This will be the first in the Wow So Meta series of entries. Wow So Meta will talk about the talk that occurs all the time on the CN forums. This entry will be on why outrage is so alluring.
One thing that really struck me is how much crap gets a great deal of attention, views, and comments. Of course, it's no secret that controversy breeds interest, but many topics and blog posts on these forums aren't particularly controversial but also aren't particularly well written, important, or interesting on the basis of their content alone. They are the reality TV of the CN world: the outrage posts.
Outrage posts, as I'm calling them here purely out of convenience, are posts characterized by drivel, nonsense, and/or outright stupidity, but which nonetheless provoke (sometimes even thoughtful) debate and interest. I'm thinking about such posts as those by Tywin, Loki, Buckaroo, Tom Riddle, etc., etc.
We as humans (except for the robot players, I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE DAMN IT!) are naturally drawn to that which is different from the rest. Being different can generate interest regardless of whether the thing in question is actually marked by any sort of quality. What's most interesting though is that despite the seemingly clear fact that these posts are, not to put too fine a point on it, !@#$, they actually do contribute in a positive way to the CN forums as they generate interest and activity that others can feed off of. Others can take that interest and activity and use it to garner interest in their much more high quality posts and content, in much the same way as viewers drawn to a particular channel for a reality TV program might end up watching something more high quality that comes on right after or before. They may even come to like the channel as a whole and end up watching other content that it produces on the basis of their liking one particular program initially. Even if this never happens, the ad dollars the channel gains from its reality TV programs can often end up funding more high quality program that might not otherwise be produced due to the risk associated with airing programs that aren't appealing to the masses. And that's how a seemingly annoying phenomenon such as outrage posts garnering more views, comments, and general interest than the more high quality ones can inadvertently help rather than hurt the forums on which they are all posted.