Bob Costas Ain't Lyin', Y'all Are Losers

To keep the comments as fresh and outstanding as they've been up to this point, we've commissioned Commenting Guru Rob Iracane, co-editor of Walk Off Walk, to write a bi-weekly Comment Ombudsman column. It runs every other week. This is that week.

Mr. Iracane is the guy who approves and deletes comments around here, and the fellow to whom you should address any comment account requests, and he will explore issues involved in commenting, what makes a great comment thread, what's working, what isn't, answer your questions, so on. We want the place to continue to be as much fun as it is every day, and it's not an execution thread like our friends at Gawker do. We like to be inclusive here, because if we're not, we'd be forced to rely on our own wit and knowledge, and that's a scary thought indeed.

So here's this week's column, in which last week's comments by Bob Costas are discussed. Of course, don't be afraid to let him have it in the comments.

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There's been much uproar and hullabaloo in the sportsblogosphere about Bob Costas' anti-blogger screed in the Miami Herald. Costas is the latest in a line of several old media types who have come out against modern communication technology. Who among us could forget Bill Conlin's pompous and bloviating words against Internet bloggers, er, I mean pamphleteers. Way to stay relevant, Bill. Or who doesn't remember the time Schrutebag instigated a DOS attack on The Big Lead? Sure, anyone who prefers Lost over The Sopranos is a boob but that doesn't mean you're allowed to shut his blog down, Colin. There are two differences here, though: (1) Conlin and Cowherd are attacking bloggers, but Costas is attacking the anonymous commenter and (2) Costas is nearly correct.

Anonymous commenting on newspaper websites is the new Wild West, but instead of six-shooters, the commenters are armed with stupidity. And unfortunately, stupidity is contagious. Unless a forum is moderated, this stupidity is allowed to seep through wires and routers and reach a much larger audience than Steve Johannes Gutenberg intended when he invented movable type. Stupidity plus impassioned fandom will always produce an awful comment. But does any of this matter? Let's take a look. Costas specifically mentions Dan Le Batard's column as a launching point for stupidity:

(Now) that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard's column. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility.

I've gone and pulled the seventeenth comment from each of Le Batard's last four columns on the Miami Herald website: