A Modest Proposal

One that doesn’t involve eating children. But I’ll still keep this nasty, short, and relatively brutal.

I suggest that any website, blog, news provider, etc. that accepts comments from its readers, institute a tiered system for submitting, and displaying reader comments.

In short, people wishing to submit a comment on a story should be required to submit a sample comment to one of a series of sample questions. The samples would then be graded (a job for the Mechanical Turk?) based upon criteria such as spelling, grammar, logical reasoning, humor, and general literary value. Obvious nonsense, spam,  and/or plagiarism would receive a grade of “F” – and would be barred from submitting. Higher grades (and, for arguments sake, we’ll use the standard US educational system of A through D for the rest) would then allow the comment’s posts to be submitted.

People wishing to read comments on the website could then specify the “grade level” of commenters they wished to view. 

For various reasons, it makes a certain amount of sense for grade levels to rise (and fall) with the passage of time. for instance, a reader whose initial grade was relatively high, but whose subsequent comments failed to maintain a certain standard, could be submitted for review – and relegation – to a lower standard. There would be a mechanism by which a commenter whose initial grade failed to meet their expectations could, after a certain length of time, resubmit in hopes of raising their grade.

I do not know how technologically, or economically sound this proposl might be. But I sure am sick and tired of paging through hundreds of pages of inane nonsense, in order to find the few gems posted by people who know how to string two sentences together.

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