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, about this new "starring" system, after the jump. Of course, don't be afraid to let him have it in the comments.
When I took algebra in eighth grade, my teacher had a system in place that ignored the normal 'homework is due every day' system. Instead, he gave us a list of assignments at the beginning of each quarter and told us that we could finish them all at our own pace. Sounds great, right? The only catch was that we'd be graded based on how quickly we finished the assignments in relation to the average student in the class. The current location of the average would be marked on an ordered list of assignments with a star. Basically, we had to either keep up with 'the star' or stay ahead of the 'the star' if we wanted to get an A. This was bullshit. I was a math genius but could not be bothered with actually doing work; therefore, I was getting near-perfect test scores but not getting A's because I was consistently behind the star. I was a victim of a bourgeois grading system and now, instead of researching nuclear physics, I'm writing columns about commenting on an outside-the-mainstream sports website.
'The star' has since made its presence known on Deadspin, and if you've seen any comments by the great commenter TheStarterWife lately, then you have seen 'the star'. Where did this all come from? Well, I have no idea, but I'm sure the rest of the Gawker Media websites are using the stars with fervor. I believe TSW has earned her star from Defamer.com, and for some reason, she is allowed to bring her star with her when she talks about the Steelers on Deadspin or talks about her obsession with folk metal viking bands on Idolator. These other sites are singling out their best commenters, and I don't blame them. After all, these other non-Deadspin websites don't have such a large percentage of commenters who consistently bring the funny.
Here at Deadspin, we are all stars. I've resisted using my power to grant our best commenters with stars because (a) we already know who they are and (b) there are too many to count. I prefer to take an egalitarian approach which gives equal value to every person who is allowed to add something funny onto the blog items that Will posts. Instead of starring commenters, I would rather feature the best comments, which I do every two weeks. After all, even our best commenters sometimes struggle to say something humorous. Have you seen Big Daddy Drew's latest oeuvre? Stinkaroo!
Yes, I did name the top commenters of 2007 a few months ago, but that was only because I forgot to collect the best comments over the previous two weeks and I thought it would be a good gag at the time. Little did I know that it would lead to that Ballhype guy tabulating the +1's. In retrospect, that's a very fair way of determining the best of the best because we can all contribute.
So I leave the choice up to you, Deadspinners. Shall I begin starring whomever I perceive to be our best commenters, or should we continue to let the comments speak for themselves? Or option three: should I just give Supermike a star so we know which comments to ignore?
These comments, however, should not be ignored because they are the Comments of the Fortnight: