Always ahead of the curve, the Times Sunday Styles section notices that many blogs feature—get this—readers commenting on posts. And some of those commenters, like the part-time wedding photographer "DaShiv," a frequent poster at MetaFilter, have become minor stars in their own right:
But thanks to a particular wrinkle of Internet culture, DaShiv is a star, an internationally famous portrait photographer, feted and fawned over during his 10-day visit to New York. This fame is not thanks to his own blog. He doesn't have one. Nor has he scored big by creating a clever YouTube video or a flashy MySpace page. DaShiv's notoriety stems from the popularity of the comments and photos he posts on blogs run by other people.
But there are also nasty types commenting, the Times warns:
Commenting has become such a widely played sport that new tools are being deployed to separate the "trolls"—unwelcome commenters—from the favorites. Eater plans to offer readers the option of custom-filtering comments to exclude certain writers. Little Green Footballs started a rating system that lets users vote a comment up or down on a page, "to help the better ones be noticed," the site creator, Charles Johnson, wrote in an e-mail message.
What point there might be to someone putting all his creative sweat into a 1,700-word exegesis on the cultural status of Bonobo apes, which a few hundred strangers might read, can be partially explained by a writer's desire to be recognized within an online community, Mr. Poe said. On MetaFilter, readers can mark other users' comments as a favorite, and commenters derive pride from how many times they have been "favorited," he said.
H&R commenters, "derive pride" by commenting on this post.