam and Eve had never eaten from the Tree, would humans all be little robots?
Asked by Ponygal
Okay this sounds insane but it is true. I was out in the park and i found a baby prehistoric dinosaur/robot?
Rating: 10/10 Stupids.
For all the other websites, I picked through 50-100 comments to find the dumbest, funniest, most insightful, etc. comments. For Yahoo! Answers, every single "eating robot" question asked was fucking insane. I could have filled a list a thousand Internets long with the bubbling horseshit which poured out of my screen. I especially like the people who think putting a question mark on the end of a sentence makes it a question. Although not as much as I love the concept of "robot Bruce."
And now to enlist your help, dedicated and gullible reader! With more than 1000 websites on the Internet today, it would be impossible for me to survey them all. That's while I'll make you do the work for me! Are there any particularly stupid places on the Internet that I overlooked? The kind of website where dogs start to bark at the computer when you browse them? Let me know in the comments below. I totally promise not to be dismissive of everything you write there!