As a grizzled veteran of the metal blogosphere (as both a reader and later, a writer and editor), I’ve seen my share of comment section trollery. Hell, I’ve even been known to take the odd troll stroll myself in my less mature and dignified days. Like many of you, I regularly patrolled sites like Blabbermouth and Metalsucks for news and reviews, as well as smaller sites like Metaltemple and Metalcrypt, and while many such sites have merit, they often seem a breeding ground for ad hominem attacks, juvenile name calling, mindless band and fan bashing and generalized insult throwing.
Since launching in 2009, AMG has somehow managed to avoid the kinds of trolling other sites get buried beneath. As we’ve grown in readership and stature, I expected that to eventually change and the floodgates to open up. But then a funny thing happened: the bigger we got, the more intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful our commenters became. Now, in our sixth year of existence, I regularly find myself impressed by the depth and quality of the discussions happening in our little comment section. Be it about the “Loudness Wars” and the continued assault on sound quality by today’s production techniques, or the direction a certain band or genre is heading, you can count on the AMG readers to offer intelligent and often thought-provoking commentary.
And while we certainly see our share of disagreement and conflicting views, the dialogue here has been almost entirely free of flaming, name calling and tough guy bravado. In its place, there’s a healthy dose of humor, good-natured ribbing and needling. In this day and age of anonymous cyber-hate and fast attack tweeting, that’s something rare and pretty damn amazing, isn’t it?
If you need proof of what I speak, look no further than the hyper-technical and informative discussion that surrounded the most recent Fallujah album and the controversial production job thereon. Even the album’s producer joined in to explain and patiently defend some of the band’s decisions on sound and mix, and the AMG readers engaged with him in a respectful and thoughtful way.
Other moments where the AMG readers showed their class included the article about Blake Judd’s ongoing struggles with addiction, and possibly my favorite; when our scribe Grymm opted to discuss his experience being a gay metalhead. While he was greeted with support and encouragement by the AMG masses, I cringe to think how that post would have been received on certain other metal sites.
The point of this here comment, is to salute you, the AMG reader and commenter. I mean it from the core of my metal heart of steel when I say “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” But seriously, folks, you make the whole AMG experience something better than we the writers, editors and support staff could do on our own. You make it a community. And it takes a community to stop the scourge of trollery. And in honor of your collective efforts, we proudly proclaim you all, troll slayers supreme.
Kudos to all of you, and we at AMG look forward to many more years of your opinions, viewpoints and of course, your epic whining when Record(s) o’ the Month is ever so slightly tardy. Stay metal, my friends.