The online commentariat


Sir, – For a while now, The Irish Times, in its online version, has opened some of its articles to readers’ comments. Over time, the facility appears to have fallen victim to some kind of Gresham’s Law of the online commentariat, so that it is now dominated by a handful of regulars, colourfully named “Margo Sweetbread”, “Mongo Smellybeard” and the like. Their numerous daily comments are clearly destined for one another, rarely shed any light on the topic under discussion, and, I suspect, have a deterrent effect on other potential commentators. For a recent example, see the flood of drivel following Fintan O’Toole’s piece “We don’t believe enough in the future not to stuff ourselves with what’s in front of us now” (July 22nd).

Am I alone in regarding this development as a serious erosion of standards at your newspaper? If not, for how much longer must we endure it? – Yours, etc,