Often I feel that way about the posts and comments on SP at least when compared to the comments I read on articles about health and fitness in the general press.
I thought about this when StriverOne commented on the intelligent responses I receive on my daily blog. She’s absolutely right. I look forward to the thoughtful, insightful input of those who read my entries, even when we don’t completely agree.
This is so different from the comments you read in the general press.
When spinach was found to be the source of an e-coli infection, there were many comments about how bad vegetables can be for you. They just missed the part about carefully washing produce?
When someone tragically dies in a marathon, immediately the comments appear about how crazy and stupid distance runners are.
When modest attempts are made to change the choices in school lunch programs to healthier fare, the naysayers come out in droves to tell us that “kids won’t eat that stuff,” “they’ll eat what they like.” The “food police” should mind their own business
When warnings appear about the dangers of smoking and restrictions being put in place, comments appear about “free choice”
It seems that everyone knows someone who:
Smoked heavily and lived to be 95
Ate fast food their whole lives and lived to be 95
Never exercised a day in their lives and lived to be 95
Weighed 300+ pounds and lived to be 95
In addition, every single one of these people was all perfectly healthy.
Maybe they really did know such people and weren’t just making it up, but outliers don’t predict results for whole populations. People posting here, while including their personal experience, tend to know that.
If we expand the topics to include politics or religion, the comments get worse. I’m glad we don’t have those debates here.
There’s been some research on this which discovered:
“The facts put forth in a scientific article were distorted when seen through the lens of nasty commenters. But users didn’t recognize the lens.”
The “Nasty Effect” of comments distort perceptions of what an article really says
As I remember Yogi, he always managed to outsmart both the Forest Ranger and clueless visitors, but never in a nasty way. Yes, I know he was after “goodies” but it was the 60s after all.
So thank you Sparkers. Even though we all have pseudonyms, the civilized nature of our conversations lend themselves to carefully examining the issues, weighing the facts, vetting the experts and working toward our goals.