Why are internet comments almost always stupid?

Since comments can be about anything and not just politics I put this here.


How does it come that when you are reading comments for something, like a youtube video or a new story or whatever, that most of the comments are just some stupid nonsense?

I know lots of stupid people exist, but most people aren't this dumb. So what gives? Why are there more stupid comments then not-stupid comments?

Also, forums are not the same since forum replies aren't really "comments" per say, I think.



Take this, kind sir. You've more than earned it.


I expect someone should call the Mods, perhaps. The question posed by the OP seems to have been answered quite neatly.

TopazFusion sort of summed it up. But yeah... a lot of people haven't got anything constructive to say. That of course does not stop them.

dat snip

Yeah, this.
Add to this the lack of anything constructive to say, and you've basically summed up comments in general.

I'm not sure I could chalk it up to 100% anonymity. Does the presence of mods counteract that? I've thought about this a bit lately, and I wonder if in youtube's case there's just a shitload of trolls. I believe this because if I thought 3/4 of the world was illiterate, racist, sexist, and so on, then I would be "Edgy McEdgerson, edger of happy hedges". "For the lulz" is an excuse that lets me retain my sanity. For example, if fuckwad theory applies, the removal of mods would essentially turn this place into a cesspool unworthy of logical conversation. Some forums where doctors discuss diagnoses probably doesn't deal with a whole lot of "NO U".

I think I may just be overthinking the hell out of this, I dunno.

I dont think its anonymity..I think people really are that stupid/awful

It's also relatable to a George Carlin bit about driving; where anyone driving slower than you is an asshole and anyone going faster is a maniac. Perception plays a big part.


Ahh, I wanted to do that.

I think it's just a mix of anonymity and people trying to act like something they're not (funny, cool, whatever else) and it just back firing horribly or likely just trolls hoping to get people to react to the stupidity.

Though for some they are just that stupid.

Because it's people who are writing these comments, large groups of people in fact. To quote MIB "A person is smart, people are dumb, panicky, and jump to conclusions."

About half of it is yourself and unconsciously feeling that your beliefs gained from your experiences are better than the other person's, especially when no reasoning is given in support of an opinion; such differences are often cultural. On top of that, a good amount of people here are actually children who's experiences mostly involve being lied to by others and thus is stupid. Finally, it may just be me but I feel like the internet is a more vocal place, especially in the comment section.

It's because of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Your sample size is self-selecting toward the lower ranges of intelligence.

Well, look a politics. About half of your nation supports the other side, who are obviously wrong.

I dont think its anonymity..I think people really are that stupid/awful

Exactly, but the anonymity allows them to do it with rather little consequence.
I think comments are the innermost feelings of the people posting them, with the thinking before saying thing stripped away (though some do indeed think before typing). The presence of consequence typically filters out the garbage (Youtube is a cesspit of filth whereas the Escapist is quite the opposite due to the presence of mods and strict rules).

I actually wonder what a trained psychologist worth their salt could garner from a person based on the content of their posts...I tend to imagine those who lack proper punctuation and grammar skills as extroverted individuals with ADHD. When I actually meet them face to face, I'm mostly right.

It's because of this . . .

Basically, because of the anonymity the internet provides, people (for whatever reason) find themselves saying less-than-intelligent things, that they wouldn't normally say to a person IRL.

I take issue with that theory, it's more like most poeple are very good at hiding the fact that they are dickwads. Only with anonymity are they free to show their true colors.

Many normal people still behave normally online, and many nice people still behave like nice people online.

To test your comment about internet comments almost always being stupid I decided to use the random article function on Wikipedia. I then youtube'd the name of the article I got. It was Algonquian. I clicked the very first video and was greeted with this:

I immediately scrolled down to the comment section to see if there were more stupid comments than not. As you can see, the majority of the comments are not actually stupid but rather quite heartfelt.

I'd repeat this a few thousand times to get a good sample but I don't have the time or energy.

I guessing though that we usually are around comments that are about video games or movies. These, from what I can tell, seem to draw the most stupid comments. I'm sure other areas of the internet are not like that as demonstrated by the Manwi video.

Also, everything Topaz said.

It's because of this . . .


Basically, because of the anonymity the internet provides, people (for whatever reason) find themselves saying less-than-intelligent things, that they wouldn't normally say to a person IRL.

Also many of the people who comment on Youtube and such don't have a very good handle of English so most can't properly express what they want to, regardless of it's complexity.

Actually, most people are legitimately idiots when it comes to things they don't understand. Or they're uncomfortable. So they usually make wise cracks, or make stupid posts knowing they know nothing, just to add to the conversation. Anonymity plays a part. People care about their RL reputations, but the reality is, they're stupid and the internet is a good place for them to air their stupidity and be not be judged as a human being directly.

That about sums it up for me. Anonymity and an Audience are optional and can be removed from the GIFT equation. A normal average person just isn't that bright and half the population is even less intelligent.

We good people here at the Escapist are, naturally, the exception and far above said average. It's kind of insulting actually that we have to share the same internet with those people come to think of it.

A good portion of the population are, in point of fact, idiots. The internet just allows them to gather and express their views.

I think it's just people acting and not having to face the consequences. Of course with social networking sites like twitter and Facebook this is completely wrong but some people are just too stupid to realize it.
I see it as the person's truer-self, they are able to act however they like without consequences.

Unfortunately... well you know the rest...

I dont think its anonymity..I think people really are that stupid/awful

I got to go with this too
I think anonymity brings out the shitface in some people when facing an opponent but for just normal comments...
But there are stupid people out there

It totally depends on the community you're talking about. There are loads of less well known communities out there that can be highly intelligent in their comments, such as the WELL for example. It really does depend on the site you're on.

I go with SeaCalMaster's explanation. Not only are the comments by the dumber dumber, they don't realise their comments aren't useful or witty, so they write it. Whereas those with the insight to think if a comment has any point, or to check their spelling, refrain from commenting. The comments from the stupid are disproportionality represented and stand out because of their stupidity.

Myself, I just automatically skip anything that is badly spelled, uses leet language, uses excessive block capitals or not structured into paragraphs. Even the stupid, or foreigners who are bad at English, can have a good point but life is too short to sift through muck.

In my job i get to see alot of strangers attempting to function politely in society and failing, i'd say as a random guess it's 20% of people i see who can manage it.
I use that as a guide for how awful people are.

The answer: Because they can (...without being judged or any other type of consequence)


I know lots of stupid people exist, but most people aren't this dumb. So what gives? Why are there more stupid comments then not-stupid comments?


You used 'then' when the correct word would be 'than'.

OT: The reason is a mixture between a lot of people being stupid, anonymity meaning you can say things without having to think things through and people trying to stir up arguments for the sake of it.

There is also the fact that most people who have something decent to say tend to refrain from doing so if they see everybody else making themselves look like morons.

Take the Bioware forums for example. They look atrocious because those who have something valid to say often get shouted down by the morons, meaning that less people with something worthsaying feel the need to bother.

I dont think its anonymity..I think people really are that stupid/awful


Keep in mind people, that its very comnon for some sites to use facebook to post comments. When people post with their facebook their name and sometimes even their faces appear with their comments.

49.99% of the population is below-average intelligence.

Also, I think that so many people think that they're comedians when they aren't. Most people believe they're funny. Most of them are not

Yeah, that's more than a little appropriate.

The moment you remove judgement from a person they can stop filtering their actions, so shit they would never dare to do in public with all eyes on them suddenly comes to light.
And we all have a dumbass mode where things are just not thought through only passed on as random noise.

EDIT: Well shit, I didn't spot the date before posting, sorry about that mods.

Necromantic spam?
How could you do such a thing?!
Rabble, rabble, lock.


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