I've been noticing more and more lately that many people who comment in a thread are not reading the thread very closely, and as a result they end up repeating things that other people have already said. This was especially apparent in this thread
about the animal escape in Ohio, but it's by no means the only example. Can we do a better job?
posted by albrecht to Etiquette/Policy at 8:47 AM (154 comments total)
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The conversation unfolded like this:
First, Civil_Disobedient made this comment
, arguing that the cops should have used tranquilizer guns instead of killing all the animals.
Horselover Phattie replied
that they had tried that once and it didn't work out well.
that they should have tried harder and used more than one dart. (I'm paraphrasing a lot--the substance of the argument is secondary.)
So far, so good: the comments were direct replies to what the other person had said.
However, what followed were six
comments all essentially saying the same thing, that tranquilizing these animals under these conditions would have been prohibitively difficult: 1
Note that these were all separated by at least half an hour, so there should have been plenty of time to read the previous comment and avoid repeating it. It seems to me that these commenters did not do that. I don't mean to call them out specifically, though. This is just one instance of what I think is an all-too-common pattern: someone makes a fairly controversial argument, and a crowd of people jump to pile on with essentially the same reply. It's the opposite of reasonable debate.
So my question is: How can we do better? (For instance, is this an appropriate way to use the "double comment" flag? My understanding was that that flag was for technical glitches, where an identical comment gets posted twice in rapid succession, but maybe we could broaden its usage? We flag FPPs as double when they cover the same territory as a previous post. Should we do the same for comments?) Or am I in the minority in thinking this is a problem?