Words of Wisdom: Seven Days' Commenters Both Trolled and Consoled in 2018 | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Words of Wisdom: Seven Days' Commenters Both Trolled and Consoled in 2018


Published December 26, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.


As a consequence of the particularly divisive politics of 2018, wading through Seven Days' online comments this year could occasionally inspire dread.

Why? Some remarks were offensive, degrading and just outright mean. In all, our comment moderation team pulled nearly 500 remarks that violated our guidelines — more than three times the number removed in 2017.

But just when we were getting discouraged about the nastiness, something happened that restored our faith in humanity. In October, we published an obituary for Madelyn Linsenmeir, a Vermont mother who had struggled with opiate addiction. It was shared widely on social media and received more than 1,000 comments, nearly all of which were respectful and sincere. People around the world wrote of their own painful losses from the opiate crisis and expressed love and support for those affected by addiction. Even in such divisive times, it seems, some issues unite us all.

Other comments this year made us laugh. A fair number took shots at the politicians featured in stories — here's looking at you, Gov. Phil Scott and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — but some offered insightful commentary that furthered the conversation about important community issues.

Read on for our annual year-end list of our favorites. None of the original spelling, punctuation or grammar has been corrected, and the authors are identified only by user names — often not their real ones.

We look forward to hearing from you in 2019.

Re: "Sanders Backs Out of Interview After Failing to Dictate Conditions"

Bernie only wanted to field questions about his favorite pudding cups.

Posted by Gooey 911, January 29

Ed. note: He wouldn't even answer that.

Re: "Freedom of Screech: Our Favorite Reader Comments of 2017"

I'm not sure if making this list is something to be treasured or not

Posted by Rich ard, January 7

Ed. note: Treasure. Definitely a treasure.

Re: "In Manchester, Billsville House Concerts Create Community"

Thanks for the great article. We're experiencing a local battle in which multiple people are laying claim to an important part of this article. "I WAS THE GUY WHO SAID HOLY F*CK" is a common refrain.

Posted by BillsvilleHouse, May 2

Ed. note: Quite the urban legend.

Re: "Mad Taco Does Burgers in New Hostel Tevere Restaurant"

Hope he wears a hair net... on his beard.

Posted by The Oracle, July 3

Ed. note: This could apply to a lot of Vermont eateries.

Re: "Vermonter Writes for Russian News Website With Shady Ties"

This is the most bizarre comment section I've ever seen. Where are these people coming from?

Posted by B. Alan, October 5

Ed. note: We ask ourselves that every day.

Re: "Cuts and Cocktails at the Barbershop in Burlington"

You probably think you're being literary but your ludicrous alliteration is childish and embarrassing. "Burly barber's bitchin' beard"? Give me a break. Seven Days should hire an adult.

Posted by Peter St. Amore, November 8

Ed. note: What fun would that be?

Re: "A Transformational Candidate: Hallquist Plans to Run for Vermont Governor"

I am dissapointed at everyone bashing 7 days in the comments. It dries out my wet boots and starts my woodstove as well as it ever has.

Posted by Marina Brown, February 3

Ed. note: Masterful trolling. Bravo!

Re: "Displays of Stupidity: When Fireworks Spark Trouble"

Only thing that stops a bad guy with fireworks is a good guy with fireworks.

Posted by yasky, July 6

Ed. note: Looks like Big Fireworks has a new spokesperson.

Re: "Vermont AG: It's Illegal for Businesses to 'Gift' Marijuana"

I'm all for legalized marijuana, but have to agree that anybody using "gift" as a verb is committing a crime against the English language.

Posted by Steve Carlson, July 23

Ed. note: Our gift to you.

Re: "Artist Weighs In on Burlington Mural Controversy"

I hope this lame mural outlives every one of these annoying complainers.

Posted by I Give Up, July 31

Ed. note: Update — it just might!

Re: "Meet the 14-Year-Old Running for Vermont Governor"

OK. Free lollipops for all and a two day school week with no homework. Very cute.....you made the news. Now go away. Your Mommy is calling you.

Posted by Peter Morgan, August 1

Ed. note: Hey, did nearly 5,000 people vote for you?

Re: "Walters: Scott Names New Vermont Education Secretary"

Oh, no kidding, another old white man appointed to a position of power? Now there is something worth putting in the papers!

Posted by Ironic, August 2

Ed. note: As is this comment.

Re: "Bernie Sanders' GOP Opponent Drops Out of Senate Race — and Four Others"

In the picture with this article Mr. Paige looks like he should be holding up Punxsutawny Phil on Groundhog Day.

Posted by NorthOldEnder, August 25

Ed. note: A true Vermonter has more than one gig.

Re: "For Vermont's Sheriffs, Policing Is a Lucrative Business"

I see what you did there, Alicia. Sheriff Hill is "an avuncular man", and his name is Sam. Cute!

Posted by Paul White, September 7

Ed. note: We want you to believe it was intentional!

Re: "GOP County Chair Deletes Tweet That Said Kavanaugh Accuser 'Was Having a Sexual Fantasy'"

Why is it, one wonders, that over 90% of Twitter hijackings happen to right-wing Republicans who drink a lot of alcohol?

Posted by Dennis Shanley, September 24

Ed. note: We weren't gonna print this one, but then we got drunk and let the dog edit these comments.

Re: "Burlington Officials Unveil $30 Million Fix for Wastewater Problems"

Dumping human waste into Lake Champlain? Is this the face of the progressive agenda that Burlington wants to foist on the rest of the state?

Posted by CharleyMartel, September 25

Ed note: A shitty platform!

Re: "A Dog Wedding Brings Joy to a Burlington Assisted Living Home"

I hope the bride and groom are spayed and neutered before they reproduce again.

Posted by Susan Ulmer Clark, October 3

Ed. note: Uh, Susan? About that wedding invite...

Re: "Stuck in Vermont: Photographer Matthew Thorsen Gets the Last Word"

Oh, Eva, this piece is so heartbreakingly beautiful. I felt every moment of pain and love. Thank you for this.

Posted by lisaku, October 4

Ed. note: We love you, too, Matt.

Re: "The Parmelee Post: Red Maple Leaf Collapses Under Pressure to Bolster Vermont Economy"

Really, You guys couldn't find a picture of a Sugar Maple Leaf? You had to use as Japanese Maple Leaf?

Posted by Reynard, October 9, 2018

Ed. note: We seldom let Bryan Parmelee outdoors.

Re: "A Truck Plows Into Bessery's Butcher Shoppe"

Seven Days... why is this the only article I've seen on it. Why didn't more news outlets cover it? Burlington Free Press?

Posted by Mariella Torres, October 17

Ed. note: We wrote about it. Now we also have to explain why others didn't?

Re: "Inside Vermont's First Target Store"

By all the hype you'd think this was the second coming of Christ. Cool your jets... it's a Target.

Posted by Cheryl Pariseau, October 17

Ed. note: All of those people who dislike Walmart finally have a place to shop!

Re: "Drain the Swamp? Scott Wades Into State Wetland Dispute"

"I need to see the so-called wetland." So says the man who gets his jollies riding around in a circle, belching out pointless greenhouse gasses. So called. Uh huh.

Posted by RudigerVT, October 17

Ed. note: The environment isn't going to ruin itself!

Re: "As He Considers a 2020 Presidential Run, Bernie Sanders Refuses to Pledge to Serve Full Senate Term"

Even a part-time Bernie is better than a full-time asshat.

Posted by The Oracle, October 30

Ed. note: How very Shakespearean.

Re: "As He Considers a 2020 Presidential Run, Bernie Sanders Refuses to Pledge to Serve Full Senate Term"

As He Considers a 2020 Presidential Run, Bernie Sanders Refuses to Pledge to Do Something About His Hair

Posted by knowyourassumptions, November 1

Ed. note: Whoa! Attacks on pols' physical appearance aren't limited to women anymore!

Re: "Letters to the Editor (11/7/18)"

Oh boy. An "All Lives Matter" comment and a "save the (dying) trees" comment all in the same week?! The comment gods look upon us favorably.

Posted by SputnikNuts, November 7

Ed. note: Indeed they do!

Re: "After 20 Years, Hardware Store to Open in Downtown Burlington"

Now there will be plenty of access to hardware materials downtown. I expect construction on the mall to start up again as a result.

Posted by Mt.Philo, November 20

Ed. note: Teamwork.

Re: "Who Shot Mr. Cheeseface? The Vermont Demise of a Famous Mutt"

An appropriate subtitle might be "Who Did Not Neuter Mr. Cheeseface?" I hope no "intact" dog is allowed to roam as freely as Mr. Cheeseface was.

Posted by Paul Lamberson, December 2

Ed. note: Ruff!

Re: "Bernie Sanders Raises Nearly $1 Million in Under Six Weeks"

I just bought a house in another state, can't wait to leave this left-wing-socialist-progressive-fascist place called Vermont. No longer will I have to yell, "NO, I don't feel the Bern." And for the record, I never have. What a charlatan he is. Wake up suckers.

Posted by saysme, December 11

Ed. note: Bernin' mad!

Re: "Can I Get an Amend? Vermont Legislature to Consider Abortion, Slavery and Equal Rights Amendments"

This state is getting nuttier by the minute.

Posted by Lucas, December 13

Ed. note: Amen.