What YouTube commenters and Plebiscite commentary had in common?

After the No vote has trumped the Transportation and Transit Sales Tax that would have raised $250 million annually for transit service in Metro Vancouver, I got to thinking. Yes, I know it can kill brain cells. Especially thinking about such negative things as the fallout from the No vote to the plebiscite.

Throughout the debate before the votes were all tallied up. I just felt a lot of comments were like YouTube comments. It’s what they call “haters”.

hater definition

Wikipedia defines haters with the following:

Hater (Haters) is a derogatory term which refers to a person or group who expresses hatred in public forums, especially those found on the World Wide Web such as YouTube and Facebook.

It also adds this about haters:

Haters will normally have a strong opinion against something online and will express their views by saying negative comments to a user without consideration of the user that they’re attacking. The comments will usually be excessively emotional, aggressive and/or cruel in a caricature of the hater’s actual emotions, which is believed to have its roots in the online disinhibition effect.

Those kind of hateful comments are especially easy when directed towards a big organization like TransLink. Take the following comment I copied from PlaceSpeak’s Transportation Vote discussion.

placespeak comment 1

It’s just a plain “hate-on” comment that directs it’s anger at TransLink, but somehow drags in non-transit related things, like Jim Chu’s police chief salary into the equation. Does TransLink have some control over a police chief’s salary? How is a police chief’s salary relevant to a discussion on transit funding? A jab is thrown in at the Mayor of Burnaby for good measure at the end.

placespeak comment 2

True enough that there is no end cited for the tax. Mind you, I’ve rarely ever seen a tax come with an expiry date. So nothing new there. It’s also simple to hate executives who are “being paid too much”. Obviously most of us don’t make the 6-figure salaries that executives command. But if you look at salaries of executives of any corporation and or agency, they all bring in the big money. That is what the market considers the going-rate. Is that right? I’m not happy with it, but if I were an executive, I’d better be paid what my peers bring in for similar jobs. Look at any corporations executives and they pull in really big money. Some pull in 7-figures after bonuses. Public sector executives don’t pull close to the 1-million mark, but they are making a lot of money. It’s all relative in a sense.

There is also the quick referral to “tinker-toy projects” without any examples. My English teacher would have ripped apart this comment for presenting an argument without any evidence or examples to back it up.

My issue with the whole debate over the sales tax is that many comments were of YouTube quality and not journalistic nor parliamentary quality. Not all of the comments were like this. Many were well-thought out. However, some felt like visceral diatribes against TransLink. You can read over the comments on PlaceSpeak and be your own judge.

Christy Clark could have saved our province a lot of money and just held the whole plebiscite on YouTube. The quality of comments during the plebiscite might as well have been pulled off of YouTube.

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