Killer Robots from the Future

Why leave a comment no one will ever read? I do this regularly at washingtonpost.com. My go-to news source offers readers an opportunity to comment on their articles. I did this today. Alexandra Petri, a Washington Post opinion columnist, knocked out a mildly amusing five-hundred words on her dislike of San Francisco’s killer robot plan. No, don’t read her article, it’s not that funny. It relies heavily on repeating the phrase ‘killer robots’ for humor. On the unlikely chance she ever reads this: sorry Alexandra, we can’t nail it every time.

As a piece of opinion, it lacks any punch. It makes no point whatsoever except that even in fiction, we can’t find a single example of killer robots benefiting society. This is where my comment that will never be read comes into the game. “The terminator in Terminator 2 – Judgement Day is pretty helpful. Just sayin’.”

Have you watched the Terminator movie franchise? In the original movie, the bad guys from the future, actual killer robots, send a killer robot back in time to kill the twenty-year-old future mother of John Conner, the man who will ultimately lead the revolution against the killer robots. In the sequel, Terminator 2, the bad guys from the future send another killer robot, this time to kill John himself, but John from the future sends a killer robot to protect his younger self. John’s killer robot saved humanity.

Whoa, lots of killer robots in that last paragraph. Rereading it, it doesn’t seem that funny to me. Maybe there was no humor at all in Alexandra’s column.  It was tagged as satire. Isn’t satire supposed to be funny? The Terminator storyline is exciting stuff, alternate timelines coupled with action, violence and humor, it appealed to a younger me. Maybe I should send a robot back in time to suggest I read a book instead.

When I left my comment, the Post already had over one thousand comments on Alexandra’s article. I plunked mine into the mix without reading any others. I must do this every week. I’ve never received a notice that someone read, replied or even liked my comment. I don’t know if washingtonpost.com would even send me a notification. There are too many comments being submitted to ever go back and try to find the comment I left to see if anyone replied. It’s like bottling up a message and tossing it into the sea. I’ll never see it again. I can only hope that someone else does.

Now that I think about it, someone does see my comment. The Post employs a human to moderate the discussion. If I ignore the article topic and just write something insulting about snowflakes or Nancy Pelosi, the comment will never appear. These comments show up invariably on the news-site Newser. Browse the comments on any article, quickly, the discussion devolves into partisan hate. Even the article about ‘Noodle, the beloved pug of TikTok’ only made it to the third comment before someone started in on the Democrats. I hope the Washington Post moderator liked my comment.

Once, after I read an article about the giant sequoias in California, I submitted a comment that included a link to my blog post titled The Big Trees. For the next two weeks I was blocked from reading or writing any comments at all. Moderators!

I don’t know why I leave these comments. There is zero chance of getting a reply setting off a WordPress-like exchange. If no one reads it, does it even exist? Maybe it’s like my message in the bottle. It quickly springs a leak, fills with water, and sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Just one more piece of garbage in an already polluted world.

Photo by Jayne Harris on Unsplash

19 thoughts on “Killer Robots from the Future

  1. Probably some satisfaction in just saying it for yourself. Is there any loose connection to the feeling the graffiti artist gets? Maybe a stretch. But I recognized her name from some hysterical posts she wrote leading up to the 2016 election I recall; one about Hillary being like the most vile person in the world and parodying that. She nailed it then. But no, we don’t always (nail it) do we. Send future automated versions of ourselves back retroactively to fix things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So maybe by commenting, I’m leaving my ‘tag’? I usually like her articles. This one was fine as I read it, but afterwards, I began to wonder shat she really said. When I read over it again, I realized she said nothing at all. Writing a newspaper column where I can write about anything I want is my absolute dream. I used to read a column by a guy named Reg Henry that was like that, and I was always so envious of him. I wanted to call my column Curmudgeon.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I left a comment on that article too😂😂😂 I replied to someone else’s comment and FYI, no notifications. I’ve gone back to look if I’m in the first 100 or so… I’d gotten THREE 👍 when I looked😂😂 My WaPo handle is “Angie In SoCal”… so original🤪
    I think WordPress has conditioned us to leave comments. Read Piece🔔 Leave Comment … good dog 🐕 🤣🤣🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm. Maybe I should go see if anyone replied to my comment. There must be 3000 comments by now. Not sure I have the energy. You’re right about the conditioning. When I read stuff on CNN sometimes my reflex is to want to leave a comment. Then I bum out that I can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And the Moderator, don’t forget the Moderator.
        Then there’s your Family, Friends and Blogging Buddies 😉
        I saw one article that had over 30,000 comments… I bet most of those people don’t even have Blogging Buddies to help them feel heard.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A whimsical part of me wants to pretend that all the good comments made around the world are like fairy lights on a Christmas tree, and one starless night, someone will throw a switch and goodness will shine on us all.
    Meanwhile I’ll take some comfort from other stuff.
    Kind regards
    DD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good comments meaning ‘nice’ or good comments meaning ‘clever’? Mine wasn’t particularly nice. I’m not sure if it deserves the fairy-light treatment, but throwing that switch would be something to see. The other stuff is probably somewhere a bit north of average, so take all the comfort you want.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It occurred to me that Mr Whimsy might be being a bit sneaky – slipping in some irony. Then I thought, ‘Do I really want to go all Washington Post Moderator on him?’. ‘No’, I thought and so I let it go.

        Nice would look nice.
        Witty might be psychedelic.
        But angry might blow the fuses.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t comment on the Washington Post, Jeff, but on some of the UK news outlets the comments are sometimes better than the articles themselves. I like the thought of a comment being like a graffiti tag. Keep tagging.

    Like

  5. I think it’s great that you leave such comments, even if you think no one is reading them. I think that’s all part of building an online community. I’m not sure how I feel about human moderators, but I would be ok with spam filters. If a comment gets past the spam filters, then I say let it stay. It’s nice to see a variety of opinions on written pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They actually use a hybrid system. AI does the first pass and lets some escape. An opinion site once asked if they could post something I wrote to their site. When they posted it, the comments directed at me and other commenters were appalling. When they asked for another piece, I declined due to lack of moderation. She said it was too expensive to moderate. I just think they like the engagement (no matter how horrible).

      Liked by 1 person

        • I honestly can’t remember the content of trumps most egregious tweets, but I draw the line at inciting violence–which I think he did. The next line that needs to be drawn is what, exactly, incites violence. Is calling a Muslim judge unAmerican in protest of a ruling going too far? Not sure, but the blowback from that could very well be violent. (I made this example up).

          Liked by 1 person

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