The internet truly seems to have a word for everything. Everything, because many of those things in everything get created on the the internet, though they may move into other spheres in due course. One such word is commentroversy.
There’s no controversy over its origin. It comes from controversies kicked up because somebody posted a comment on something (generally a blog post or news item), somebody posted another comment opposing that comment, then there was a counter-comment, then a counter to that counter-comment….and so on. Until there is a full-fledged commentroversy, with fighting comment after fighting comment overwhelming the blog post, till the point of the original blog post is lost in the free-for-all.
A furious commentroversy once raged on a blog in the Economist. The blogpost was about asking readers to contribute Soviet-era jokes (should have seemed harmless). They did. They trampled over each others’ national pride. They posted joke and counter-joke, flaming a 105-comment ‘commentroversy’.
Commentroversies are common when there are sensitive issues like Kashmir (Indians & Pakistanis) or secularism (right vs left in India) discussed on the internet. Nestle was the target of a furious commentroversy on its Facebook wall, resulting in a PR disaster for the company (see our earlier series on this). If you are promoting your brand through Facebook, a commentroversy is clearly something you don’t want. Do look up our Facebook how-to series to see how you can steer clear of one.
Just as an aside, a commentroversy that gets really intense is called a ‘flame war’, when it gets really personal and the original issue is completely forgotten.