When the parodies start, is one way.
The New York Times reports that some smart alecks recognized the essential absurdity in the nexus of Amazon.com user commentary and certain of the products available for purchase there. Such as milk.
Here's an excerpt from Tom Zeller Jr.'s piece, itself excerpting the commentary:
"I give this Tuscan milk four stars simply because I found the consistency a little too 'milk-like' for my tastes," wrote one snarky user.
Another, upping the absurdist ante, wrote: "One word of caution — milk, even when frozen into a baseball-bat shape, is nigh worthless as a baseball bat, merely shattering into cloudy fragments at the first strike of a baseball."
And yesterday: "Tuscan Whole Milk ruined my life," a user wrote. "I have no further details to add."
The joke started with Jeffrey Gates, of Hopatcong, N.J., and his pal, Neal Strassner of Daytona Beach, Fla., who, according to The Times, called attention to their prank on the pop-culture parody site ytmnd.com, which was monitored and linked to by Boing Boing.
We already knew there were a few bugs to be worked out of this Listenomics principle. The Los Angeles Times and Wikipedia have both learned the hard way that opening up the conversation to everybody means opening it up to pranksters, vandals and just plain morons.
On the other hand, consider the larger message: if user commentary has become a joking matter, it means that user commentary is no joking matter.