Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
To Hell With Comments

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 31 Dec 2013 12:00
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Happy new year, everyone, and fuck comments. Just before Christmas I did a video on Super Mario 3D World, and that's the sentiment it left me with: fuck comments.

I've never liked comments. The practice, that is, of allowing anyone to speak their mind about a piece of content and leave it for all to see. Of all the hideous manifestations of Web 2.0 ooh-let's-all-be-friends-together huggy-muggy your-opinion-matters bullshit, it is the most egregious and the most pointless.

I despise the notion that everyone has something of value to contribute, because that's provably false. Just try to think of how much of a twat you are. Here's a hint: You're a big twat. Now consider that, in any given large number of people, a significant percentage is going to be even bigger twats than you. And not just twats, but boring twats, and why on Earth would we want to listen to boring twats? I consider it an insult that material created by trained people with experience and qualifications and talent is forced to share space on my computer screen with the musings of uninvolved people with no qualifications bar a keyboard and bottomless twattiness.

It particularly offends me as someone who works with comedy. I watch a lot of comedy videos on Youtube, and in such context, comments aren't just pointless, they're detrimental. Because on a comedy video, the very first, highest upvoted comment on every single one, inevitably, is someone quoting the funniest bit. And if I accidentally look at it before I can expand the video or expand the 'about' window to push the comments off the page, then the funniest bit is spoiled for me.

But it's not just when they spoil upcoming gags, it's when they try to add to the existing gags that they set my teeth on edge, too. The essence of comedy is to take a joke to the peak of humor and then move quickly on. That's why it's called a "punchline." You treat it like a punch: you deliver it, and then you run away. But the world is full of desperate spods who want to leech off the success of others, and so they endeavor to draw out the joke by adding to it, therefore feeling like they have become a part of the joke we all just enjoyed. Like when somebody tells a very funny joke about how a walrus would be an inappropriate host for the Academy Awards. And we all have a laugh but then some prick goes "Ha ha yes, and neither would a manatee!" and then another prick goes "I saw a walrus once at Sea World and I can confirm that they would make very inappropriate hosts for the Academy Awards." And then the joke lies dead, beaten to death with two pricks.

I despise unfunny hecklers at live comedy acts. Those self-important gadabouts with nothing of value to offer who want to stand out from the crowd and consider themselves equal to the live act that everybody else is here to simply see and enjoy. And it's always a joy for the comedian to then respond to the heckle with unflappable spontaneous wit in such a way that destroys their unwarranted confidence. Internet comments are basically a special platform for all the hecklers to come out onto, one by one, but without the comedian around to put them in their place. The comedian has had the good sense to move on and get the drinks in at the venue bar. As has 90% of the audience, leaving the shitheads to talk only for the benefit of themselves, voicing their stupid opinions into the gaping void of each other's heads.

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