Title text: NPR encourages you to add comments to their stories using the page inspector in your browser's developer tools. Note: Your comments are visible only to you, and will be lost when you refresh the page.
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This comic represents a news article that shows how easy it is to dominate the comment section of an article by creating shill comments to support any desired narrative of the community's opinion. The joke here is that this is precisely what has occurred for this article. The top five comments are assorted ways of affirming the article's text. However, the final commenter seems freaked out that a comment she wrote was in an article. It's possible that she is just an innocent victim of this who's legitimately scared, but it could also be that she is a shill for the opposite side that wasn't fast enough to post.
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- [Single panel comic depicting a screenshot of an Internet article, showing the article title, lines of wavy characters representing the article text, and several comments from readers of the article with their profile pictures.]
- Backlash: Internet users are outraged over news stories using a handful of random comments to support arbitrary narratives!
- [Close-up of Megan:]
- I can't believe how easy it is to create an impression of peer consensus.
- [Close-up of Hairy:]
- This dynamic is so easily manipulated and it freaks me out. xkcd.com/1019
- [Full picture of Hairbun:]
- Everytime I share something and a friend responds "Haha, did you see the top comments..." it just reminds me how influential these things are in shaping the impressions of even relatively internet-savvy readers.
- [Close-up of Cueball on a black background:]
- NPR got rid of comments in 2016 when they realized they all came from a handful of visitors posting hundreds of times a month.
- [Full picture of two guys, Cueball and Hairy:]
- Eventually social norms will adapt to this stuff, but it needs to hurry up.
- [Close-up of Ponytail:]
- I have nine followers and created my account last month; how am I being quoted in this news article??
One of the comments to the article references an earlier xkcd comic 1019: First Post, which compares the cost of buying election ads on news sites versus paying college student to wait for news articles and submit the first comments to every news article.
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!