Newspaper looks inside the world of the anonymous newspaper commenter

From the Boston Globe, and posted without comment.

An excerpt:

When he gets home, he’ll look to see how other commenters have responded to his earlier posts. There’s a “Recommend” button on the comments page on, where people can give their thumbs up to posted comments. This is the metric by which Talabach judges his daily performance. He recalls the time his comment on a column titled “My Lazy American Students” drew hundreds of “Recommends.” Leaning back in his chair, with his left arm resting on his thick belly and his right arm jingling change in his pocket, he smiles. “There were more than 600 comments, and at least half of them agreed with me!”

I ask him if he has any hobbies. He points to a large wall hanging behind him. “I made this rug,” he says, before adding, “I made those two clocks,” and pointing to a pair nearby. “They came in a kit.” I ask him if he has a workshop in the house. He shakes his head. “No, I made all of these things when I was living at my old house in Foxborough.” Then it dawns on me. He told me earlier that he’d been living in his current place for more than a decade. So much for current hobbies.

He has no wife, no children, and a job requiring just 20 hours a week. He doesn’t follow sports, doesn’t hang out at bars or go on many trips beyond the occasional visit to play the slots at Twin River, and isn’t involved in any organizations to speak of. But he is extremely active in his community. It just happens to be one that only exists online.

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