I‘m online quite a bit. Here are the three rules I follow to maintain my sanity. Maybe they will work for you, too:
Rule 1: Skip the comments
When reading news articles, skip the comments. When read posts by extremists on either side, skip the comments. When reading posts from friends or favorite blogs, go ahead and read the comments, but if a comment directs you to a new article or extremist post, skip those comments. You really aren’t missing much.
Rule 2: If you must read reviews, skip the comments
I try to avoid reviews, either written about my own stuff or written about other things. Sometimes, however, I’ll find a review that I want to read. I always skip the comments. I’ve learned from long experience that they rarely add to the review. They rarely add to civilized dialog. You are better off skipping them.
Rule 3: If you must read the comments, remember this:
“Against stupidity, the very gods themselves contend in vain1.” This is a mantra for me in those cases where I absolutely cannot resist reading the comments. (But usually, Rules 1 and 2 provide adequate buffers.
- Friedrich Schiller, “The Maid of Orleans (1801) ↩