Reading the Comments

Joseph Reagle

MIT Press, 2015


“Reagle demonstrates how complex online commentary actually is, from questions of identity raised by selfies and sockpuppets to online debates both serious and silly. Reading the Comments makes it clear how vital the web’s marginalia has become as a cultural outlet.”
Clay Shirky, Associate Professor, New York University, and author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody

“Reagle approaches ‘the bottom of the web’ with the insight—and humor—the topic deserves. By urging us to take seriously an aspect of the digital ecosystem many of us try to ignore, Reagle skillfully navigates a landscape of virulent abuse, shameless promotion, and legitimate insight hidden in the comments and reviews of the web. This is a must-read for people trying to understand the challenges of encouraging productive participation online.”
Ethan Zuckerman, Director, Center for Civic Media, MIT

“In Reading the Comments, Joseph Reagle exposes the powerful social, cultural, and political implications of comments in the digital age. Entertaining and informative, critical and insightful, this book is an eye-opener for anyone who has ever written a comment, clicked the like button, or asked ‘WTF?’ when reaching the ‘bottom of the web.’
Limor Shifman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of Memes in Digital Culture


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Aronczyk, M. (2016). Likers, haters, and manipulators at the bottom of the web. New Media & Society, 18(4), 677–679.

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Swan, A. L. (2016). Review of Reading the Comments. International Journal of Communication, 10.

Weisberg, J. (2016, February 25). We are hopelessly hooked. The New York Review of Books.

Mihalo, W. E. (2015). Review of “Reading the Comments.” Computing Reviews, CR143767 (1512-1019).

Thompson, S. A. (2015). Book review: Reading the comments: Likers, haters, and manipulators at the bottom half of the Web. Consumption Markets & Culture, 1–3.

McMillan, L. (2015). Review. Choice, 53(2).

Ulmi, N. (2015, November 6). The dark, decaying underbelly of online commenting. World Crunch.

Comment survivre à l’ère du commentaire. (2015, October 21). Le Temps.

Nagle, A. (2015, October 1). Take that: Review of Reading the Comments. Dublin Review of Books.

Pasquale, F. (2015, September 28). How to tame an Internet troll. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Brabazon, T. (2015, August 27). Reading the comments: Likers, haters, and manipulators at the bottom of the web, by Joseph M. Reagle Jr. Times Higher Education.

“Reading the Comments” Summary. (2015, July 27). getAbstracts. [Also appeared in Vietnam News (2015, July 31) and Business Traveler (2015, July 30)]

Kalpokas, I. (2015, July 24). Book review: Reading the comments: Likers, haters, and manipulators at the bottom of the web. London School of Economics Review of Books.

Eyestone, D. (2015, July 21). If you can’t say anything nice, save it for the internet. PopMatters.

van der Nagel, E. (2015, July 16). Fakers, makers and takers. Inside Story.

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Williams, Z. (2015, June 25). “Reading the Comments” review. The Guardian.

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Crowley, D. (2015). Books. Frieze Magazine, 172.

Barekat, H. (2015, June 6). Encounters with the nastiest people on the Internet. The Spectator.

Strom, D. (2015, March 27). Faking Internet comments and reviews. Web Informant.

Interviews and Articles

Reagle, J. (2015, September 22). Online comment: Likers, haters and manipulators at the bottom of the web media. Utne Reader Online.

Salvo, P. D. (2015, July 9). Perché dobbiamo leggere i commenti.

Reagle, J., & Quaintance, M. (2015, May 24). Whitney Phillips and Joseph M.Reagle. Studio Visit.

Reagle, J. (2015, May 26). How do internet trolls justify their nasty, misogynist, life-ruining behavior? Alternet.

Reagle, J. (2015, May 22). Oops: “This is what life is like in the world of social media.” Pop Matters.

Reagle, J., & Munson, J. (2015, May 26). Reading the comments. Wisconsin Public Radio.

Reagle, J., & Guiney, N. (2015, May 24). Ideas: Is it worth reading the comment section? The Boston Globe.

Mulligan, J., & Reagle, J. (2015, April 27). Joseph Reagle and his book looking at comment culture. Radio New Zealand.

Reagle, J. (2015, April 30). The social graph won’t save us from what’s wrong with online reviews. The Conversation.

Scott, D. (2015, March 5). Why I’ve posted 27,000 times to one online forum. Talking Points Memo.

Carroll, M. S. (2015, January 9). Commenting on comments: Why are comments on stories so awful & how can we improve them? Medium.

Lynch, T. W., & Reagle, J. (2014, March 10). Taming the trolls: An interview with Web culture guru Joseph Reagle.