A new feature rocks the PostScript bunker today, the likes of which we have not seen before. While putting on her vintage World War I  German helmet with the spike on top, narwhal-style, PostScript noted a curious lack of animosity in the air.  The helmet would not be needed.  A new era has dawned: the era of the Ignore User feature.  

There’s a grand internet tradition of spiteful name calling. Generally it is returned in kind, and a volley of self-congratulation on provoking annoyance ensues.  Thus spiteful name calling can continue for several rounds:

A: I have thoughts.
B: Your thoughts are dumb.
A: You are too dumb to understand my thoughts.
B: You are so dumb that it bothers you when I point out how dumb you are!  I am superior!
A: DUMB.
B: HA HA HA!  DUMB.  

And so on.  While each first statement might be thoughtful and well-supported (“your thoughts are dumb because…”) the longer this goes on, the less anything develops besides joy in annoying others.  

But now, at any point in the conversation, either user can tell Post software to ignore that commenter, and his or her comments will no longer appear on that user’s screen.  Without the joy of annoying others and/or establishing one’s own obvious superiority, what becomes of the internet?  What becomes of the comments on the Opinions page of The Post?  

Exactly what you’d think.  People seem to be preemptively self-editing for civility, to avoid being ignored by the people with whom they wish to argue. It’s WEIRD. Take the comments to George F. Will’s column today. Will wrote that President Obama has “bewitched” much of Washington into believing he’s the one being reasonable in “fiscal cliff” talks, even though his compromises on entitlement spending haven’t budged any more than the House Republicans have on tax hikes.  

A conversation developed among several commenters trying to balance compassion with reining in government spending on health care. It is truly shocking. People have policy discussions mixed in with personal stories and are … respectful of one another. They respond to one another. They empathize.  

In days of yore (yesterday), a cogent conversation might be interspersed with trolls looking for a fight, and discussions that started seriously would get drawn into the whirling chaos of the eternal Internet mystery of who is dumb. But now, people can ignore and are conscious of how easily they can be ignored. They are more willing to share the personal insight informing their opinions, and people just looking to annoy get frustrated and go home. Take a look:    

Gooddogs

Medicare: Let’s talk about it.

1. Means test it.  
2. Move end of life spending to hospice, rather than blow out spending on terminal illnesses.

FairlingtonBlade

There was a revealing article a while ago about how doctors die. Hint: much less aggressive treatment. I’m hoping to pass while overseas so they just let my body die once I’m going or gone.

Hey, I just had my first chance to use the ignore feature.

Gooddogs

Farlington: Our family’s experience with hospice care, which is occurring right now is one of the best things that I have ever seen in our country.

FairlingtonBlade

Combine Medicare and Medicaid with a sliding premium support scale. If you go to the 100% level, that’s Medicaid. End fee for service. Pay for health care.
 
My father’s not in hospice care, but it has been discussed.

yellojkt

What they do is means test premiums. Just plain kicking affluent people off of Medicare would be unthinkable as there is no private market in healthcare for people guaranteed to die.

suekzoo1

Gooddogs,
 
My family had an excellent experience with hospice when my dad passed last year. But, and this is big, all the decisions were made in advance. Often times, families don’t address end of life issues until they have to make decisions in a crisis. Medicare should require a living will at sign up.  
Good wishes to you and your family. It’s not easy to lose a loved one, especially during the holiday season. That said, our experience with hospice brought a lot of compassion, care and dignity to my dad in his final days that really warmed my heart.

wmbrent

Medicare is one element in a national program to ensure that everyone has access to affordable health care, its long-term sustainability admittedly need to be addressed, and Democrats must be courageous enough to take some steps in the process that will be opposed by important constituencies. But raising the eligibility age simply adds to the number of Americans who don’t have access to affordable health care when the sane idea would be to merge Medicaid and Medicare and extend their coverage to all Americans.

fanofFDR

Alternatively, you could just drop everything about healthcare and simply implement a Medicare-for-all system, which would save everyone money.

Nevermind narwhal helmets, we might not even need a bunker anymore.  Check in tomorrow for updates from the PostScript puppies and kittens animal shelter with oddly thick concrete walls and its own missile defense system. We will have a pillow fight about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and then collapse into giggles.