For a while now, ESPN has been trying to tap into some sort of long tail/Web 2.0/wikiality Internet community thing with ESPN Conversation (superscript Beta), a feature that allows readers to comment on certain ESPN news stories. What's the problem? There are many. The overall level of discourse in the comments is quite low. I'm assuming ESPN is perpetrating some sort of censorship, since they're a site run by The Man and can't allow delicate sensibilities to be offended. And to make matters worse, the Worldwide Leader has recently begun trumpeting ESPN Conversation (superscript Beta) with a rather large box on the ESPN frontpage
wherein a Featured Comment, presumably one hand-picked from a pool of thousands for its originality, thoughtfulness, humor, and/or analytical value, proudly displays itself in 24-point sans-serif font.
The current Featured Comment reads, unabridged, as follows:"Torre just turned down the
Yankees' one-year deal. Holy cow!"
This is taking up three square inches of my web life. This is Internet Three Point One Million. America, this is you (sung to the tune of America's Funniest Home Videos theme song).
I know it's hard to be thought-provoking in ten words or less. It's hard to be thorough. It's hard to say anything even remotely of interest. But surely there is a) one comment, or two, or even three, of more substance and sustenance than saltydog0007's "Holy cow!" and b) if, in fact, there is not, then perhaps ESPN should rethink dedicating valuable frontpage space to complete and utter non-ideas in gigantic fonts instead of, may I suggest, even more automatically-loading videos that I don't wish to watch.
Let's break it down. The first seven (or eight, if you count "one-year" as two words) words of saltydog0007's comment merely summarize a news story that already sits in the glorious Front and Center Top Story Box, adorned with the pithy headline "Joe Says No!" I've already read and enjoyed reading "Joe Says No!" I understand what it means and I appreciate the rhyme scheme and aforementioned pith of the headline. Then my eyes scan downwards and to the right, and there I find it -- another re-summary of this very same article, but this time more than twice as long and less than half as rhyme-y!
And then: "Holy cow"? "Holy cow"?! I will now list two-word phrases I would've rather read following the seven- (or eight-) word rehash of a news story that I've clearly already gotten wind of from further up on the very same page, and I will not stop until I get bored (not likely!).