Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Roundup

Favorites and duds from today's commenting.

Favorites, in no particular order:

Here's a tricky, somewhat obscure one-liner from fatleaveher in the Daily Screencap post. Perhaps I'm alone here, but I had to do some research on this one. More research, in fact, than I would normally accept in a Favorite. But it's a funny enough reference and it looks like many people got it without as much effort. I won't penalize the joke for me being a moron.

I enjoyed this funny Serge Ibaka joke in the Stephen Jackson post from The Amazing Sneijderman. It's just a clever little sequence written without a lot of painful set-up. Nice job.

StuartScottsEye earned a handful of +1s for this smart wordplay joke in the Air Guitar post. This is essentially a one-liner, with a quick premise and a knockdown punchline at the very end, all revolving around a sharp pun. Good stuff.

And here's a simple Tim Tebow dig from Madoffs Mets, also in the Air Guitar post. See how the one-liner format works? Premise and set-up, knockdown punchline, turns on a bit of wordplay. Everyone on Deadspin does this all the time, and the baseline for success is putting the joke in the correct order. If this joke goes Tim Tebow makes a good pretend backup if this guy's looking to start a band, it loses some of its punch. Because the format doesn't give a lot of room to play around, the rest of the success of the joke will be determined by the strength of the pull. One-liners are for confident joke-makers and the whole idea is that they're not as easy as they seem. Here's another one, even more efficient, with an even stronger pull, in the Clippers Bench post. We've often talked about the strength of the reference determining the length of the joke, and this is a good example. When your punchline is this strong, stay out of its way. Great joke. This is your Comment of the Day.

Here's an excellent thread in the Clippers Bench post, featuring onlyASK, Sgt. Hammerclaw, SavetoFavorites, Pink Slime, JamesDolansRemedialMath, fatleaveher, RexsPodiatryst, Post ApocalypticRecSpecs, The Amazing Sneijderman, and many more. Also, sweet molasses, look at that fucking reply from Nietzschiro. Holy fucking shit. "This is fun!" /facepalm

SavetoFavorites recast The Wire for this dialogue joke in the Cam Cameron post, earning a round of applause. I have no idea where this joke came from, but it's funny enough. Good stuff.

This is a great comment from All Over But The Sharting in the ESPN Disavowal post. On top of being funny and well-made, it's actual commentary. Whereas puns and recontextualizations and screenplays don't always necessarily have something to say about a post, this joke actually pokes fun at the absurdity of ESPN's Tim Tebow coverage. Stuff like this happens often enough on Deadspin, but there are definitely times when commenters are mostly just raking posts for content that can be used in a joke instead of offering actual commentary. The be funny mandate is best expressed when it is used in the service of actually commenting on the subject of the post.

Here's a terrific recontextualization from Eddie Murray Sparkles in the Greg Hardy vs. Matt Bryant post. That's such an excellent goddamn pull. I needed a minute with it, but sometimes that's the best part.

This is the funniest thing you will read today, from Same Sad Echo in the Dadspin Christmas Shopping post. Holy shit. That is seriously fucking hysterical.

I really enjoyed this sharp, tight, outstanding one-liner from Raysism in the Manny Pacquiao post. So good.

And finally, here's a strong effort from a burner called chris.j.p in the Chicago Bar Stabbing post. You know what we say to funny burners: get a real account, will ya?

Total Fucking Duds

Here's something desperately stupid and boorish from a brain-dead teenager called SantiCazorla in the Stephen Jackson post. God I hate this crap. This would never have made it though the approval system pre-Kinja.

This boring, totally unoriginal one-liner from an idiot called ShaneMorris in the JaVale McGee post was actually referred to as "Brilliant" by some fucking burner moron. Unbelievable. What a lame, paper-thin joke. Boo.

This is an incredibly cheap movie reference from Billy Clyde Puckett in the Cam Cameron post. Just so, so flimsy. The entire punchline of this joke is "there was a guy in a movie named Cameron." It's pathetic. And look at that! Thank God there are burners to give a +1 to every bullshit kindergarten joke. Jesus.

And finally, here's a disastrously bad commenter named kittensarecute. This is a Gawker commenter who has strayed over to Deadspin from time to time. This person has no ability to say anything funny or original or thoughtful. At best, kittensarecute is trolling, but either way he's nasty and ignorant and offensive. Boy do I miss the ninjas. There has got to be a mechanism for getting rid of this kind of stuff.

Thanks for reading. Let's have a good old-fashioned DUAN, eh?


  1. You're not the only one who had to research. I put the research message in my +1 to fatleaveher's comment hoping to alert the newbies that it was worth the effort.

  2. Replies
    1. Oh, I'm well acquainted with the scene. I just wasn't sure where you found the inspiration. The randomness of it is part of what I like about it.

    2. The Bawlmer thing. (Also, Harbaugh's Dickensian aspect.)

  3. That Lego joke by Same Sad Echo is unbelievable. Bizarre and brilliant and chaotic and imaginative and dirty. Transcendently good.

  4. Here's a completely off the wall idea regarding the search for a way to make horrible comments disappear. Feel free to shoot it down before it sees the light of day, but I figured I'd toss it out there. Since we know that a hidden star system exists, I wonder if a poorly rated commenter is capable of dragging a neutral commenter's comment down to the bottom of a post in the same way a well-regarded commenter's reply is capable of elevating one.

    If this is the case, would it be over the top to have a few of us create alternate/burner accounts and see if we can intentionally get our rating lowered to one or zero stars on those accounts, (possibly by asking the right people to help us out with that) after which we could help "bury" some of the duds by simply replying to them in some way? Even a simple, "This is not what we do here" could suffice, just something to attach the kryptonite account to the original dud and drag it down.

    I know that wouldn't solve the problem, but it seems pretty clear at this point that coming up with a way to completely eliminate the duds is not going to happen. It seems like the next-best option is probably to find a way to sink them as much as possible.

    1. Please don't be offended, Sarge, but this is a really, really bad idea. All it would do is spark a lot of fighting and bickering. The people who are commenting badly as burners these days don't care about "what we do here." They never have and they never will. Most of them are itching for an excuse to have a flame war with each other. Even if there were a known way to game the system, this idea could only spawn more and more trouble.

    2. I think the best way to deal with duds and burners is to ignore them. I really do. The last thing Deadspin needs right now is more burners who aren't making jokes. I wish this weren't the kind of thing Deadspin's talented commenters had to think about, but there's not a whole lot to be done about it. Every time someone gets sucked into a back and forth with idiots and trolls, those idiots and trolls are only encouraged to participate.

    3. I believe someone's been doing that to me for months, Sarge.

    4. No offense taken. I didn't mean to give the impression that I wanted to engage these guys. I just thought that there may be a way where a simple reply could drag them down from the middle of the pack where other burners are more likely to see them and engage. It wouldn't even have to be a constructive reply. It could be something as stupid as naming the account "Titanic" and just replying to duds with "Iceberg." I just included the "not what we do here" line so as to not give the impression that I wanted to start trolling them.

    5. Sarge, I get what you're suggesting, but the fact is we just don't know how to game the system like that. Probably the safest way to get an account a negative reputation would be for it to do some trolling of its own - which, in the meantime, would increase the amount of trolling on the site, creating the not-so-crazy impression that that's what we do here. It really is best just to leave the bad shit alone.

      Really, for that matter, the absolute best thing to do about bad comments is to make good ones. The higher the ratio of good to bad, the more out-of-place the bad ones will look, and those who are paying attention will notice that and try to conform their behavior. But, like it or not, people who don't give a shit about the community standard are just part of the landscape, now. Best to ignore 'em the way we all used to ignore the pinks.

    6. I wish this weren't the kind of thing Deadspin's talented commenters had to think about

      Stuff like this is why the Deadspin circle-jerk accusations still linger. Guys like Raysism are worried, too.

  5. The one good thing about Kinja is that all of the good commenters are at the top of the comments, which has led to a phenomenon that I call the "DaneIorgy Line". The DaneIorgy line separates the comments that I may potentially have some interest in reading from those that I don't even need to skim.

    DaneIorgy is perfectly average -- he's been around awhile, rarely contributes an offensive comment, and never contributes a homerun. When I see his name, I know it's time to turn around and head upstream to a Madoffs Mets or Echo comment.

    And even when DaneIorgy isn't there, his line is there in spirit. "let's see...Gamboa, IMG, Sneijderman, Hammerclaw, Erg, Death Panda 2, ilovetobuttfuck...yep, we're done here."

    1. All the more perfect an analogy, given the guy's replacement-level namesake.

  6. "The be funny mandate is best expressed when it is used in the service of actually commenting on the subject of the post"

    This, times 1000. A post that deals with, for example, some serious ethical lapse at ESPN somehow providing fodder for, say, a punny little recontextualization thing about Billy Joel's driving is fine. A good joke that sheds further light on, or shovels more dirt on the subject of the post is harder and a frankly better angle to pursue.

    Sometimes the totally out-of-the-blue nature of some Ethel Merman joke on an post about the 3-4 defense is what makes it appealing and sometimes, it's a corny distraction.

  7. "The be funny mandate is best expressed when it is used in the service of actually commenting on the subject of the post"

    I couldn't agree more. It is clear that The Powers That Be want us to have "conversations" about the posts. And, to be fair, the authors put in a lot of work to make their points, so they deserve more than having a random line repurposed into a pun. I would love to see the commentariat spend a bit more time giving intelligent, yet humorous, responses rather than immediately default to puns, movie scripts or "reconceptualizations."

    MBA could do a service by explicitly preferencing those who actually try to advance the thinking rather than those who go for a guilty chuckle. As much as we love a tangentially related joke, the difficulty level goes up 10x when you force yourself to react to the actual content of the post.

    1. This is ridiculous. That's a funny gag from Sharting, but if you think that's half as funny as his bizarre non-sequitur Olive Garden library, just as a for-instance, you're nuts.

      I'm not a pun guy by any stretch, but why do DS's editors "deserve" more than puns in the comments? As if we're there to constantly pay lip service to (or, more likely) step on the often great journalism and commentary they provide, rather than make jokes? As I see it, they do their thing and we do ours.

      And as far as Shitehawk doing a service....I think he's doing plenty. Notice how much better the comments are lately?

      Also, put your name to it.

    2. Ease up there, fella. We don't frown on anonymity here, and this particular Anonymous is making a fairly reasonable suggestion.

    3. Yea, verily, Mr. Hammer. Thou hast spake the truth, and thou hast done so most effectively.

    4. Earless, you ignorant slut. All the time with your liberal flavhafnaanfnlahnbnal . . .

      My preference is that people not comment anonymously. I will allow anonymous comments as long as they are thoughtful and intelligent and non-confrontational. As I mentioned over the weekend, if you have something truly controversial to say and don't want your handle attached to it, email me at or shoot me a DM on Twitter and I'll try to work it in somehow. We'll continue to allow anonymous comments going forward, so long as people aren't using them to say things they would not otherwise feel comfortable saying. If we're going to have a conversation down here, I'd like for it to be an intelligent conversation between grownups.

    5. Jesus. Anonymous (a different anonymous) said "be funny, but try harder to connect to the story," and you all threw a hissy fit. Really, is it that hard to make jokes that actually relate to the content of the story?

      Raise your bar, folks.

    6. Anonymous 10:23 here. Please don't take this as me criticizing or devaluing non sequitur Billy Joel driving Ethel Merman jokes. I agree that editors don't "deserve" any more than what we give them, and I certainly didn't intend to speak for the folks who run DS. I also didn't intend to imply that the off-the-wall non sequitur jokes are bad - but when given the option of making a joke, or making a joke about the post I think the latter is often overlooked, and it can provide an even greater punch than a one-off chuckle (and I love the one-off chuckle). I agree that Sharting's catalog of Olive Garden jokes are devastatingly funny, but they weren't all totally random - a number of them used the OG structure to make a sly statement about the subject of the post they followed.

      We definitely should not go anywhere near some "rules" of comedy debate, because lord knows, those turn into a sticky morass of unresolvable opinions, I'm just trying to suggest maybe thinking about nudging the needle in a different direction from time to time.

      As for anonymity, I believe that anonymity is exceedingly valuable here, for the purpose of being able to present a point of view, and have the statement stand or fall on its own merits, and not have the statement's credibility be enhanced or diminished by the identity of the speaker, or the audience's perception of the speaker, or the speaker's DS body of work. I understand the concerns of Shitehawk, Earless and Bronze Hammer, and agree that limiting the speech of those who use anonymity to attack others, or refuse to make reasonable statements in good faith is their obligation to this community.

    7. Thanks for this. All great points. This is the kind of anonymous commentary I can get behind.

      Everyone else: there will be no tearing this person a new asshole. Respond in kind, please.

    8. Besides, if you're going to tear someone a new asshole, the polite thing to do is pour some Franzia down there. Right?!

    9. Without denigrating or disagreeing with anything that's been said above (all of which was well-written and quite convincing), my position on all of this has been consistently simple: let’s all show up and make jokes.

      I think it’s awesome that there are people like our esteemed host and Anonymous 10:23 who like to think about all of this, and I really appreciate those occasions where I’m complimented by those who hand out compliments, but I probably will continue to type out the first funny thing that pops into my head. Unfortunately, my day job requires me to think smart all of the time, so I like coming here to think dumb.

      Also, I have the sense of humor of a prepubescent 12-year old, which makes it hard to adjust.

  8. [scene: a three-alarm fire at a local Olive Garden]

    Ethel Merman: Hey, we didn't start the fire, amirite?

    [killed instantly as Billy Joel runs into her]

    ilovetobuttfuck: Hey, maybe we should drop all of this, and get out there and be funny.

    [Raysism, Shitehawk and the other guy who is not Shitehawk all pause, stare at each other, and finally join hands, as...]

    DaneIorgy: Just had the Brooklyn-style pizza at Olive Garden. Guess you could say I'm in a New York state of mind.

    [Erg drops dead of heart attack, and "Longest Time" plays us out, as his corpse is abused by ilovetobuttfuck]