Thursday, October 22, 2009

Want Upvotes? Just Add Sarcasm.

So in class on Tuesday we were talking about how sometimes the more sarcastic or humorous comments recieved more upvotes, so I thought I'd post the link to that "fat-ism" post on Reddit for an example of it. =]

Here's the link of the comments, to start off with:

This was a comment posted by karate_jesus which seriously responded to those blaming McDonald's and all for obesity rates in America, which now has about 98 upvotes:

"karate_jesus 98 points 2 days ago[-]

If anyone here actually ever went to poor neighborhoods they'd realize that these people aren't eating McDonald's for every meal but rather buying giant sacks of white rice, bags of beans, big things of oil, and white bread. They drink soda or kool-aid because it's cheaper than milk. They buy chicken legs and fry them because with 4 dollars you can feed 10 people.

Fresh fruit doesn't fill you up, nor does it have enough calories to sustain you for 12 hour shifts at a gas station. Also it expires.

It's not as if all the poor people in America have figured out how to be lazy, stupid, and unhealthy. It's probably more of one of those situational/environmental things. But if you want a term for what you all seem to be victim of, it's called the Fundamental Attribution Error."

And here is the comparison of some of the comments with hundreds of upvotes:

"gmick 401 points 2 days ago[-]

No, Mr. Fatass, we don't know the reason for your heart attack nor your onset of diabetes. Even if we did, you wouldn't listen, so just keep shoving that processed food and fat down your gullet and racking up medical bills. We'll be right here if you ever don't want to hear what's wrong."

"andbruno 140 points 2 days ago* [-]

This line in particular pissed me off:

Protesters want the UK to follow San Francisco, where a law bans "fat-ism" in housing and employment and stops doctors pressing patients to slim down.

What's next? Forcing doctors to not tell cancer patients to stop smoking?

The UK is like a parody of a nation. Every story like this makes me less likely to believe that you people actually exist, and you aren't some sort of world-scale Rickroll. I mean I expect this kind of idiocy from San Fran, because those people are nuts."

"GeoManCam 307 points 3 days ago[-]

See, the problem with that is you can't help what race or sex is, but being fat is almost completely your fault."

And there are numerous other comments that you can look at which have a decent amount of upvotes that follow the pattern of being cynical or angry towards this article/people who support it. I think it's interesting that this phenomena of upvoting the less serious comments happens a lot more in controversial articles, or articles on a serious matter, as opposed to say, a funny picture which gets posted. What do you guys think?


  1. You finish with a very interesting question. Do controversial articles cultivate more cynical commentary. I think this might be true to the extent that posters believe there is a sizable population of readers that will approve of their disapproval and or critique. McAdams on esteem norms provides a framework for understanding this dynamic, and also why those folks would rush to post early, since early posts will be read more, and thus will cultivate extra approval rewards. Does that make sense?

  2. Wow. I think this really shows how being mean and nasty on the internet is really commonly accepted--in this case, even encouraged. On the upside, a good dose of skepticism is always good...and glad that at least that is increasing.

    The other day, I was watching a YouTube video and perusing the comments, and this girl commented and said, "My boyfriend just broke up with me via an AIM message...this was our song." Instead of the sarcasm and meanness most seen on YouTube, people were actually REALLY supportive. It's kind of sad, but I actually read the comments again to look for a hint of sarcasm...and there wasn't any. It completely surprised me. Weird that seeing mean comments has become the norm...

  3. To answer the question at the bottom of the post, I think that mean/sarcastic comments are made more towards serious than funny articles because people attach more emotion to controversial articles than a passing video.

    I feel like a lot of these people responded to the "fat" article negatively as a result of their personal feelings or associations with the issue. It's harder to get defensive or self-righteous over a silly youtube video.