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Where To Find The Smartest Commenters On The Internet

Find out how educated you'd need to be to understand the comments at Fox News, Gawker, Slate, and more.

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Internet comments get a lot of flak, but some may be more intellectually challenging than others. BuzzFeed gathered comments from 15 news websites and ran them through's readability calculator, which uses tools like word choice and sentence length to determine what grade you'd need to be in to understand the text. To get a representative sample for every site, we collected the top five comments on each of five current front-page stories — sites without enough comments (BuzzFeed, whose visitors respond more often with reaction buttons than with text, was one) were excluded from our analysis. The comments we looked at ranged all the way from a fifth-grade reading level to a tenth-grade one. Below, the sites we analyzed, in ascending order of comment complexity:


6. Breitbart


Grade level: 7.73

Sample comment: "State run media still refuses to cover any story that harms their messiah, they got him elected not once but twice. The burden is squarely on their shoulders at what has happened to this once great nation."


5. Slate


Grade level: 7.94

Sample comment: "As soon as I manage to simultaneously date 227 women, I'll take this study into account. Until that time, forgive me for taking the unscientific approach of using anecdotal data from a single woman."

2. New York Times


Grade level: 9.66

Sample comment: "In fact, homo sapiens is an evolutionary mistake by virtue of the impact man has on the total environment. I would have to say that as an elder person (71) the devastation of the environment the beauty and the beasts helps me to accept my death because it is too painful to witness the guano of human destruction."

1. The Atlantic


Grade level: 10.64

Sample comment: "In general trusting the popular media (NYT, Fox, WaPo, CNN, FT, WSJ, etc*) on anything outside the most narrowly popular topics that they focus on is a recipe for disappointment, half truths, and displays of reportorial ignorance."

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