Mailbag: MetalSucks Reader Asks How We Deal with “Awful, Ignorant, Hateful” Comments
The MetalSucks comments section is, to put it lightly, a fiery place.
With the site’s focus shifting over the past year-plus to include commentary on more political and social issues (as they relate to the metal scene), we’ve seen an uptick in hateful content coming from our commenters. Although we employ a moderator who does a great job weeding out the worst of the worst, the gray line between hateful and simply idiotic leaves a lot of questionable material. We don’t support hate speech, but we do want to encourage free discourse.
An anonymous MetalSucks reader wrote us the following note on the matter last Friday, March 3rd. We have published his email in full below, edited only to fix typos, followed by the response we sent him. After that, we leave it to you: please share your thoughts, but please keep it civil.
Hey guys! Happy Friday, so here’s the deal… I’m a lifelong musician, not an active one these days so I guess I’m “just a fan,” and I’m a husband/father of (soon to be) two fucking awesome children who make my life rad beyond words. Your site is one of many that I keep up with and I love what you guys do; my life is much more “Doc McStuffins” than it used to be but it’s nice to keep up with the music world and MetalSucks is definitely one of my go-tos. I suppose I’m qualifying here because I’m just definitely not anyone you’d know or anything, I stay as far away from comment sections as I can. :)
Which brings me to my point, and why I’m taking time out of a perfectly productive work day to write you guys. Every day, every article I read, without fail, is absolutely FILLED to the max with awful, ignorant, hateful, and flat-out idiotic comments. I know, what a shocking new revelation, right?! I get it, the internet is where anyone can say ANYTHING without consequence, and it emboldens those with fucked up opinions to throw those opinions out wherever there is a forum. I’m not here to criticize anyone’s freedom of speech or anything like that. My thing is this… how do you guys navigate running a site that it seems like almost everyone who reads it fucking hates it? I mean, I may not like every band and I may not be a huge fan of every article, but I also don’t waste my fucking time flogging anyone in the comments section. Nor do I waste my time arguing with strangers over articles on a metal site, and I definitely don’t go down the rabbit hole of sharing my opinions about any of it. It’s just that sometimes when I’m reading something on MetalSucks I get the loudest thought in my head: “Why do these people spend SO much time on here just talking fucking shit??” What kind of joy can it possibly bring to them? Moreover, why do you guys work so hard to put your work out there just for there to be an endless stream of negative crap rabbit-holing the shit out of your comments section?
When I was a teenager in the ’90s doing my thing (whatever the hell my “thing” was, anyway), this shit wasn’t around. I’m from Central Illinois and I remember when some of our older friends in V Shape Mind and Mudvayne got websites we were all “Holy Shit, they have WEBSITES!” And now that’s such a ridiculous thought I’m literally laughing at my computer. My point is, if people liked your shit back then they bought it, they came to a show, they bought merch… whatever. If not, they didn’t, and maybe they cracked some fuckin’ jokes with their friends but that’s about where it stopped. Now, it seems like the online flogging, the vitriol, the sheer negativity is almost oppressive to the point where I couldn’t even fathom trying to be a person making art, music, or even a website. It just seems like nobody cares about fucking anything anymore, and it’s sad to me.
I know that’s just my opinion, but I also know a lot of people share that opinion, and maybe those are the people you truly do what you do for and you don’t much give a shit about the fucking trolls and all that. I’ve just been driven lately to reach out and ask, cause I’m genuinely curious as to how you guys feel about this stuff.
No worries, if you feel like answering me great, if not that’s fine too. If you feel like sharing this with anyone or putting it on the site for some reason that’s all good too, I just ask that you keep me anonymous. I know my email address is my full name so its not a big fucking mystery to YOU guys but I’d rather not have my email be spammed by a bunch of dudes on the ready to blast my shit for being whatever the hell they think I might be for having my own opinion, lol.
At any rate, you guys have a great site and I appreciate you listening to my crap for a few minutes. Back to the grind, have a great weekend.
Most of our readers are like you: they stop by and they read, often several times a day, but never leave any comments. When I say “most,” I mean the VAST majority. We know from our internal statistics that something like only 0.1% of all people who visit our site leave comments. What you see in the comments section is a very, very, very small minority. We keep that in mind every day as we’re writing; it’s not for naught.
And yes, the comments can get depressing. That’s why we mostly avoid reading them.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write us! We may take you up on your invitation to publish your email, and will of course leave you anonymous.
So: what do you think? Do you share in our reader’s opinion the comments are difficult to read? Do you avoid commenting? Are you one of the trolls? Is what we do here every day all for nothing, invalidated by all the hate? Sound off below.