Comment Trawling

COMMENT TRAWLING….A reader notes that the practice of trawling through open comment threads to find wackjobs who can be held up as evidence of “crazy liberals” is on the rise. Needless to say, this practice is almost self-discrediting: if the best evidence of wackjobism you can find is a few anonymous nutballs commenting on a blog, then the particular brand of wackjobism you’re complaining about must not be very widespread after all. So how can we mock this practice effectively enough to make people ashamed to indulge in it?

To me the model is Godwin’s Law, which in my mind has been incredibly successful at shaming people into not invoking Hitler or fascism as much as they used to. Once someone invented a phrase for that particular piece of rhetorical dishonesty, then it could be invoked over and over again as a handy slur.

So the question is: can someone invent a catchy phrase to basically mean, cherry-picking crazy comments or emails? Or, if one of your readers could find the right way to turn it into a “law,” then maybe it could become “X’s Law” ? a fitting prize for the winner.

Hmmm. “Kevin’s Law” has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? It would go something like this: “If you’re forced to rely on random blog commenters to make a point about the prevalence of some form or another of disagreeable behavior, you’ve pretty much made exactly the opposite point.”

Want the law named after you instead? Come up with a better definition!