Media companies and publishers used to revere the comments sections of their articles. From 2013 to 2016, several well-known properties, including NPR and Popular Science, did away with their comments sections. Their reasons for removing them were plentiful and valid. However, smaller publications rely on comments to foster interaction and engagement, and that engagement leads to more readers and more revenue.
In the beginning, the internet promised a worldwide forum for sharing ideas and perspectives. It did that, but it turns out that a lot of the social opinions we share are controversial, and our perspectives are surprisingly good at provoking years-long shouting matches between entrenched camps. These controversies have so far been a dime a dozen, but these seven examples from the history of the internet managed to set the online world on fire.