Why Memory Fails Us by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons exemplifies Exemplies Ineffectiveness of Comment Sections.

Comment sections of articles rarely provide any insight or further the discussion and usually echo the authors intended purpose or offers other explanation without any credible sources as evidence. This is exemplified by the comment selected by readers’ and the New York Times picks of Why Memory Fails Us by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons.

In Why Our Memory Fails Us by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons start building their argument by presenting an example with Neil Degrasse Tyson where he combines two emotionally charged events. Then relate why memory fails us to readers through their use of inclusive pronouns such as “we” and “us” to show that this phenomenon happens to everyone. But still retain a credible tone by including research from the National Academy of Science and other research that correlates confidence and memory. Chabris and Simons also build credibility by letting readers know that they are professors of psychology at universities. The authors then explain in laymen terms how memories can morph and the phenomena happens to everyone. The tone of the piece is instructive at the end and suggest that we should be forgiving of those who admit their error, while explanatory throughout the open-end.

The top three comments made in the Readers’ Picks sections include a comment made by Dr. Tyson, Keith Dow, and Jacob Summer. The comment made by Dr. Tyson is obviously a top pick since the open-end prominently features an event where his memory failed him. The next top comment is made by Keith Dow, who argues President George W. Bush are not “intelligent, educated people” by listing verifiable quotes. This is likely to be a top pick due to the amount of people who agree with the commenter, and the quotes selected reflect poorly on the former president. The comment seems credible since the quotes have sources listed and effectively ridicules him. The last top pick comment echoes the authors advise of forgiving those who admit their mistake instead of assuming they have lied on purpose. Mr. Summers uses a sympathetic tone and connects to readers in his tone and use of inclusive pronouns, indicating that this has happened to him as well. He then lists sarcastic scenarios that commonly occur to further prove his point.

The top 3 comments picked by New York Times(NYT) appears to expands the open-end with insight however the credibility is questionable. The top commentator brings up a case where their memory failed them and vehemently denying the event then echoes the authors advice. The next comment disagrees with the authors and offering another explanation to the problem but does not build their credibility. The third comment agrees with the authors by explaining a standard assignment in journalism classes that exemplify the phenomena. I think the approach the NYT takes is only marginally effective; both sections of the comments have a top comment that echoes the authors thoughts which doesn’t further the discussion. The Readers’ pick is unreliable in selecting comments that are substantially as exemplified by Mr. Dow’s list of quotes from former president Bush. But the comments picked by NYT are also not credible since they are only conjecture without valid evidence supporting their statements. The separation of the comments is necessary to filter comments however the NYT approach to comment ranking is not very effective.

 

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