Virginia Heffernan has a great column in the New York Times this week about Blogtown's favorite subject: blog commenters.
Heffernan tracks the comments on columns by award-laden writer Anne Applebaum and comes to the conclusion that not only do comments tend toward anti-semitism and sexism, they're not constructive. Not exactly a novel realization, but one that's well-written and insightful. From the column:
Immediately after the column appears online — often late at night — come early amens. Then dissent sets in, and a scolding tone emerges (“You should know better”; “Surely you jest”). In the later hours, things get more plaintive and surreal, as lonelier, insomniac imagery takes over and commenters begin to turn on one another. (Around 2 a.m.: “What has happened to the soul of The Washington Post?” and “The blood is on your hands. I’ll help you look for a rag, but don’t wipe it on my pants.”)