I read a lot of what I think of as "the new news" -- the assortment of online news sources and magazines my aggregator gathers for me every day. I think of it as "the new news" because I am old enough to remember Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather at 6 pm being 'the news' and can still remember my fingers turning grey from cheap newsprint ink as I studied Dear Abby and the comics. I even wrote occasional letters to the editor -- once I was recognized by our local paper as a "star letter writer", with a dinner and a little award with 20 or so other such people. I was younger then.
Now, this New News has comments. I read through those occasionally. The quality varies according to the venue, as you might guess, but not as much as I would expect. This is one reason why I Do Not Comment -- I don't want to get anywhere near the assorted half-asses driven to spew their particular unconsidered and self-important opinions all over the comments of every article that hits the interwebinet. I'll say it here, and I mean it -- not every thought that runs through a person's head deserves to be immortalized in text and exhibited to all and sundry. If they had to take crayon to paper and scribble it all out, then find envelope, address, stamp, combine the pieces properly, and put the result in a physical mail box, a good 2/3ds of them would just mutter over their coffee cups and forget what they'd read while searching for a good donut in the box at the office. The few people who read the article all the way through, understood most of the words, and have a rational response or question are there -- the brave ones, the ones most committed to the act of communication -- but they are stuffed and squeezed between the assnuts.
But fear of assnut contamination is not the only reason why I Do Not Comment. Sometimes I start to type something only to realize halfway through that what I have to say does not need saying. It isn't relevant or informative or germane. I'm just using up their space, dropping dirty tissue in their living rooms. I really have nothing to say, just the impulse to say something, and that's not necessary. It's the same impulse that prompts a fair share of those assnuts I despise so much.
And, of course, sometimes I Do Not Comment because I don't feel a need to comment. Perhaps I'm convinced the person who wrote what I'm reading will never see my comment. I think it won't matter, it won't be read, or even if read it will garner no response. That's something else that happens with comments -- it's kind of one sided, especially on news sites, but equally on blogs or any other social venue online. Person A has something to say, or the impulse to speak. Person A writes a news story or a blog post or spits something out on Twitter or Facebook. Persons B and C write something in reply to those initial forays.
And that's where it ends. Person A was announcing, not starting a conversation. Replies are just acknowledgment -- points, if you will. This post earned this many posts. All is done.
I don't care to collect points and I don't like to give them. I like to talk to people. When I make a comment, I'm talking to someone. It's someone I want to talk WITH, which means I want that person to talk back to me. If you don't do that, or if I figure from the start that you don't -- that you live in your private world and other people online are just methods to feed your sense of importance, to build your prestige, or just feed your ego with "look! Look how many comments I got!", then I'm not bothering. Even with people I know online, I stop commenting, because I don't see a point talking to someone who won't talk to me.
That is, in the biggest part, why I Do Not Comment.