So much more at the DCamp


The blogger grinned stupidly at his screen. Figures and number incomprehendable to the sane eye whizzed past. At first sight, an ill-informed observer could have mistaken the jumble of zipping characters to be the Matrix. But the obvious difference was that it was on the bloggers screen – which made it a lot less significant and a lot less cool instantly.
A girl stood behind his chair for a while, out of the blogger’s line of sight and contemplated asking what the blogger was so happy about. But she thought better of it. She strolled past him, clutching her coffee. Had she bothered to ask aloud the question that had crossed her mind, the blogger would have told her that he had finally got the project running on his machine. Possibly, if the girl was blunt enough, she would have told the blogger that it was no big deed to get a piece of code running after nearly 2 months. Had she said so, the blogger would have continued grinning at the screen and the girl would have had to walk away rather flustered. So, all in all, it was for the best that she had decided against approaching the blogger in the first place.
The blogger had the sweet luxury of being arguably the dumbest member on his project team – so nobody expected anything of him. Admittedly, he was pretty good at it. He could grin stupidly at screens like it was nobody’s business. Arguably the stupidest because he faced stiff competition from his own team leader.
The blogger was under the impression that he had been brought in as a valuable resource. Oh, how very worng he was. Anybody who knew the blogger’s team lead knew that the blogger had been brought in to form an illusion that the team lead was somewhat less dumb. Many attributed this to the intellectual version of the cheerleader effect – ‘the more the number of dumb people, the less dumb they cumulatively seem to appear’. Of course, anybody who knew better than to be fazed by such illusions would be able to see that the blogger and his team lead together brought the average IQ of the project team down by at least 10 points. The whole project of course, had given up on the blogger’s team. They knew they were just there to make the project look bigger and thus more important. (Incidentally, the team comprised of only the blogger and his lead. So there was a school of thought that the duo was not even serving the purpose of making the project look bigger).
The blogger, satisfied with the numbers and other alien characters crunched out by his screen, walked over to his lead to boast about his feat. He found him stabbing a pencil with his finger. The pencil attempted to roll towards the blogger in order to bring the blogger into the lead’s line of sight and thus divert attention away from itself. For nearly ten minutes, the pencil was largely unsuccessful. The blogger merely waited patiently to gain his lead’s attention. It wasn’t hard to see why this was the least productive team in the project. So would go so far as to say it was the least productive team in the whole of D-Camp. They wouldn’t be wrong. The blogger waited, the lead stabbed, and a spider that was scurrying past decided it would be a neat idea to weave a web between the blogger’s legs.

No comments.


I always go through the comments on an article. Why? I do not know – people have never asked me. It seems almost natural to scroll down to the bottom of the page and read what other intellectuals think about the article. At least that is what I thought I was doing until I started scrolling to the bottom of a Dilbert comic page. Take my word for it, you don’t find intellectuals there.

 

A friend once told me he always reads the comments before he has a look at the artifact being commented upon. On further inquiry it was revealed that he views comments as reviews for the article. He doesn’t want to waste time reading something that is not worth his time. In fact, he went to the extent of suggesting that the comments section ought to be placed above the article itself, so that readers can get a ‘feel’ of what it is about before they proceed to actually read it. In the time-crunched world of today, surely such a step would make sense (sometime around this point, he made a gesture that looked like a cross between Sheldon Cooper and Rajnikant). I pointed out that the length and the number of comments these days would make sure they take up more time than the article itself. So, on the whole, it doesn’t serve the purpose of saving time. He chose not to retaliate to that.

 

There might be quite a few who actually agree with this friend of mine. But then again, how legitimate is a comment-writer? Can someone actually base his opinions on the comments that an article receives? If so, what is the point of being the most ‘intellectual’ creatures on the face of the planet if we cannot conjure an opinion of our own? It is not rocket science, you know. You could even say ‘I don’t care.’ That in itself is an opinion. Surely even pigeons can be spoon-fed with opinions given that they are enough in number (Comments, not pigeons. More pigeons would only decrease the average IQ of the living world; you don’t want that.).

A colleague once remarked, Twitter was born for 2 kinds of people, celebrities and people who had so many comments all over the internet that they wanted an application solely dedicated to the accumulation of their comments on one portal. Twitter may claim to be a micro-blogging site, but anyone who is not famous, or simply not worth their weight on the planet, uses it to treasure their comments on various bit and pieces of the internet. Be it a link, a report, a comic strip, a photograph and sometimes even a statistic. Those who, left to themselves, cannot think of a thought worthy of being read by others can always Re-Tweet. I smirked at this observation. Within an hour, I had a Twitter account of my own.

Where does one draw a line between a genuine commentator and a wandering internet ‘cool dude’ who chanced upon the article and decided he couldn’t leave the place without his mark on it?

Humans are, by nature, self-proclaimed experts. It would only take a sports blog to prove my point. The number of comments on each article is generally audacious, with each comment sounding more convincing than its predecessor. One soon reaches a point where it is easy to forget that each of the commenters is probably a beer-guzzling, slow moving 50 year old with poor eyesight. Rather than a discussion, it turns into an all-out brawl with all our worthy beer-guzzlers trying to teach a bunch of sportsmen how to Really play the game. Not that the non-guzzlers are angels either. A recent satirical post on a humorous website that touched upon the views of a social activist led to an outrage in the comments section. So much so that the same author had to rearrange his views in a manner that the public with a poor sense of humor could understand. It is hard to tell how many of them actually had a genuine problem with the text and how many wanted to be part of the trend.

Quite clearly, commenting on the internet, for us humans, must have been the next best invention after fire, computers and the internet itself (some might want to throw beer into that list, but I’ll leave that open to debate). But somehow, on most websites or blogs, the ratio of readers to commenters is gigantic. Surely it is a lot of fun blowing a rather loud public raspberry from behind the veil or near-perfect anonymity? But statistics and data (yes, in spite of 83% of it being made up) go against this seemingly simple idea. All said and done, I did find a genuine discussion in the comments section of a link (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/who-comments-on-blogs-and-why/). Any guesses as to what it was about?

 

Comments are most welcome.