For as long as the written word has existed, there have been those waiting idly by to criticize and poke holes in the most ridiculous ways imaginable. I'm fairly certain that even the authors of the Bible, merely attempting to spread the word of God, would receive the occasional angry letter from a skeptic arguing that Jesus turning water into wine was a health concern. Everyone’s a critic, and from that old adage comes the even greater realization that most people are extremely bad critics.
Enter the modern-day internet commenter, the epicenter of all things illogical and thoughtless in the world, pieced together in the form of a few short sentences and a person with too much time on their hands. Anyone who has ever shared an opinion online has probably encountered at least one person—if not a hive—who shares the exact opposite sentiment and has shown up to tell you why you are wrong. In fact, there’s probably someone on my Twitter RIGHT NOW, writing a comment about how people don’t really comment online or why this article is dumb and completely unaware of the irony.
For these midnight marauders waiting to pounce at any moment, no scientific fact, absolute truth, statistic, or logical argument is safe. So, naturally, we've ranked these individuals based on who is the best at being the worst.
Here we go…
10. The Commenter Who Blindly Hates Everything You Say No Matter What
One of the most underrated groups of online critics, these individuals hate things just to hate them. No matter what you say, write, or think, and no matter how closely it actually lines up to the commenter’s own perspective, you’re wrong. These commenters are like Fox News and your opinions are the Obama administration; no matter what you say or do, them hating you is as far into a thoughtful argument as they’re willing to go.
9. The Commenter Who Only Shows up to Be Mad About Your Subject Matter
Imagine talking about the NBA Playoffs with a group of your friends and all of a sudden a random guy named Lance or Trent—because there’s always a Lance or Trent—interupts your conversation to tell you how stupid basketball is before turning around and walking away.
Well, Lance and Trent both have an internet connection and they aren’t interested in the subject matter (basketball, rap music, politics) at hand as much as they're interested in being mad that the subject exists.
Did you write about Beyoncé donating money to charity? “She’s trash and will never be better than Michael Jackson.” Want to discuss the benefits of a well-balanced diet? “Vegetables are for pussies.” Write about the pros and cons of Daylight Savings time? “Time is a construct.” To these commenters, anything challenging their established opinion is stupid, and we’re all stupid for not realizing it.
8. The Backhanded Compliment Commenter
One of my favorite journalistic pastimes is waiting for the guy—and yeah, it's almost always a guy—who pops up in the comments attempting to praise my latest article but only gives me a pat on the back for not managing to shit all over myself in the process of writing. This commenter will write something like, “Well, I expected you to completely fuck this entire thing up, but this article was surprisingly decent.”
In their minds, they just issued you the highest form of flattery they could muster, even if it’s only the result of you barely clearing the extremely low bar they set for you.
7. The Bot Account
The most ironic aspect of the comments section, a place filled with people dying to interact with each other to validate their own perspectives on the world, is the existence of the bot account. You never truly know when the bot commenter is going to strike, but you know that whether you’re writing about the Super Bowl or home gardening tips for spring, an account named “ChastityLIVECAM7688678” is bound to inform you that “local singles in your area are ready to fuck.”
So little is known about these bots, yet a computer automatically sending you links to free iPhones every time you write the word “Apple” is weirdly more productive than dealing with most of the humans on this list.
6. The Commenter Who Inserts His Own Opinion
Comment sections are where individuals like this thrive; those of us who enjoy the sound of our own keystrokes as opposed to learning anything new. This type of commenter is always willing to share their own opinion on the subject matter you’re writing about, especially if it has quite literally nothing to do with the opinion you’re sharing. "Kendrick Lamar's best album is To Pimp a Butterfly but JAY-Z has a way better catalog."
Yeah, fuck that guy.
5. The Short Phrase Commenter
The most impactful rhetoric is always created using the absolute fewest words possible, and nothing quite captures an individual’s disdain for a particular opinion like the phrase, “This shit is trash.”
The short phrase commenter isn’t here to play games. They aren’t interested in long-winded arguments, or a thoughtful battle of the minds. They’re here to tell you in no more than a handful of words why you’re terrible, your opinion is terrible, and how you should give up on life. For any self-conscious writer (all of us?), having someone reply to your 2,500-word op-ed with nothing more than “nah” hurts worse than any number of paragraphed responses ever could.
4. The Faux Moral Police Commenter
Nothing has ever been more annoying than conversing with someone who believes they are the moral gatekeeper of your opinion, especially when they’re the most ignorant individual in the bunch. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes on the internet knows this person. If you write something negative about Trump, they’re concerned about media bias. If you happen to be a music writer in his mid-20s with a bad back and thinning hair (no one specific here) who writes about XXXTentacion being a bad human being, they’re ready to argue about why you aren’t talking about gun violence in rap music.
Morality-concerned commenters don’t actually care about morals, they just don’t actually know how to argue. However, they provide just the right amount of poisonous respectability politics to fuck up any good-natured back-and-forth.
3. The “How Come You Didn’t Mention [Fill in the Blank]?” Commenter
These are the easiest commenters to ignore because you just know they're on their way. No opinion on the internet is safe from the guy who is more concerned with all of the opinions you didn’t offer than the one in front of them.
You could write a piece ranking the 1,000 cutest puppy pictures on the internet, and within five minutes, he or she is picture spamming you with photos of adorable golden retriever puppies that you didn’t include.
2. The Problematic Commenter
There's nothing actually funny about these commenters, and the only reason they don’t deserve the top spot on our list as the worst type of commenter is that giving them first place in anything would be offering them too much validation. These are the ones who show up in a comments section to spread pure hate in the most bigoted and ignorant fashions. Although one can actually feel the insecurity radiating off their Mountain Dew-soaked hands as they troll comment threads from the same basement the “Stan” music video took place in, they never fail to get a response and, in turn, divert half of the commenters away from the actual subject at hand.
1. The Commenter Who Didn’t Actually Read the Article
One day I’m going to write “Why Garden Gnomes Are Secretly Trash” and watch the world burn as, at least, a quarter of the commenters argue with me about lawn apparel. Why will these individuals choose to die on this hill? It’s simple: they didn’t actually read what I wrote.
This type of commenter is and will forever remain the absolute worst because this type of laziness and reactive ignorance is present within all of us. At some point, we have all argued about or over a headline as opposed to actually reading the text, and for the writers of these articles, we remain easy targets. But these commenters actually stew in their frustration, often composing lengthy response pieces in refutation, all while never having actually clicked through to the article. This would be like getting mad at Olive Garden because you assume the entire menu is comprised of nothing but lettuce and olives. A truly impeccable level of ignorance, and one that cements itself in internet commenter lore.