Overheard on CNN.com: Goodbye 2011, hello year-in-review lists
As 2012 nears, we look back at reader comments on 2011 stories, big and small.
December 30th, 2011
06:39 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Goodbye 2011, hello year-in-review lists

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"My amazing event for 2012, I would have to say it would be: Hearing how our brave Navy Seals took out bin Laden, and knowing there is only one more day of this crappy year."

If you haven't heard, the year is almost over and then it's going to be 2012. We've made our lists, and the comments have been nice. Together, we can figure out who's been naughty, and who's been nice.

Here are some of our favorite comments on the stories and trends that piqued our readers' interest in 2011.

What was your top news story of 2011?

CNN gave readers 20 stories and asked them to prioritize them. These "reader picks" formed the basis for a top 10 list of stories or 2011. Of course, no one is going to agree entirely, and we received a lot of comments about the selection.

BobZemko: "A wedding and an occupy movement that had absolutely no effect on the world make the list?"

heathaho: "Hardly any positive stories in there. Except for Occupy Wall Street and the marriage of the royals."

mc987: "Wow, the U.S. leaving Iraq is not even in the top ten? Eight years, thousands dead, billions spent and not even a passing mention. I'm sorry but when the passing of Steve Jobs, no matter how great a person he may have been, trumps the end of a military conflict where thousands and thousands have died on both sides I don't see it as a valid survey."

"My news story of 2011 was the Christchurch Earthquakes."

BPO235: "This Obama vs. Bush crap is the whole problem with this country. Neither is as bad as the other side tries to make them sound. They both had a part in bringing down Bin Laden. Let's just be happy he is dead ... and term-limits for all elected officials."

"I would have to say the story that stunned me in 2011 was Casey Anthony. I was shocked how lies can confuse the truth, and she wasn't hell responsible for her daughters death. Since then how many other little babies are disappearing from the parents, I've counted 3 since."

Tcr c2: "Most admired: Steve Jobs. Most hated: Charlie Sheen."

Chris: "I love how the 'royal wedding' is one of the top stories. What a complete waste of web space. The royalty in Great Britain is a silly remnant an archaic system of government that has been abandoned by most of the modern world. If they choose to keep it around as a state symbol, that's fine. But don't expect people in other parts of the world to take it seriously. It's akin to suggesting that the marriage of a couple of Hollywood actors in America is a top story, besides the fact that actors actually earn their pay and position and generally aren't born in to it."

What do you think about this list? Share your own comments below. There were a number of other lists that our readers were reacting to, as well.

Seven most commented iReports in 2011

CNN iReport looked back at seven posted stories that generated tremendous conversation.

ecotraveler: "Great review, David. Thank you. Gives us a chance to see some of the most controversial ones, and some we may have missed. We can also visit each ireport and post our own two cents there, where the ireporter will see the comment and he, along with others interested, will be able to respond. Happy holiday and wishing you the best in the new year."

t0ofly: "The son's tribute to his dad still makes me sad."

Occupy67: "If anyone asks yet again, why the occupiers all over the United States are protesting. Listen up! ... You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions.  You've profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living(while lowering our wages). You've monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame.  We are hit ... we are bleeding ... but we ain't got time to bleed.  We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!  Wake up America! Support Occupy!"

LaDDD: "When I stop reading how it's someone else's fault and start reading about the responsibility of one's personal choices, I'll start giving Occupy credibility. Until then, I'll take responsibility for my choices and take action accordingly."

Doh! The top 10 tech 'fails' of 2011

CNN's story about the year's "tech fails" drew comments immediately. Some of the responses were questioned whether the word "fail" is suitable for use as a noun, while still others invoked the sort-of-eternal Apple vs. Android debate. (Have you seen the "Star Trek" vs. "Star Wars" story, by the way?) Tablets were by far the most-debated issue.

Enriquesamos: "That list should include a 'consumer common sense fail' category. For this year, I nominate all the gullible suckers who forked out all that money to get the latest must have thing, the tablet, be they from Apple, Blackberry or others. Apple certainly took the saying of a sucker born every minute to new heights with the iPad. Consider the fact that the iPad first saw the light of day many, many years ago (some circles say 10-15 years ago) as a test platform and prototype for what was to become the iPhone and iPod touch. All Apple had to do was to re-cycle a discarded prototype, re-brand it and market it as the next thing you must have although you know you don't need it. I have a Mac computer, iPod and iPhone but draw the line on the iPad. Some of my friends and colleagues now wish that they had done the same. It's a rather expensive paperweight."

Many of our readers said they are happy with their tablet purchases. There was talk about many of the devices, as well as the Kindle Fire reader-with-benefits and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

AmyLeeParker: "I also have one of 'those other tablets' (Samsung 7-inch tablet) and I love it! I purchased it last January and (knock of wood) have had no problem with it. I have had tons of comments from people who have never heard or seen one before. Which I think is the problem. All people hear about is the iPad."

AHistory2011: "I bought one of those 'other tablets,' a Toshiba Thrive, and it works very well for me. Thanks to Netflix's error, I went to the streaming only choice, and I got a bunch of free apps from RIM although my BlackBerry never lost service. 2011 was a good tech year for me!!"

Several readers expressed suspicion about Apple's business practices.

RubinL: "iPhones lost in bars were over-reported. Apple's abuse of power in violating people's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure was under-reported. Even though I own an iPhone, Apple's reaction was out of line and can't be swept under the carpet."

Vultron: "How has no one figured it out that Apple probably intentionally leaves the phone behind to be found?  It's free advertisement.  The media talks about it for more than a week and Apple doesn't have to pay a dime for all the publicity."

A few commenters had some suggestions to add.

cr1: "How is the CarrierIQ debacle not at the top of this list?"

Others talked about Netflix's many incarnations.

akira625: "Apparently, Netflix never head of the saying 'if it ain't broke don't fix it,' and they sure paid dearly for angering their installed base."

warmhorse: "Perfectly well said. I was one of them. I yanked the plug immediately when that email went out. Frikkin' 'Qwikster'. God. And how much money they had to have spent on that rebranding exercise... at big companies that kind of stuff is very, very expensive. But... now I miss the streaming and may come back. Either way, yeah – you said it right – it wasn't broken, and they shot a hole in it. Didn't break it, but wounded it."

cyber77: "Actually folks, Netflix's model was broken and unfortunately did need an adjustment because they priced themselves too low for the market. Content suppliers are still figuring out how to price online content in light of Sat/Cable offerings and existing contracts. You would think that competition would mean lower pricing for the consumer, but we are effectively in the midst of a revolution and everyone is taking sides: providers, carriers & consumers alike."

JoeyATL: "Yeah, they acted like Blockbuster did for many years. Blockbuster refused to stock DVDs when they first came out, because the studio's wouldn't sell them the discs at heavily discounted prices like they did with video tapes. So people started buying discs themselves and building libraries. Killed the company, so to speak. They never recovered.

devcon: "That and being so full of themselves they thought they were the only game in town so they could do what they want which is not even close to reality."

Duke Nukem's still not chewing bubble gum after all these years.

devcon: "Duke should not be on this list. Anyone who every played and liked the original Duke Nukem would not slam this go around of Duke. Duke was never a well polished game and frankly I would hate to see it become that. Duke was a sexist, egotistical biggot and he hasn't changed just because politicians say we should. Keep up the good fight, Duke!"

oldsmobile: "He ran out of bubble gum a long time ago."

tylerk36: "Duke Nukem is not a technology.  Tech meaning Technology.  Duke Nukem is a software-based item. Software runs on Technology.  So Duke Nukem is technology dependent.  Lets clarify this."

CNN's Doug Gross, the writer of the piece, responded to a few of the comments like in this choice exchange:

ilovefarts: "I cannot stand people who say 'fail.' If the apocalypse really comes in 2012, I hope it takes people who use the terms 'fail,' 'epic' and 'in my opinion, I think...' first."

DougGross: "Says 'ilovefarts.' Thanks for reading!"

Thoughts on these issues? We also received a number of other comments:

Second helpings of 2011's most popular posts

One story from this year really stuck in people's minds: Give squirrel a whirl.

™©JbJiNg!eŚ®™@RH: "Can we just have Whirled Peas for the New Year? Have a good one my friend and be safe."

Queen of Everything™@Truth and JBJ: "I still don't think we should be whirling squirrels. The nut loss, you know."

Truth™@Queen, JBJ: "As chapter president of the "Anti Squirrel Whirrling Society" I was sure you would take that position..."

10 waterfront destinations to ring in 2012

adrift: "Copacabana looks nice, but I'm going to spend my New Year's Eve watching fireworks over the Slave River at Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories, Canada. The backdrop will be the mostly frozen rapids on the river. If it's cold enough (and it usually is), there might be a spooky mist rising from the Rapids of the Drowned. There's also a very good chance at this time of year that the Northern Lights will be out to welcome the New Year. There won't be thousands of people there, but many of my friends will be. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. My point is obvious – you don't have to travel halfway around the world to enjoy fireworks and welcome the New Year. Many small communities have their own fun and memorable celebrations. Happy New Year to everyone, wherever you are."

2011: An exceptional year for movies

DaBank: "The fact that Senna isn't on the top list is disgraceful. That's the best documentary I've ever seen, hands down."

MRabinowitz: "It was indeed fantastic and I struggled with this list. Several of the 'honorable mentions' could have been in my top 10 and if I had done a top 15 or top 20, It would have been included, no doubt. The fact that "Senna" was not shortlisted for the Academy Awards is a shock, but it always happens. Every year, deserving films get shut out."

buttercup2u: "All dramatic movies. How about recognizing the funniest movie made in a very long time, Bridesmaids! To laugh throughout a movie is priceless and rare. Such good writing, acting and entertainment and all that is overlooked for films that no one will remember a year from now. Yes, a bit raunchy in certain scenes, but it was hysterical."

MRabinowitz: "Also, for what it's worth, 'Midnight in Paris' is a comedy and 'The Descendants' could easily be referred to as a dramatic comedy."

Fitness trends for the new year

John1Galt: "Trends? Please. If you're suddenly interested in exercise becasue of a program the fact is that you're really not interested at all. A fitness enthusiast has tried lots of programs but has rarely been absent from the gym (but could pull together a great workout with no equimpment anyway). We settle on certain modes because we ultimately find what we love. Get a free exercise program off the net that just calls for bodyweight exercises and walking for cardio. If you stick with it for three months, you're more likely to be committed to your fitness. Join a gym at that point before you flush your money."

CatCathy: "The key is variety, fresh air, social and doing what you enjoy. I still inline skate. I guess it was trendy at one time but doesn't seem to be anymore. Still I get outside on pretty days, get to see things and meet people and do a workout that I totally enjoy. Then other days I mountain bike, play hockey, do hot yoga etc. so there is variety and not just staying inside at a gym."

Bobby62: "The parking spots at your gym will open up by the second week in February."

What do you think about these lists? What list do you want to make? Rattle off your top 10 (or three, or whichever number you prefer) or share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @Nicole Saidi c/o CNN

    Those are some really good stories and comments. But please, can't there be something done about these trolls with their nasty mouths.
    A great deal of us like to come on here and discuss the issues, but when we are constantly bombarded by these trolls stealing our names and posting filth, It really defats the purpose of us coming here.
    Please make that one of your new years resolutions. Thank you.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thanks for commenting, bobcat. We actually remove a lot of these comments after they are posted, especially when people let us know about them. Feel free to tag me at @nsaidi when you see something odd here.

      December 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Thank you for your response. I will definitely make use of the abuse button. Happy New Year to you.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©


    We are talking about the whole "THIS JUST IN" blog, not just the "OVERHEARD" thread, which is apparently yours only.
    Repeated pleas on the other threads TO YOU have resulted in nothing.
    I suggest that CNN do its part on the unemployment scene, and hire someone with access to a delete button, and someone who reads these blogs often.
    Although I'm employed, I'll do it.
    I'll even do it for free.
    I am getting sick of gay fantasies, fisting, people talking about eating poop.
    At this point, we all know that nothing is going to be done to ban these people, but how hard is it to delete the comments?

    Of course, one has to pay attention to the report abuse.

    Every thread these past two weeks have had the sickest stuff imaginable.

    And reporting abuse hasn't done anything.

    Give us another person to contact.

    JUST say DELETE!!!

    Happy New Year to you.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      I just took some out. I can understand your frustration, but I would like to point out that the vast majority of comments here are actually very well-written, and on the internet unfortunately there are always going to be a few bad apples. There were a couple places where I was flagged, and I did go and take a look at those comments. Please contact me at nicole.saidi@turner.com if you have any further questions or thoughts, as this is probably best discussed offline. Thank you once again for reading and participating.

      December 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Comments have been closed on this post. Please contact me at nicole.saidi@turner.com if you have any questions. Thank you.

      December 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    N SAIDI:
    "We actually remove a lot of these comments after they are posted, especially when people let us know about them."

    Isn't that the purpose of the report abuse button?

    CNN USED to do a better job of deleting comments.
    What happened?

    December 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @NSAIDI

    7:45 comment ODD since it's somebody using another poster's name.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobcat (in a hat)©


    Wow girl. I like the way you handled that.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    I do what I can! 😉

    December 30, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. @NSAIDI

    Ooops, sorry...

    December 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |