The awfulness of online commenting

I remember hearing David Karp from Tumblr explain why he didn’t build comments into Tumblr.

Here’s an excerpt from a Forbes article:

Reblogs on Tumblr, one of the unique features of the blogging platform, were designed as a way to solve the “awfulness” of online commenting.

“We racked our brains figuring out what to do instead of commenting,” Karp said. “We realized we needed some mechanism for feedback… To say something you had to have your own soapbox over here and take what I say and you wrap your commentary around it. You’re not allowed to just show up and say I’m a jerk. It’s much harder to twist my words.”

It seems like Medium took a page out of Tumblr’s playbook to make commenting a little more humane. You have to take the time to compose a response using your own profile rather than just leaving a comment at the end of someone else’s post.

It’s no surprise that people on the Internet can be jerks.

The difference is Medium has a homepage that drives a lot of views, unlike Tumblr. And the homepage seems to be dominated by extremes — either extremely positive or extremely critical.

There’s a war going on to win Medium’s newsfeed. And for every popular post, there’s an equal and opposite backlash.

Educator. Podcast addict. Wrote a book about creativity:

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