New York is famous for its gruff personalities and many subcultures. What do these voices sound like online, where they are anonymized and unfiltered? For a sampling, we’ve ranked the notorious comment sections of ten NYC-centric websites from worst to best. (Racists, it turns out, have many places to go.) Honorable mention goes to the Post, whose comments were so out of control that they were shut down.
This music blog’s comment section is an anonymous cesspool occupied by the most miserable miscreants outside of Gamergate. Everyone has an iron-strong opinion, and they’re all terrible. The hate is peppered with unfunny non-sequiturs. It starts out about music, and gets vicious and personal immediately. Every time. The nightmare of Brooklyn Vegan makes us so grateful that Pitchfork doesn’t have comments.
The city’s biggest tabloid that still allows comments attracts all kinds of loons: “Thug!”-screeching racists and tinfoil-hat wearers who manage to turn every conversation to anti-Clinton screeds. It’s the horrifying comment section of your local newspaper’s website, NYC-sized.
Fox News is based in New York City. Don’t forget that. Every morning, Bill O’Reilly takes a car into Manhattan and thinks about what bullshit he’s going to spout that day. New York City’s local Fox affiliate — which doesn’t have comments enabled on its site — is no different than any Fox affiliate anywhere else, it’s just in our own backyard.
Bushwick Daily is often pretty quiet comments-wise, but every now and then will blow up into a war between the biggest bummers of hand-wringing liberal artists, anti-gentrification militants, and garden-variety racists/sexists/xenophobes.
Would it shock you to find out that the local news outlet for the borough where Eric Garner was killed has racist commenters?
New York isn’t so bad. The blowhards only occasionally get overrun by trolls and spammers.
Gothamist has the most active comment section of any New York-centric blog, which is both good and bad. About half of the commenters on Gothamist are witty and compassionate compared to the average news website commenter. The other half are rancid trolls who make jokes about girls getting hit by subway trains, which in turn brings out concern-trolls. It at least gets entertaining. We’ve gone into more Gothamist comment K-holes than any other.
8. The Awl
The thing about Awl commenters is that they’re abnormally smart. Some of them might even be well-informed. Which adds an extra level of grating to their smug assholery.
Of all the neighborhood news websites in New York, Queens Courier has the nicest commenters. On topic, civil, and not that racist (of course, that “not that racist” is a praiseworthy trait is a telling fact about comment sections).
This skateboarding blog quietly has the best commenters in New York City. Sometimes these dudes are even helpful and funny! Every post only averages about 10 comments, of which 7 will usually be pretty good. Good job, Quartersnacks.
(Photo: Teun van den Neste)