Don't Be Fooled Or Distracted By Trollish Comments To The FCC

from the that's-not-the-story dept

This is hardly a surprise, but with John Oliver exhorting “internet commenters” to go comment on the FCC’s net neutrality proposal, potentially flooding the FCC’s servers, many of the comments are fairly childish and unproductive. And while reporters love to pick up on those kinds of comments as a highlight of how silly this process has become, enabling them to shake their head or wag their finger about “oh that silly internet,” that’s misleading in the extreme. It’s the same sort of thing as traditional journalists totally dismissing the idea of internet comments on news stories, because there will always be some idiot who posts something stupid.

Yes, stupid, pointless and juvenile comments will happen. That’s part of the internet. But to focus only on those comments is to ignore two much more important things: (1) the sheer number of folks expressing concern about the big broadband companies messing up the internet and (2) the very large number of thoughtful, intelligent and insightful comments that have been submitted as well. As of right now, the FCC shows somewhere around 125,000 comments, but that hasn’t been updated in a while, and we’ve heard that they may have double that (or more) waiting to be posted. And, yes, when you have ~300,000 comments on a contentious issue, some of them are going to be silly, but that outpouring of opinion suggests that this is a topic that the public is very interested in, even if not everyone is able to express their thoughts in the most professional of ways.

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Comments on “Don't Be Fooled Or Distracted By Trollish Comments To The FCC”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s not like the internet has a monopoly on stupid, pointless, and juvenile comments. Basically any TV or radio show that accepts calls from viewers or listeners is subject to calls from people ready to go on a rant, or people just calling to screw with them. They just have much greater incentive to screen such feedback.

fgoodwin (profile) says:

Quality vs. Quantity

The problem with the flood of inane and pointless comments is that it makes it damn near impossible to find the useful, fact-based comments.

Everyone has a First Amendment right to express their opinion, but what the FCC actually needs is factual responses to the questions it asks in its NPRM. Truth be told, none of the people screaming at the FCC have even bothered to read the NPRM. OTOH, corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will respond with facts, and address the FCC’s questions.

The result will be, predictably, that the FCC will rely on the facts presented by the AT&T’s of the world, while ignoring the fact-free opinions and mindless rants of all the spammers. By making the FCC’s job more difficult, the spammers are actually pushing the FCC into the arms of the big ISPs.

Is that the result people really want?

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