As 2017 comes to a close, we're taking a look back at the past year through the voices of our commenters.
While the comments section can have its share of trolls, it can also be a rewarding experience to see readers respond to stories with wit, elegance and thoughtfulness. All told, there were 1.43 million comments left on Philly.com in 2017. Readers can also up-vote good comments and down-vote bad ones. Last year, commenters placed a total of 1.53 million votes.
People with strong opinions can obviously clash, but the diversity of viewpoints and the humor that is often on display in our comments section is something we hope to see even more of in 2018 and beyond. Here are 10 of the most up-voted comments made on Philly.com this past year:
Jan. 2: During the Eagles' final game last season against the Cowboys, Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane was ejected from Lincoln Financial Field after an argument with a member of the Eagles' media relations department over how loudly reporters in the press box were discussing a penalty.
Commenter Montcogwm was disappointed other reporters didn't follow him out:
Jan. 22: In January, a group of Philadelphia School District teachers encouraged educators to introduce optional curriculum and activities related to the Black Lives Matter movement, from "The Revolution Is Always Now" coloring pages for very young students to a science lesson about the biology of skin color for older ones.
Not all educators agreed. Neither did commenter Henna Orno, whose opinion was the most up-voted comment on Philly.com in 2017:
Feb. 4: Columnist Bob Ford declared last year's Super Bowl the end of the "NFL's season of unending misery," citing declining television viewership caused by a myriad of factors, including overexposure, officiating problems and fantasy football. "People don't want to sit still and watch an entire game any longer," Ford wrote.
Commenter Vote for Dickie received a large number of up-votes for admitting to fatigue following the NFL season:
Feb. 9: After the Nordstrom department store chain announced it was dropping Ivanka Trump's accessory and clothing line, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News and possibly broke federal law by encouraging viewers to buy products being sold by the president's daughter. "Go buy Ivanka's stuff," Conway said on Fox & Friends.
Commenter WeirWolf thought the timing of Conway's statement was poor:
Feb. 21: Two months into Philadelphia's controversial sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors warned of impending layoffs due to drops in beverage sales of up to 50 percent. The tax has now been in effect for a year, and as my colleague Laura McCrystal recently reported, the results depend largely on which study you consult, and maybe even who paid for it.
Like many, commenter habitualloser2 figured out a way around the city's new tax:
May 5: During routine work replacing a water line on the 900 block of Spruce Street, workers discovered 200-year-old wooden water mains likely installed between October 1811 and October 1812.
Commenter El_Hambino immediately made a connection between the historic find and a quirk in the dialect of many Philadelphians.
Aug. 16: During the summer, critics called on the city to remove the iconic bronze statue of former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo, claiming it was a monument to his oppressive tactics against black citizens as police commissioner in the 1970s. Columnist Stu Bykofsky mockingly wrote that the city should take things further and rename the Ben Franklin Bridge and Parkway, because Franklin was a slaveholder and a womanizer.
Commenter Robert Fox surprised himself by actually agreeing with Bykofsky:
Commenter Mick Bodine also agreed with Bykofsky, receiving a large number of up-votes for a quote pulled from George Orwell's dystopian nightmare 1984:
June 13: A Christine Flowers column about entertainer Bill Cosby being a stand in for all men who might have mistreated women in the past received such a strong response from readers that Sandra Shea, the managing editor of opinion, wrote a piece about working with Flowers.
Commenter Jen D took issue with Flowers' contention that Cosby, who created a character that was a father figure for a generation, must at some deep level "possess those nurturing characteristics."
Aug. 26: Going into the season, months before quarterback Carson Wentz would go down with a season-ending injury, columnist Mike Sielski was worried about the Eagles' backup quarterback situation. He suggested that the team should consider whether it was worth signing Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who was the first player to take a knee and protest racial injustice during the national anthem.
Commenter Just Joe was pretty adamant about not wanting to see Kaepernick don an Eagles jersey: