The comments section, Disqus, Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score, YouTube's thumbs up:thumbs down ratio, upvotes, downvotes, reviews... These measures of the great masses' opinions form an integral and visually unavoidable aspect of the internet. My question is, what weight do you place on them?
On the one hand, the YouTube comments section (xkcd comic) is notorious for being the saddest cesspool on the internet. On the other hand, I trust implicitly the ratings accorded to different products on Amazon. Yet the populations can't be all that different. I confuse myself when some part of me is disappointed that a book a friend recommends is less than 5 stars on Amazon. It's patently ridiculous that I'd trust 600 complete strangers rather than a close friend, but I can't find a satisfying answer as to why I check the pulse of the crowd.
Do you ignore the comments entirely? Are some sites better than others? Do you find yourself trusting, say, the discussion underneath The Atlantic more than The New York Times? Or is hubski the high bar you set?